I love the Internet. I still believe that the Internet is the best way for the average citizen to get his or her voice heard. True, the sheer volume of citizen content on the Internet — and, of course, the huge corporate presence on the Internet — make it incredibly difficult for any one citizen to get a large audience, but the alternative to the Internet is the way that it used to be: mostly corporately owned and controlled mass/mainstream media putting out virtually all media content, most of it in the one-way communication form of television.
If nothing else, citizen media force the mass/mainstream media to address those issues that the citizens — rather than only the mass/mainstream media’s corporate overlords — want addressed.
In their infancy, blogs were mostly ignored by the mass/mainstream media, as blogs weren’t considered a threat, but no more. Anything that grows legs and takes off in the blogosphere is going to make it into the mass/mainstream media, and these days, sooner rather than later.
And once blogs proved to be successful, of course the capitalist swine decided to jump on board and co-opt blogging. Recently at a major chain bookstore I saw a book on blogging for business purposes and I wanted to barf, since I’ve always believed that blogs were meant to topple the man, not to be used by the man in his ongoing conquest of us wage slaves in the capitalist slavery system that so many of us slaves, being thoroughly brainwashed, actually call “freedom.”
But opening up the forum to anyone — anyone — has its problems.
On one hand is the common but misguided belief that a blogger should allow anyone to leave anything on his or her blog’s comments section — and that to do otherwise is “censorship.”
The legal definition of censorship, actually, is when a governmental entity puts controls on speech. There is no right to leave anything on anyone’s blog — indeed, a blogger may turn off the comments function altogether at any time. But few would call that censorship, and those who would are just dipshits.
I have three main types of comments trolls, and the older and crankier that I get, the more I’m just prone to delete their comments, which don’t add whatsoever to the enlightenment of the subject matter at hand. Their predictable protests of “censorship” don’t deter me. I can’t simply hit a button to delete them, but I can simply hit a button to delete their bullshit.
First there is the Common Troll. This person is just miserable and leaves what I call “drive-by” comments on blogs. He or she (it’s almost always a he, though) probably doesn’t have very many people to shit and piss upon in his life, so he shits and pisses upon people online, because it’s anonymous and thus safe. He probably never would have the balls to treat people like this in person. Because in reality he’s just a fucking coward.
The Common Troll usually leaves no more than a sentence or two, and, because the Common Troll is not bright, often his comment doesn’t even make any fucking sense. And usually his comments are rife with misspellings. (Ted Rall had it right when he once commented that the future belongs to those who can spell.)
On Open Salon, strangely, the Common Trolls usually are stupid white men of baby-boomer age or older (you can tell by their avatars, which are photos of themselves, and they virtually never are attractive). These old Common Trolls, having nothing better to do, jump online with the youngsters to “prove” that they’re still “youthful” too, and they leave comments that are in the spirit of “You damned kids get off of my lawn!”
It’s unfortunate that medical science has enabled people to live longer and longer, with an emphasis on the quantity of people’s lifespans instead of on the quality of people.
Seriously — it’s fine if someone doesn’t like a post of mine, but to leave a juvenile personal attack that doesn’t contribute whatsoever to the topic at hand? I don’t get that. I can’t imagine just trolling blogs and leaving personal attacks. I have much better things to do with my time. (If I am going to engage in anything like a personal attack, I at least also am going to address the topic at hand; there will be some substance in my comment.)
Then there are the Proselytizer Trolls. They apparently think that if they go around and around with you just enough, they’re going to convert you to their fucked-up belief system (or, at the very least, “prove” you “wrong”). Either they’re going to convert you to their wingnuttery or they’re going to convert you to their “Christo”fascism (or both, since the two are so intertwined).
The Proselytizer Trolls are “nice” at first, but gradually, when it’s clear to them that what they believe are just brilliant “arguments” in support of their “cause” aren’t going to move you an inch, then they usually get verbally abusive, showing their true colors.
For whatever reason(s), I get most of my Proselytizer Trolls on my WordPress and AlterNet blogs. The way I usually handle Proselytizer Trolls is to tell them, after we have gone around and around to no avail, that I am ending the discussion, as it is going nowhere and as they’ve had more than their fair say, and that any further comments of theirs on the post I will delete. And then I follow through on that promise.
