Friday, March 27, 2020

why I don't normally leave comments elsewhere

People are fucking twats in the comment sections of posts. It's been years since I engaged a stranger in any sort of lame-ass flame war, but two moments of conflict—not quite at the level of a real flame war—burbled up today.


The first one occurred over at Tim Urban's fine long-form blog Wait But Why, where Urban writes ultra-lengthy, thoroughly researched essays. Urban had just written a fanciful post about a fictionalized Tim who gets shrunk down to 1/10,000 his normal size and finds out there's a whole other universe of people who live at that scale—people who are much more advanced than our civilization is because time, for them, moves a hundred times faster, thus allowing them to evolve (from our perspective) far more quickly. Tim's guide in this "miniverse" then shrinks him and herself down again to 1/10,000 of their miniverse size, such that they now find themselves in a microverse that's not quite flirting with quantum reality. The story is a bit preachy: it's about how these tiny—and tinier—beings have solved all sorts of civilizational problems that still plague regular humans who exist at the normal anthropic level, and how all this applies to the current pandemic, which the miniverse and microverse civilizations had actually put into motion as a way to wake us regular humans up. I thought it was a cute, if overly didactic, story, and I wrote the following comment:

"Ant-Man" meets "Watchmen," but with slightly more optimism and less cynicism than "Watchmen."

Shrinkage stories always lead me to wonder what happens to the atoms inside the body of the person who's been shrunk. Atoms' properties must necessarily change when the atoms are forcibly scrunched in that way. The universe has certain inviolable forces and constants that it would be unwise to jigger with.

Me, I think being shrunk to the size of a quark would plunge me into a hell-realm where there's nothing but violent, buffeting mists and tornadoes of color... and the horrible sound of reality roaring and shrieking.

For my trouble, I received the following retarded reply from a "Dmitry PissKopf," who turns out to be a 72-year-old man. Dmitry wrote in response:

Dude, it is not a physics lesson. It is a story to bring some clarity to the current human condition and our predicament, with a pinch of hope that the corona pandemic will force change to save mankind.

[NB: Dmitry's comment has 3 likes and 5 dislikes thus far. Other people obviously think he's being an old, crotchety asshole.]

So Dmitry made the mistake of thinking I had somehow missed Urban's point in order to focus—wrongly—on a technical matter that isn't germane to the story. Dmitry, like so many others, refused to credit me with any intelligence, and in so doing, proved himself to be the dumber cunt. I replied to Dmitry with sarcasm, and Dmitry has refused to take the bait:

Thank you for clearing that up.

(Frankly, I'm unsure whether Dmitri understood my reply to be sarcasm.)

No more replies from Dmitry PissKopf in that thread, but in a different thread, we mixed it up a bit more. Another commenter, a woman, wrote the following comment:

Nice little story read! :)

However, how the atoms that make up your body can still exist in a tiny form in the tiny world, and coexist next to the same but larger sized atoms of the virus, is beyond my knowledge. ;)

So I slipped in a response to the lady, mainly to test whether Dmitry was scanning the comment threads for more BigHominid. He was. I wrote:

Careful! I wrote a similar comment two hours earlier and got an unpleasant response about how "This is not a physics lesson" from a cranky old guy who hypocritically complains about negativity in the comments section, then turns around and spreads his own negativity. If you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing.

Anyway... I, at least, applaud your comment! Be a free thinker!

A few minutes later, Dmitry replied:

Not a cranky old guy at all, old yes, cranky no. You cannot bring physics into this story to justify your lack of understanding the author's intent. I am a free thinker, you, however, are rigid and without imagination.

Indeed! Calling someone "rigid and without imagination" = not cranky at all!

One of the reasons why I normally stay away from comment-thread exchanges is that they involve a regressive descent into childishness for all parties involved. I call this an ego-vortex, which sucks you in for as long as you wish to indulge in the stupid behavior. Granted, by responding at all, I had chosen to enter the vortex, so I accept my share of blame for this entire stupid exchange. Anyway, I replied to Dmitry:

And it never occurred to you that I did actually get the author's point, but had critical thoughts, anyway. Who lacks imagination, again?

Dmitry shot back with a laughable irrelevancy, a total straw-man attack that had me scoffing at its pitiful nature. He wrote:

Please reserve your critical thoughts for the bible and Brother Grimm fairy tales.

At this point, I knew I was dealing with one of those stick-up-the-ass liberals who consider themselves oh-so-enlightened, oh-so-evolved beyond the Bible and religion, and who like putting opponents into conceptual boxes that are embarrassingly asinine caricatures of conservatives. The implied equivalency of the Bible with the Brothers Grimm was a major hint, and Dmitry has left comments elsewhere on the page in question that confirm his liberal stance. Here's one (addressed to "s g"):

s g - the only type of person who would vote your comment down may be labelled a "deplorable" Trump supporter, some rigid nationalist who wants a closed border society where all doors and opportunities are shut.

