Posting For Posterity

A mini rant on politics and assholes that I just put up on Twitter:

64 Comments on “Posting For Posterity”

  1. The only downside to your Twitter rants – well, all Twitter rants, I suppose – is that it’s difficult to RT them as a way to show agreement.

    So thank you for collecting them here for easy sharing!

  2. Mr Scalzi, a challenge: write a rant about a liberal asshole.

    (Note, in American terms, I’m probably too far left to be called ‘liberal’; I just think the above is the obvious upshot from your above tweets.)

  3. We all know someone who is of the same political alignment who we wish would go over to the other side.

  4. Mr. Teuful:

    It’s not a challenge, since I’ve done it before here, a number of times. I encourage you to wander through the archives.

    It’s true I tend to focus on conservative(ish) assholes more, however. We all have our biases. The good news is, other people pick up my slack, elsewhere on the Internet.

  5. Thanks for expressing something I’ve been thinking but been unable to put into coherent words. I kept devolving into frothy rage-spittle.

  6. Also: in your post re social media you mentioned that lately you haven’t posted many political thoughts because your general mood is fuck all these assholes. Once again, that expresses my feelings on the subject more succinctly than I was able to.

  7. John,
    I think that seemingly one of the biggest issues in politics and the “American” way of life right now is a fundamental lack of respect for each other as individuals. Courtesy, which is not so common, allows for dialogue amongst those with similar and differing perspectives and usually results in positive results toward the greater good when issues arise. This applies in the business world, in the street, at a store and in the political arena. Sadly, grandstanding, polarizing politics, and conduct becoming of an asshole seems to have taken over as the standard. Granted, these negative attributes have always been present, but it just feels like we are demonstrating more of them overtly than even a few decades ago. It could be the access, the “anonymity” afforded by social media, or ….not sure…(place essay on contributing factors here)…
    Regardless, though we probably differ with respect to different policies, I’d like to think that if we even discussed current events, it would be well reasoned and interesting.

    Ok, enough of a soap box rant. I don’t have enough energy for fully formed defense of arguments and man it’s hard to type so much on a cell!

    Unrelated: can’t wait for the new novel and in response to your social media plug earlier today, I find myself as an only “Whatever” follower bec it arrives in my smartphone inbox. I am a complete idiot in understanding, utilizing, “getting” twitter (and I am not old!) so my lack of comfort there keeps me happily here.

  8. @rabbiadar – agreed 100%.

    Political leanings is no guarantee of character. And I like to be judged on the content of my character.

  9. @Beej: I do agree with that sentiment. It’s pretty disconcerting, annoying, and downright frustrating. And I am here representing as a relatively central or right of center individual. This issues affects the whole spectrum.

  10. I feel that the character of Church in Red vs. Blue put it best when he opined thusly:

    You don’t hate a person because someone told you to. You have to learn to despise them on a personal level. Not because they’re Red, or Blue, but because you know them, and you see them every single day, and you can’t stand them because they are a complete and total fucking douchebag.

  11. This post is an example of why I follow you on the blog and not on Twitter. Having your rant come across line by line with a delay in-between each entry would really tick me off. I much prefer to read the end result as one ‘post.’ (Yes, I also hate the tendency of PowerPoint presenters to feed me the information line by line)

  12. I used to think like that, but then the political spectrum moved so far that all that’s left with people who are willing to label themselves “conservative” are kinda assholes. Now, if we’re talking definition of conservative say, 20 years ago, sure. But today… anybody who wants to rule over my uterus is an asshole by definition. Anybody who thinks that racism is black people’s problem is an asshole by definition. Anybody who thinks that children don’t deserve at a bare minimum to be fed… asshole by definition. Or that homosexuals are sinners who shouldn’t be allowed the rights everyone else enjoys. Anybody who thinks it’s a good idea for black people to be shot on sight… or that the answer to school violence is to arm teachers… etc. Those are people who are hurting other people. Hence, assholes.

  13. There’s something really important to be said for bullshit-tolerance: That’s basically what civility and peaceful society is.

    We all deal with people on a daily basis that deserve to have the stupid slapped out of them, or have the douche punched out of them. But we refrain from slapping or punching (however richly, rightly they deserve it) because while it might feel satisfying, if allowed it would also quickly let society spiral into chaos.

    Same reason we have attorneys, adversarial-system courts of law, and so on. Instead of weregild, blood fueds, trial by combat, or public dueling when someone pisses us off or takes away our rights, and rightly deserves some smacking.