If I didn’t do it that way, I can see these losers going pointlessly back and forth with me infuckingdefinitely.
Then there are the Spam Trolls. I refer not to the apparently automatically generated spam that we bloggers get in our comments sections on occasion (hopefully filtered out, such as WordPress does), but to those who leave comments on blogs primarily in order to promote their own gig, usually their own blog. They’ll give a passing mention of the post on which they’re commenting, usually, and then go right into promoting their own gig/blog.
Most bloggers figured out long ago that this is a major breech of “blogiquette,” and so Spam Trolls (as I have defined them) are rare.
There are Combination Trolls.
This dipshit, a Combination Troll, tried to leave this dipshit comment (this is an unaltered copy and paste of his own words) on my post about the bullshit computer-generated images of what the corpse of Jesus Christ supposedly looked like, based upon the fraudulent Shroud of Turin:
Wouldn’t Jesus relates have washed the blood off, you’re an idiot running at the mouth. Abrasion and lacerations, such the extent Jesus suffered would be open wounds that would still secret blood.
This guy calls me an “idiot,” yet writes “Jesus” instead of the possessive “Jesus'”; spells “relatives” as “relates”; uses a run-on sentence right off; misuses the comma in his second sentence; and spells “secrete” as “secret.” Really, if you don’t have a grasp of your mother tongue, how can you have any credibility?
But forgiving his illiteracy, if you look at the photo that I referred to and that he was commenting on —
— that clearly appears to be surface blood that just wasn’t washed off, not blood that would “secret” later. I blame it on the artist/artists just not having paid attention to realistic detail.
So, as is common for a troll, this Combo Troll not only can’t write correct English, but his “argument” is whack.
Now, WordPress is set up so that a first-time comment is not automatically posted. Only after at least one comment has been approved by the blogger can a person leave more comments on a WordPress blog without those comments first having to be screened by the blogger.
Now, I’m at the Internet too much, probably, but I’m not at it 24/7, so it can take some time before I screen a first-time comment on my WordPress blog. But this dipshit Combo Troll apparently believed that I have it set up so that his dipshit first-time comment wouldn’t immediately be posted to my blog, because his second attempted comment was this one:
Awaiting moderation, just like a loud mouth liberal to want to censor opinions.
So here he is, calling (in another run-on sentence, and it’s “loud-mouthed liberal”) what is beyond my control — the fact that the WordPress program automatically subjects all first-time comments to the blogger’s moderation — my “censorship.” Oh, and it’s not just my “censorship.” It’s “liberal” “censorship.” (You know, vast left-wing conspiracy, socialism, tyranny, blah blah blah…)
So of course I approved neither of his comments. I spammed them instead, because spam essentially is what they are (were…).
The first comment I probably would have approved and responded to, had he not then immediately and incorrectly accused me of “censorship” because his ignorant comment didn’t show up on my blog immediately and because he is ignorant of how WordPress works.
I just don’t owe anything to assholes like this Combo Troll, who gives his e-mail address as firstname.lastname@example.org, by the way.
Let’s talk about “liberal” “censorship,” though.
Fact is, the right wing has engaged in censorship, unabashedly, forever. And most of the right wing’s censorship is fucking structural, in that because the corporations own and control most of the mass media outlets, there’s no fucking way that their plutocratic owners and controllers are going to allow anti-corporate messages to get out there. No, it’s quite the status quo, baby, because the status quo has been pretty fucking good for the plutocrats.
Even censorship as it is commonly conceived (structural censorship is quite real, but because it’s structural, most Americans don’t notice it any more than fish notice the water that engulfs them) isn’t a problem when the right-wingers do it, but should the left do anything that has even a whiff of a hint of “censorship,” the wingnuts are the first to cry “censorship” foul.
But the truth is, the more that the left and the right become polarized, and the more hell-bent on Armageddon the wingnuts become — to the point that they seriously would consider handing over the Big Red Button to Sarah Palin-Quayle — the friendlier to the censorship of the right wing I’m getting.
