I know not to feed the trolls, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. Yesterday, over on a Jonathan Chait article, there were a number of really outrageous conservative commenters. And I wanted to share with you an exchange that I got involved with. It wasn’t about politics; it was about grammar and rudeness. Despite what you may think, I do manage to calm people down from time to time. This was not the case here.
Admittedly, my purpose was not to calm this person down but to just shut her up. There had been a flame war going on between quite a piece of work HarryWinstonLights and a fairly reasonable liberal beihai. After a fair amount of back and forth, beihai wrote, “I got better things to do with my time stumpy.” This provoked the following amazing response from Jenny1989:
I got? I GOT??? Seriously? Do you mean “I have?” or “I’ve got?” You claim you’re a professor, an academic. How is that possible? Who in their right minds would hire someone as obviously dim as you?
Really?! She’s not only going after grammar, but in the lamest of ways. I also didn’t like the use of “who” as a plural there, but I guess that was acceptable. Anyway, I responded:
I assume you and beihai have a history and I don’t really care about that. But pointing out grammar errors and typos in web comments is just rude. And it makes you look stupid–especially when you make grammar errors yourself. I count at least two grammar errors in your comment. But I don’t think that says anything about you. You probably dashed off your comment, just like beihai and I did.
Admittedly, that wasn’t very nice. But it wasn’t terrible either. And compared to the level of discourse in that comment thread, it was downright gracious. I figured that it would just shut up Jenny1989, but oh how wrong I was. This one is a classic:
@FranklyCurious – Really? What were my grammar errors, cumdrinker?
This is amusing!
And as regards your defense of Behai, and as improbable as it may be, you are just as fuckingstupid as he.
Now you can get back to pleasuring your cat.
I couldn’t let that stand. She asked what her errors were. So:
That actually did shut her up—at least on that thread. But one of the other members of this conservative “group” responded, “you call people vile and stupid and you worry about THEM beeing rude? Get lost.” Now that’s very interested. I never called Jenny1989 stupid; I simply said that correcting other people’s grammar like that made one look stupid. And I only called her vile after she called me a “cum drinker” and “fucking stupid.” It strikes me that my characterization of her as vile was pretty restrained.
What I would like to know is if liberals go to conservative websites and do this. I don’t mean the general trolling. I know there are liberal trolls—I’ve even been one a couple of times myself. I mean the constant vulgarities and vaguely racist comments. Here is one from HarryWinstonLights:
I actually responded to this:
Actually, this comment sounds a lot like the French guard in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, “I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.”
So it’s parody, right?
There was no response to this because I think that HarryWinstonLights had turned into Jenny1989 by that time. I think that explains what at first seemed like an inexplicable comment:
So at least it is thought that all these accounts are the same person. One can only hope. But even if this particular collection of accounts are all one person, I know from comments I get here that this kind of behavior from conservative trolls is still quite common.
And what does that say about conservatives in a general sense? I’ve noted before that the main thing that holds the conservative movement together is racism. Another related part is this odd rage that doesn’t seem to be based upon anything. They are just angry and so they lash out. It’s interesting that in my experience, mentally ill people tend to be conservative. That’s probably because mental illness tends to make people very self-focused. And the essence of liberalism is empathy—understanding what others are going through. If I were a non-crazy conservative, that fact would really bother me.