This is my first meeting of Internet-Argument-Aholics-Anonymous (IIAA). I’m here to give my testimony of how arguing on the Internet has adversely affected my personal and professional life and my relationships, and how I’m striving to break free.
I’m addicted to arguing with people on the Internet.
If I got paid to argue with people on the Internet, I’d be a millionaire by now. Facebook was Argument Heaven for me. I would spend hours, or even DAYS, trading insults with people I didn’t know personally and was never likely to meet. In fact, the whole “argument factor” was what made me swear off of Facebook in the first place.
So, I had two relatively productive, blissful weeks of non-fighting until I discovered rising neoconservative media star Matt Walsh. I’d seen people link Matt’s blog posts on Facebook, usually with comments like “Wow…a young person who really “gets it” or “Wow…I wish he was MY son.”
In short, Matt is a complete fucking tool. He’s the perfect third-generation right-wing hype-man: he’s got Sean Hannity’s smugness, Mark Levin’s screeching hysteria, Rush Limbaugh’s aversion to science and facts (the jury’s still out on whether he shares Rush’s predilection for underage Dominicans) Glenn Beck’s kooky fundamentalism, and in a strange twist of fate, Ann Coulter’s buttocks. And, despite Matt’s protestations that he’s “not a Republican,” if there’s any difference between his philosophies and those of the average Congressional Republican, I sure can’t see it.
Matt’s prose reads like it comes from a particularly gifted fifth-grader. Most are written in what is probably intended as a ‘satirical’ style: the problem is that they’re so convoluted and poorly written that half of his readers think he’s being serious.
And, speaking of Matt’s 5.5 million readers (put the razor-blades away), the real reason I fell off the wagon is the people commenting on Matt’s blog. Sure, there’s the occasional voice of reason, but for every commenter with facts and a valid point of view, there’s five who certainly have to be using the Internet access at the local psych ward. Some actual examples: one gentleman railing against our democratically elected 44th President as “Barry Hussein OGayma” and signing his post-WITHOUT IRONY-“Your Brother In Christ.” Then, there was the delightful chap who stated (with little, if any resistance from the community or the blog’s moderators) that people on public assistance are “lazy niggers who just need to get off their asses and get a job” (actually, according to current research the average welfare recipient in America is white, doesn’t live in the inner-city, and is employed. ) My personal favorite is “Jerryman,” who stated that a woman who leaves her home unarmed and is raped is “asking for it.”
I’ve got to tell you that stupidity like this is a form of crack for me. I HAVE to say something. And, if I answer just one stupid point, I’m back down the rabbit-hole again.
There’s a parable about a man standing on a streetcorner in Gomorrah holding a sign saying “SINNERS REPENT,” and being asked, “Why are you doing this? You’re not going to change anyone?”
His serene answer is, “I’m not doing this to change them: I’m doing it so they won’t change me.”
Well, the problem with this line of reasoning is that, if somebody angers you to the point where you’ll take time you COULD be using productively to stand on a streetcorner with a sign, they’ve ALREADY changed you.
So, I realize that every time I do this, I’m allowing somebody else to control my actions. And, every time I click on Walsh’s blog, I’m helping this asshole make money.
If I really, REALLY love “debating the issues” with people, what I should do is run for public office. It seems like a crazy idea, but then I remember that a certified lunatic somehow managed to be elected mayor of the fourth largest city in North America:
So, I’m done ranting. Future mayor of Toronto here, signing off.
And, so, like Rob Ford, I’ve done some backsliding: I’m ashamed to admit that since I wrote this, I’ve gone to Matt’s blog a couple more times.
I was punished for my hubris with a lecture about how Barack Obama is the reincarnation of Caligula (I guess the “liberal media” has been ignoring how Obama had Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell killed and then violated their wives).
The killing blow was when I was informed by a homeschooling father of five children that being “forced at gunpoint” to pay taxes for local public schools is a “violation of his rights under the 8th commandment.” I will never, ever, be able to un-see this.
I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God.