Anyway, I replied to Dmitry with the following, using both the mocking "mirroring" technique as well as another psy-ops technique that I'll explain in a moment:

Please reserve your desire to repress free thinking for people who actually care.

You may have the last word. Life is too short to waste time with small-minded people. Bye, hypocrite.

The idea was to leave Dmitry in a psychological bind. The final "Bye, hypocrite" was an obvious ploy to get Dmitry to respond—a final poke of the stick at the angry dog. At the same time, I grandly ceded the last word to Dmitry, offering him the chance to end our exchange on his terms. But I knew he wouldn't do that: a man that childish and small-minded (age doesn't entail wisdom) isn't going to accept a handout from an opponent. While I can't get inside Dmitry's head, I'd like to think he spent a few minutes debating whether to reply. In the end, it seems, he's decided not to. The exchange—at least for now—appears to be over. 72-year-old Dmitry probably agrees that life is too short to waste on undesirable people, and I'm sure he believes me to be as small-minded as I believe him to be.

Anyway, there's no doubt the fucker is a hypocrite. Here's what he wrote elsewhere:

A few negative thinkers here. Thanks for a wonderful piece of hope that this crisis will awaken humanity and bring some justice into our "big" world. Yes, greed and selfishness (the root of greed) bring out the worst part of humanity. At 72 there is not much encouragement for the survival of our species in my head, but you make me smile.Many thanks!

So that's Dmitry, vainly separating himself from the "few negative thinkers here" in this comment thread. How sunny he is! How averse to negativity!

And then he turns around and acts like a royal cunt. What a dumb fucking hypocrite.


I was watching one of Styx's "bonus" videos on BitChute, his alternative video platform. Styx expanded to BitChute (he's still on YouTube) because of YouTube's increasingly repressive policies. What he does now, to attract more viewers to his second platform, is create "BitChute exclusive" videos. Anyway, I was watching one of those exclusives when, once again, Styx mispronounced a word. I don't normally leave comments on Styx's videos, but he said "shuts-puh" while trying to pronounce chutzpah. So here's the comment I left:

Oy, gevalt! Did I hear "shuts-puh" at the end, there? Chutzpah is pronounced "hoots-puh," with a raspy "h" that sounds like the German "ch."

For my trouble, some idiotic white knight with the screen name of "imp69" nobly decided to step in and defend Styx's honor. The imp squeaked:

Thank you Dr. Grammar. That certainly makes a difference in the overall message.

This was so lame (and no vocative comma, the fuckhead!) that I kept my reply minimalistic:

Pronunciation, not grammar.

I haven't heard a peep from the imp since.

So in both cases—and this is a major reason why I don't usually involve myself in comment threads for popular online personalities—we're seeing instances of so-called "white knighting," i.e., people who arrogate to themselves the role of defending the person they admire, thereby acting as part of an "immune system" within the comment threads. I don't know why certain people have the impulse to address those who never directly address them, but this is a psychological problem that I've seen all over the online realm, and not just in certain comment threads. Trying to voice any sort of sentiment "aloud" under a popular post means risking attack by the local immune system.

I guess I'm done... unless either Dmitry or the imp should pipe up yet again. If they do, well... I already told Dmitry he could have the last word, so if he does write anything, I'll feel all sorts of Schadenfreude in the knowledge that he finally gave in to temptation and couldn't help himself. As for the imp: I wonder if s/he even realizes how cutting my response was. I didn't even need to add the word "idiot."

Not that I can gloat, for I was one of the idiots for a brief while.


John Mac said...

That was a very entertaining read, thanks! It was reminiscent of the days when I would engage with idiots on Facebook. Now I don't bother wasting my time--just shake my head (sadly or in disgust) and scroll on by.

Just so you know, I spotted the missing comma right away!

Charles said...

"Pandemic," "virus," "immune system"? Hey, I though you weren't going to do any more virus-blogging!

Seriously, though, I'm not sure why you bothered with these people in the first place. I only rarely leave comments (generally on YT videos), and I do this on channels where I know the community is largely positive. Most of the time, if I have the urge to comment on something, I write out my comment and then just click away from the page without posting. It is still surprisingly cathartic.

Kevin Kim said...


Good job re: spotting the missing comma.


This moratorium on virusblogging is harder than it looks. COVID-19 is all—anyone—talks—about these days, and (if you'll pardon the accidental pathology pun) I'm sick of it. And yet, just about everything current-events-related, these days, is at least tangentially about the virus, so what's a hominid to do?