Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Long Dry Afternoon Pondering as I Clean Up My Computer Desktop

An analogy: Arguing with someone face to face, if things degenerate, is like hand-to-hand combat. Of course, it's vicious, but one is forced to acknowledge the "thereness" of the opponent. It is personal; it is "bespoke"; that is, if we are any good at it, we design the argument to the opponent.

But not everyone is good at face to face, which is why many of us bite our tongues and feel somewhat pushed around.

Blogging, however, is like dropping bombs on faceless enemies from very high altitudes. There is a sense in which our opponents are not quite real, and I think it is much easier to drop our rhetorical bombs on them. And it is easier -- indeed, it is almost an aesthetic choice -- to amp up the explosive force of our arguments to increase the kill distance as much as possible. From a distance, violence can be quite beautiful if it is large enough.

I also think sometimes we are particularly surprised, and thus grow even angrier, when our targets shoot back, spoiling the sweet afterglow of having written, marring the perfection of our satisfaction with our argument, which flowed so easily with no thought of a possible response forthcoming. Indeed, we rather imagined our opponents to be quite smashed flat. Yet here the bastards are, clawing up at us from the pit. Oh, there's a lesson here. Perhaps we should cultivate a more modest anger?

Do not take this reverie to mean I do not loathe certain corpulent distant faceless Republicans as one hates hell, all Montagues, etc.

But I don't hate Robert (Bob) Silverberg, who is just the loveliest plutocrat you could imagine. He's really more of a Libertarian than a Republican. Someday he and I will go hunting together, driving the "bad" Republicans before us with whips and clubs.

If the weather is good. If the weather is good.

And so back to my crowded desktop, where all the things I should know but don't -- carefully copied, carefully linked to -- go to die.

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