By Ken “Skip” Hill
The inspiration for this rant came about as I sat at my computer surfing Facebook while wondering what in the hell to write about. With the clock ticking down on my latest deadline, it suddenly hit me as right before my eyes typical Internet banter quickly degenerated into an all-out verbal assault. Yeah, this is gold!
I find it humorous how people can say whatever they want to someone when they aren’t standing in front of them. They somehow feel this enormous sense of comfort sitting in their warm home, behind their computer screen as if the screen is shielding them from any repercussion from what they may say. Of course, it is only funny when it isn’t aimed at me.
I think we have all seen it and continue to experience it to some degree especially in the world of bodybuilding. Message boards are terrible. They tend to mix the egos of people with too much testosterone and too little self-esteem into a maniacal mess of insults and castigating dialogue. It has come to the point that I myself have decided to just stay away from discussion boards entirely due to this circus-type atmosphere – and I am not the only one! Many pros I have spoken with, as well as other experts in the field, have followed suit. Why? Because fielding insults from someone with a fraction of your experience or knowledge base gets to be ridiculous. This is especially true for pros who are routinely berated online by guys that don’t even look like they workout.
The things I have read over the last ten years or so have been at times brutal. To be called a name is one thing but I have seen people and their families threatened. I have even witnessed graphic photoshop examples in which certain bodyparts are positioned in lewd places on photos of wives and children! The undignified lengths to which some people will go to make a point is disgusting. Yet they think that it is somehow okay because they are protected by the anonymity of the Internet or simply because they aren’t standing face to face with anyone.
I used to think the Internet vitriol was at its worst when it involved bodybuilders and people that worked out but that isn’t the case. Spend any time on YouTube and you will see how bad it can get. Post a video and you will quickly learn words that you didn’t even know existed (and that is coming from someone with a very large vocabulary of four-letter words!).
I was forced to disable comments for the videos I have on my YouTube channel because the comments being posted were out of control. I could barely keep up with deleting them in real time. I even made the mistake of trying to play the same game with them as I am pretty good at handing people their ass on the Internet. However, I quickly realized that I couldn’t hold a candle to people who are both completely anonymous and so childish that they simply don’t see you verbally whipping their ass anyway.
It was also a no-win situation for me in that every time I verbally wrecked some loser who spends his days posting derogatory remarks on YouTube I ran the risk of alienating potential clients. It simply wasn’t worth the energy.
If you think that YouTube videos are the worst of the worst you better think again. The worst are by far political posts shared on Facebook. Oh, these doozies make everything else pale in comparison. The intellectual capacity of the typical hate-spewer that responds to these posts is that of about a third grader. That being said, I have a third grader and she is far more articulate than any of these people. She also doesn’t start every sentence with “U MUTHA F****** DON’T KNOW SHIT…” when she argues a point with her friends or parents. I also had no idea that when I disagreed with someone politically, I automatically sucked on body parts that were of my same anatomical makeup.
Who the hell are these people? I wish there was a conference for Facebook or YouTube where you have to wear a name tag like at back-to-school night and you can meet these cretins to see if they will talk to you the same way in person that they do behind their shield, err, computer screen. I can honestly say that I have never in my forty-two years on this planet been spoken to in real life to my face the way I have been spoken to on social media outlets or message boards.
You might not be country but I am so I will borrow a few lines from a Brad Paisley song titled appropriately enough, “Online”:
When you’ve got my kind of stats,
It’s hard to get a date,
Let alone a real girlfriend,
But I grow another foot and lose a bunch of weight,
Every time I log in....
I’m so much cooler online
Just Sayin’ MUTHA F***AS!!!
Ken “Skip” Hill has spent 30 years in the trenches of bodybuilding. He owns TEAM SKIP Nutritional Consulting, where he specializes in conditioning for bodybuilders and high-level athletes. You can reach Skip through his website, TEAMSKIP.net and follow him on Twitter (@IntenseMuscle).