Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Flamin' Mad Internet Injustice Avengers With High-Blood Pressure To The Rescue!

A lot of people, both on the right and on the left, have discussed this article from the Washington Post. In it, we meet a left-wing blogger named Maryscott O’Connor. Now, I was vaguely familiar with her writing before this story, and what I had seen I considered neither interesting nor informative. That splenetic-venting business doesn’t appeal to me, but that’s a matter of taste, I suppose. When I found striking in the article is its suggestion that, since Ms. O’Connor and a few other left bloggers are full of vitriol, we liberals are becoming a bunch of nasty-mannered pottymouths. My first instinct when confronted with this assumption was, of course, to howl “FUCK THAT!” and try to smash my computer into bits with the bronze idol of Paul Wellstone I pray to five times a day. Fortunately, I was restrained in time. And then it occurred to me that this whole question of which side is the angriest is silly. If you’ve got nothing better to do, you can find people willing to foam at the mouth for any conceivable position and/or cause.

Take me, for example. I can be reasonable and polite, but I’m also a venomous, profane, no-holds-barred advocate of spaying and neutering household pets. Under my internet nom du guerre, BobBarker4EVER, I am the terror of the Cat Fancy message boards, tirelessly pointing out that only a vomit-smeared, piss-dribbling, batfucking pile of GODDAMN STUPID would deny that the pet overpopulation problem has reached crisis proportions. The way I see it, these braying jackasses, these farty overgrown anuses, these rubbery smegma infections ought to just take a trip down to their LOCAL MOTHERFUCKING HUMANE SOCIETY BRANCH to have a look at all the precious kittens and adorable puppies who can’t find homes because these SATANIC SHITSTAINS have failed to support low-cost spaying and neutering programs. Why, when I read their INDECENT, SLANDEROUS, and FATUOUS arguments, I get so mad that I sometimes CHEW THE HEADS OFF OF BARBIE DOLLS! Those goofy-genitaled, scabby troglodytes—drunk on their own dishonesty and the semen of strangers—ought to be infected with stingy venereal diseases, beaten about the head and shoulders, ripped limb from limb, and then buried alive in the STEAMING DOODY of all the poor animals they’ve consigned to horrible, brutal, FERTILE lives! And, even more importantly, they should say they’re sorry! Because they are! And because they have nothing better to do, since no one will sleep with them. Because they’re ugly! On the inside AND the outside!

Ahem. Pardon me.

My point is—and here’s the place where I pretend I have a point---that the whole “you’re-angrier-no-you’re-angrier-asshole” debate is a waste of time. Anger, to me, is more a bad habit than an ethos. When it comes to political speech, it’s a bad habit of extremists that has regrettably drifted closer and closer to the center, particularly on blogs and the like. Is the right more guilty of this than the left? Who knows. I believe so, but only because they’ve spent the last couple administrations pandering to their extremists. But it doesn’t really matter who did it first or who does it worse. The internet is a wonderful tool if you want to seethe and an even better one if you’ve got a hankering to curse at strangers. I don’t feel there’s anything wrong with that, but the trouble comes when people mistake a few fuming loners for an entire school of thought or decide that a screaming match is the same thing as a dialogue.

As for me, I try to resist the urge to be pissed off. A certain level of it might be beneficial, if it spurs you into action, but too much is unpleasant and counterproductive. Forgive me for getting all Dr. Phillish on you, but I think you give over too much of yourself when you get angry at everything. The causes of your anger assume inordinate control over you. I don’t want clowns like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly, or whoever else to have any sway over me at all. There’s too much beauty in the world to worry about what some gross, overpaid pundit thinks, so why get worked up about another obnoxious blowhard when you could be doing something pleasant? Those people deserve to be ignored or, at most, mocked; they shouldn’t be honored with our rage. As for the President and his sorry crew, I’d rather diminish them with facts and reason and satire than go after them with another round of furious, but feeble, ranting.