Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Threat to Freedom: the anonymous commenter?

It's not that he doesn't have a point. Anyone who bothers to read them -- and I'm one -- knows very well that anonymous blog commenters can and too often do drag an entire online discussion into the same slime pit they dwell in. And in doing so, of course, they can't help but bring out into the open the ugliness that does indeed lie beneath the more fevered reaches of ideological politics.

No, it's just that Rosenbaum, despite not being anonymous, is a little over the top, not to say fevered, himself -- e.g.: "There's a world of Travis Bickles out there, and they're not driving cabs. They're reading blogs." Or, with an almost comical lack of self-awareness:
As the Web has grown into a key power centre during the past decade, all the more reason for concern about the vicious digital mobs who police and purge their own ranks of "unacceptable" views -- and threaten to impose an unhealthy uniformity on left and right alike.
Or,  the somehow predictable moment when he loses track of his "anonymous web commenter" theme altogether and veers off into a rant against the Tea Party at town halls:
The resulting mob mentality was evident to me during the summer of 2009 as I watched footage of the howling, thuggish crowds at the health-care "town halls," some of whose members came carrying guns. This was the ugliness of commenter culture spilling off the screens and out into the streets -- the dehumanizing hatred for those they disagreed with politically, bred in the mushroom cellars of the blog comment sections.
You wonder if he ever heard that line about pot and kettle.

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