The Loyal Opposition

He’s the loyal opposition
And he visits every day
He hates every word that’s written
(Which he’s quick enough to say)
In the comments, you will notice
His opinions on display
He’s a regular complainer
But he will not go away

She’s the loyal opposition
And her comments got her banned
Which, of course, she cannot fathom—
No, she does not understand
So she lurks, and comments elsewhere
(There’s a place or two at hand,
Which are set up for this purpose,
Just responding to demand)

They’re the loyal opposition
Growing greater by the year
Who, as soon as something’s written,
Almost magically appear
To complain, at length and volume,
And to make it crystal clear
Only idiots would stick around
And write their comments here

I’m the loyal opposition
Yes, I read it all the time
From the most mundane of mumbling
To what borders on sublime
And because it’s on the internet
It doesn’t cost a dime
To collect it all, and bring it back
And turn it into rhyme

There is no one place that inspired this verse. As I said earlier, even at NPR, there are regular commenters whose sole purpose in life, it would seem, is to bash NPR for being too [insert adjective here]. PZ writes about Shakesville, and about FtB. Hell, even the Sinfest forum has regular commenters whose schtick is to complain about the current (feminist) plotlines, and comment on little to nothing else. People everywhere complain–and not just complain and leave, but complain and stick around to complain. The loyal opposition.

Mind, I can’t point fingers. I have an aggregator that collects stuff I disagree with, so I can poke fun at it here, in rhyme. It’s what I do. PZ doesn’t need an aggregator; people send him stuff all the time. We don’t go *there* to argue (I have, twice, but not past my welcome), but we do–actively or passively–intentionally read lots of stuff we disagree with, on a regular and ongoing basis.

One could argue that situational scaffolds are what separate constructive and destructive instances of such loyal oppositioning. For instance…Science (and the scientific method and scientific community) channels a disagreeing community into the energy that drives peer review (not just the official type, but also and especially the sort of review that only happens after publication. Without such a scaffold in, say, religion, disagreement from the loyal opposition results in schisms–that is, two ingroups take over where one splitting group ends. Science converges, religion splits. The loyal opposition appears to be human nature; the situational scaffold is the difference.


  1. Crimson Clupeidae says

    “The loyal opposition appears to be human nature; the situational scaffold is the difference.”

    Good point. Never quite thought of it that way.

    We are the horde, we are PZed’s Aggregator!! ;-)

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