The right wing in the United States of America and its corporately owned and controlled media propaganda machine helped George W. Bush steal the White House in late 2000 and were complicit in the unelected Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjustified launch of its Vietraq War by acting as cheerleaders for the “shock and awe” instead of as journalists. (Yes, an “embedded” reporter is in bed with someone, and it’s not in bed with us common citizens who need unbiased, critical, accurate information in order to make our democracy — or what we call a democracy, anyway — function.)
FOX “News” and several individuals on the far right, including Sarah “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!” Palin-Quayle and Glenn Beck, have incited death threats against and the hurling of epithets, spittle and bricks at Democratic lawmakers who voted for a “socialist!” health-care overhaul.
At what point does an individual or group of individuals pass from legally protected free speech to illegal incitement of violence? And cannot free speech meant to promote freedom and democracy be perverted and abused in order to establish right-wing fascism, such as in the case of FOX “News”?*
And a central if not the central idea behind opposition to “censorship” seems to be the woefully misguided belief that all opinions and ideas are of equal merit and quality. Under this thinking, an opinion is an opinion and an idea is an idea, and the opinion or idea of a highly intelligent, educated individual is no better than the opinion or idea of an uneducated dimwit.
That absolutely is untrue.
Take the recent media coverage of Palin-Quayle’s criticism of President Barack Obama’s handling of nuclear arms policy.
OK, first off, Sarah Fucking Palin-Quayle doesn’t understand how the system works. She and John McCainosaurus lost the election in November 2008. Lost it. Lost it by seven percentage points — a significant margin.
Fifty-three percent of Americans voting in November 2008 chose Barack Obama to be in charge of the nation’s nuclear arms policy. Fifty-three percent of the popular vote is higher than George W. Bush got in 2000 or in 2004 (election fraud committed by the Repugnicans in both of those presidential elections aside).
Sarah Palin-Quayle is a fucking loser. She fucking lost. But to hear her tell it, she fucking won. Indeed, Emmy-Award-winning Tina Fey’s recent impersonation of Palin-Quayle on “Saturday Night Live” — in which Fey-as-Palin-Quayle identifies herself as having “won the silver medal in last year’s vice-presidential election” — seems to be an accurate statement of how Palin-Quayle views herself.
When Palin-Quayle criticized Obama’s nuclear arms policy — comparing nuclear arms brinkmanship to a schoolyard fight, which is so fucking clever, except, of course, that a schoolyard fight never ends up in the nuclear annihilation of the entire fucking planet (but I guess that we have to forgive the simple-minded Palin-Quayle for having to make complicated things simple for her simple-minded followers) — she remarked that a “community organizer” doesn’t know anything about nuclear arms policy.
Of course, Palin-Quayle conveniently left out the fact that before 53 percent of the American voters elected Obama as president of the United States, more than who ever “elected” George W. Bush, Obama not only was a U.S. senator but he also was a professor of law at the University of Chicago for 12 years (and please tell me what, exactly, is “wrong” with having been a “community organizer,” because I still don’t know) — and that while Obama was an evil “community organizer,” she was a Miss Alaska beauty pageant contestant. (Um, I am guessing that she didn’t dote on “world peace” during her beauty pageants…)
So let me rephrase the question this way: Would you prefer a former University of Chicago law professor or a former Alaska state beauty pageant contestant to be in charge of the Big Red Button?
Not all opinions and ideas — and not all politicians — are equal. Some are superior to others, some are inferior to others.
And it’s the inferior ones that can completely destroy our nation, and if I had to choose between the total ruination of the nation at the hands of the right wing and the “censorship” of the right wing in order to prevent that ruination from coming to fruition, I’d pick the latter, hands down.
As Abraham Lincoln knew during the nation’s first civil war, and as is becoming clearer as the nation’s second civil war approaches, desperate times call for desperate measures.
*This happened in Venezuela in April 2002 — the right-wing media there used the airwaves to lie about President Hugo Chavez having stepped down when, in fact, he had not stepped down but had been the victim of a short-lived right-wing coup — and it can happen here in the United States too, and, as I have written recently, I don’t fully blame President Chavez for having clamped down on the right-wingers in his nation, because they gladly would try another fascistic takeover if they could get away with it.