Monday, November 14, 2011
Sifting the Comments
Is there gold in them thar spills?EVEN THE BEST HAVE THEIR WEAK MOMENTS. I read all the comments but I can't respond to all of them. That would be folly. The good ones need no particular remark unless they start a new line of thinking. The bad ones are usually self-evident unless they illustrate a pattern of some kind or are so absurd as to need calling out. But if you want your comments replied to, I can give you some guidelines. 1) Be brilliantly original or provocative. Or 2) Demonstrate that you haven't read what I've written, 3) Be nonresponsive to what I've written while pretending to respond, 4) Ignore what I've written to pursue your own personal agenda, or 5) Cherrypick what I've written to register some great gotcha that bores everybody but you.
I've made no secret in the last week or two that I'm disgusted with things in general, but that hasn't deterred stratagems 2) through 5). Which is your right, of course. And some of you have been valued commenters in the past. Like William O'Blivion, who has many erudite thoughts -- but not this week. Case in point. He replied to my post about how dumb conservatives are being thus:
A slap at my dismissal of Herman Cain, sure. Fine. Never mind that Harry Truman was anything but an amateur. He was a skilled Washington politician who got lots of attention for pursuing war profiteers when he was in the House of Representatives. Yes, he was a haberdasher at one time and never earned a college degree. Not quite the same thing as never having held any kind of elective office. But that was just the opening salvo. The bottom line here is the bottom line: "Not even Reagan was a Reagan." Uh, yeah. He was. Mr. O'Blivion is wallowing in his own despair and wants us to wallow with him. Disgust is not despair. In fact, it's the opposite. He's welcome to his own agenda, but I write my posts. Comments should be written too, not splattered across the Internet.
There's also Pittsburgh Guy -- uh, Bud -- all bent out of shape because KDKA broadcast a football game on the radio in the 1920s and the Wiki entry I quoted about the University of Pennslvania claimed that laurel for Penn. Which justified a slander only half mitigated by one of those opaque Internet typographical prompts:
Never mind what the post was about. Meaning the worst scandal in the history of amateur sports. Or that I wrote an actual -- if wry -- love letter to Pittsburgh a week or so ago.
Pittsburgh is a fine fine city. Like so many American cities are. Unique in history, architecture, cultural riches (Pippa has already studied Faberge treaures at the Frick), neighborhoods, and ethnic identity. I love this country. Wherever you go, there is beauty, stores of knowledge and art, and the people make you welcome and proud to be American. Even in the appalling moral cesspool that is the headquarters of Stiller (Steeler) fans.
Wrenching the whole discussion into a back alley nobody cares about is its own reward. Cherrypicking is its own reward, however off topic, distracting, and dull.
Yes, I'm grousing. William O and Bud will understand that I'm just teasing them. Commenters are entitled to commit most of the sins I've enumerated. But Sins 2) and 3) actually piss me off. Which brings me to SkinnyDevil. He's a Paulista. Initially he was befuddled by this post.
Then he collected himself and (non)responded to what he didn't like.
I admit it. This whole post is about sneaking up on SkinnyDevil, who has his own blog and seems to think the weight he's throwing around is somehow equal to InstaPunk's. Wrong. He commits the cardinal sins that make Lord Laird mad. He hasn't read what I've actually written, which answers the questions he triumphantly asks, and he is nonresponsive to the central point of the post he presumes to be superior to.
"You are well aware that Iran poses no direct threat to the US."
The weakest argument in the world is presuming that your own lame assumptions bind the person you're disagreeing with the same way they bind you. ("You are well aware that if I shoot your brother I haven't harmed you in any way.") I despise Ron Paul's foreign policy precisely because it doesn't conprehend that events in the world -- such as the annihilation of Israel -- would also be crippling assaults on the United States. Not perceiving that fundamental point is the stated reason for my detestation of Ron Paul. Why I -- in the text of my post -- call him "not a politician" but "a cult leader." So SkinnyDevil can't or doesn't read. Which is my problem with all Paulistas.
"Which brings us back to why you would take issue with Paul when every candidate on the stage with him agrees with much of what he says..."
Read what I fucking wrote: "The plan is published as a spreadsheet, with no description of how any transition is to be accomplished. The problem I've always had with libertarians. We're right. Who gives a shit about what happens when we finally take charge?" [Boldface added after the fact because it's apparently necessary for some of the tools in the audience.]
If Gingrich says he wants to do away with various federal departments, I know that he knows it requires more than the stroke of a pen and a crazy grandma smile of jubilation. Which makes him vastly different from the congressman who could guest star as the villain of the week on Criminal Minds without raising an eyebrow.
What part of that don't you get, SkinnyDevil?