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And to top it all off, the space heater burned a hole in my chair.

6 Jan 2010 (Wed)

…Sweet Jesus of Nazareth, was today one for the record books…

For the record, if ever I lose my mind and start believing people are inherently good, remind me I am completely wrong. Just say, “Eh? Twitter strangers? Need I say more?” And I shall reply, “You needn’t say more, friend.” And we shall go get hammered because what else can you do when the world is full of assholes?

So here’s the thing: I didn’t join Twitter because I wanted a soapbox. I joined because my friends are on Twitter, as are several dozen people I don’t know but who are funny, inspirational, thought-provoking, and/or enlightening; all the things I look for in people I want to be around and emulate. Twitter is no different than the people I choose to surround myself with in real life. And while I am well aware of the existing faction of uber-politicos on Twitter, I don’t follow them. On purpose. And they, quite obviously, should not follow me. I think it’s understandable how I’ve been operating for a year under the assumption that they don’t. It was a good arrangement of mutual apathy. It worked for us, or so I thought. So how, and why, a bunch of uberpolitical wackjobs found the one single off-color political comment I’ve ever made on Twitter, I have no idea. I can only guess they spend a good bit of their time trolling the Internets for people to argue with. I’m guessing the yarn store is empty and it’s too cold to go fly-fishing, because those are the only justifiable reasons one should ever make a hobby out of looking for people on the internet to harass.

It’s not that I’m against political discussions; quite the opposite. If we’re in a coffee shop and you want to have an informed debate about where we agree vs. where we disagree, count me in. You go first. I will gladly listen, and probably ask questions, until I understand where you’re coming from. I hope you’re level-headed enough to listen and understand the same about me. But strangers on the internet shouting from their 140-character soapboxes need not apply.

Cue the assholes who felt it was their obligation to verbally attack me in reference to a passing observation I made regarding Eric Erickson, Conservative Blogger’s appearance on The Colbert Report Monday night, during their first-ever episode aired in HD. I caught the interview as I was trying to fall asleep, and I made what I believed was an obviously hyperbolic Twitter comment about how pinpointing an accurate headshot (of the bullet variety) would be easier to do now that the show was in HD. Distasteful? Probably. But since when am I not generally distateful? My commentary about human behavior has never been safe for the easily offended. I’ve never claimed otherwise. I quite often rely heavily on exaggeration, especially when I’m trying to point out an absurdity. If you don’t know how to infer meaning from a literary device, you’re not going to get it. And then you’re going to think I’m an asshole because yes, I really did just talk about shooting some guy in the head. For fuck’s sake, I know it’s classless. That’s the whole goddamn point.

It should be known that I have no standing feud nor even a historical distaste for Mr. Erickson; I don’t even know the dude’s work. I don’t read political blogs at all, on either end of the spectrum, because I find them intolerably biased sources of opinion posing as fact. I have absolutely nothing against Mr. Erickson on a personal level; we just don’t agree on things. And I’ve always figured this goes without saying: unless I know you personally, nothing I say to or about you is meant to be taken personally. Which is exactly why I suspect my comment rolled right off Mr. Erickson’s back (why someone chose to retweet it to him, I’ll never understand… internet tattling? Really? Are we a collective internet of 6-year-olds?!). And my comment was supposed to roll right off his back, because who the fuck am I? I’m a voter, but that’s about it. I have no impact whatsoever on this guy’s life. If I’m not sitting on Mr. Erickson’s lawn with an “I Hate You, Right-Wing Blogger! I Hate You Forever!” sign, throwing garbage at his doorstep and threatening the well-being of his domesticated animals, then why should he care what I think about his opinions? And I’m guessing this is why Mr. Erickson himself does not respond in hissyfits to my own, or the hundreds of other, insulting comments I’m sure he hears in a day as a controversial political pundit. It’s safe to say Mr. Erickson is not an idiot. He therefore knows full well that I’m not going to actually shoot him in the head. And just out of curiosity, what kind of batshitcrazy imbecile would try to shoot someone in the head after announcing said plan to the goddamn internet? Apparently, Guy-Who-Threatened-to-Report-Me-to-the-Georgia-State-Police sees no faulty logic there, and assumed I was serious. And to him I say, “Good police work. Way to stay vigilant. I salute you.”

So yes, it appears some of Mr. Erickson’s fans and followers aren’t as enlightened as he. And that is why I was barraged with at-replies from right-wing nutjobs who’ve apparently volunteered to stand in defense of Mr. Erickson (which, let’s face it, is a little creepy. Who hangs around the internet defending public figures? I mean, without that specifically being part of their job description?). One guy followed the link to my blog, read it, and went back to his cronies to report that I don’t even deserve a job, because I’m too bitter. It’ll be June before I figure out how my writing persona could be used to calculate my worth as a contributing member of society. Nor was I aware that in order to be employed in this country, I have to “deserve” it. Last I checked, there wasn’t a “…but not until they’ve proven themselves worthy” footnote on “Give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses…” But hey, I’m just a “mentally diseased” liberal; what do I know?

So clearly, it’ll be a while before I get around to pondering what my lack of an office job has to do with Mr. Erickson or my original comment. I guess it’s true that personal insults are an effective debate tactic, because as you can see, I was indeed totally thrown off by the pointlessness of a personal attack… Which gives that guy plenty of time to tell the Internet that he checked, and has declared me unworthy of their time or attention. Which is funny because I never asked him to find my Twitter feed, nor did I ask for further time and attention once he discovered it. He did all of that of his own volition. So I honestly don’t care whether or not he views that as a waste of energy.

And for the record, had an uber-liberal windbag been featured on television that night instead of Erickson, and had I disagreed with him, I wouldn’t have hesitated to say something equally obnoxious. It’s just what I do. I probably wouldn’t have framed it with hyperbolic violence, since that was supposed to be an ironic reference to the “gun-toting right-winger” cliche. Poorly executed, I know, and for that I am indeed ashamed. I so rarely work in the political genre; I shouldn’t have even attempted it. So here I go, back to pretending the uber-politicos on Twitter don’t exist. Let the crazies have their soapbox wars; long-term exposure would surely make my brain bleed. This was far more emotionally exhausting than I ever imagined Twitter would be. And to be honest, the most insulting part was when all these hateful people assumed, for some reason, that I’m a guy… Really?! I’m hoping it’s only because I occasionally curse like a sailor on shore leave, which I know is less than feminine… Or maybe it’s because I made a joke about guns, and women aren’t supposed to make jokes about guns. Or about men, who everyone knows are biologically my superior. Or maybe I’m not allowed to joke at all. Maybe I should also renounce my right to vote and cover my ankles and wrists. I’ll go do that… right after you pull this joke about a man and a gun out of my cold, dead hands.

…I suppose I could say that on the upside, at least now I know hyperbole and irony are both literary techniques utterly lost on conservative society… so… there you go, folks. Add that to the list of Things I Had to Learn The Hard Way…. Oh, look, I just did.

~ r.

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