October 22, 2004

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

If you caught yesterday's illuminating glimpse into Bizarro-World, and could bear with it any length, you might have spotted that a comment by "Your father" included the line: "Just like the administration that you pompously rail against, you don't accept contradictory evidence."

You caught that, right? It's really an admirably packaged sentiment: It's bad to be like the Occupying President, and it's bad to speak out against him. Or maybe just bad to be pompous about it; it's sort of hard to tell.

Leaving aside for the moment that I'm being given a lecture on the tone of my discourse by a man who told his wife she was too fat to deserve an indoor toilet, or the well-nigh poetic pot-and-kettle nature of that "pompously" (obviously a new favorite word), this is a sterling example of the man in miniature, and of the kind of head-scratching comeback you get all too often in an argument with someone who has no higher agenda than being righter than you.

Scroll through the comments of any lefty blog that's prominent enough to get freeper trolls, and you'll recognize the same sort of thing immediately. It's a particular kind of tactic that's beloved of the intractably stubborn and contrarian, a combination of ad hominem and psych-out that, for a fleeting moment, warps reality just enough to create the illusion of plausibility. It grabs whatever material's at hand in the service of "Oh, yeah? Well, so are you!" and hurls it, willy-nilly, like a stool pitched in a barfight. It's not even really an argument, just a seized opportunity to break as many things as possible while the battle's on. Sometimes it's a rant, sometimes it's condescension and head-shaking, but don't be fooled; it's always bullying, no matter what veneer it puts on.

Now, let me be clear: I have been wrong about lots of things in my short lifetime, and mule-headed as I often am, it's even possible, every so often, to convince me to admit to them. But I don't care if your argument has all the good sense of the Dao De Jing, I will not hesitate to name you as the ridiculous creep you are if you present it like a second-grader with a schoolyard taunt. (Shorter yesterday: "Hey, if you think about it, this guy's a lot like Dubyah." "Nuh-uh! You are! And you're a sissy mama's-boy, and your mother wears army boots! And you're pompous! Pompous, pompous, pompous!")

I promise, this will be the last I spend words on this subject, and normal pontificating will presume shortly. But it's obviously time to make clear, this being a public blog where (as you can see) any asshole can wander by and put in their two cents, that there's a minimum level of civility that's expected here in my playground. This was Dennis blowing his second chance to at least pretend to pass muster. And so I think there's some benefit in leaving up a couple of heads on pikes hereabouts, with the sign beneath, "Here may ye see the rude."

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