Poisoning the Conversation at CBS8
By Bob Dorn
I see this image of the chickenhawk/wingnut/GOP-intern type of internet player in my head; he’s the sort that girls and women avoid by changing aisles in the supermarket if they see him before he sees them.
He (rarely a she, for reasons I’ll speak of later) hunches over the keyboard so the Cheetos shards don’t fall on the rug. He wears a Padres cap to keep his hair out of his eyes. His little belly is soft, but big enough to make his t-shirt catch some of the salt and crumbs from the chips. He’s smart enough to be snarky but in print he appears at times to be dumb. That’s because some of the chip debris now and then drops onto the keyboard and brings about the odd misspelling that sabotages the comment he’s working hard at producing.
Oh, I don’t know, maybe this is a struggle to understand the inexplicable. Truth requires this admission; I’ve never understood the ideology of the right.
Bigness in government is bad, but good for business. They love war but don’t serve in the military. They speak a lot about freedom but want us to act right and say our prayers.
Why are so few of these people women?
Most women just don’t spend a lot of time looking for ways to make people they’ve never met angry. Guys, well, they tend to think competition requires a winner and a loser. After all, would a woman have thought up the zero sum theory about resources, that idea that one can only feel satisfied they’re doing well if they can see someone else doing poorly?
What is called conservativism these days seems to be little more than sheer meanness and vengeance.
So, I want to search the rightwing and mainstream sites for some clues as to how these monsters of meanness (politicans and diplomats would call them “folks”) scheme their responses to stories, local and national. I suspect there’ll be enough outrageous behavior out there in bloglandia to keep the investigation going once-weekly for a while.
CBS8’s story last Friday, titled “San Diego Tourism Dispute Over as Filner Signs Contract.” Remember, this is the story about a tax requested by the Tourism Marketing District – made up principally of hotel owners — to be collected by the city and devoted to national advertising campaigns.
The question of government collecting a tax devoted to supporting private profits went to court and Filner said he wouldn’t sign the bi-partisan City Council plan. He wanted a waiver clause indemnifying the city against having to cover the costs out with city general fund money should judges rule the tax is illegal. He signed the tax after the hotel owners agreed to bear the burden of paying the costs of advertisements
So, let’s look at the chain of foolishness attached to the CBS8 story. Here’s the first two comments on April 26.
Thanks Filner. Just how much tourism business do we lose while you were playing King. Time for a recall of that idiot.
I know how Filner can best protect our General Fund. Resign.
I’d have normally passed up jumping into the chain, but, as I’ve said I’ve lately grown mystified at the extremity of the hatred out there, so I offered the following.
See, in a democracy, people elect their leaders. The mayor happens to be a Democrat who decided the TMD deal exposed the city to debts run up by a taxing scheme that could be ruled unlawful in several suits now filed against the city, and because of his refusal to sign the TMD deal the city (your tax dollars included) will no longer have to pay for the advertising and the fines if the lawsuits are decided against the TMD. I’m sure this will help y’all through the agonies of being part of a city with a properly elected Democratic and competent mayor.
“David” must have been hovering because he was back in almost immediately.
“Properly elected” you say dorndiego? How many illegals voted for that idiot Filner?
Then, almost immediately, he was followed by…
Filner is great at signing illegal stuff. Between this and the medical marijuana dispensaries I don’t think he’s done anything legal since he came into office.
And pb geek was followed quickly by…
Filner is a disgrace. We deserve better.
There were two very short favorable comments from “Homecooking” and “Mark,” who said, Good job Bob. Don’t let those downtown interests ruin this city for everyone, but then he seemed to cave in to the overwhelming machismo surrounding him and placed a second post saying, He does kind of look like a frog with that huge mouth of his.
By the end of the 2-day comment chain there were 16 posts, ten Blog Ugly, four of those being from “David,” who was most frequent contributor
Five were pro-Filner and didn’t use provocative language I didn’t count my own because it did use provocative language; I suspect it was that line, I’m sure this will help y’all through the agonies of being part of a city with a properly elected Democratic and competent mayor.
One of the noticeable approaches of this mean little cabal of memetoads is to work in their associated themes in abrupt right turns across all the lanes. Within the first three posts the repeaters had worked in the need to recall Filner, or his obligation to resign, and that he’d been elected by “illegals.”
Later on, the subject was no long Filner and illegality but life in general, and what the memetoads thought about their adversaries.
I’ll end now with just one more piece of weirdness. “SteppenOut” had noticed that someone who must have disagreed with him apparently had gone through the site reacting to the posts, hitting the negative thumbs down on the nasty boys and the positive thumbs up on my own and the few other positive posts.
CBS8’s site is engineered to allow people not only to register their approvals with a thumbs up, but to subtract the positives from the other side.
So, wrote SteppenWolf… er, SteppenOut I see the Filner apologists are here to do their “thumbs down” thing. And by “Filner apologists” I mean city employees.
By the end of the two days, the anti-Filner posters had responded to SteppenOut’s call for help. The “thumbs up” crowd for the memetoads recorded 21, 19 and many 17 thumbs up hits for the anti-Filner comments, while the best pro-Filner thumbs up score was just 2. The highest negative hit was -16, recorded for my own.
So it does appear that the right nutwings do go through a lot of Cheetos bags as they guard the internet against socialist communist perverts like you and me.
But there’s a larger understanding revealed by SteppenOut. When the wingers think up a way to tilt the game they’ll blame the other side for doing it before they get down to their sneaky shit. Either that, or they’ll blame the media they’re controlling for being liberal, when it certainly isn’t.
Anna Daniels says
Bob- the monsters of meanness exist as an irritant, and they are successful at that. The degree to which their incoherent, mean arguments have leached into the mainstream and actual policy discussions is much more significant and troubling. I hope you keep an eye on this one.
Frank Gormlie says
Thumbs up, Bob, … er, uh, I think. Nifty observations and I hope you keep this column going. The trolls were getting so bad at our sister publication, OB Rag, that we feared they were driving away decent folk, … er, uh, readers.
Doug Porter says
For a good time with Memetoads, be sure to stop by Roger Hedgecock’s latest drool entitled Is USD Still Catholic? at UT-SD. There’s major stone age sh*t going on there.
bob dorn says
Yeah, I saw that op-ed tantrem about USD. about The problem with Roger and other heavy duty professional moralists is they get more upset with cross dressers than they do about guys dressing up like cowboys and riding along the border fences at night with torches. Or governments dropping bombs from drones on schoolchildren.