S.O. refers to as the Government-Hating Circle-Jerk Echo Chamber. No more recycled weirdness that's been repeatedly debunked on Snopes.com. No more photos of the beach at Santa Monica being used to illustrate claims the ACLU is trying to ban crosses in military cemeteries. No more disgusting racist photos of urinal cakes decorated with Obama's face or screeds about how dumb Michelle Obama is compared to past first ladies. In short, being unfriended was a gift. It means a noticeable reduction in the amount in the In Box of noxious and/or mindless e-mails packed full of recycled crap that's been passed on by cranks and lunatics since the invention of crayons.
There is a certain amount of sadness, of course, in saying farewell to this "friend." This particular person is someone I've known since childhood and who I used to consider an actual friend, not just a virtual one. Back in the '70s we enjoyed some lively conversations -- he was sane then. He used to be a nice guy. Now he's a mean-spirited bigot. I'm not sure what sent him down Wingnut Road -- rebellion against his father, who is a lifelong skeptic and Roosevelt Democrat? Too many years in the military? Marriage to his second wife, a woman whose family are diehard conservatives? Whatever it was, he slid over the line into being a closed-minded bigot who spouts racist bilge, tells vile misogynistic jokes, rants against the government and socialism (despite the fact the only secure job he ever had was his Navy career, his current income is a government pension, and he's looking forward to getting on Medicare), and does a lot of Bible-thumping about God's love. It's a bizarre combination.
A few days ago Gin and Tacos had a great post up about confronting people when they say something truly stupid or delusional. You know, when something particularly brain dead comes tripping off someone's tongue, the listener needs to call that person on it, to ask one simple question: "What the hell is wrong with you?" It generated a good discussion thread, but a number of commenters mentioned the same thing -- what happens when you ask the question and the person doesn't hear it? He or she just keeps right on spouting their delusional nonsense. How many times can anyone try to get someone to engage in an actual dialogue instead of just spouting pre-canned sound bites they've memorized from Beck or Limbaugh or Hannity before a rational person walks away? Is it possible to have a conversation when there's a wall of deliberate, willful ignorance standing in the way?
This is the second right-wing "friend" who's decided to turn tail and run (unfriending me) instead of trying to engage in an actual dialogue. The first one freaked out and accused me of calling him stupid when I asked him to explain precisely why he cared about New York city zoning and land use issues when he lived in West Virginia. Guess he realized I wasn't really accusing him of ignorance or stupidity -- I was calling him out on his racism.