Human Nature – good or bad?

I am feeling really cynical about human nature today. Is there anything where the rotten few don’t spoil things for everyone else? Today my day was thus:

Logged into Gmail and delved through mountains of spam and the Nigeria letters which had made it through the spam filter. Then I had to go into my spam folder and seek out the innocent emails which had been trapped therein. I found two phishing emails in my Inbox. I spent much more time on spam than I did on the ‘real’ emails.

Ran a Norton virus check, which found over 30 threats to my computer. If I had run a specific check for Malware and Spyware I would have found more, probably.

Went on my daily round of blogs. After I got through all the popups which have more and more inventive placements of the ‘close’ button I wondered what was more bothersome – the trolls who used the anonymity of the comments field to verbally abuse the bloggers. Or bloggers using the blogosphere to insult and demean other people.  I noticed during the Olympics that Youtube has many ‘videos’ that link to nothing or to something different from the title. It is getting harder and harder to separate the wheat from the chaff. I found to my dismay that the fifth most popular private blog in Sweden is someone who posts poo and masturbation photographs and has ‘whores’ and ‘suck’ me tattooed in various places on his body. Although I should be happier about it because he was number 2 last week…

Looked at Ebay, which was started as a place for people to swap Beanie Babies.  It is turning into a cesspool of scams and fakes especially if you search for a brand name. It takes work to find the gems but they are there. I just wonder for how long it will be worth the effort? It is almost impossible to get human help with Google, Paypal or Ebay. They are great when things work but when they go tits up good luck in finding anyone to help you.

Trundled along through three online newspapers – trolls galore plus many articles about benefit fraud, credit card fraud, corruption. That may be natural fodder for newspapers but things like the rampant corruption within the ANC in South Africa really breaks my heart. At what point did they lose their ideals and become rancid to the core? Posting comments in blogs and online newspapers is increasingly difficult. It may be my eyes deteriorating but the ‘prove you are not a robot’ texts are getting harder and harder to decipher.

Then I meandered through three online forums and saw online bullying, scammers and fraud. Plus many threads which started out well and then descended into arguments. Usually the most insulting people are the ones who describe themselves as ‘forthright’  I spent four or five years as a senior moderator on which was then the biggest discussion forum in the United Kingdom and I saw it all. Scammers, spammers, trolls, bullies. We used to regularly attempt to have sales and swaps in the beauty and fashion forums but after a week or two someone would be scammed and we would have to ban it again.

Tootled along to Facebook where I found two huge arguments and mudslinging in groups which started out really well. I See that Facebook has yet again fiddled with the settings. But most people view that with resignation these days because they understand that Facebook is now a faceless corporation and resistance would be futile. Off to Twitter where I have seen users being told to kill themselves. I am sure it happened today but luckily I didn’t see it.

Then I travelled in to town – at the underground station for the third day in a row someone came right up behind me to go through the turnstiles/doors free. I have been attacked and robbed so I am very nervous when people run right up against me. On Tuesday it was someone who obviously had substance abuse issues, yesterday it was someone who got on the train to beg, but today the person literally breathing down my neck was someone with an Iphone and a new Louis Vuitton Speedy.

Being a grumpy old lady I noticed – loud music, people not giving up their seat to the elderly or infirm, loud music pounding through inadequate speakers (why is it never good music?), a poster for ‘Chlamydia Day’ on Monday 10th September, people with feet on the seats.

As I left the train I saw the headlines on the tabloids today – the usual dramatic headlines – today about the Olof Palme murder and Weather Chaos. All screaming at me in huge letters. What would happen if there was a real crisis? People fight and die  for freedom of the press but is this really the best we can do when we have it?

I once worked with a systems modeller who told me that for every system she created, she had to factor in that 10% of people would cheat said system. And that applied in shops (shoplifting), welfare systems (benefit fraud), self-service petrol stations, ticket sales and so on.

Usually I am glad that there are still 90% of people out there willing to foot that bill so to speak. But today I am really cross at the 10%.

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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