Monday, November 03, 2008

Analog Tough Guy

NonMonkey once again shows us how ahead of the curve he is, with his discovery that internet commenters tend to be dillholes:

Readers of this newspaper have called me a Socialist, a Fascist, a leftist, an idiot, a whiner, a hack, a loon, a liar, an ignoramus, a pathetic aging hipster and -- this is the lowest blow -- "Norm."

And that was all just last Thursday. Before noon.

And it was probably all from Anti-Strib contributors too.

I stopped reading the comments appended to the online version of my column that day (about tax rates that favor the wealthy over the middle class) because there is only so much time you can devote to insults before you start looking for a hefty 2-by-4.

Nick, as always, takes the high road.

Welcome to the Clockwork Orange world of online reader comments, where today's Internet customers are invited to join the scrum and put a boot in.

We loves a bit of aggro.

While slooshaying a little Ludwig Van and waving me rookers about all horrorshow. (Hey - I can make non-obscure literary references too!)

This newspaper, 141 years old and formerly home to society pages, service club announcements and letters from readers concerned about the well-being of kittens, now resembles the street fighting during the 1934 Minneapolis Teamsters strike.

It's all right by me.

I grew up in a part of St. Paul where priests and police patrolled the streets to keep the various tribes of teenagers from each other's throats, so I can enjoy a good rumble.

Oh gag me. For the approximately 3,000th time we are treated to NonMonkey's preening about what a Tough Guy he is. Memo to Nick: you grew up in St. Paul, not St. Louis. There are scarier neighborhoods in Des Moines than anyplace in St. Paul. NonMonkley likes to trot this conceit out every so often, talking about those hardscrabble days of his youth - in St. Paul - as if he roamed the streets of Hell's Kitchen or Bensonhurst or something. If you were to believe him, his childhood was a sepia-toned Scorsese film set in the Irish Ghetto at the turn of the last century were roving bands of thugs were constantly on the prowl, and he was always forced to defend himself with his handy hockey stick; these attacks seemingly always taking place somewhere near the blueline.

As a guy who went to high school blocks from Jeffery Dahmer's apartment (while Dahmer was still eating people - he was arrested a year or so after I graduated) I call bullshit. As a guy who didn't have such a hardscrabble childhood even though my dad was NOT the State Senate majority leader, I call double bullshit.

OK, now that I've buried Nick, I will praise him:

Still, some of the comments, if uttered in a bar, would lead to teeth on the floor. Even after a life misspent at newspapers, there are words that still get my Irish [Oh God, give it a rest! -ed.] up. The weird thing is here's what really gets me ticked: When they aren't spelled right.

Probably because most of those comments were left by contributors to the Anti-Strib.

Anyway, as he does from time to time, NonMonkey stumbles upon an observation that is not totally out of phase with reality. A lot of people tend to have the safety always off when they're behind the relative safety of their keyboards. I certainly have been guilty of it in the past. I recall one post I wrote a couple of years ago in which I called NonMonkey a "penis head" something like 25 times. It was cathartic at the time - and he probably deserved it - but I've kind of backed off from that kind of crap over the years, more out of human empathy than anything else. Plus it's not helpful, it's ceased being entertaining (for me or my reader), and it makes it a lot harder to come from a position of moral strength when some jackbooted dipshit craps on my doorstep.

But Nick is (gulp) right: there are a lot of dogs with blogs (and commenting accounts) roaming around out there who talk a lot of shit online, who I - or anyone else - would bitchslap in a second of they ever said some of the same stuff to my face. Thing is, they probably wouldn't. But unlike Nick, I don't fantasize about doing it. Or get paid tens of thousands of dollars per year to write columns about it.

Anyway, Nick isn't finished telling us how tough he is:

Rule One: Keep the insults to me, OK?

Innocent citizens who appear in my column sometimes get the same mob beating I absorb but that is hard to take for an average person whose only crime was to speak to me. A widow whose story I told was insulted harshly and told to "get over" her grief and move on.

Those are fighting words, in any county

Actually, he's (gulp) right about that too.

Rule Two: Pay attention.

Many assaults on me are sadly bigoted attempts to label me with identities that regular readers know are wrong, but which the haters think are insults:

I might be stupid, wear turtlenecks in February and believe that peaceful protesters have a right of Free Speech, but am I tiny and withered? No.

I'm 6 feet, 185 pounds, with piercing blue eyes

And he hits people with hockey sticks!

Am I Jewish? No.

What idiot called NonMonkey Jewish? Why?

I'm Irish [GAH! -ed.], with a wonderful Jewish guy named Abe in my family.

Oh, I see. He's making it up to extol his family's diversity.

Gay? No, but it's early.



Too old to eat bread with crust? No. I'm 58, with lots of kids to feed. Sorry.

I'm not retiring soon

Then neither am I!


Ding, ding, ding! You got one! How did you know?

But bald is cool

Please don't make a Brazillian wax joke...Please don't make a Brazillian wax joke...Pleasedon'tmakeaBrazillianwaxjoke...

Finally, Rule Three, the big one:


Be careful what you say online. You have to eat with that mouth.

Don't mess with Nick! He's Irish!

And thus the latest battle has concluded between Internet Tough Guy:

...and Newspaper Tough Guy:

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