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Bad manners

Is it me or does the Internet actually encourage anti-social behaviour and general incivility?

It seems to me that people are becoming more agressive towards each other largely because, when it is over the Internet, there is little chance of them coming into 'real' contact with the people they are rude/agressive towards - and thus having to face the consequences of their actions (i.e. gettting a slap).

I'm not an angel here. I think I am probably as guilty as the next person. However even I draw the line at some of the xenophobia that seems to be getting indirectly caused by the new Sherlock Holmes film.

There are numerous Web based movie gossip sites and the Sherlock Holmes film has stoked up more debate than most films. However, regardless of how well such debates start out, they all eventually deteriorate into a Brits Vs Yanks slanging match. I have genuinely seen debates on this film that have begun along the lines of 'The film is not canonical because of X Y or Z' which have gone on to entries such as 'you Yanks should leave our books alone' or 'you Brits suck at making films which is why we have to do it for you'.

I am, of course, omitting some of the outrageous comments from both sides which have resorted to insulting people as well as their opinions in the vilest possible terms.

Yes I admit that I find some of the ignorant and ill-informed comments on some of these debates irritating. People arguing over what drugs Sherlock Holmes took (many say Opium - no he didn't). People who suggest that others haven't read the books and then make a remark which shows that they clearly haven't either. It's all maddening and makes me want to press the 'reply' button - yet I don't (well not any longer).

Why? Simply because it is futile. Some people will love this film, some will hate it and most will fall somewhere between those two stools. Sure, there will be loads of things that are wrong. When books are adapted for the screen things are always changed (and I don't pretend to always like the results). I am certain that when I go to see it I will grind my teeth more than once but nothing, repeat nothing, should cause such vitriol to issue forth from people who I like to think are probably quite civil in the 'real' world.

A.