Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Left of My Own Devices

So Saturday night, well very early Sunday morning really, I got home from a night of toasting the memory of a recently departed friend and settled down in front of the computer to stuff my face with pizzas-for-one and to poke at FB… then I got into trouble. I know. You’re shocked. Sharing a standard liberal “Damn straight/Can I get an Amen?” throwaway graphic (see image below) I was immediately set upon. No. Not by someone from the super commercial end of the radio dial, but by a fellow left-winger. A Canadian (expat) even!

                                                                                           Exhibit A

Being that I was lolling around somewhere at the bottom of my cups I was unable to see how what I had posted could mean anything but what I took it to mean. So I was unprepared for the aggressive backlash from someone who is not ether-born FB friend but a friend IRL (as the kids say… they do still do that, right?). Fading fast and not having the energy to deal with this predawn blindside apparently blaming me for lack of Liberal credibility in 21st Century America…  I handled things badly. Flippancy was not the correct choice. Once Margaret Atwood was invoked I knew I was doomed. Not only was I out-referenced, the keyboard was trying to enact its own exit strategy by cleverly rearranging itself beneath my fingers… oh, and my friend had the entirely unfair advantage of being sober.  After chasing down enough unruly keys to create another flailing reply I logged off and crawled into bed to forget about the whole thing. No such luck.

The next day, well later that afternoon really, I checked in to see if the incident had been forgotten. Oh no. New people had found it and perhaps fueled by morning coffee the comments section had become not so much a flame war but sort of a flame skirmish that did not even involve the initial responder. I did not engage; but I did, sadly, stew. For at least another day.

Today I spent my lunch break drafting a reply that I hoped would end the whole business. Fortunately I have at my disposal two seasoned veterans of the Flame Wars and with their guidance I pared the original paragraph down to the three most salient sentences on the grounds that is was for FB and forum dictates form. It was good counsel and I took it. Now that said… this is the forum for me to be long-winded and theatrical so I will share with you the entirety of the text which is as follows.

“Engaging in political discourse with a drunk person at 4 AM is rarely ever productive. It is an oversimplification yes, but what I shared is not a scholarly work nor is it even an op-ed piece; it is the electronic equivalent of a bumper sticker. While bumper-stickering, and sloganeering, is prone to reducing an argument to clumsy bits of black and white I doubt many people feel compelled to write learned rebuttals to every bumper sticker with which they take issue and dutifully tuck said rebuttals under the windshield wipers of the guilty motorists. Additionally, to infer that I personally am what is wrong with The Left is ironically an example of what is actually wrong with The Left. We spend a disproportionate amount of intellect and energy savaging each other for not being perfect leaving precious little for engaging the opposition. While there are certainly times for discussion and debate among our ranks it might be better saved for something more impactful than a poorly worded bumper sticker, and even if one is so moved as to open a discussion on that topic opening it by attacking one’s allies is never a winning strategy.”

Maybe it really is more than needed to be said, but I had to say it… or more accurately I had to hear it. I am, despite appearances to the contrary, careful about what political bits ‘n’ bobs I repost on FB.  I try to avoid things that overtly inflammatory, although I will like them on others’ pages. I check statistics. I even refrain from sharing things that include misspellings no matter how cool they are… and when friends I generally agree with politically share some crazy thing that I can’t hold with I take a deep breath and hide it from my feed. Don’t get me wrong. There have been purges. Some people cannot be reasoned with and will post all manner of teabaggery - they are gone now, but you can’t purge everyone who randomly offends you or you’d find yourself alone on the internet… and jumping down their throats every time they do offend you is risking getting yourself purged… and you’d find yourself alone on the internet. So I guess my point in all of this is that people need to relax… chill out… don’t take every little jpeg and meme so seriously… and realize that if somebody is on FB at four in the morning (their time) they are in fact probably drunk.

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