Sunday, July 17, 2005

Fightin' Words

My younger brother Ray has a long history of being a scrapper. The guy is absolutely fearless when it comes to getting into a fight. Now that he's 26 or so, the impetus to break faces and smash noses has thankfully mellowed, but in his day, he was a holy terror.

This is one of my favorite stories, which happened back when Ray was probably about 19. He was at a party when a yong woman came up to him and started putting the moves on him.

"Look," Ray said. "I think you're really cute and everything, but I know that you're dating that guy Mike, and I'm not the kind of guy who goes for someone else's girlfriend."

"Oh no," the girl said. "You have it all wrong. Mike and I have been history for the past couple of weeks!" So Ray went home with the girl, took her back to his aprtment, and they went at it for the rest of the night.

The next day the phone rang. When Ray picked up, an aggrieved Mike began shouting at him. "You fucked my girlfriend. I'm going to beat the shit out of you, you asshole! I'm coming over to kill you!"

Ray tried to explain that he didn't know they were still dating, that he'd been misled, but it was no use. Mike clearly wanted to have it out. The problem was that Ray's landlord had a marijuana-growing operation in the basement, and had warned Ray and his housemates that anything that threatened his business was grounds to throw them out. "Mike, if you want a fight, I'll fight you," Ray said, "but not here."

"Oh no. I'm coming by NOW, and I am going to KICK. YOUR. ASS." Mike said, and slammed down the receiver. Within 10 minutes a car pulled up in the driveway, and Mike launched out of the driver's seat, lunging for Ray.

"Not here, man, not here," Ray tried to say as Mike came at him. The landlord came rushing from the basement and broke it up.

"Mike, if that's how it is, I'll meet you anywhere later on, and we can have it out!" Ray yelled as Mike got into the car. I can just picture his face, purple with rage. At the time, Ray had a severe mullet that owuld probably beat your ass itself. "Anywhere, any time, you name it you fucking pussy!"

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[This is not Ray. But it's a damn good stand-in for him, circa 1997.]

"I'll see you at the Pearl at 10:00 tonight," Mike yelled back. "And you better be there!"

Ray showed up at the bar waiting for Mike at about 9:30, but Mike failed to appear. By 10:30, he was tired of waiting and called Mike at home.


"Hey Mike, it's Ray. You know, the guy you told to come down to the Pearl so you could 'kick my ass'? So Mike, I'm here? Where are you? I thought you wanted to fight?"

"Hey man," Mike said, "Just fuck off, I don't want any trouble with you."

"Trouble? Dude, you're the one who was looking for trouble. I tried to explain but you wouldn't listen to me..."

"Shut up, I don't care, just fuck off," said Mike.

"No. No, I'm not going to fuck off. You told me you were going to kick my ass at ten-fucking-pm at the fucking Pearl, and now I've been here waiting for you at least 45 minutes. I even got here early! Where the fuck are you?" he said. "Oh never mind. I KNOW where you are. AT HOME. And I'm coming over. SO YOU CAN KICK MY FUCKING ASS LIKE YOU PROMISED."

And that's just what Ray did. He drove to Mike's house and began banging on his door, demanding he come out and prove himself. "You said you wanted to fight! Now's your chance, let's do this, let's get it over with!" Mike wouldn't come out, and the subject was never spoken of again.

Lesson: Don't start fights you can't finish.

Why am I writing about this? Well, let me tell you a story.

[Note: I'm not going to use real names from here on, or link to anyone's websites. Enough sand has already been thrown, and I'm not writing this to further anyone's vendettas. None of the people involved need any more harassment, and neither do I in conveying this story.]

Once upon a time, there was a young woman of 33, able-bodied and of sound mind, who identified as a conservative republican, and wrote a blog. Her blog was decorated with links to other right-wing blogs. She had "support the troops" icons all over her blog. She wrote all sorts of things that were provactive, especially if you're a left-winger. She considered herself to be very smart and snarky. I think you know the drill.

All of this, by the way, is her right. I wouldn't expect a right-winger to have links to liberal blogs on his or her site anymore than you would expect to find any right-wing links here (although I should link to John Cole's always insightful, sometimes infuriating Balloon Juice).

But when you keep a public blog, eventually someone who disagrees with you will take notice and say something. As it so happened, the young woman wrote a piece in which made some completely unfounded and factually incorrect statements about the current investigation swirling around Karl Rove's/the White House's exposure of a covert CIA agent. A left-wing blogger (not me) took notice and posted an article debunking her claims. Since I'm not naming names, let's call his blog Lefty's Blog.

Most blogs have comment boards (mine does, although no one uses them since I get all of three visitors a year, which I am thankful for in any sense you may wish to take that), and a debate broke out. The young woman who wrote the offending piece was in the thick of it, giving as good as she got. One of the people on Lefty's comment board happens to run a blog of his own: we'll call his blog Liberal Veteran's Blog, since he's a liberal and a VietNam vet. We'll call his blog LBV for short, since most of the action goes on there. My friend had some back and forth with the woman at Lefty's comments, and set up a link to the showdown at LBV. The first comment left at his link was from a female commenter, a regular at LBV, who wrote "EWWW! Don't make me look at that!"

Soon enough the young woman in question came to visit LBV, obviously spoiling for a fight. She left some obnoxious comments about the people posting there, deliberately calling people names and making some gratuitous catty remarks about woman who had said "ewwwww".

What are you going to say to me? That you're jealous that I'm prettier than you?

