Back in the grand ole days when scribes reverently adhered to the adage, "the pen is mightier than the sword," the influential swayed public opinion through op-eds in the New York Times while the local activists penned letters to the editor of their local trib. The hotheads and dunderheads were relegated (rightly so) to mouthing inanities over too much beer in saloon bars. Most of us were proud of intellectualism, even if it eked elitism.
Today, the common man is a would-be scribe, what with Facebook, Twitter, posting at various news media websites, blogging, and everything else on the Internet. That would be fine, provided the pen is still mightier than the sword. Sadly, the new adage has become, "the finger is mightier than the mind."
I stopped posting at the news media websites long ago because the hotheads and dunderheads came out of the saloon bars and decided to become scribes. If you happen to see a political article on CBSnews.com that has 15,200 comments, don't think it's because 15,200 intellectuals are soberly sharing opinions.
Please don't conclude this sounds like elitist snobbery. I've always been respectful of soap-box soliloquies, whether its a forum in central park or the nearest tavern. Even a dumb-reading letter to the editor is Freedom of Speech. But, we all know that, in the age of the World Wide Web, free speech has become unfettered to the extent that it has often become nauseous. Today it's too easy to vent an opinion, and everyone seems to be doing it, many without much forethought.
An exception is this Forum. That's because it is restricted to people who care about architecture, about Fort Worth, about the quality of living. Most of us think before we post here, and I for one use the edit or delete options when I think I've gone too far. And it's properly moderated, so that any of us who feel like being hot-headed or dunderheaded in our scribing will think twice before posting.