    No, I’m not saying that you should like it, or that you should nod and smile and pretend that everything’s fine. However, for the sake of public order and civility… we really are all better off if everyone’s bullshit tolerance is very high and people’s fuses are very long and slow to burn, even when dealing with horrible assholes.

    People have forgotten that and that’s part of why politics is so ultra-polarizing today and why it’s so difficult to have a polite conversation with somebody from the other side of the aisle.

  14. It’s worth remembering, I think, that as well as liberal assholes and conservative assholes you can also get a plague on both your houses assholes, a plaque on both your houses assholes (same as previous, only with spelling issues), too much partisanship assholes, if there are two opinions both are equally vaild assholes, I’m going to rise above your petty political bickering assholes… it’s assholes all the way down.

  15. I have to agree with Pam Adams that this rant reads much better as a continuous narrative rather than the broken narrative of Twitter’s 140-character limit. When I come across a series of Twitter posts like this, I always expect the last one to read “BURMA SHAVE”.

  16. @nicoleandmaggie: going to site the first president bush in my response… He was leaving a building and heading to his car. The angriest, ugliest women he ever saw held up a sign and yelled at him..”stay out of my uterus”. Bush’s response “yeah ok lady no problem”

    I think scalzi and correia made up last night in world of warcraft

  17. Whenever you do one of these rants I picture you afterwards, bent over, hands on knees, completely out of breath.

  18. As Nicoleandmaggie opined above, what passes for “conservative” these days (really some varied combination of neo-cons, racists, Christianists, Tea Partiers, and apologists for Oligarchs) are worthy of immediate dislike based upon general principles. But classic Conservatives (i.e. the real thing) ? Yeah, absolutely what Scalzi said…

  19. While I agree with everyone that courtesy is the mark of a decent human, I have to admit that I find it terrifically hard not to devolve into a sort of sarcastic hurtful courtesy (bless their hearts) when someone says to my face that I am non-human, or that people I love are non-human and thereby denies themselves the same right to respect in my view of the universe.

    At that point they sort of devolve from “honoured enemy” to “animate obstacle”, and treating them as anything else becomes an exercise in my restraint as a well-raised human towards lesser creatures, not their right as a person. i.e. When you display less self-awareness and compassion than my cat, treating you with respect becomes difficult. Cats are mean little things, humans should be better.

  20. John,
    In all due respect you are sounding defensive when you need not be. You have been correct in calling out right wing assholes for what they are. Let’s face it, these people do not even have a grasp of reality. They follow a book of fairy tales written by their imaginary friend in the sky, they hate gays, women, and minorities. They actually question scientific facts such as evolution and global warming.
    Let’s face it, anyone who could read a post by the RHSD, and not be repulsed is an asshole, plain and simple.
    John, you are SJW numero uno, and I’ll always be proud of you for that.

  21. How is suggesting that teachers be armed an example of ‘hurting other people’? It’s not yet been done so you have no real world data to prove that it does so, and the people proposing it our in good faith trying to answer the question, “How do we keep children from being massacred in schools by people using guns? I know, let’s make sure the good guys have guns too. Then the bad guy won’t go there.”

    This is *exactly* what the problem is – you’re attributing motivations that don’t exist in order to take a philosophy you don’t agree with, and inherently make anyone holding it “an asshole”.

  22. Guess, there’s a great line that I first read in “Days of Atonement” by Walter Jon Williams: “Assholes always advertise.” Bush just couldn’t help advertising there, could he? Bush isn’t an asshole because he’s a conservative. He’s an asshole because of his poor character.

  23. Blackadder:

    Eh, I have a different definition of “defensive” than you do, I think. I don’t think it’s defensive to clarify; I think it’s clarifying.

    Also, this Twitter rant was not in fact inspired by VD; he’s been muted on my twitter feed for a very long time. I’m sure he continues to say stupid things about me there, but I don’t see them so I don’t care.

  24. Reminds me of your Lord Of The Rings film series of tweets, and the plane gremlins ones. Good stuff :).

  25. What is your opinion of liberal/progressive assholes? Do you also call them out and mute them?

  26. I have on occasion, yes. However, I don’t go looking for assholes to mute, and anecdotally at least it seems like the liberal/progressive assholes don’t want to pick fights with me on Twitter as often as the conservative ones. So I end up muting them rather less.

