Let’s get one thing straight. I’m opinionated and don’t tend to hold back on what I think. (As you may have already guessed from this site.)
That said, I generally tend towards the more socially polite and politically correct end of things when it comes to voicing my opinions publicly in regards to a professionally-related subject.
But a burr has wedged itself under my blanket on something and I find myself unable – and unwilling – to hold my tongue.
Back on May 1, I wrote an essay on this site that talked about an April 21 article in the Wall Street Journal. This column by Dan Henninger talked about how the Internet has given rise – or perhaps better to say been responsible for the tearing down – of appropriate behavior.
In my recent post, I focused on the aspect of this Internet issue related to how it seems to have exacerbated what was already a pitiful level of grammatical focus and intellectual capability when it comes to people’s communication.
Now there’s another reason to bring up this article, and this time it’s about the way in which the faceless safety of posting to blogs is giving rise to a sub-species of moron. These fools are those whose cowardice leads them to attack people for their beliefs by posting anonymous vitriol and then duck into the shadow of on-line anonymity rather than stand up, be accountable for their opinions and have the fortitude to admit that they disagree.
No, they cannot admit to it, because they know that if they step forward they will be proven to be the weak, intellectually crippled fools that they are. If they had any intelligence, they’d be able to admit that they disagree and then stand up to those with whom they are at odds.
Why am I on a soapbox about this? It’s because there’s someone with whom I’ve recently become acquainted who’s been facing some scathing personal attacks from people who lean forward to smack him through comments on his blog, and then retreat into the shadows.
The victim of these assaults is Michael Arrington, the editorial brains behind TechCrunch and its companion blog, CrunchNotes.
It might be okay if these people were slamming what Mike wrote and disagreeing with him based on some set of actual facts. But these attacks are personal. They either have decided they don’t like Michael personally or they disagree with what he writes. Either of these things are fine. Mike can be a bit of a blowhard, and he’ll freely admit he can be an asshole. But that doesn’t condone people threatening to rape Mike’s mother or kill his dog.
I actually interviewed Mike at a conference this past week in Spain and we talked about this. You can hear our conversation here.
Take a listen and let me know what you think about … and if you disagree with me, fine. But threaten to hurt my friends, my family or my dog and I will hunt you down.