Thursday, February 6, 2014

Lighten up, people, the blogosphere isn't the real world

I had a rather bizarre experience this week. I had a brief skirmish in what might be termed a flame war. It was weird. A few weeks ago I had a fellow visit my blog, he left a comment, I checked out his blog and thought it was interesting enough to merit adding to my blog roll. Then things took a very strange turn: he did a post, I left a completely innocuous comment, and he decided I wanted to argue with him. I apologized for any misunderstanding, said no way was that my intention, and figured that was that.

Well, the next post he did was one that got fairly heavily into making a teleological argument for why we exist as well as throwing in a pretty heavy dose of biological determinism. I minored in philosophy. Talking biological determinism was like dangling red meat in front of a hungry Doberman. So I wondered if he'd thought it through. If the sole purpose of man is to plant his seed and the sole purpose of women is to be mothers, where does that leave the poor saps who suffer from infertility? I attempted to start a conversation using the familiar gambit of asking a rhetorical question. I even labeled it as a rhetorical question, which to most people on the planet is a signal you'd like to have a purely intellectual discussion. You're not dismissing what the original speaker has said; you just want additional explication. I was, in short, looking forward to a lively peer-to-peer discussion of a philosophical question.

Holy fuck. There's no other way to put it. You'd have thought I'd just drowned kittens in his bathtub. Not only did he freak out in his reply to me, he devoted an entire blog post to ranting about how unnatural a woman I was because I had the nerve to not be blown away or absolutely riveted in awe by his deathless prose. My kids and grandkids would certainly be a tad surprised to learn that I had no interest in motherhood and that apparently I'd never learned to bake an apple pie. So much for the lively adult discussion and life of the mind I'd envisioned.

Okay. I got it. Some people need more validation than others. Maybe they didn't get enough gold stars pasted on their homework back in elementary school, maybe they're still smarting from the time someone kicked sand in their face at the beach, . . . who knows? It was a tad sad, but no big deal. It was now clear that whatever this fellow said was meant to the The Absolute Last Word on any particular topic. He didn't want readers or conversations; he wanted a cheering section. So I tossed out a parting shot, dropped him from the blog roll, and moved on. Life's too short to waste it trying to indulge in a battle of wits with an unarmed person.

But this is where it gets bizarre. He's still obsessing. I hear through other sources that he just devoted a post to telling the entire Upper Peninsula to kiss his nether regions. Why bother? Why is he wasting his time obsessing about a couple of comments from a person he's never met and never will meet? He seemed like a pretty nice guy until this weirdness happened -- why is he so upset about something so trivial? It's all very strange.

That poor bastard really needs to get a life. The blogosphere is not the real world. Yes, it's nice when people read your blog, it's validation of a sort when they leave comments, but (wash, rinse, repeat) It's not the real world. It doesn't matter if it's a compliment ("Nicely said"), neutral ("We like that restaurant chain, too"), or an insult ("You've got a fat ass"), it has no effect on your life other than the time it takes to read it. The healthy response would be a smile, a shrug, or a brief flare of annoyance and that's that.

As to why I'm wasting my time blogging about this weirdness . . . good question. Maybe it was that business about telling everyone in the U.P. to fuck off and die. That's just so sweeping in its megalomania that I couldn't resist.


  1. Some people seem to spend their lives looking for reasons to be offended.

    I have an unwholesome attraction to blogs like his.

  2. Excellent -

    "I minored in philosophy. Talking biological determinism was like dangling red meat in front of a hungry Doberman."

    And then this gem,

    " Life's too short to waste it trying to indulge in a battle of wits with an unarmed person."

    I cut my internet teeth carousing in the newsgroups of the 1990s which later turned into forums. I battled the witless for more than a few years. Your fine post brought back so many great memories.

  3. Aw why didn't you get in a flame war with me??? I can do the same here in the greater Chicagoland area what said subject did in the UP!

  4. Grung_e_Gene, if I were ever foolish enough to indulge in a flame war with you I'd be toast in nanoseconds.

  5. I made a comment on a fashion focused blog and was flamed by the bloggers who write it - I explained I had no issue with what they wrote, I was reacting to the comments from other readers but the blogger just went on and on - so I have never commented on the site again. It was striking to me how personal they made it!


My space, my rules: play nice and keep it on topic.