Criticism Has Been Replaced by Abuse

Vernon Coleman

It has been happening for a while but it has now reached absurd depths.

I realised how bizarre things had become when I noticed that after putting a video onto YouTube there would be, within seconds, a flurry of thumbs down criticisms. The people sharing their views didn’t know what the video was about – they knew they didn’t like it. They hadn’t had time to watch it but they clearly hoped that YouTube would censor the video and take it down.

(If I didn’t allow comments or thumbs up and down on YouTube, I felt I would be accused of suppressing criticism. This was, perhaps, rather old-fashioned and naďve.)

And if I write (for example) that eating meat increases a man’s chances of developing prostate cancer, or a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer, the commonest critical response will not be: `Do you have evidence for that claim?’

(To which my response would be `Yes, I do and here it is’. For those interested, the proof is available under the health button on Look for the title `Meat Causes Cancer – The Proof’.)

Instead, the commonest response will be: `Coleman is a menace. He should be silenced. Shut him up. He should not be allowed to say such things.’

Whether or not such messages come from the meat industry is, of course, purely a matter of conjecture.

You may think I am exaggerating. But, sadly, I am not. Thoughtful criticism has been replaced by thoughtless abuse. The traditional idea behind criticism was that the critic or reviewer would assess what the writer or performer had produced, and then provide a review according to how well the individual had succeeded in his or her aim. That is no longer fashionable. Debate and discussion have been replaced by a mindless determination to silence anyone who says anything which doesn’t fit in with the troll’s commercial perspective or preconceived notions and prejudices. Expertise and knowledge have been devalued. Anyone who dares to question authority and accepted views must be silenced and suppressed.

You will not be surprised to hear that I find all this depressing.

But what I find even more depressing is the certain knowledge that in the future virtually no one will offer original thoughts on anything. Writers will stick to the establishment line. George Orwell got it right. There will be no free press. And without a free press there will be no freedom. The web Nazis will have won.

Copyright Vernon Coleman May 17th 2020

Vernon Coleman’s bestseller Coming Apocalypse explains how the coronavirus scare developed. And examines at the future we now face. `Coming Apocalypse’ is available on Amazon as an eBook and a paperback. Incidentally, the trolls will sometimes criticise and condemn the fact that, at the end of some website articles, books of mine are mentioned. I do mention of books which will, I believe, offer useful information to those who want to know more about a subject. And the abusive criticism puzzles me. I charge nothing for access to this website and I allow no advertisements. The videos I recorded for YouTube carried no ads or sponsorship. I refuse ads so that no one can accuse me of being `bought’ or `influenced’ in any way. But I have for nearly 40 years earned my living as a writer and I admit that Antoinette and I have developed a habit of eating every day. We also like to pay the electricity bills and the local taxes and so on. And the cost of maintaining a bunch of websites is forever rising. These days I am never allowed on radio or TV to promote my books because I am, rather bizarrely I think, considered `too dangerous’. I tried to buy advertisements for Coming Apocalypse but the ads were all barred – even though everything in the book is true and no one has disputed any of my conclusions. So my books are mentioned from time to time at the end of articles and I am enormously grateful when readers choose to buy them.