Faceless in the Crowd
For years, many have noted that the lack of face-to-face contact and the anonymity of social media have cultivated a willingness among people in that virtual space to scream each other down and to write things that they never would say in a real conversation.
Long before Covid-19, ANTIFA and BLM mobs would routinely wear masks to conceal their identities, which permitted them to do terrible things that many would otherwise never do.
A couple of days ago, I spotted a young woman wearing sunglasses and a mask, making her identity, like many people's in Chicago this summer, undetectable. She was walking away from the site of that day's protest/riot, although I don't believe she was a participant. Across her black facemask she had printed in big, white letters, "Wear your F@%&ING mask!"
Even most fans of social media admit that the virtual social world is an unhealthy space. Isn't it ironic then, that out of concern for our own health, combined with the rioters' desire to conceal their identities, we have managed to refashion the real world into an anonymous, vicious, virtual space.
J. Douglas Johnson is Deputy Editor of Touchstone.
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