You’ve all seen it, the increasingly common inept attempt people make to defuse valid criticism of their untenable positions. Most recent sighting for me was this comment at The Mary Sue, which consisted mainly of the commenter saying that no way would any man have pulled the “fake geek girl” routine on Rae Johnston and even if they did no way could she have been clever and snarky enough to leave him in the funniest smoking crater of all time, and then said commenter ended with:
Let the bashing commence I guess.
And there’s a commonality among the people who use that trope, generally having to do with shitty argumentation. As Sally Strange said here last week,
Has there EVER been a time when someone preemptively complained about flaming, when the content of their post was NOT eminently flame-worthy? Not in my experience.
Sally’s correct, and there’s a reason for that. Well, two reasons.
- Sally is smart;
- The reason people adopt the “I am Daniel and you are Teh Lionz” approach is because they’re feeling defensive about their arguments, and seeking to defuse the rhetorical spanking they fear they’re gotten themselves into by way of the deft use of our old friend passive aggression.
Frankly, if even the execrable H*go Schw*zer has seen through this particular pathetic trope, it’s time to stop it. As that post with its triggering comments (and OP) points out, trolls use this trope because it works.
So I’m calling this a New Rule. It covers my posts here, and it should cover every other person’s posts everywhere else online as well. If you tell people to “flame away,” you will not be taken seriously. Because as any well-read atheist knows, the lions took no interest in Daniel whatsoever when he was thrown into their den. They didn’t kill him, they didn’t bat him around; they just sat in a comfortable corner of their den and rolled their eyes at him every now and then as he made a spectacle of himself praying not to be eaten. And afterwards he became the topic of a number of lion in-jokes. Or so I’m guessing. The story may be apocryphal.