I Could Care a Little More


You know, I know all the advice about differentiating between what a person does and who they are when criticizing them. I even generally agree with it. I don’t always, however, and it’s generally because I’ve recognized that the person I’m dealing with has no interest in being the tiniest bit thoughtful about their own behavior. Then I don’t bother to mince words. Why? Because this is what it looks like when that happens.

You all know this sort: S/he shows up to use your social media in any way s/he sees fit, then ends up lecturing you on how you’re doing social media wrong because you’re not using your space the way s/he wants. I’m not particularly kind in situations like that, as a recent dustup on Google+ showed.

The background: Greg posted a link to his post promoting Greta’s new book. Dude shows up on Google plus and on the blog post to rant on a tangent about how it’s stupid to call all atheists angry. Greg tells him to read the book before ranting because he’s looking “foolish”. Dude makes a comment saying, “But I’m not an angry atheist” at the same time he tells another commenter that his comment wasn’t about the book. Greg tells dude he’s being a clueless asshole to be posting strong opinions about a book he hasn’t read. Dude starts lecturing Greg on how to use social media.

After said dude flounces, I laugh in the comments about Dunning-Kruger and social media lectures. Dude unflounces to ask:

And as for Dunning Kruger, I’m going to assume you haven’t actually read any of the comments? Did he specifically ask you go come here?

There is a bit of back and forth in which I point out that it’s polite to show an interest in someone else’s topic of discussion if you want them to take an interest in yours, which he manages to duck below before his head could be endangered, so I try again.

You poor, poor, precious dear. You walked up to Greg at a picnic table in the park where he was showing a bunch of baby pictures to his friends and started lecturing on what Dr. Spock got wrong. Then, when he didn’t thank you for your contribution and, in fact, said, “I’m showing baby pictures here. Do you want to look or not, ’cause you’re acting like an ass?”, you got all pissy. And told him how he should use a park.

Yes, you’re bluffing that you’re behaving in a pro-social manner. You didn’t start that way. You haven’t continued that way. And your lectures on the topic have not one iota of self-awareness. Don’t like “bluff” to describe it? Fine. I don’t care. Pick a different one, but try to be aware enough to capture the judgment I intend by it. After all, at least I’m not the sort of whiny douchebag who asks a woman, “Did that guy just tell you to say that?”

There is a hilarious bit in which dude mistakes Dr. Spock for Spock, and another where he shows he still hasn’t grasped what Greta’s book is about, but that’s not the part that’s relevant to this particular topic. This is:

Wow, now you’re saying I’m being sexist?

It had nothing to do with your sex and everything to do with the fact that you showed up out of the blue to defend someone who had been almost universally mocked in the comments here.

Given everything I’ve said about not making broad-generalizations about demographics, your assertion that for some reason women would be the one demographic I don’t apply that rule to is quite weak. Come on. You’re better than that.

My response, which suggests the behavior is a mistake:

You don’t know why you don’t say that kind of shit to a woman even if you’re not trying to be sexist.

In short, you suck at this social thing. So stop trying to lecture people on it.

Is met by more of him trying to tell me how awful I am.

With regards to the sexism: you feel it’s sexist to imply that I think someone called someone else out to assist them in a discussion that was going poorly on the internet? Just because of the sexes of the people involved.

I’m genuinely sorry for any perceived offence so let me assure you your sexes had nothing to do with the statement and everything to do with the timing of events.

Frankly, your assertion that I’m being sexist because of the fact that I’m a man and I said that to you is more sexist than my implication that he asked for you to come back him up here. Your implication is over whereas the assumption you made regarding me was perceived. Sexism goes both ways.

And this, friends, is why I don’t bother being picky with that particular brand of asshole. I just keep at them with the clue-by-four until all they have left to say is how mean I am.

Comments

  1. mouthyb says

    I just want to confirm that no one owes assholes to treat their opinions like they’re valuable or constructive. Why give them what they won’t give anyone else?

  2. says

    I absolutely love the “did he tell you to come in and defend him” bit. It’s not one bit sexist.

    My life in the greater blogosphericohedron is jading me significantly. Where once I figured being the reasonable and calm and rational one would peel off the spectators, if not the person themselves (because that seems impossible, basically). It’s just awesome to see you take some upstart asshat and grind them into dust, be damned with being “nice”. He deserved it for every bit of paternalistic and uninformed pontificating he subjected everyone to in that thread.

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