Sunday, October 18, 2015

Viral goodness

Despite all the yuckiness on the Internet, there’s also a lot of really good stuff, too. Some of it even becomes rather popular, which is nice, even more so when they make a good point.

Yesterday, a friend of mine posted the video up top, and today George Takei shared it on Facebook, which makes it pretty viral. I like the drug commercial parody, but it’s also based on real-live science: People really do experience better physical and metal health if they get out into nature.

But another reason I liked it so much was because of the implicit message that people should, at least sometimes, step away from technology.

Shortly after seeing the video on YouTube, I visited the page of a Facebook Group I’m part of and someone had posted comment after comment after comment with links pointing to all sorts of truly bizarre extreme rightwing—and thoroughly unhinged—conspiracy theories. So, I responded in the best passive-aggressive sub-Tweet method I could: “I'm reminded that there are people who need to go outside more, far from an Internet-connected device of any kind. There's a prescription available that may help…” and I shared a link to the video above. I didn’t mention names, but the weirdness did immediately stop, so maybe the advice was heeded? I’d like to think so.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to know what to do when confronted with people saying things you strongly disagree with—or that just sound nuts. My response above was certainly not ideal, but at least it was something, which is more than I can say about two different incidents on Monday, when I was chatting normally with a couple different people at different times—until they started saying racist things. I honestly had no idea what to do or say—I’m never prepared when that sort of thing happens.

But, what if there IS time to prepare? Among other things, it gives people time to come up with creative and positive responses to racism and the negativity that goes with it.

Even if they're real neo-fascists, like in the video below.

Last year, the Bavarian town of Wunsiedel was faced with a march by neo-Nazis. So, they turned it into a fundraiser for EXIT-Germany, a group that helps neo-Nazis become EX-neo-Nazis. I think it was an absolutely brilliant idea, and a great way to counter hatred and extremism, turning it all into something good and positive—all while also preserving freedom of thought and expression. And, who knows? It may have encouraged some of the marchers to get help to leave their extremism behind.

Sometimes, there’s some really good stuff on the Internet. These two videos are even better because they make good points. Bonus.

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