McCaa Uncut: What happened to the civil tongue?

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by JOHN McCAA

Bio | Email | Follow: @johnmccaa

WFAA

Posted on March 9, 2012 at 9:23 PM

Charles Dickens died long before there was an internet, but if you think about it, he described it perfectly in "The Tale of Two Cities" - the good and the bad.

We all read it: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness..."

Dickens spoke of 18th-century France, but today, the internet gives us access to more information from more parts of the world more quickly than anything anyone could have imagined 140 years ago.

The greatest minds, best libraries and repositories of knowledge, all at your fingerprints. We use Twitter, Facebook and Skype to talk to people half-a-world away.

With all of us connected, gone should be rumors, and lies, and false information. The best of times!

Sadly, it's at the very bottom of that internet discourse - the comments section - that we learn just how little progress some of us have made.

The topic doesn't matter. There's always somebody who's left something - foul language, threats, insults - something to drag down the conversation.

They do everything but educate and inspire. Making it the worst of times.

They get away with it because they're anonymous. They use a pen name.

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to match the real name of each author with their comments? Or better yet, see their picture?

It might make at least some people more responsible for their words, and help the rest of us to discern between the advocates of free speech and hate speech. Between those who really want to live in the age of wisdom and those still mired in the age of foolishness.

Those are my thoughts, tell me yours at jmccaa@wfaa.com.

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