Monday, October 13, 2008

Inane comments

When I started this blog, I told myself that I would try to do a good job of responding to people's comments, however many there were. I've never liked the blogs that, in effect, invite people in but never speak to them again. To throw a hypothesis out into the public ether, then to say nothing while others come to comment on it struck me as somehow rude.

So I have tried to comment on comments, and I've bent over backwards to be polite, to try my best to see the positive side of whatever is said, not to leap to taking offense. For my trouble, I have been called names, I've had comments that betrayed no sense of what I was saying; in effect, I have invited people into my online home and endured their rudeness and offensiveness and obtuseness.

Within the past couple of weeks, it occurred to me that this was a quixotic endeavor indeed. There are people out there who just don't get it. Sometimes they're stupid, even illiterate; other times they are likely baiting me to get jollies out of my reaction. Frankly, I'm tired of it, I'm tired of putting comment response as a particularly high priority when I have other things to do. If it's a choice between taking the time to craft a response to a moronic comment or sharpening up my own blog post, I really should stick to my own knitting.

Yet there are times when a comment deserves to be called out, even if there's a chance I'm giving the commenter the attention he/she craves, and I received such a comment on my Saturday post. This post discussed the upcoming presidential endorsement by the Chicago Tribune, and expressed, if somewhat unremarkably, my interest in whether they will buck long tradition by endorsing Obama, or how they will justify endorsing McCain. I said nothing in this post about my own sensibilities, though I have been upfront and consistent in saying that I am an Obama supporter this time around.

And here is a comment I received from Anonymous:
See - afterall you are a white racist guy who put the independent sham up for the show. At the final moment, you are still endorsing or rooting for McCain who is even more reckless than George W.

If you look at the Governor record of George W, he is a likable guy with good intentions on many social reforms, like education (i.e. the top 10% of the students from each texas school district should be guaranteed a placement at UT, Austin or Texas A&M - the top two most competitive public universities, health care clinics for low income group, and sales tax exemption once a year to provide relief to low income families to prepare for back to school). He is misguided by the right wing or thieves of his own administration. Does he have a conviction or want to do good for the country? Indeed, I truly believe that he is a good natured and happy-go-lucky type of guy.

However, McCain has a long history of being a political hack that he will go against everyone even himself if an opportunity presents. Do you want a President who is so selfish that he would sink the boat and let everyone one die in order to survive?
Now I could let this go, and probably should, but, you know, if you wandered into my house and called me names with no justification, I would ask you to leave. The only exception to that might be if you were mentally impaired and did not know what you were saying.

And that's certainly possible, given the incoherence of this comment. The commenter calls the current president reckless, then describes him, in tortured English, as an amiable dunce. But the idea that a post where I suggest the possibility that the Tribune will somehow endorse McCain can somehow be construed as some kind of personal support for McCain is plain dumb.

But I'm not going to try to parse this statement fully, life is way too short. Just as I don't have the time to define words for my simpler readers (I have one commenter who is apparently offended because I've called his outlook on life "idiosyncratic," and he believes that I'm calling him an idiot - get a dictionary), neither is it worth my while to pull apart this foolishness.

But when you walk into my domain and call me a "racist," based on nothing but your own warped view of the world and your inability to read English, then I ask you to leave. Get out! Don't come here again, keep your asininity to yourself, because you are rude, and unpleasant, and repellent.


Greg said...

Androcass: It's your blog and you're free to control the comments however you want. No apologies necessary.

In my blogs, I tend to use just two restrictions:
1) No offensive, threatening or illegal material
2) No text or links written solely as a commercial message to promote a product or service

Also, it's my blog and I decide what's offensive or threatening. And I reserve the right to delete comments and ban users who violate these guidelines.

Androcass said...


Thanks for your comment. I guess some of my ambivalence comes from the idea that a blog is more of a shared experience than a sole proprietorship, at least it would be in my ideal fantasy world. In reality, the comments section is too easily co-opted by the silly and the stupid, so your guidelines are necessary and reasonable. Without them, a kind of Gresham's Law takes place, and the good commenters are driven away. (I know there are good blogs on which I never ever read any of the comments, because of the stupidity and nastiness which abound.)

Anonymous said...


Yes, you are entitled to write whatever you want on your blog.
Calling you a racist dude seems offensive based solely on your McCain article.

Sometimes readers may not intrepret your writing as you have intended. After all, this is America - a single and exact event can be interpreted differently by two individuals or even a same person at different time intervals. At least that particular person spent the time to read and comment on your article.

Also, maybe that person is not priviledged to have similar education level as you have... maybe English is not the first language of that particular individual...

It may sound silly and stupid here... maybe sometimes we should all be more embracing or tolerant about others who see things differently from ourselves.

Anonymous said...

This is so funny...

Not long ago you were complaining that this blog does not generate enough comments. Now you want to block undesirable comments.

Androcass said...

Anon 1:

Much of what you say is true, and I believe that I have been pretty tolerant of commenters, and I actually appreciate other points of view.

However, I draw the line at offensive language, and I don't give quite so much credit to people who "read and comment" when it's clear they haven't read it.

Your message of tolerance is a good one, though...

Anon 2:

Undesirable, no - rude and offensive, yes. There are terms that have no place in a public forum, and posts that use those terms will be deleted. There are other terms that are more marginal, and I reserve the right to call them out. If you want to have a blog where anything goes, that is certainly your right, and good luck with it.

Greg said...


Dialog is what blogging is all about, but there's a clear difference between a difference of opinion and personal ad hominem attacks. If Androcass wants to block the personal attacks, that's his prerogative.

And if you don't like this blog, there are plenty of other blogs to visit. Or you can create your own.

Anon 3 said...


I have noticed for a long time that you are very polite and tolerant. You have allowed different opinions and provided your responses with grace
and great patience.

You are justified in being fed up with those commenters who do not hold the same standards as yours.

Anonymous said...

it's ok to go on tirades.

i certainly know that ideosyncratic is not idiotic, so asking me to study is an insult. great guy! i believe you are marginalizing with these modes of dismissing me... quite a bit different from saying you called me stupid.

so far as i know, i have never called you stupid, and you... wait... you just told me to get a dictionary. so:

called me an idiot: andro+1
called him an idiot: mcfnord=0

i assure you my foolishness is solid gold and worth your while.

and i consider it vile to be considered in the same vein as racist mumbo jumbo, consistently mischaracterized, and told that you are, indeed, a saint.

you're a guy with some strong views, some smart views, and some mistaken ones. you just told me to get a dictionary, calling me an idiot, and then deny you called me an idiot. that's idiotic. that's also the scope of your twisted psychology. it's basically a major reason i'm drawn to you.

your rants of late have been more numerous, and your personal passion is a factor in that. but one day you will stop stepping to me like i'm your enemy, and you'll even stop mischaracterizing me, and you'll even stop marginalizing my response to your fears and "policy"... because i'm right and you're a bit wrong on a few things.

that's part of my central thesis.

and you call me a simpler reader? dude, you just aren't the baller you think you are, and you ought to stop insulting me to argue otherwise. simpler reader? get a dictionary? honestly, andro, you deserve this response: suck my xxxx. grow up. stop with that shit.

alas, we're both in the game i guess. ignore me all you want. it sounds like that's your new game now.

- simple, illiterate, and awed by your intellect!

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