Are we all becoming just a little too precious? Or is it that we've become scared of personal confrontation?
Judging by the reaction to the argument between Steve Price and Jamila Rizvi on 'The Project' last week, it would seem we might be both. The fact that a petition was drawn up demanding 'The Project' apologise to Price following the confrontation was completely unnecessary. The fact it generated more than 30,000 signatures was even more peculiar.
It shows that as a society we've become more opinionated, but less able to walk the walk in person. Instead, we're all venting on social media, where we can hide. We're full of hot wind -- willing to be keyboard warriors, but scared of playing out the contest in real life. And, when our ideas and arguments are challenged in person, so many don't seem to step up and debate.
Which begs the question, are we up to it?
When there's no medium in the middle, can we cope? When there's no phone to put down or no 'block' button to push, can we handle it? Can we handle face-to-face, real-life interaction where ideas are opposed and hotly debated?
This is exactly what happened on 'The Project' last week between Price and Rizvi. The two had a difference of opinion. They both argued it. Price thought he was cut off, but then again, Rizvi thought he had hijacked a question that was directed to her. A swear word was included in the discourse and Price suggested he was being lectured to. The crowd gasped and it was suggested Price spoke in an inappropriate tone.
The 30-second battle looked to me like a robust, passionate discussion. Both may have been treading a fine line between a respectful disagreement and personal attacks, but that can happen when world views of a political nature are tossed around.
Visit Twitter, a lot worse than that takes place there.
But let's be honest, nobody needs to apologise. Steve Price said as much when he was back on 'The Project' on Monday night. He's used to contesting ideas and arguments. I saw him engage in a similar battle on the ABC's 'Q&A' with Guardian columnist Van Badham.
He says what he thinks and isn't afraid to have it out with those who disagree with him. Even more so, he's more than comfortable to have it out in person. Some find him rude and arrogant. That may be the case -- I must say, I've found myself thinking that from time to time -- but he's still entitled to argue his case.
It seems we all want to have our say, but we'd rather do it behind the safety of our social media accounts. This can often mean more slogans, less depth of discussion, more name calling and not enough context.
The challenge is to keep the contest of ideas coming, but not get offended when you're challenged. Rather, take it as an opportunity to hear what the opposing argument might be. Heck, we might even learn something.
Then, if you want, argue your case.
But above all, keep it real.