Sunday, January 16, 2005

You want abuse? I'll give you abuse 

Often in the past I commented on the high standard behavior of my readers and commenters reflected in the general quality and civility of the debate, which is spirited, but rarely personally offensive (particularly since as I rarely comment myself, most of my commenters seem to just argue among themselves). But just to remind us how bad, by comparison, it can be in the big wide world out there, once in a while comes this example of a reader response to a post by Andrew Sullivan:
"Sodomite, Tom Delay isn't doing anything the Democrats haven't done in Texas since the Civil War. You being a Lymie non citizen of this country so consumed with the fact that you have an disease that you will die of from taking it in the ass too many times. Andy Sullivan, the laughing stock of the blogosphere, even Jonah Goldberg and Glen [sic] Reynolds are sick of you. Excitable Andy Sullivan. HIV."
And Michelle Malkin, too, has a staggering selection from the past few months, of which this representative item will suffice:
"Malkin, you're a dumb fucking whore. You're a philipino piece of shit who should be wiping my ass. Go back to the massage parlor. Sucky sucky long time. How dare you thing you have any right to express any opinions in this country. You're a joke. Go back to nursing school. Whore."
Us right-wingers are supposed to be vile racists and bigots, but - once again - so much for the legendary liberal tolerance*. Sullivan writes that "the web seems to empower [this kind of abuse]". I don't particularly like the word "empower" - but it certainly makes it easier. How many people would go to all the trouble of writing a similar letter and posting it?

I've been fortunate enough not to have been (yet) at the receiving end of this sort of well-thought out and persuasive rebuttals, in part because, let's face it, I'm a small fish in the blogocean. But the other reason is that to bring the abuse to the next level of vileness you really need to add the racial, sexual or religious element to your garden-variety political disagreement - and "Filipina whore" and "English faggot" are such rich stereotypes to work with (for the same reason, I suspect, people like Krauthammer or Wolfowitz are not simply "fucking neo-cons", they're "fucking Jew neo-cons", George W is not just a "baby-killer" but a "Jesus freak baby-killer", and you can imagine what happens to people like Condi Rice, Thomas Sowell and the rest of those Uncle Toms who refuse to toe the liberal line).

Me, on the other hand - there's not much you can do with "Polish", and even less with "Australian". Certainly, I'm yet to see anyone bring up the Polish jokes in the context of this blog (they seem to have been all the rage in past decades, but I would love my American readers to enlighten me if anyone still tells nowadays?).

Regardless of the difficulties inherent in ethnically or otherwise abusing me, thank you once again for keeping it clean and keeping it fun.

* There are, of course, right-wing racists and bigots. I've met a few of them in my time (surprisingly few, seeing that I've lived politics for the past decade), although I'm still unsure how much of it is sincere and how much an act designed to shock and attract attention (just as I'm not sure why anyone would want to attract attention in this way). Just as the majority of conservatives are decent people, so is the majority of liberals, but the latter group should be more careful before casting the first stone or claiming the monopoly on tolerance.


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