Saturday, December 1, 2007


One of the comments on my most recent post went something like this...

you are a fucking cunt
While he loses points for punctuation, I certainly have to give him credit for concision. (I'm assuming that it's a "him" as women don't usually call each other cunts, although he is hardly a man in my book.)

Syndicated columnist and talk show host Dennis Prager has waxed thoughtfully on the issue of internet anonymity in a column published at TownHall. In his piece, Prager bemoans the flagrant vulgarity that "freedom" from personal accountability has spawned by way of the internet.

The Internet practice of giving everyone the ability to express himself anonymously for millions to read has debased public discourse. Cursing, ad hominem attacks and/or the utter absence of logic characterize a large percentage of many websites' "comments" sections. And because people tend to do what society says it is OK to do, many people, especially younger people, are coming to view such primitive forms of self-expression as acceptable.

Some might argue that anonymity enables people to more freely express their thoughts. But this is not true. Anonymity only enables people to more freely express their feelings. Anonymity values feelings over thought, and immediate expression over thoughtful reflection.

To be sure, the comment did not argue substantively against any fact or opinion that I made in my blog post. Not to appear arrogant, but I doubt a counterargument could be made successfully, as most of my statements are supported by verifiable data from objective sources. The person commenting certainly did not seem concerned about the plights of Messrs. Taylor, Cisse or Long, or he would have added some mention of them, or the thousands of faceless, nameless African American males who will draw their last breath over such trivialities as a dollar or a pen.

Instead, he argued the one thing that I can assure is demonstrably not true; without getting too descriptive, I am 100 percent American male, with no optional equipment that would imply otherwise. And as he made his argument, he did so with a good deal of anger (although the consternation was belied by the absence of an exclamation point.) I am left to wonder what it was exactly that I said that got my reader so upset.

As I think again on the matter, I remember from my years "on the couch" that I probably did little or nothing to provoke his wrath. He was angry before he read my piece, and his getting things off his chest did little to slake his rage. The anonymity afforded him by the internet only facilitated his behavior, but he was deranged long before he read my work.

I think we may be on to what is at the root of said derangement. Charles Krauthammer gave many conservatives a chuckle while describing an observable phenomenon amongst liberals which he described as Bush Derangement Syndrome. But according to new Gallup polling data, some of the Left's derangement may be more real than we ever imagined.
Republicans are significantly more likely than Democrats or independents to rate their mental health as excellent, according to data from the last four November Gallup Health and Healthcare polls. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans report having excellent mental health, compared to 43 percent of independents and 38 percent of Democrats. This relationship between party identification and reports of excellent mental health persists even within categories of income, age, gender, church attendance, and education.

The basic data -- based on an aggregated sample of more than 4,000 interviews conducted since 2004 -- are straightforward.

The differences are quite significant... While Democrats are slightly less likely to report excellent mental health than are independents, the big distinctions in these data are the differences between Republicans and everyone else.
Lest we imagine that all of this is related to variances in socio-economic status, the polling results also suggest that "the basic pattern persists" regardless of variables such as age, gender, church attendance, income, education or other variables.

With this new data, we are free to make some assumptions regarding our dear reader. If we know that he is in some sort of disagreement with my commentary as a conservative, and that he is at least a bit angry, can we also conclude that he is a liberal who just might already be over the edge? I don't ask this to be provocative - seeing yourself described with a whorehouse epithet is more than a bit disconcerting - but only so that I can fully understand who we're all dealing with.

I think Sun Tzu would be proud. He certainly wouldn't call me a fucking cunt.

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