CONSIDERING AN UP-SIDE
TO ONLINE NASTINESS
The shared experiences of a society tend to reveal the attitudes of individuals within it.
For example, if you’ve ever watched film footage of the Nazi era in Germany — especially the great propaganda epics created by Joseph Goebbels and Leni Riefenstahl — you’ve probably been struck by the genuine enthusiasm of the crowds.
To be sure, the shots featured were selected and edited to demonstrate broad support for Hitler and his movement. But the overwhelming numbers of enraptured faces recorded on film leave no doubt that large portions of the German population were swept up in a collective frenzy.
Those folks would feel differently by the end of World War II, when Germany was in ruins and enthusiasm had turned to anguish. But at Nazism’s rise, many people opened their hearts to der Führer, embracing his promises as their own personal hopes.
Today we’re watching the attitudes of individuals reveal themselves in the unique confluence of politics and social media.