I'm referring primarily to pictures circulated on Facebook of "fails". I'm fine with things like this:
because it's not actually a mistake, the company made a misleading label on purpose: the plastic handle probably was made in the USA and the company knew people would think it means the whole product was made there. Or you could call them getting caught and exposed the fail, in which case it is a mistake, but not a minor one as that product was probably used by tens of thousands of people. Or something like this:
because it's ironic, but I don't find the mistake itself funny, assuming it even was a mistake and not the work of a troll. If it was a mistake then whoever made this probably feels pretty bad about it now. In any case it wasn't a minor mistake because that was the face of the organization to all their patients. And in a perfect world we'd see more political jokes like this:
where the mistake is not honest but done on purpose and it certainly is not minor.
But today I saw this http://comedy.likes.com/best-facebook-fails-ever on my newsfeed, I wanted a laugh so I checked it out. To summarize a few of them: someone's mom adds someone with the same name as her son as a friend on Facebook, someone thinks the world is 2013 years old, and someone forgot the lowercase letter "d" existed. There's people in the world who don't know how to use Facebook? They must be much dumber than me.
#10 is when I started getting annoyed: someone doesn't know how to spell "bored" so someone else comments with "Oh god I hope you don't breed". I suppose this person has never believed a word was spelled differently than it actually is, also I'm glad to see that Eugenics is still alive and well in the 21st century. Thank God there's people on this planet who can hold us up to their high moral standards.
so basically their status was a pre-emptive strike on people "failing" on the internet, and then they catch someone else failing. The reason I care is because a few weeks ago some page I liked on Facebook (which I have since unliked) posted a picture with an equation along these lines and asked people to give the correct answer. Most people gave the wrong answer and many of them were quite arrogant about it too, someone had to actually post an explanation from a math professor to close the debate. But it wasn't people forgetting that the order of operations isn't a literal order (e.g. division and multiplication are interchangeable in order of importance, to settle a tie you read left to right) which upset me, it was how cocky and condescending people were when they were so certain that they were right and other people were wrong. "Anyone says answer A is an idiot", "But it actually is answer B so you're an idiot". And these "burns" would often include something along the lines of "did you fail 6th grade math?". I haven't written a post about my views on the education system yet, maybe I should. Anyways, if you believe the true marks of intellectual accomplishment are diplomas, marks, and being able to remember all the things forced down your throat decades later then I guess you don't know how many geniuses and entrepreneurs dropped out of high school or had teachers who told them they'd never amount to anything.
It reminds me of many people's obsession with correcting people's spelling and/or grammar on the internet. People who do that in real life are known as Grammar Nazis and tend to not have many friends, but on the web it seems to be a sort of religious obligation. For example, I watched a Youtube video of someone making fun of popular Youtube channels, and then a video response he posted to selected negative comments he received. Some of his points were valid, but about half of them were "you can't spell (so you must be wrong)". Some old fashioned people would call that an ad hominem attack, a type of logical falacy. But what do I know, I just spelled fallacy wrong.
In fact I'd like to take that a step further: korprut n yoonyun donashuns to politkal partys r bad cuz liek thne our erected reperzentativs can moar kare abt the wqnts of orgenizashuns then teh needz of cituzens, n lyke thats bullshit yo/ Fuckin suck my dick citizens united!!!11!! p.s. i love hitlar and hate pakis,
That had spelling and grammar mistakes as well as racism, vulgar language, and an admission of love for a genocidal dictator, therefore my argument must be wrong. Plus there's no way you could have possibly understood what I actually meant to say, for you see, the human brain is actually a primitive chat bot from the 1980's which is not capable of parsing sentences without perfect grammar or detecting words which are spelled improperly, especially if they actually are spelled properly but for a different definition (the algorithm is advanced enough to detect context).
Back to the Facebook fails:
now if I were petty, which I'm not, I would point out that the person who wrote this post isn't using the word "apathetic" properly, but that would be petty so I won't do that. I mean could you imagine how embarrassing it would be? To make a series of posts about other people's imperfections in regards to the English language and to then commit such an imperfection yourself? One could even call it a fail.
If you make fun of someone else because you perceive (you might even be wrong) that they are inferior to you in some way, you're only doing it to make yourself feel better, it's certainly not helping anyone*. (* does not apply to blog writers) In other words, if you make fun of someone because you think they're stupid, it could be because you're insecure about your own intelligence. There are exceptions to this though. Let's say there's someone in your life you can't avoid who you find annoying, and they also happen to be dumb. Well you're only human, at some point when you complain about how annoying they are you'll probably bring up that you think they're stupid as well. We're humans, we're not perfect - unless you're one of the people who maliciously corrects people's grammar online, then you must be perfect.
The Facebook fail thing did have examples which are harder for me to defend, such as someone claiming to have been stuck on an escalator for hours or someone believing the Earth is 2013 years old. Yes, that's stupid of them, but you don't know them so why do you care? If someone I know says or does something stupid it's funny because I know them as a person, I know lots of things about them including all the perfectly rational things they say and do, and the isolated cases where they're being stupid are a contrast. Facebook is the highlight reel of a person's life, and fail images are like highlight reels of stupidity, by strangers, on the internet.
Now I'd like to ask you a question: would Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking point out when other people misspell a word, incorrectly solve a simple math problem, or exhibit a lack of understanding of how a social networking website operates? Would Frederic Chopin make fun of someone who can't play Chopsticks? Would the Dalai Lama call someone out for sucking at meditation? I'm guessing they wouldn't, but I don't personally know them, maybe they're all assholes, who knows.
I never thought I'd quote the Bible since becoming agnostic but this seems like a fitting passage:
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. - Matthew 6:5The implication here is: if you're truly good at something, in this case being spiritual, you'll do it in private because the reward you receive is intrinsic, you don't need other people seeing you be good at it for you to enjoy being good at it. Whereas someone who isn't good at something but wants other people to think that they are receive the reward of other people's attention.
A person who's truly smart would not point out other people being stupid unless it was for some greater good in their mind, and even then they'd at least raise the bar for themselves, you know, like proving a first year student wrong in something you majored in, not proving a grade 5 wrong. So then the question is: what kind of people would take every opportunity to point out other people's inability to follow arbitrary rules imposed on us by elementary school?
P.S. If you find any spelling or grammar mistakes in this article please email me.