  27. May I offer an example to what Josh is perhaps talking about?

    If I had made the same comment as dhuff, only instead I said that “liberals (today some weird combination atheists, perpetual victims, pro-abortionists, feminists, statists, and Islamicists) are inherently worthy of dislike on general principle.” Could one reasonably expect that to be muted?

    And if so, what is the difference in tone and group stereotyping other than the political slant?

  28. Why don’t you hate conservatives for their politics? They want to make gay people second class citizens among many other oppressive policies. You talk about white male privilege quite often and I think this is an example of you being affected by it.

    As a straight white male It is easy for you to like/love/admire conservatives because they aren’t actively plotting to take away your rights. The sweet, old, conservative lady on the library committee you are friendly with is the same one who won’t rent an apartment to my boyfriend and me because we are a couple. If you ask me, that kind of discrimination is asshole behavior of the first order. The fact that the “nice lady” makes lemon squares for the library committee meetings shouldn’t mitigate or excuse her asshole behavior.

  29. Alexander

    I’m having considerable difficulties in grasping why you believe that muting someone on Twitter: ie. choosing not to read something they have written, constitutes anything other than the perfectly reasonable exercise of personal choice.

    There seems to be some sort of garbled idea of free speech underlying your comments; you are free to comment on Twitter but you have no right to expect that the rest of world must be forced to read your tweets…

  30. Stevie,

    Never said that, never implied it. If Mr. Scalzi wishes to mute anyone on his own channel for any reason, that is his business and I support his right to do so.

    Please don’t try and twist the topic. The issue is not whether Mr. Scalzi *should* be allowed to do it, it’s whether or not he *would* choose to do so. He is stating that he mutes based on ‘assholeness’ not on politics. I am simply asking if a comment similar to one posted above, only with a conservative bias, would in fact be tolerated.

  31. That being said, I’m not talking about Twitter per se. Mr. Scalzi is talking about the criteria where he “punts” people. I am curious what sort of comments are tolerated at Whatever, and whether there is in fact a political bias.

    Note that I don’t argue at all for him to have said bias, or use it as a basis of what is or isn’t allowed. You see things that aren’t, I’m afraid.

  32. The sweet, old, conservative lady on the library committee you are friendly with is the same one who won’t rent an apartment to my boyfriend and me because we are a couple. If you ask me, that kind of discrimination is asshole behavior of the first order.

    What if you owned an apartment and a member of the Westboro Baptist Church wanted to rent it from you? Should you be forced to rent it to them?

  33. What if you owned an apartment and a member of the Westboro Baptist Church wanted to rent it from you? Should you be forced to rent it to them?


  34. Alexander

    I am pleased to see you are backing away, but I think you need a higher reverse gear: asking ‘could one reasonably expect that to be muted’ can only make sense if you believe in the need for justification for an individual muting a particular tweeter.

    You have no locus standi in the decisions an individual makes on what to read, or not to read, be it tweets or blogs; you are attempting to shoehorn the right to free speech into a right to have everyone required to listen to, or read, what people have said or written.

    There is a simple solution to your curiosity; the archives of Whatever are vast, and all you have to do is read them. The fact that you don’t choose to adopt that simple solution, and instead expect others to do the work for you, suggests that your sense of entitlement is in need of pruning.

    As Hubert Humphrey noted: ‘The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously’; if you want to be taken seriously then doing the work yourself will definitely improve your chances…

  35. bn:

    “They want to make gay people second class citizens among many other oppressive policies.”

    Depends on the conservative. And I would note on the anecdotal level, I know a fair number of self-identified conservatives who have no problems with same-sex marriage at all and will argue that their lack of problem stems from their conservative view point, not despite it.

    This does not negate the point that conservatives are the core of the anti-equality argument, of course. And I certainly agree that I can afford to give conservative viewpoints more social leeway because of who I am. But I suspect that because I live in a very conservative area (it went 72% for Romney) I may see more variation in the conservative viewpoint than many people who identify as liberal.

    Josh, et al:

    Let’s not wander too far off topic here, please.

  36. The smartest thing john does with trolls is not advertise them. Many of them do this in hopes of gaining publicity. Something you may want to suggest to larry corteia. That guy really gets trolled. He isnt a bad guy unless you are prone to hate someone due to politics. Note that scalzi and larry have alot of mutual friends.

    Larry really needs to realize most of these people are encourage to screw with him because he gives them publicity.

  37. You project too much. I askthe question again: do two comments, equally assholish in tone and distinguished only by political slant get equal treatment? Despite stevie trying to change what I say, I am asking whether or not the stated priorities are true.

    Bn, do you believe then that blacks in brooklyn, for example, have no grounds to complain about gentrization, because there is no right to protect ones existing social order?

  38. The “you” there was stevie, not Mr. Scalzi – i did not see his response yntil after i posted. Very well, ill withdraw the point, though i am curious about bn’s thoughts on the freedom of association. Its interesting how stevie suggest one cannot force ones presence on another, while bn demands the right to do so.

  39. Here is an example of the kind of stuff Larry has to put up… readers will note that John defended Larry’s nomination slate and in a backhanded way said he liked Larry’s books.

    For those of you who don’t know, Slashdot is a very high traffic techy news site. I check it almost daily. Its not political at all. If you get a link to your site on there the increase in traffic to your site is so high its called getting ‘slashdotted’.

    Read the last paragraph about the ‘criticism’. Things to note
    1. click the account. David Knott is already gone. Amazing how you can submit something and then ‘vanish’ that quickly. David Knott is a rather generic name. Googling it. So its obviously a made up handle.

    2. link doesn’t work.. so its some minor site. Link may not be working due to the massive increase in traffic from slashdot (so it could be working by the time you see this). I would be willing to bet the guy who made the post, runs that site.

    The person on slashdot who posted this probably won’t know about the petty fites in SFWA so whoever posted the whole thread didn’t do it with intent.

    Larry gets alot more ignorant stuff that John does. There are alot of anonymous posts.There was a washington post blog who sited a blog written by some TOR blogger as ‘source material’. What was most amazing is this blog had 1 post ever. Yeah quality source material. I don’t have the link handy, but its an easy google search to find the blog.

  40. Guess:

    Mr. Correia isn’t likely to take advice from me at the moment, but I would agree with you that in general, it’s better to starve trolls of oxygen.

    My personal take on Mr. Correia, which is informed only by online interaction with him, is that he’s very certain of his opinions, and he’s at a place in his life where he enjoys the attention he’s getting online. Neither of these are thngs that couldn’t have been said about me at one point or another. Wish he’d keep better company recently, but that’s his problem, not mine. I suspect over time he’ll tweak his online persona. Speaking from no little experience, punching at everything eventually becomes tiring, even when you’re sure you’re coming out on top of every encounter.

  41. Good to see that Asshole Punting is now an officially recognized sport. I assume team jerseys and a league are on the way, yes?

  42. The money shot of that thread is “And if you’re an asshole who hides behind conservatism to cover your basic lack of humanity, I will like you even less.” That’s what I think drives everyone nuts, especially the conservatives who have really sensible, logical ideas. They’re stuck being attached to this group of horrible human beings who you wouldn’t associate it if your life depended on it. But because they have just enough things in common with you, you’re lumped together into this ugly mass.

    One of my longest-connected friends basically flipped a decade ago and went from being pretty liberal to you’ve-gotta-be-kidding-me conservative. She’s still a friend of mine, and we occasionally spar on political topics, but not that much, because, well, she’s a friend of mine. She’s still a super nice person and I love her to pieces, even though I lovingly think she’s lost her marbles on some topics because, well, see the first part of this sentence.

  43. John, I’m glad that you follow John Quincy Adams’s advice, and “go not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy”. There are plentynuff who come to visit.

  44. I’ve never understood people who are surprised that I’m friends with conservatives since I’m pretty liberal. I live in Chicago now so most of the people I meet are liberal but I grew up in a pretty conservative town and went to school in a conservative area (and wasn’t that a great dichotomy between all the liberal college kids and conservative townies) so there are plenty of conservatives in my life that I would never cut out just because we differ politically. I definitely agree, assholes will always be assholes no matter their political affiliation and there’s so much more to people than their political beliefs too.

    My uncle is one of my favourite people in the world and at this point our dynamic is more friends than uncle/niece and yet he’s a conservative evangelical christian and more than a bit homophobic and I am a liberal agnostic bisexual. We never ever talk politics (although I do enjoy verbally sparring with my aunt who’s more of a moderate conservative. We have some fun discussions and know when to stop before it gets too heated) and yet never run out of things to talk about.

