Comments: Good Advice For The Monkey-Brains

not to mention all that poo she's flinging.

Posted by bamboozlde at October 18, 2008 10:41 AM

she be gibbon you de bizness, mon.

Posted by hapa at October 18, 2008 11:56 AM

Of course she could easily be describing the cool, detached, stoic demeanor of a sociopath, DSM IV-Antisocial Personality Disorder. She, Emily Yoffe, is a girl's name, right? Emotional stoicism can even be achieved without being a sociopath, let's say with sedatives, hypnotics,alchohol, major tranquilizers and even antihistamines. Hell, even psychiatrists make a judgement whether mood is congruent with affect. For the most part, when mood is incongruent with affect something is amiss psychopathologically. Then again, i could be a little too sensitive to offense. BTW, Bernard Chazelle's example of Colin Powell above veritably defines emotional stoicism as a malignant tool. Some call it gravitas while others call it bullshit.

Posted by RICH at October 18, 2008 11:57 AM

My anger management classes are starting to piss me off.

Posted by par4 at October 18, 2008 12:39 PM

This highlights for me the reason that I hate to argue on the intertoobs. The written word takes all of the human emotive keys that we have evolved to be sensitive to. (The internet amplifies this because you can talk to many anonymous people who have no personal knowledge or concern for you).

So when I come here with my ideas that seem to contradict what most people who come here believe, no one can see my motivations. And by golly, trying to convey them with a keyboard really is a pain sometimes. At a certain point, it becomes pointless. As with the saying about arguing on the internet being like the special olympics. Oh well, I look at it like this, if I gain some new perspective from someone bashing what I say, then I win regardless.

But now that I think about it, people who I talk to face to face don't get it either.. :)

And I prefer to change my perspective (stoicism? mood incongruent with effect? ftw!) with sour diesel nomnomnom

Posted by tim at October 18, 2008 06:05 PM

I might add that I rarely gain new perspective, because people usually just see something they don't agree with, from a superficial scan, and start flinging the poo.

(the sour diesel tho, that always works $)

Posted by tim at October 18, 2008 06:09 PM
This highlights for me the reason that I hate to argue on the intertoobs.

Yes, but on the intertoobs, my entire view of self-worth and self-image can be reduced to a few pithy sentences that I fling youraways.

Talk about distilling the true essence of self.

Posted by Labiche at October 18, 2008 10:38 PM

This reminds me of something A.J. Muste once wrote, but of course I don't remember what.

Posted by buermann at October 19, 2008 04:02 AM

Bananas! Who said bananas?!?

Posted by Seth at October 19, 2008 10:15 AM

I try to believe that people I disagree with are arguing in good faith, and that they really mean what they say, no matter how misguided it may seem to me.

Sometimes, though, the effort is just too much. No matter how much I try, I can't bring myself to believe that McCain or Palin or anybody at all really thought "putting lipstick on a pig" was some kind of sexist slur.

Which is to say that this article strikes me as valid and all, but somewhat beside the point when it comes to American politics.

Posted by Christopher at October 19, 2008 03:59 PM

"This highlights for me the reason that I hate to argue on the intertoobs. The written word takes all of the human emotive keys that we have evolved to be sensitive to. (The internet amplifies this because you can talk to many anonymous people who have no personal knowledge or concern for you)."

Hm. So where do you *love* to argue? I hear stuff like this often, and it always reminds me of the scene in Love and Death where newlyweds Woody Allen and Diane Keaton are in their marital bed, Allen puts his hand on Keaton's breast, and she says, "Please... not here." So where does good argument take place?

The problem isn't that the Internet leaches away all the "human emotive keys" -- those human emotive keys are the problem. (For what it's worth, this kind of debate is a product of writing, not of the Internet. People have been debating each other without ever meeting for centuries.) It used to be a cliche that you shouldn't discuss politics, religion, sex -- anything important, in effect -- in polite company. That's because people get all het up when they disagree face-to-face.

People also lie when they debate face-to-face. Many times in online discussions I've seen people flatly deny that they'd written what they had written. In oral debate this is a handy evasive tactic, since 1) it's hard if not impossible to prove that someone said something and 2) you can distract your opponent or the audience by changing the subject to whether you said something. This doesn't work so well online, where one's actual words are usually still there and probably have been quoted back one verbatim. It's not foolproof, of course, because many people's first reaction when they're caught doing something they know they shouldn't do, is simply to lie, reflexively. (When that fails, they can always say that they meant to say something else, and you should have read their mind, because they're a nice person and you're [a] a cynical, bitter old troll, or [b] an America-hating Socialist Jew with Negro blood. If that fails, there's always "It's a free country! Everybody's entitled to their own opinion!")

Debate isn't easy, but it's important. It's not 'natural' -- I suspect that the natural human mode of disagreement is the personal attack, usually sexual ("You'd vote for Obama/McCain? You must be a homosexual!"). I think the Internet is as good a place as any to practice, for those who care. Most people don't, and I think the line that the Internet isn't a good place for it is just one more ploy to try to ensure that debate doesn't take place anywhere.

Posted by Duncan at October 20, 2008 10:27 AM

Oh, and I almost missed this priceless bit from tim's comment:

"And by golly, trying to convey them with a keyboard really is a pain sometimes. At a certain point, it becomes pointless. As with the saying about arguing on the internet being like the special olympics."

Nothing is a better indication of the low value of your "motivations" than making fun of the retarded. (That, in case there's anyone here who hasn't heard the "joke" before, arguing on the internet is like the Special Olympics because 'even if you win, your still retarded.' And most people who use this line spell it 'your'.) Make room on the branch, tim, and don't bogart that banana.

As for "And by golly, trying to convey them with a keyboard really is a pain sometimes", that's not the fault of the Internet, or of other people's failure to grasp your motivations, it's your fault. One trouble with the Internet might be that illiterate, semi-sentient dweebs can put their words out there with people who've actually worked at learning to convey their ideas, and so those dweebs think that they are every bit as good as Noam Chomsky or Jonathan Schwarz or name your favorite good writer, because it's a free country and everybody's entitled to their own opinion! Which is true, but that means I'm also entitled to my opinion of you.

Posted by Duncan at October 20, 2008 10:36 AM
but that means I'm also entitled to my opinion of you.

Boy, that was pretty het up!

I too slept with a pea under my bed last night, but a dose of Lexapro helped. :-)

...every bit as good as Noam Chomsky or Jonathan Schwarz...

Now that's just silly. Should we begin all comments with a reading of pedigrees? When people have and nurture blogs, I get the impression they want a dialogue, not only to broadcast their pith at the sea of unwashed masses.

Posted by Labiche at October 20, 2008 11:29 AM