Friday, August 29, 2008

Proportional Response

I love internet comment threads. I love 'em. They mix the finest examples of wit and humor with the most embarrassing faux pas of style and grammar. Everyone has a chance to speak their peace in a premeditated and absolute manner, and ultimately be engaged in "real" discussion.

Today I noticed that one of Justin's loyal readers had slipped in a request for his thoughts on "Barack Hussein". While the request was brazenly off topic & delivered from behind a veil of anonymity, I still found myself composing an atom bomb of a response. As I chose all the ways in which I would call this poster's civility, courage, and self-worth into question my mind redirected to this West Wing clip.

Believe me, this did nothing but fuel the flame of my building disdain for the commenter, until I recalled the counterpoint to the scene.

Leo McGarry: Do you think that increasing the body count is going to act as a deterrent?
President Josiah Bartlet: You're damn right I do.
Leo McGarry: Well then, you're just as stupid as these people who think that capital punishment will act as a deterrent to drug kingpins. As if drug kingpins didn't live their day to day lives under the possibility of execution, and their executions are a lot less dainty than ours, and tend to take place without the bother and expense of due process. So, my friend, if you want to start using American military strength as the arm of the Lord, you can do that. We're the only superpower left. You can conquer the world, like Charlemagne. But you better be prepared to kill everyone. And you had better start with me because I will raise up an army against you and I will beat you.

Finding myself lacking the motivation, or even the justification, to strike down every wayward internet commenter who falls out of line with my rationale, beliefs or style I deleted the snarky coup de grace and had a bowl of Honey Nut Chex. Another disaster averted thanks to Aaron Sorkin.