One of the commenters at LBV is a friend of mine named Frank who has no tolerance for right-wingers, and even less tolerance for people who think they're oh-so-smart. Frank freely admits to being what the bloggers call a "troll". For those of you who don't follow blogs obsessively, trolls are jerks who take over comment boards starting sandbox fights with people they don't agree with. Most trolls I have met are right-wing trolls: Frank is a left wing troll, and he is a ROYAL ASSHOLE. He makes no apologies about this. This is what he emailed me when I asked him about trollery:

"Those right-wing fucks show up at our blogs and start bullshit fights, and then they cry like a bunch of little babies when you shut 'em down. Fuck 'em, I like to give it right back to them. See how THEY like getting a turd in the punchbowl that won't go away."

And so, in keeping with his typical assholery, he paid paid a visit to the young woman's blog. Among the links to right wing sites and boasts about supporting the troops bysending care packages full of Tasty-Kakes to our troops in Iraq, Frank found that she had a rather racy photograph of herself on her home page, and considering how uptight conservatives are about sexuality, made a snarky comment.

Nice rack. My friend by the way didn't say "ewww" about your looks. She said "ewww" because she was disgusted by reading comments from someone who claims to support the war, but hasn't enlisted. It's the stink of hypocrisy she can't stand, which in your case not even a full stick of Arrid Extra Dry could mask.

"I began visiting her page obsessively," Frank told me over a few beers last night, "and began exploring her links. The best one went to a page she shared with her husband, which had hardcore porn prominently presented for all to see. Gold, Jerry, comedy GOLD!"

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[This is the guy that played Kenny Banya the bad comic on Seinfeld]

"And B, it wasn't just airbrushed Playboy models, it was full-on penetration shots, lezzie pictures, the works. All under the heading "My Girls". Hysterical!

"You know," he added after a glug of Yards, "There was no net-nanny software or anything blocking this stuff. Any little kid could get an eyeful of the fuckin-and-suckin."

So he posted another comment:

I was wondering what a conservative, right wing republican like yourself is doing linking to a website that prominently features hardcore porno? Hey is this one you? Again, nice rack!
Santorum isn't going to like that too much.
Now go enlist, you able-bodied little wingnut.

All of a sudden the young right-winger disappeared. But one of her friends started posting in her defense, going after Frank.

You talk a lot to yourself buddy. Whats the matter, you have a problem with porn? You guys are dorks. The election's OVER.

Frank wrote back,
I don't have a problem with porn. But I DO have a problem with hypocrisy. And when someone claims to be a right-wing, conservative republican, writing all sorts of stuff about the superiority of conservatives to liberals and of republicans to democrats, well then I'm going to point out the hypocrisy of linking to hardcore porn.

Or does your friend stand for all things Republican EXCEPT the "family values" platform?

And with regard to "the election being over", that didn't stop the GOP from complaining about Clinton and trying to impeach him, even after he won his second term. Or was that OK because it was Republicans?

The guy wrote back, conveniently ignoring the Clinton remarks.

Look, I don't think someone should have to agree with every single thing on their party's platform. I support the war, so I voted Republican. That's as far as it goes. I'm a major porn nut, a husband, a father, a small business owner, and a hard worker.

Frank wrote back again.
Buddy, with regard to the whole "husband-father-punk rocker-hard worker" thing, i am with you all the way. I have roots in hardcore going back to 1982. Minus the "small business owner" you could be me.
But when you say I support the war, so I voted Republican, I can't let that go.

If you support the war so much, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU STILL DOING STATESIDE? The president said they need people to enlist at the end of his speech at Fort Bragg two weeks ago! Didn't you watch?

Our host here is a Viet Nam vet and I don't think he'll take too kindly to excuses about work and family.

Frankly, you don't support the war at all. You support the IDEA of the war. Just what have you sacrificed for the war? Same as everyone else stateside: JACK SHIT.

If your friend wants to send CARE packages over to our troops, that's all well and good, but you know what they really need? BODIES. FRESH SOLDIERS. Recruitment is down in all branches of the service, our soldiers have been through tour after tour, stoploss measures etc. You can't expect a box of freakin' Tasty-Kakes to patrol Baghdad.

And with regard to not having "to agree with every single thing on their party's platform" it was YOUR party who came up with "you're with us or with the terrorists" and then used that line against Democrats, your own countrymen. So pardon me if I'm a little less than tolerant when one of your own strays from a party orthodoxy that they demand from everyone else.

The only responses to this were (from the man), "You have no right to compare yourself to a punk rocker" and (from the woman), "He would have enlisted but one of your precious union Teamsters accordioned his truck." The former had nothing to do with anything, the latter was a valid excuse for his absence from the front, but not hers.

That's when LVB's host shut down the thread and deleted all comments, apologizing to his readers for unwisely wading into a flame war. In contrast at the young lady's site, she complained that people were hurling insults at her for no reason, and that the topic shutdown was proof that LVB was "afraid of the right." Quite a victory, eh?

I believe it was Twain who wrote, "Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels." He was wrong. The last refuge of a scoundrel is "Waaaaaah! Why are you being so MEAN to me?!?"

The lesson is the same: Don't start fights you can't finish.
In the end you look like an asshole.


Blogger Phillybits said...

AHHHHHHHHH hahahahahahaha. I love the part about Tasty-Kakes patrolling Baghdad.

So many armchair Republicans, so many 101st Fighting Keyboardists, all proudly supporting the..the..oh. Can't support the war stateside.

I mean....we are fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here, right?

8:31 AM  
Blogger ALa said...

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9:24 AM  

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