Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Incivility is Where You Find It

There's a lot of media attention focused on the bad behavior of some elements of the Tea Party movement, and it's quite true that some of it is heated, hostile, and reprehensible.  But there's plenty of incivility to go around.  Tea Partiers don't hold a monopoly.

An interesting example can be found on Amazon.com and is centered on Michael Lewis's new book The Big Short.  In the Customer Reviews section of the book's Amazon page, a lot of Kindle users are complaining because no electronic edition is available.  To express their displeasure, they are assigning the book a meager one-star rating.  Other Amazon customers are pushing back at the Kindle crowd, slapping them down for posting "reviews" of a book they haven't read yet.

Some of the posted comments and replies are pretty ugly.  Seems like the perception of anonymity--whether in a crowd of protestors or on the internet--brings out the worst in some people.

To make this point, I came up with a quiz called "Tea Party Rhetoric or Amazon Review?" which you'll find on The Huffington Post.  See if you can tell which nasty comments were made in a heated Tea Party exchange and which were posted on Amazon.

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