Publisher’s column: #thankful for that ever-swinging pendulum


Ever long for the days before the Internet highway came ripping and tearing through our society and into our homes? I do.

I know I should be more thankful for the Internet and the convenience its brings to our work and personal lives. Instead, this time of year usually finds me missing simpler times, when I wasn’t tethered to my cell phone.

With everything, there is cost. In the case of the Internet, the price of convenience is a tremendous loss of privacy and in-person interactions, civility and, to a degree, reality.

I do love the convenience. Using my cell phone I can clear my personal and work emails any time of day or night so they don’t stack up on me — a personal pet peeve. I can approve employee time cards, time off requests, edit stories and pay all of my bills. I can buy and sell stuff. I can see my son’s face as we talk nearly every night.

I no longer balance a checkbook because I no longer use one. I write, perhaps, one to two checks a year now.

I can talk to loved ones when I’m on the road — hands-free, of course — and I can take vain selfies and show off my great dinner on my Facebook page. I can also share a pic of the stiff martini I’m enjoying in front of the fire after a particularly awful week.

Not coincidentally, those awful weeks always seem to stem from emails or text messages. In the old days, if someone wanted to berate you or call you a profane names, they had to either call you on a landline and scream profanities in your ear. If the postman brought you got hate mail it was an event because that simply never happened. Nobody took the time to put hateful words on paper, lick a stamp and drop them in the mail.

In the old days, when you ran into haters in the supermarket, they typically bit their tongue, wore a tight smile as they walked past and talked about you behind your back.

Who doesn’t miss that?

The Internet is truly a modern Wild West. Instead of kerchiefs over their faces and guns, however, the modern-day gunslinger uses a fake name and shoots hateful diatribes they would never have the courage to say to your face.

This all happens at the highest levels of our society now. How many times did we hear “Twitter” mentioned on the evening news over the past year? We no longer cringe at the high-degree of incivility around us.

Have we all become numb?

Now there’s fake news, bogus articles disguised as legitimate articles and posted on websites and social media. They may or may not have influenced the presidential election. I figured out long ago that, when someone sends me a story that seems at all suspect, it’s wise to research the source and investigate credentials.

What’s crazy is that, instead of the manipulative fake news being raised as a major source of concern, it’s the legitimate news media that’s come under attack, mainly for reporting on actual words and Twitter comments launched into the Nethersphere by candidates.

But I am thankful. I am thankful that time marches on, and that the pendulum keeps swinging. I believe that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. I have faith that people will regain clarity over time and grow tired of seemingly endless barrage of Internet attacks and more discriminating about the news they follow and believe.

Yes, I’ll say it again — deep breath — I am thankful.

More in Opinion

Letter: Life isn’t free; it’s time for community to teach that

Editor, Suppose your car was giving you trouble. You put it in… Continue reading

Commissioners were right to join opioid lawsuit

Pharmaceutical companies continue to make astonishing amounts of money selling pills that… Continue reading

Letter: Quoting Scripture proves nothing about immigration

Editor, Re: Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions quoting the Bible to support separating… Continue reading

Sound Off: Proposed Island Transit fares don’t add up

As a local leader, I work to improve regional mobility in support… Continue reading

Letter: Clinton beach AccessMats make beach accessible for everyone

Editor, Now that the winter weather is past, Island Beach Access has… Continue reading

County planning commission’s remarks were shameful

Homeless people like to live in the woods and should just stay… Continue reading

Letter: Trump’s immigration policy violates human rights

Editor, Trump’s new immigration policy is even worse than previously thought. Since… Continue reading

Letter: Island Transit fares should do no harm, minimize impact

Editor, Tom Walker, in a letter to the editor in the June… Continue reading

Chief Marks can no longer lead the department

Langley Police Chief David Marks has lost the ability to effectively lead… Continue reading

Letter: America should treat immigrants and children humanely

Editor, Trump’s immigration policy is treating it as a criminal problem in… Continue reading

Letter: Rather than berate newspaper staff, why not educate others?

Editor, In reply to Captn Blynd: I was never even aware of… Continue reading

Road will keep island traversable if highway is blocked

Island County commissioners’ decision to spend $4 million to build a short… Continue reading