And they’re all too happy to oblige

The opinion section of the online edition of the Concord Monitor features this in its sidebar:

Here’s an example. Actually, the letter-writer himself intends only to promote harmony and humanism, but because his viewpoint is prejudiced by personal “revelation” (“I remember the moment my indifferent attitude to abortion was transformed. That was when my daughter was conceived…”) and the usual flourish of Bible-based bullshit (“When we perform these abortions we crucify Christ again and again!”), he fails to see the hypocrisy in his own comments about selfishness and depersonalization. On whose authority does anyone grant more rights to the unborn than to sentient women again?


But the commenters on this and similar letters are a nattily and nastily addled lot, unable to make more sophisticated arguments than “Read the Bible” and “killing babies is wrong.” Actually, an unusually high fraction of the respondents to the “Sanctity of Life” letter took a liberal stance; for a more representative spate of comments from the anonymous cretin camp, read the ones under this article.
When it comes to hot-button issues with real or imagined ties to religion, such as abortion, people seem incapable of perceiving nuances of any kind. I’m convinced after a cursory survey of the Internet that almost no one railing about Obama’s reversal of Bush’s abortion-funds policy has any idea what this action actually addresses; they view it as tantamount to a direct call for more abortions, perhaps against the will of not only a nascent cluster of cells but of mothers-to-be as well. No wonder people hate the person they envisage as Obama; ths person is a demonic caricature, bearing more resemblance to a black Ming from Mongo than to a democratically elected leader.
The lesson here, I think, is that although nutter blogs are scary enough, they don’t fully expose the degree of ignorance in the American populace, for even a rambling rageball is forced to at least consider organization, sentence structure, and his or her own supposed point when making a blog entry. But all that’s required of a commenter to a newspaper article or letter is some sort of emotional disturbance, a keyboard, and the ability to navigate to the media site of choice. It’s unsettling.

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  1. #1 by Phillip IV on January 24, 2009 - 6:48 pm

    The only thing in your post with which I’ll have to disagree is the ‘black Ming from Mongo’ bit – for if the nutters would envision Obama as Ming, they’d adore him. After all, Ming the Merciless embodies everything Rebulican governance is about. I’d venture they hate Obama because they envision him as a black Flash Gordon.

  2. #2 by The Science Pundit on January 24, 2009 - 7:14 pm

    But all that’s required of a commenter to a newspaper article or letter is some sort of emotional disturbance, a keyboard, and the ability to navigate to the media site of choice.

    These people must be the spawn of YouTube commenters.

  3. #3 by The Science Pundit on January 24, 2009 - 7:14 pm

    But all that’s required of a commenter to a newspaper article or letter is some sort of emotional disturbance, a keyboard, and the ability to navigate to the media site of choice.

    These people must be the spawn of YouTube commenters.

  4. #4 by betarunner on January 25, 2009 - 9:20 am

    There is indeed something ludicrous about the fact that newspapers and other purportedly legitimate news media encourage anonymous commenting right alongside their reporting. This practice gives equal value to both the researched and articulated report of the news and whatever inane, emotional, irrational, and uneducated spewings people without any expertise in the area wish to hammer out.
    Is it any wonder that my students have more and more difficulty critically analyzing an argument presented in their readings, or generating their own intellectual arguments about the same?

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