The late comedian George Carlin made a good living on his famous “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” monologue. In the monologue, he details seven particular words that one could never use on television (or radio either) regardless of intent or context. Use of any of those seven words would (and will) get you bleeped out. Use of enough of them at one sitting and the FCC (in America) will have you up on fines or worse.
Well, Mr. Carlin’s seven dirty words won’t usually cause an eye blink on the Internet; however, some topics are tacitly taboo regardless of the site one is surfing or the point one is trying to make. The introduction of any of these verboten topics into a comment stream, blog post, or general web discussion will invariably result in the immediate cessation of whatever was being discussed and the explosion of a full fledged flame war. These particular topics are so incendiary because they have little or no perceivable middle ground. One must chose a side and any refusal to chose a side will usually result in taking fire from BOTH sides.
Pretty much all of these topics have been around for years, but none of them show the slightest sign of becoming any less inflammatory. If anything, the rapidity of communication available via the web has polarized these issues even more. They are all grenades and a wise man once said, “when the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend.” So, without further ado and with apologies to the late Mr. Carlin, Ten Topics You Cannot Discuss on the Internet (without serious drama following shortly thereafter).
Everyone has an opinion about the Middle East. It may be about the Palestinian State; it may be about oil; it may be about Israel; but that little area of land is blood-soaked for a reason. Trying to talk about the Middle East will almost always end up in a fight because no one has been able to come up with a win-win solution to the area’s problems in a few thousand years. Any solution requires one side or the other to give ground and so far, no one has decided to. This mentality carries over into the supporters of the different positions. Israel is evil. The Palestinians are evil. The Jews are evil. The Arabs are evil. Round and round it goes. Again, no middle ground.
Can’t be discussed rationally. No way, no how. To some it’s a perfectly acceptable lifestyle. To others, it is anathema. It is genetic. It is a choice. It can be “cured”. Once a homosexual, always a homosexual. Nature – or nurture. What’s really upsetting is no middle ground is usually available. If one happens to be a live and let live type of person, he or she is still in some danger of being painted negatively by the other side. One thing that makes this particular topic so explosive is homosexuality is much more mainstream now than it used to be. To some, that is a positive and sought after development. For others, it is a sign that the apocalypse is at hand.