It’s funny how most of life’s most complex problems seem to have their most obvious solutions in childhood-related things.
Think for a minute of all the times when we were kids and played in the local playground. We didn’t care that the other kids wore the wrong coloured socks, or sat on the swing backwards, or spoke a different language or was a different race, colour, religion. We had someone else to play with and have fun together. We didn’t require they sign a no-fault injury disclaimer, we didn’t make them change into the right Bob the Builder or Dora the Explorer gear, we didn’t require that they showed us a minimum expertise on the see saw to be able to play. We just got along.
Yet, when we get older, we somehow get more picky, we get more polarizing, we get more opinionated, and we end up bitter and twisted. Guy Sebastian’s latest song “Get Along” has some lyrics that are particularly applicable to the present-day trouble makers on social media.
“And when all worlds collide
All they know is to divide
And it’s easy if they’re faceless
To hate the other side
And the others caught between
Are the only ones to bleed
And the ones they leave behind
Can only sit and cry”
This forum is called Punter Planet, and is mostly geared towards punters regaling tales of their conquests to each other. Bit like the old shared tales with mates at the pub. A place for the guys to hang out and review the girls and tell each other about which girl does what. And just like lots of these tales being told at pubs, there is the odd embellishment of the details. After all, never let the truth stand in the way of a good story! But at the same time, it’s also a way for the girls to check out the guys. The girls look at what the guys say, their tastes, their style, their attitude, and the way they treat others. In so many ways, it’s the punting version of the playground.
But there seems to be an undercurrent of venom and invective that I’ve been noticing. There are several individuals who have decided to pick on their fellow punter for their reviews, for the way they write things, for the fun they have, for them actually having fun at all. I can’t help but think that these poor jealous guys are throwing tantrums because they aren’t having as much fun as the rest, that they find pleasure in hitting out at the ones who are. Well, just like in the playground, when one kid starts to push the other around with malice, it crosses the line from play to bullying. And there is no place in society for bullying. It’s ugly, it’s vindictive, it’s signs of a weaker character who isn’t mature enough to handle differences. And once the playground becomes a battleground, the fun disappears.
So, personally, I take my lead from the lyrics in Pink’s “Funhouse”.
“This used to be a Funhouse
But now it's full of evil clowns
It's time to start the countdown
I'm gonna burn it down, down, down
I'm gonna burn it down
9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, fun”
And finally, my plea for a return to mutual respect comes from the chorus in Guy’s song again ...
“Dear God, dear soul
Dear Mary, Mohammed
Can we all just get along
Can we all just get along
Dear heart, dear life
Dear soldier, dear martyr
Where did we go wrong,
Can we all just get along”