Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Dallas Morning News Comments Section or Where The Milk of Human Kindness Goes to Turn into Yellowcake Uranium

I was talking with a friend yesterday about the internet. This person and I have talked about the internet before. The internet is big so there’s lots to talk about. His quandary was whether people are actually getting meaner or if the anonymity of internet has just brought out the worst in people. The newfound ability to spew forth the stuff that they used to have to valiantly hold back behind a smokescreen of decorum and general kindness. I think people probably always had nasty thoughts lurking in the back of their head or some sort of inner Tourette’s that they wanted to unleash as a pressure valve to blow off some steam on strangers and acquaintances alike but now they have the internet as a medium upon which they can do it. I think that had the internet been around in the time of the Civil War, you would have seen Blue v. Gray flame wars on message boards wherein Ulysses S. Grant’s virility was questioned and conspiracy theories would have abounded about Sherman’s March to the Sea being completely concocted by the notoriously tabloidly Confederate media. I dare speculate that we would have gotten to see the first good candid beach shots of THE hot couple of their day, Abraham and Mary Todd, or AbeTodd as they would probably have been known. And Mary Todd probably would have looked too fat in her long-sleeved bathing costume and been a beach DON’T for the summer of 1862.

In general, because I am no one of any particular fame or notoriety and therefore not often the target of such cyber-vitriol, I am usually able to block out most of the trollery of the internet. Yes, the internet has become one big open mic night at the Improv. No, I am no better than any of these Bobcat Goldthwait wannabes because I have a blog so I am technically just adding to the white noise. I guess I have gotten over my hopes or expectations for insightful, spirited and entertaining discourse in the comments section after an article on a news site. If it’s a story with the words “President Obama” somewhere in there, no matter what the story was actually about, I immediately know that we will be thrust back 6 months into the past. Everyone will defend their stance on supporting or not supporting Obama and then “socialism” will come up then someone will counter that with “war criminal” until the server upon which that particular site is hosted grows legs, stands up, unplugs itself and does itself in, Michael Hutchence-style on the closest doorknob. Because we all know that servers have that perv-y kind of side to them. I just don’t think that comments sections on the internet are places where good discussions are found these days.

And this is where elitism comes in handy. Elitism is supposed to be bad, right? That’s what people keep telling me. Now, “Pretty Woman” elitism where snobby shopkeepers don’t let hookers with a heart of gold try on nice dresses? That’s wrong. But an intellectual or decorum velvet rope erected every now and again never hurt anyone. Take Gawker, for instance. I will tell my grandchildren one day that, long ago, I had to actually try out to be a commenter on Jezebel. Because Gawker Media believed that velvet ropes were not a bad thing and were not ashamed to admit it or enforce it. So I gathered all my wittiness together and submitted my hobo bundle of observations and lo and behold, I was granted commenter status. I felt kind of honored. But then the plebs stormed the gates, mostly via Facebook. And now, despite valiant attempts at things like disemvoweling, the unwashed and uninteresting masses have taken over.

But no corner of the internet is more terrifying to me than the comments on the Dallas Morning News site. And it’s never just on one or two hot topic news stories. The (former) Officer Robert Powell story clearly hit a raw nerve across the country. But over at the Dallas Morning News, the lynch mob is always ready to go whether it be over school finance, Jenny the elephant or illegal aliens so you can imagine the Mardi Gras of mental unbalance that went on over there. Bear in mind, I think Powell is a dick of the highest order. But that doesn’t make the creeps who populate the Dallas Morning News comments section any less psychotic in their discussions of the whole Powell situation. Or make them better spellers. Let’s put the Powell incident aside since it’s an easy target as it involves race and cops and football which are very easy topics to get people riled up about. What else is going on over in the DMN comments section today? I’m just going to give you a few headlines and some comments that followed those headlines. Seriously, these are fairly innocuous headlines that wouldn’t seem to be things that would provoke hatred and name calling but you just wait and see how we can DMN-ify them.

Wylie High student accused of bringing gun on school bus

The parents need to do a better job with their kids. God only knows what the true intent was

Too bad the kid wasn't a starter on the basketball team, the school would have washed it under the table like A***** did back in '02. The felon came back to school after a short stay in D***** then was back on the squad that went to state. The coach was awarded Coach of the Year then fired. At least one of the bums got what they deserved.

it was probally your kid that brought the gun.

Juárez crime plummets after troops pour in

Well, Bush and Obama gave Mexico billions in bribe money, equipment, and expertise. It was MY money, given without permission. And, of course, it all filters down to the cartels and the corrupt officials, police, and army. When Mexico runs out of the current bribe money, what wil the soldiers do? Guess.

Nuke the f---ers.

Dallas-Fort Worth apartment occupancy drops in the first quarter

Decline in demand? Don't worry, they'll make up for it by raising rental prices. Wouldn't expect apartment owners to take a hit now, would ya?

Now, just give us a hint on how many apartment units you own?

Not one?

Do you own the roof over your head or are you Pist Poor?

Start working, investing and getting rich instead of this jealousy....

You hear that, folks? Become a better person by getting rich and belittling total strangers in the comments section of the Dallas Morning News website over a story about APARTMENT OCCUPANCY RATES DROPPING FOR THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2009. Don’t stop to think that the person who may (gasp) rent the roof over their head might be an EMT who is first to respond to the scene of an accident you have been involved in or a teacher responsible for educating your kids or the 20 year old kid who corrals carts in the grocery store parking lot who finds your dropped wallet and catches up to you to return it. Nope, they’re probably just a total dick. Call them “queer as William Tecumseh Sherman” while you’re at it. Serves them right for being on the internet.


Anonymous said...

YEA well if barack 'hussein' obamas economic plan goes through you won't have to worry about it becus u will have to sell your computer just to be able to eat!1

Craig said...

I think this is a ubiquitous problem for any highly populated internet comments section (if you really want to die a slow death, read the comments to any popular Youtube video -- holy God).

This is all explained most succintly and completely, I believe, by this Penny Arcade strip:

Tom said...

It's not just isolated to the DMN, either: