Opinion » Shredder

F U Founding Fathers

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Ah, the sweet scent of freedom on a hot summer afternoon. Smells a lot like armpit juice. Mixed with blathering windbags who, despite owning a computer, have not yet mastered the art of spell check. I know it’s difficult, when every word that has ever existed is just a Google search away, but try, for everyone’s sake, to spell check your work. At least then the only thing wrong about your opinion will stem from your own cognitive shortcomings.

Comments on message boards are the hard news equivalent of a greasy, fat guy in a football jersey screaming nonsensically at the television for five hours while downing a half-dozen pitchers of Budweiser. He’s not accomplishing anything productive, but boy does he love to spew obscenities at that TV. If you comment on one of the local message boards—and, without being coy, one in particular—then you’re the slob spraying half-masticated nacho cheese all over your living room floor. You can cite the Founding Fathers and your right to free speech all you want, but I would love to see wise old Ben Franklin forced to converse with one of these online trolls.

“Hey, Ben! Your mother’s a whore and you probably interviewed for your job as Founding Father on your back! Thanks for the free speech! I’m putting it to good use!

The war on women doesn’t just take place in the halls of parliament and sanctimonious church gatherings. It’s all over Internet message boards, and it’s more socially destructive than graffiti—and a lot less creative. Picture the worst piece of filth you’ve ever seen tagged onto a wall. Disgusting, isn’t it? OK, now pay a visit to a message board for a local news source and you’ll think you’d been reading Milton. Taggers, at least, take some personal risk to share their message. Online commenters sit safely at home and snipe away viciously and aimlessly at whatever happens to cross their path. There’s no personal risk. No accountability. (Hell, even I have an e-mail address.) And that shows in the insufferable and petty childishness of their dialogue.

In defense of the online sites that spawn and succor these trolls, they do protect their own asses by posting something like the following disclaimer: “We encourage civil, engaged on-topic conversation as if you were in a crowded cafe. Please no ad-hominen attacks, repeat comments, off-topic rants, personal attacks, flogging dead livestock, hateful language, noise or spam.”

So how does this mandate against “ad-hominen [sic]”—looks like whoever’s staffing the website could use a spell check themselves—and personal attacks and hateful language actually work?

Maybe we should ask someone who goes by Crusader—I suppose boldly clicking onto local websites and saying mean things anonymously certainly qualifies you for that name—who recently posted the following about former Paso Robles Police Chief Lisa Solomon, who’s, yes, currently facing allegations of sexual misconduct: “It would be fascinating to know just how many times and with how many different partners Soloman engaged sexually (manual, oral or intercourse) in order to move up the food chain, get the chief’s job and hold it for as long as she did? I believe that sexism — ‘first female police chief in the county!’ played a big part in her becoming chief and remaining chief. I do however believe that sex played an even larger part … .”

Now, if I was paying attention to the mandate against personal attacks and hateful language—not to mention possessed of the most basic sense of distaste for misogyny—I’d probably think Crusader had violated some kind of rule. But that’s par for the course in the land of Internet trolls exercising their freedom of speech by making the entirety of the species look stupid.

Of course, Crusader’s not alone. Trolls tend to congregate in packs.

Pasoparent5: “Paso’s decision makers KNEW of her personal and political baggage yet were so eager to have ‘Paso’s first female top cop’ that they just stood by and let App crown his Lovely Lisa the Meter Maid as police chief.”

Hey Pasoparent5, I hope your kid doesn’t happen to be a girl. And if you do have a daughter, do you plan to refer to her as some man’s lovely meter maid every time she gets uppity? Don’t worry, though, you’re providing her a fine and upstanding example … of the type of people she should avoid when she’s old enough to leave your house.

But MaryMalone takes the sanctimonious holier-than-thou, let’s-put-women-in-their-place cake for not one, but several absurd rants. Observe if you will, the consequence of giving stupid free reign to say whatever he or she wants:

First, in response to a fellow troll who innocently asked how former chief Solomon was able to maintain her post for as long as she did, Malone quipped: “Two words: knee pads.”

She followed another comment with the following rant: “Truer words were never spoken. People who think that men are the most ruthless, power-hungry fighters have never worked in an office where a very large majority of the workers are female.”

I’d have to say, Mary, that there’s a pretty good chance your female co-workers didn’t like you because you come across as a misogynist who puts down her own gender to make herself look good—and fails at the last part, because nothing makes a misogynist look good, except maybe a bag over his or her head.

She even suggests that Solomon could be “Paso Robles’ answer to Typhoid Mar,”—and I’m pretty sure that comma should be a “y.”

You’re one classy lady, Mary Malone, and a credit to your gender, if your name is a true indication of that. With your biting “wit,” you should make a profession out of calling women whores. That way you’re not just some self-hating prig doing it online and making anyone with a brain feel rather sorry for you.

And that, kiddies, is what we’re doing with our hard-won freedom. I’m so proud I could pee.

Shredder’s freedom has a first name and it’s O-S-C-A-R. Spell the second name at shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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