I have a friend who always tries to get my opinions on issues. He says he discusses what he can’t on Twitter and some specific fora where we both are participants. His reasons are simple. Many of those within our age range lack emotional intelligence and patience to accept opinions that don’t reflect their mental linearity.
My generation and other younger generations can’t accept other persons’ opinions. When it doesn’t align with the noise that comes with the trends, they believe you’re not in their lane. There’s a disturbing cancel culture.
I don’t use Twitter often to air my opinions because of that air of ‘violence’ around it. Only very few people want to engage on the intellectual front; others wish to express their views and watch people follow suit. Agree with them, and they’ll say “thank you”. Disagree, and they let insults reign.
When there’s one person who thinks differently, he or she is cancelled and dubbed not good enough.
You’ve probably experienced it too. I read comments on Twitter at times, especially on social issues, and I discover people pass a hatred I can’t explain. I see such words as hatred, given on someone you have no idea about, other than the opinions they express on social media and the things they say on TV. I find that disturbing. So in recent months, I’ve had more intellectual conversations with my friends on WhatsApp because we hold those opinions and can judiciously explain what we mean without being ‘cut’ by the waiting teeth-sharp verbal incursions of people who have no ideas of who we are.
To see Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie express the same views is somewhat relieving, but her revelations are disturbing. They are pointers to our gradually buried humanity. To the ease with which people are pushed towards being individualistic on media, we tag “social”.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with Adichie, she took that long to reveal the level and extent of emotional volatility expressed towards her from people who once sought favours is a sign of patient maturity. She took her time. And I’m sure she asked herself the questions one only asks in a state of regret. “What have I done wrongly?”
To bring people under one’s wing comes with sacrifice. The sacrifice, I’ve heard, can be excruciating at times. It’s even more dangerous when you have little or no idea of who they are. Asking if she wants her name removed from “Acknowledgements” left me boiling.
I find their behaviour points very alarming fingers to the nature of our youths. Just some days ago, I was revealing how selfish people have become on my WhatsApp. People who say they “deserve” every time and are labouring to give. Outside social media, on social media, within families, in schools, we have significant work on our hands, and it’s to return our humanity and also make many see that each time cancel others, especially people who have no idea of what they are or stand for, they’re exposing their inanities.
I made some pointers from what Adichie wrote, and I’ll like to hold them as markers of what we have become mainly;
1. Fame does not inoculate the famous person from disappointment and depression; fame does not make you any less angered or hurt by the duplicitous nature of people
2. To be famous is to be assumed to have power, which is true, but in the analysis of fame, people often ignore the vulnerability that comes with fame, and they are unable to see how others who have nothing to lose can lie and connive to take advantage of that fame, while not giving a single thought to the feelings and humanity of the famous person
3. Ease with dishonesty and pretension and selfishness that is couched in the language of self-care ——— Disturbing, I see this every day on WhatsApp
4. An over-inflated sense of ability or talent where there is any at all. —— this makes them rude and unwilling to learn, and sadly, that’s what many possess.
The fact that one of them, a Nigerian writer, Akwaeke Emezi, has said that people should attack Chimamanda Adichie with machetes because she is allegedly transphobic; and also set off others to say that the recent sudden loss of Adichie’s parents within months of each other was a deserved punishment for her supposed transphobia is a further sign of this dehumanisation.
These statements are abominations. Nothing justifies them. Adichie suffered a devasting tragedy. Whether she is indeed transphobic or not, to say that the death of her parents was deserved is immoral and downright deplorable. Inciting people to attack her -or anyone for that matter- with machetes is barbaric: – even if they claim it was not meant to be literal.