Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Friday, February 5, 2010

Advice Column

Dear Susan,

I have a problem. My commenters are mean to each other and it's making me look bad. They insult and pick fights with their ideological enemies, ignore evidence and counter-arguments, and insist on inflicting their morality (or lack of morality) on others. It's embarrassing me in front of my family. I tell them to ignore all criticism like I do, but the situation is just getting worse. What do I do?

Helpless Victim

Dear Victim,

You set the tone for your own blog. If you don't like your commenters' behavior, stop insulting and picking fights with your ideological enemies, ignoring evidence and counter-arguments, and inflicting your lack of morality on others.

Or you can continue to ignore all criticism and endure the social disapproval, which is the inevitable consequence of your own actions.


ADDED: Ha! McArdle adds her rules of blogging behavior. My favorite:

If you're wrong, admit it at once. No one will fault you for being mistaken. Everyone will hate you for refusing to admit it. Andrew Sullivan et al. didn't go after Tapped because they got the numbers wrong, but because they refused to admit the possibility that the numbers were wrong, and wrote snotty posts about anyone who suggested they should check again.

No, wait! This is my favorite!:

If you have to fudge numbers and blur distinctions in order to make a case for your ideas, why do you believe them? If you don't understand the science or math behind an issue, why are you arguing with people who understand it better? Do you hope to convince them with the vast inertial weight of your ignorance? Or are you hoping to get them so frustrated by the difficulty of explaining climatology to someone who dropped out of freshman physics that they spontaneously combust? [unfortunately, this does not work -- ed.] Or do you just enjoy looking like a total idiot in public?


Clever Pseudonym said...

"I ban people only when they have a history of repeatedly derailing threads, defaming my family, or similarly doing things that would get them kicked out of any decent private home."

Didn't she ban you, Susan? For doing none of those things and merely persistently pointing out how wrong she was in a very civil manner?

That whole post is over-the-top with smug, elitist, "must I once again lecture you filthy hoi polloi on how you must behave in my presence?" overtones, even for Megan, and that's pretty much her whole schtick.

I can't believe she pleaded for people to be civil on the grounds that her parents read her blog. Big deal. They're grown ups. If they can't handle the fact that people are going to criticize their precious daughter who writes for a public audience, they should not venture into the comments.

She who called Matt Taibbi "the Sarah Palin of journalism."

She who has spent weeks saying people who walk away from their mortgages are immoral.

She who believes mental illness is largely an affliction of the poor.

She who continually writes on subjects she doesn't have the slightest clue about.

She who routinely pulls numbers out of her bum and claims she was only being hypothetical, so it's okay.

She who claims everyone who says she was wrong misunderstood her point or didn't read her argument carefully enough and won't entertain the possiblity she got something wrong for a second.

I could go on and on. Megan must have written that post while gazing into a mirror. It's astounding.

jp said...

**Megan must have written that post while gazing into a mirror.**

So THAT explains why she asks:"Or do you just enjoy looking like a total idiot in public?" It's a rhetorical question!

Susan of Texas said...

She's very hard on herself, when she's other people.

CP, I'm not sure.

She might be telling the truth, might be lying--with her it's hard to tell.

Substance McGravitas said...

If you're wrong, admit it at once.

I am wrong to take such pleasure in this.