15 May 2013

Reading Newspaper Comments on the Internet Can Turn You into an Elitist

You would think that one the internet would do would be separate the knuckle draggers from the somewhat more evolved. After all, one has to be literate and moderately coordinated to type words into a browser. However, a simple perusal of the comments section of the Washington Post articles will disabuse you of that notion rather quickly.

Racism, long vanquished in many quarters to private homes and (homogenous) neighborhood bars, is in full throat in the comments section. It's one thing to have to explain to your integrated co-workers and other parents at your kids' school events and extracurricular activities why you keep a dog-eared copy of The Turner Diaries in your car and a photo of Hitler in your wallet, let alone your swastika tattoo; it's quite another to copy and paste blog posts from Stormfront on some public news forum under an assumed name (hey, I'm not dogging assumed names...I'm just suggesting that it's a bit more comfy being a racist when no one can call you out in person).

Of course, it isn't only racism. If only it were that simple. Conspiracy kooks of the first order hang out on these sites. Look, anything can be true when the burden of proof is that someone saw a youtube video showing how to knock down a building using magnesium shavings filed from a bicycle frame.

You people are morons.

And I'm sick of it.

I'm sick of having to explain the difference between registration and confiscation, and how slippery slope arguments are logical fallacies.

I'm sick of having to demonstrate that you can't compare a Watergate scandal that took two years to develop to impeachment level, with clear paw prints leading straight to the Oval Office, to last week's news, especially when it doesn't lead anywhere yet, and maybe never will. In other words, talk of impeachment is rather premature. Yes, I'm looking at you, George Will.

And I'm damn sick of people posting links to nutcase sites and claiming they "prove" anything other than that the person who posted the link is information illiterate. I spend a good chunk of my time trying to teach students the difference between scholarly sources and junk sources. If you have a link to a site purporting to have the inside scoop on Benghazi, and the site you've linked also has a story about how the moon landing was a hoax and crap about Hitler actually being a leftist, then you've failed the information literacy test.

And while I'm at it, let me talk to my besties on facebook. You may think it's clever to share pictures that match images of Obama with Nixon and claim Nixon was impeached for using the IRS for political ends, but then again you probably think the Civil War was actually a battle over states rights.

And seriously, stop posting twenty picture-slogans in a row. It's damn tedious.

No comments: