Lately I've fallen back into a bad habit. I've been reading the comments posted on news stories–and not just any news stories, the controversial ones. I read the comments on reports I know are going to bring out the crazies (and by crazy I mean anyone who doesn't agree with my point of view). I'm kind of just kidding about what I deem to be crazy but you know what I mean. It's like I'm purposely searching for things that will get my dander up.
In the early days of the Internet, I was naive and earnestly commented on issues that were important to me. I never engaged in spewing hate, but I confess to trying, now and then, to present my argument in a thoughtful way to try to sway other commenters. It wasn't long before I realized that spirited debate was mostly not the point. Comments on news and other stories were and are just an opportunity for the angry, often prejudiced, mob to spread their venom. I quickly learned that message boards and reader comments were not the place for me.
Some people get off on this sort of thing, but I take everything so personally. I recently read a news story about Los Angeles boycotting the state of Arizona in response to their new immigration law and headed straight to the comments because I knew they were going to be rough. A lot of people didn't have very nice things to say about the city I live in and love. And I actually got depressed.
But like I said, this has sort of become a habit with me lately. For the last year or so I've been visiting the website of the Catholic League simply because I know there's going to be something on it that's going to piss me off. That's a little sick, no?
I mostly find that when I'm writing (or editing/revising, as I am now), I tend to get on a roll where the words flow freely and then I suddenly hit a brick wall and I'm stuck (for instance, I'm stuck now and I decided to take a break to write up this post). The first thing I want is distraction, and we all know their ain't nothing more distracting than the Internet. And when I'm finished checking email, CNN, Facebook, etc. and those words still aren't flowing, the next thing I do is feed my compulsion for negativity via blogs, websites, and reader comments that I know will ruffle my feathers.
I am declaring a moratorium, here and now, on this behavior because it serves no purpose other than to upset me. I have enough going on in this head of mine–I definitely don't need to look for negativity elsewhere.
What about you? Are you sometimes drawn to negativity or do you try only to engage in positivity?