Despite his rugged good looks, a six-pack of abs, and legions of lusting women in tow, I wouldn't want to be Juan Pablo right now.
As a cursory glance at the World Wide Web will quickly reveal, the latest bachelor is in the hurt locker something fierce for comments he made over the weekend regarding the gay community. In fact, there's a damn good chance that as you read these very words, the charismatic Venezuelan export is being excoriated with some of the most vitriolic and hateful sentiments ever to ooze their way onto the Internet.
As Señor Pablo now knows all too well, disparaging the sexual preference of an entire community can be fraught with peril. Along with race, politics and religion, human homosexuality is a polarizing subject and guaranteed to get people's blood boiling hotter than a rabbit in a scorned woman's pot. People on both sides of the issue are always looking for an excuse to get their tighty whiteys in a wad or their panties in a bunch.
Welcome to the age of excessively thin skin.
The irony in all this cyber ruckus is we live in a country that supposedly prides itself on our diversity of thought, yet when someone says something we don't agree with, we come unhinged. As a quick look around the web will attest, legions of people never miss an opportunity to disparage, scold, castigate, crucify and viciously vilify other people for expressing their opinions.
Leading this charge are the infamous cyber trolls.
You folks know who you are.
You're the plague who infects every corner of the Internet with your slanderous and vitriolic commentary.
So you guys are easily offended. I get it. And if you're offended, you most certainly have the right to speak your mind. But what annoys me most in these digital dustups is the ever-increasing use of vicious profanity and brutal condescension as weapons in your arsenal of argumentative rhetoric. The English language provides plenty of opportunities for the intelligent use of subtle sarcasm and clever wit to get your point across. Resorting to schoolyard bully tactics on the fruited plains of cyberspace sadly only reveals the true colors of the creatively-stifled individual cowering behind your slobber-stained keyboard.
Now I'm a huge supporter of the First Amendment and I believe everyone has the right to say just about anything they want. It's one of the things that makes America so great. But just because we can doesn't mean we always should.
Know what I mean?
Here's the bottom line: Just because someone differs with your take on a particular issue doesn't mean they're a dysfunctional lifeform deserving of disembowelment with grandma's dull butter knife. It just means you and they don't see eye-to-eye on that particular topic. They're no less of a person for their stance than you are for yours. Variety is truly the spice of life and this life would be pretty damn boring if we all marched in lockstep agreement like a battalion of myopically mindless Nazis.
Speaking for myself, I have no doubt Juan Pablo and I would face off over a variety of issues, including this one, but that doesn't mean we couldn't still enjoy a cold one after we're done debating the topic at hand. I think what's most important is that we're at least open to another's perspective and realize how essential these different perspectives are to our continued growth and development as human beings.
Even if we don't always agree with the point of view.
Now I'm fully aware that what I think isn't going to cause you to change your behavior or rethink your stance. And that's okay... that's not my intent. My intent here is purely to let you know that intelligent words penned with diplomacy and tact will always trump vitriolic bile dripping with hostility and spite.
I look forward to your finest hate mail.
All the best,
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