  45. It’s a difference that needs articulating more frequently, for sure, so thanks much for doing it.

    As a religious progressive, I do end up having to handle the assholes of both stripes, and I do end up having to navigate utter contempt for a given viewpoint with respect and affection for a given person holding it.

    What I have noticed most of the assholes have in common is that they tie a lot of their own worth to Being More Right, which means someone has to be more wrong for their personal compass to function. It’s much easier to live that way when that person is an eternal strawman, not an actual human being. That’s something that really has nothing to do with a specific belief and everything to do with a given person’s failings.

    You do run out of sympathy when you’re dealing with someone whose sense of Being More Right is a part of something larger that makes your life hard every day. That’s the part that I think privileged folk have the hardest time grasping, especially the privileged Be Above It All assholes.

  46. Alexander:

    I ask the question again: do two comments, equally assholish in tone and distinguished only by political slant get equal treatment?

    So Scalzi puts up a post/Twitter rant that states that his reactions are connected to asshole views and behavior, not necessarily a knee jerk reaction to a conservative stance and that he is also intolerant to asshole views and behavior from those professing liberal views, (and it’s worth noting here that Scalzi isn’t really a liberal per se, he just has some liberal views.)

    And you have, several times now, stated that you think he’s lying and asking him to confirm (prove to your satisfaction,) that he does indeed not go by the politics. And yet, despite that rather asshole stance, all of your posts are still there, untouched, not even a hint of the Mallet. Why? Because you’re on topic even if you’re obnoxious. So you essentially answered your own question.

    While I am totally against 99% of forms of conservatism myself, asshole repressive views are not the actual core of conservatism. It is entirely possible to be a conservative who supports gay rights, is not an Islamaphobe, etc., and have a variety of views (some of which may contradict each other,) because these political philosophies are very broad. And in hanging out here, I have had conversations with numerous conservatives of many different stripes from anarchist libertarians to moderate Republicans who think they are fiscal conservatives. And they make, at times, obnoxious comments — sexist, racist, digging up pseudo science, sneering that Scalzi is a hypocrite, liar, wimp, free speech oppressor, etc. Take Guess for example (please, take him,) and yet I can have a conversation with Guess if I like (and I have in the past even though he doesn’t feel I’m a human,) as long as both Guess and I play by the fairly wide latitude of rules.

    You have to stay on topic. You can go off a little, but no big derails and there’s less tolerance for the libertarian dismount than there used to be, because it’s boring mainly. The more personal you get, especially if it’s nothing to do with the topic, the more likely you’ll get warned, then posts deleted, possibly kicked off the thread. Outright trolls who just come in spewing insults with no substantive content get posts deleted (or once in a blue moon kittened, which we all adore.) I’ve been warned, most of us have.

    And if you spew really racist shit, or get aggressive and threatening, it really doesn’t matter what your politics are. You have to string sentences together and form arguments and not simply just pejoratives. Practicing on Whatever is kind of like joining a debate team — with fewer rules. There are people whom I don’t talk to or acknowledge here because I consider them assholes, but Scalzi will let them stay if he feels that they behave and say something with actual content once in awhile. Some of those at least claim to liberal views.

    If you really want to go after him, he’ll often let you, but you have to impress him with your approach. (His Twitter requirements appear to be even more stringent.) Your Hate Mail will actually be graded. That’s not just the title of his Whatever collection. And critiques on how he runs his blog will be ignored. Your approach was wimpy and very dated. Scorpius does better than that on his worse day.

    So again, Alexander, the original post answers your question. As Stevie said, a quick stroll around the archives of political topics on Whatever would also answer your question. The question has been answered. Believe the answer or don’t.

  47. I too have friends and family who are “sweet” conservatives, people who don’t discriminate against same-sex couples, or women, or people of color, but who honestly believe that “less government” makes things better for everyone. Or maybe they just hate paying taxes. But it’s really hard for me not to be mad at them sometimes, because they are still voting for candidates who DO want to discriminate against all of the above and who are actively supporting legislation that does just that.

    It’s hard. I try to find that line between avoiding all political discussion completely with these folks and actively debating/arguing politics all the time. I try to shoot for not hectoring, but if something comes up, I state my position as clearly and politely as I can. “No I’d never vote for him, because he doesn’t think I’m intelligent or ethical enough to make my own reproductive healthcare decisions, and having someone like that in charge scares me a lot more than higher taxes” or “I won’t support her, because she thinks my friends shouldn’t be allowed to get married.”

