Sunday, March 08, 2009


It's a favourite epithet in the online community, a portmanteau of sheep and people, hurled at those who are deemed to be blind followers, unable to think for themselves.
How ironic, in an Alanis Morrisette sort of way, that so many in various online communities are sheeple themselves. 
They'd hotly deny this, of course. By definition, only people who think differently from you can possibly be sheeple. But it's true nonetheless.

The online received wisdom states quite clearly that anything is evil if it comes from a conservative, a Christian, a corporation or a cop. Claim to support any of those things, let alone be one, and you'd better have some flame-retardant handy.
There are several other villains the online community: people who support Israel; people who deviate from orthodoxy as regards climate change; country folks; anyone who expresses the slightest doubt that all information should be free...the list could extend for several screens. It amuses me that there scarcely can exist a person who doesn't run afoul of the supposed consensus in some respect. We're all sheeple in some way: we can't help but think in patterns set at an early age and reinforced by our upbringing and experience. But never mind all that, because it's beastly important to appear superior. Especially when we suspect we might not be.

This is the thing I hate most about the online world: most of it has the maturity, and even some of the ethos, of a high school. And that's in its more civil areas. Jump in and force people to confront another side to their story and like as not you'll be labelled a troll and condemned.

There is nothing intrinsically evil about conservatives, Christians, corporations, or cops, though I could cite individuals from each class that I consider evil. (Since you asked: Dick Cheney,  James Dobson, Monsanto, and...well, this piece of scum.)

The overwhelming majority of conservatives are good people. Liberals consider them misguided (the feeling, it goes without saying, is mutual)...but how, exactly, does that make them bad? Conservatives, generally, fear change. As someone who has an inordinate liking of stability myself, I sympathize: even change for the better can seem mighty frightening from this side of it. 
Christians? Most of them are also good people. The best of them--and I've met several myself--don't proselytize at all, and will only open up about their faith in God if you ask them why they always seem so happy. It's only the Christians intent on foisting their beliefs on the rest of us that scare me.
Corporations? Contrary to popular misconception, not all of them are out there to make a killing at all costs. Google comes to mind: their very motto is "do no evil". Now, if only it was more widely acknowledged that socially and environmentally responsible companies actually make more money, long term, based on sterling reputation...
And cops? Don't get me started. For every rogue cop there are probably hundreds if not thousands serving and protecting to the best of their abilities, putting their lives on the line every day for people they don't even know. 

But don't say any of this online, or the sheeple will stampede. 

1 comment:

Rocketstar said...

Sheeple, I like it