This is a completely one-off post. Something happened on this blog recently that has saddened me profoundly. Only days ago, for some inexplicable reason, someone commented on a post that was almost six years old. You’d think a person would need a compelling reason to dig so far back.
The post was a fairly innocuous one with observations about a Midwestern town where I’d spent some time. For your reference, the post is here.
The comment, which I immediately trashed, is reproduced below, edited for general consumption.
You stupid <insert overused bomb word here> what do you expect when you go to a small Nebraska town? Of <insert overused bomb word here>ing course it isn’t going to have your typical luxuries!
I don’t even know where to begin with this thing. A few facts are obvious right away. First, this person – almost certainly a male – doesn’t have sufficient vocabulary to express his feelings. As someone once accurately opined, “Profanity is the attempt of a weak mind to express itself forcefully.” Second, he didn’t read, or more likely didn’t comprehend, the post, which had no intention of suggesting I expected luxury living in the town. Rather, my intent was simply to describe this friendly, laid-back town with its eccentricities, charming in its own way. Unless this is some misguided attempt to defend the place (which I don’t think requires defending) he also seems to be a narrow-minded bigot whose knowledge of small town life has been picked up from bad sitcoms.
I wasn’t saddened because I felt personally insulted or that blog had been slandered. Rather, it’s depressing to know that there are people out there who have nothing better to do than attack others for no apparent reason. It says a lot about the nature of discourse in our country: vitriolic, confrontational, and gutter-level.
Here’s another approach. It’s called a “dialogue”, a lost art in today’s political climate:
Comment: What exactly did you expect to find in a small town in Nebraska?
Answer: Exactly what I found.
Comment: So why did you go there?
Answer: To learn, which I did. A lot. I also appreciated being exposed to a new environment.
See how it works? We seek to understand each other, rather than immediately go into attack mode. Try it some time, commenter.
The bigger question is, why would anyone take all that time and effort to make a comment that does nothing more than display his own ignorance? At least I now know what Donald Trump supporters do in their spare time.
God help us all.