    The true DBs are another ball of wax, though.

  48. I think that’s the crux of it: it doesn’t matter where you land on the political line, it matters how you actually behave!

    According to the political tests, I am about as moderate as you can get (or as I like to think of it: don’t worry, if you like my political views right now, give it 5 minutes and you won’t.) I am a registered Republican because I like voting in primary elections and when I signed up to vote I was more conservative than I am now.

    That said, I read both Whatever and Monster Hunter Nation (Larry Correia’s blog) almost daily. Why? I like the way both gentlemen write, I like both gentlemen’s content most of the time (I obviously don’t fully agree with either of you) and I feel like as a reader I’m treated with respect. Heck, I’ve bought books from both of them in the last month (actually, I’ve bought 3 of each of their books this month…)

    I don’t read the other guy’s site (I forget his name on here, but his initials resemble venereal disease.) I tried a couple times, but every time I do, I walk away feeling like if I don’t automatically agree with him, I’m not worthy to read his stuff. His writing is stuffy and makes me feel slightly dirty and a whole lot like I’m “lesser” when I’m done. I stopped reading JA Konrath’s blog for the same reason (I’m not sure where Konrath falls on the left/right scale, I just know that anyone who thinks that traditional publishing might be an idea worth looking into falls into the category of idiot not worthy of his time…)

    All of that comes down to saying: thank you for being kind and respectful to those of us who are actually nice people who don’t always agree with you politically. We appreciate it and it what keeps us reading even when we don’t agree!

  49. I think you nailed it, ERose.

    Those are the assholes that like to call out anyone with a different opinion as stupid, ignorant, gullible, etc.
    I always figured if you have to devolve to name calling, your argument can’t be very persuasive.

  50. Sometimes being from another country makes it very hard to take American conservatives seriously because a lot of the positions they ardently stand against are positions that most of the members of the mid-centre conservative party here support (e.g. gay marriage, gun control etc).

    It doesn’t mean I view them as assholes exactly…just willfully blind to the day to day reality of a lot of other countries.

  51. Dear BN,

    Please read up on the legal concept of a “protected class.” Religion is a constitutionally protected class. You cannot discriminate in housing based upon religion. That’s the law. End of story.

    Yuppiedom/gentrydom is not defined by law as a protected class.

    You (and Alexander) seem to be trying very hard to pick a fight… or at least goad someone enough to pick one with you. You are not merely looking for clarification, you are belaboring your demands to the verge of trollishness.

    Just because you invent a question that you believe is meaningful and unaddressed does not mean you are entitled to an answer.

    pax / Ctein

  52. Auugh!

    Wrong addressee! That was supposed to read “Dear Alexander, re: BN…”

    Sorry, BN!

  53. … and, I meant to write “(you and JOSH)”

    sigh and double sigh– I wish there was a way to edit after posting…

    mea maxima culpa

  54. “If I had made the same comment as dhuff, only instead I said that “liberals (today some weird combination atheists, perpetual victims, pro-abortionists, feminists, statists, and Islamicists) are inherently worthy of dislike on general principle.” Could one reasonably expect that to be muted?” –Alexander

    I never understand why people insist on putting “Islamiscists” in the same category as “liberal”. What the fuck?

    Islamists are even more conservative than the most extreme conservative anywhere in US politics. They literally want to re-organize society along an 8th century feudal/theocratic medieval paradigm. You can be put to death for having doubts about your faith, under their system.

    Is it just because the word “liberal” has morphed into meaning “person I don’t like” now?

  55. Dear MrManny,

    It is because people of Alexander’s ilk (you may decide what ilk that is for yourself) are only trying to provoke a confrontation, shouting “me me me, look at me.”

    It’s not about rationality, it’s about attention-getting.

    pax / Ctein

  56. @ctein

    I am confused why you define Alexanders participating in the thread as trying to provoke a confrontation. He asked a question, Mr. Manny has an issue with the structure of the question, but not the question itself. You, on the other hand, seem to feel that even asking the question is confrontational and inappropriate. How does that enable conversation?

  57. Dear Dad,

    No, he did not merely “ask a question.” He repeatedly asked variants of the same question, some of them substantially nonsensical, despite the fact that the essence of his original question was already sufficiently well-addressed by John tweets (see #8, especially) and John’s responses to others.

    That does not enable conversation. It is trollishness.

    pax / Ctein