Richard Cohen gets a taste of what it is like to cross the Eschaton knuckle-dragger crew:
Two weeks ago I wrote about Al Gore’s new movie on global warming. I liked the film. In response, I instantly got more than 1,000 e-mails, most of them praising Gore, some calling him the usual names and some concluding there was no such thing as global warming, if only because Gore said there was. I put the messages aside for a slow day, when I would answer them. Then I wrote about Stephen Colbert and his unfunny performance at the White House correspondents’ dinner.
Kapow! Within a day, I got more than 2,000 e-mails. A day later, I got 1,000 more. By the fourth day, the number had reached 3,499 — a figure that does not include the usual offers of nubile Russian women or loot from African dictators. The Colbert messages began with Patrick Manley (“You wouldn’t know funny if it slapped you in the face”) and ended with Ron (“Colbert ROCKS, you MURDER”) who was so proud of his thought that he copied countless others. Ron, you’re a genius.***
The hatred is back. I know it’s only words now appearing on my computer screen, but the words are so angry, so roiled with rage, that they are the functional equivalent of rocks once so furiously hurled during antiwar demonstrations. I can appreciate some of it. Institution after institution failed America — the presidency, Congress and the press. They all endorsed a war to rid Iraq of what it did not have. Now, though, that gullibility is being matched by war critics who are so hyped on their own sanctimony that they will obliterate distinctions, punishing their friends for apostasy and, by so doing, aiding their enemies. If that’s going to be the case, then Iraq is a war its critics will lose twice — once because they couldn’t stop it and once more at the polls.
The reactions were immediate and predictable:
Richard Cohen got 2,000 mean e-mails and this signals the end of the Democratic party. I’ll leave you to figure out why that should follow. In case Cohen hasn’t noticed nobody on the fucking planet likes squishy faux liberal courtiers. There’s no political downside to hating Richard Cohen.
There is, apparently, no ‘political downside’ to being an asshole, so many on the left and the right will continue to urge people to behave like one. Something upsets you- get ten thousand people to fire off vulgar e-mails. Really- it convinces people your position is right. [/sarcasm]
At any rate, there is a certain segment of the online left (and right, for that matter) who think that the key to electoral victory is to keep a certain segment of the population in a frothing rage. Any perceived slight must immediately be met with an email campaign and a ‘Wanker of the day” post that can be linked by the entire “spittle-flecked monitor” wing of the Democratic party, and that will ensure that the evil NEOCONS are kicked out of office in November.
And within an hour of posting this, I will have several people calling me an asshole for not realizing that the country is going to hell and that THEY HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO BE MAD AS HELL!