The Intolerance Spiral

So the World Cup is upon us again? I can't entirely believe it. Surely all that business with the vuvuzelas was only last year? Or a couple of years ago, maximum. Four years ago is just... stupid.

Not that it makes a huge difference to me anyway as I am not now and never have been interested in football. This is a fact that occasionally people seem to find hard to get their heads around. Every so often when meeting someone in a social situation they will ask What team do you support? When I tell them I don't follow football they look at me as if I've just told them I haven't got a head.

I must admit that from the outside the whole football fandom thing does look insanely complex and it's a relief that I have never been into it as it's probably a lot of work.

But on the other hand it does seem to give people a lot of pleasure and for that reason I can't justifiably complain about its existence. The world isn't created and run for my benefit and if something bores me or I have no interest in it then the easiest thing to happen, the thing that is the most energy efficient, is for me to ignore it rather than expecting everyone else to shut up. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one, as Spock once said. Kirk's rejoinder that sometimes "the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many" is both illogical and selfish.

The same thing applies to other things I'm not interested in such as X-Factor, Strictly Come Dancing or the Eurovision Song Contest.  It would be the height of egomania for me to expect everyone not to talk about their enthusiasms on Twitter just because I have no interest. If it really bothers me there is the mute facility but I've rarely used that as sometimes it's useful to know what the ingredients of the zeitgeist are even if they don't actually appeal to me.

Besides, when people start complaining about things on Twitter then other people start complaining about them complaining and if they're not careful everyone will end up in a spiral of intolerance which can only end in tears.

So live and let live, I say. There may come a time when something that interests me happens and I want to talk about it online with like minded individuals without the worry that I'm going to end up as the target of someone's displeasure because what I am saying is of no interest to them.

Actually this already happened.

Last year was the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who and for a couple of months leading up to the anniversary - and perhaps a month or so afterwards - social media was awash with lively discussion and appreciation of various types. I was very interested in all of this. At last there was something everyone was into examining and expressing opinions about that I could join in with, enjoy and get pleasure out of. Even if only for a couple of months.

But then it started. The complaining tweets: I'm getting sick of Doctor Who, Doctor Who really doesn't interest me and Why don't you all shut up about Doctor Who? over and over and over again.

Yes I fully appreciate that it doesn't appeal to everyone and that a media frenzy about something in which you have no investment is at best dull and at worst annoying.

How do you think I feel most of the time during football tournaments or the run of a popular TV talent show?

Can't you let me have this couple of months once in fifty years? Is that too much to ask?

Well apparently it was.


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