Sunday, October 21, 2007

WC: Testing One's Limits

Well, the nasty comments have already begun. (Sorry, by the way, to the commenters whose comments were delayed going up. I'm just getting the hang of this blog thing.)

In response to Rodney's review of Young Frankenstein, someone writes, "Was it worth the money to be able to bitch about it for the rest of your (appaerently) [sic] humorless, miserable life?" This person signed him/herself as anonymous (of course).

I've never been in the position of deciding if someone's writing gets posted or not, and as a first amendment absolutist, I hope I keep up my principles and post all comments--though, of course, I'm not the gov't, and this is my/our blog, so it wouldn't quite be censorship. But it wouldn't quite not be censorship, either.

For now, I'm going to try the "fight free speech with more free speech" approach. So, in response to that person's comment, here are some comments of my

1. I find myself assuming that anonymous is a man, in contrast to Virginia Woolf's line--about the writing of earlier centuries--that anonymous was a woman. Interesting that, in the 1800s, when women wanted to publish their best work they had to hide behind "anonymous" or a male name, while nowadays people hide behind "anonymous" to spew venom without taking responsibility.

2. What is the point of personal attacks? Saying that someone has a "humorless, miserable life" just because you disagree with him seems to me to be the very lowest form of debate.

3. For the record, Rodney is one of the least humorless people I have ever met, though he hardly needs me to defend him. Also, while Rodney is hardly gentle in his comments, and I'm not surprised his work elicited harsh responses, he doesn't call anyone a name or say that their lives are miserable.

4. It is likely that anonymous is a poster from All That Chat, a theatre-related chat board where I invited people to come read Rodney's theatre-related posting. On All That Chat, people with a tremendous amount in common--ie, a love of the theatre and an interest in posting online--often succumb to name calling and other juvenile forms of discussion. When I read All That Chat, I lose all optimism about peace in the Middle East.


jazz bird said...

I'm all for free speech, but that goes both ways. Personally, if someone wants to make a comment to a post I've written, they're required to sign in. Say what you want, but only if you wish for it to be a dialog, not a monologue.

/my 2 cents :)

Anonymous said...

RS: Just glad folks are reading it. And it certainly doesn't bother me to hear Anonymous's comments. Jeez, I just hope that was Mel Brooks himself. Oh wait, the poster said he/she hadn't seen the show yet. Oh well, writing the review was worth $131.50 to me.

Leslie said...

Welcome to the world of the internet, where everyone can be in 6th grade and hide behind anonymity. It's one of the most disappointing aspects of the blogosphere. Probably can be attributed to the lack of discovery of a certain stupid gene mentioned by HC earlier. Heh.

Great stuff so far, I enjoyed reading all of them. Buona fortuna!