As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.
Let's turn for a moment to the subject of posting comments on the internet.
It seems to me that more bad manners are displayed on the internet than in any other common setting. Whether the venue is a threaded discussion, an open forum, an opportunity to comment on news articles, or some other enclosed universe, whenever differences of opinion surface, sooner or later someone heads right for the bottom with a mindless personal attack.
The intensity of the attack varies with what the attacker can get away with. Some sites enforce rules regarding personal attacks, vulgarity, disclosure of someone else's personal information, etc. But in general, some people will go as far as they are permitted to go.
Let me speak to those people for a moment:
- What are you thinking? If I like peanut butter and jelly and you prefer peanut butter and bananas - or, God forbid, you despise peanut butter with or without anything at all, then if I say
"I enjoy the way peanut butter and jelly complement each other."
and then you say
"You're a (expletive deleted) jerk."
then what do you feel you have gained?
You might be right about that, but if so it would be a coincidence, not a demonstration of anything at all about peanut butter and jelly. Surely you can't think that this personal assault has provided proof of your position regarding peanut butter.
So what do you gain by lowering the level? Is there some sort of satisfaction as a result? An "I showed him" afterglow? Do you smile to yourself, thinking "I won that one?" Can you really be unaware that thinking people, even thinking people who share your peanut butter preference, only shake their heads, knowing that you have not scored one point in favor of your position?
Have you ever actually tried to understand the position of someone who disagreed with you?
Do you ever wonder why others refer to you as trolls? Worse, why different people on different sites refer to you as trolls?
It's because you're trolls.
OK, I feel better now. I thank everyone for indulging me.
'Tain't necessarily so, and herewith my small contribution toward stamping out the belief that it is:
The position is most easily refuted by providing examples of people known to use profanity more frequently than the average person but not fitting the mold of having a poor vocabulary. Two who come to mind immediately are Mark Twain and Harry Truman. Now Truman may not have been a walking dictionary but the range of his vocabulary was more than adequate. And Mark Twain - well how could one say he had a poor vocabulary?
I speculate that this incorrect belief arose as a result of fuzzy thinking. Occasionally, very occasionally, a vulgar word happens to be just the right word to provide the oomph a speaker feels necessary to emphasize an important point. But if I were to acquire the habit of sprinkling profanities liberally throughout my speech, what would happen is that the effect of my using a profanity would be diluted. The ears of my companions, my audiences, would soon learn to tune the profanities out, and I would deprive myself of the effectiveness of using a profanity for emphasis.
A person who habitually speaks in profanities is a person who utilizes a poor speaking style, but not necessarily a person with a poor vocabulary.