Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Godwin's Law, Comment Moderation and I Feel Fine

...well, sort of fine. Actually I'm kind of sad. I like to think we are all in this together but the evidence doesn't support that.

If you've tried to post a comment here recently you have been greeted by a slightly snarky message from me.

If you don't have anything nice to say go read a blog you agree with. If you do, what are you waiting for? Comment away!
I witnessed some unpleasantness between friends over at Red Hog Diary. You can blame it on the nature of Internet mediated communication if you like, but I spent way too much of my 20's arguing with people who weren't listening to me on-line and in person. I think it has nothing to do with the Internet.

If we humans weren't saying nasty things to each other in web forums, blog comments and over e-mail we'd be sprinkling each other with saliva as we bellowed insults across coffee tables. I don't deny that the medium influences the message but the Internet does not make people argue about politics or, for that matter, misunderstand each other. We've always misunderstood each other, haven't we?

There hasn't been a huge amount of conflict in the comments here but I decided not to wait. As you can see in the comment exchanges between Dave R and I following the ICE raid right here it was right around the corner. I have no problem with people disagreeing with me but I have better things to do than prove Godwin's Law over and over and over. All we needed was one reader a tic less reasonable than Dave R and we would have arrived.

Like so many other things it comes down to identity politics. Once somebody is aligned with The Other one can not agree with them. One can not concede anything to them.

From time to time I violate this convention. I will tell someone I've been debating that they have a good point or that they are right about something. Then, typically, I get punished for it.

Me: "You know, I was unreasonable about that. The Moon does orbit Earth."
Other person: "Ya, you know what else? You people think Earth is flat, too!"

I've kind of had it with that. I'm tired of arguing. I'm tired of being accused of the same things over and over by people who can't be bothered to think outside whatever box they have crawled inside hoping to find an identity. I'm tired of trying to be honest and of good faith and getting slapped for it.

So, if you think I'm a rotten Christian for being a feminist, an anarchist or listening to Black Flag, I'm really not interested. If you think I'm unpatriotic for thinking the drug war, war on terror and Bush II's demands that we open up off-shore oil drilling are wrong, I really, really don't care.

In fact, I don't know how I could be less interested. You people bore me.

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