The talkbacker as terrorist
In an earlier age, we might well have concerned ourselves with the Taxonomy of the Talkbacker, probing, collecting, and classifying the sorts of people who appear to live a good portion of their lives at the bottom of the page.
As in any biological example of rapid, globe-circling growth in a habitat of markedly favorable conditions and few predators, the genus Backtalkus has spawned countless distinct and flamboyantly diverse species.
There is, of course, the species Pottymouthus, whose favored mode of communication, to say nothing of reasoned discourse, is variations on a few basic vocalizations, e.g., "You're a moron," "You're a *&^%$#%$," "Your mother's a *&%&$%."
This group includes a subspecies popularly known as the Diagnostician. Examples of the characteristic calls of this variety are "When did you go off your meds?" "When did you slip out of your straightjacket?" or "When are you going to do the world a favor and die?"
A second, not unrelated, subspecies is the Sadistic Undertaker, who reserves his or her cruelest comments for gloating at the death of a prominent person, especially if the death is particularly tragic.
While all of these groups has its own undeniable charm, they have nothing on the profoundly embittered, fanatically boilerplate, immutably singleminded crusaders who never shrink from a fight, defending the incomprehensible, including violence against civilians, on the condition that they can wage verbal war from their keyboards thousands of miles away from the local battlefields.
There is the species which may be called the Terminator, viewing mass killings and expulsions as the answer to all ills.
And then there is the mirror image, the Genocidophile, who spares no opportunity to accuse the other side of advocating and carrying out the systematic murder of millions.
This ground has, of course, been plowed before, as in the essay entitled Talkbacks are for cowardly bigots.But it may be worthwhile taking a closer look at the talkback shock troops, the hardliners, for whom talkbacks are, effectively, terrorism by other means.
These are the readers who cannot stomach, much less listen to, an opposing viewpoint. These are the readers whose side - whichever it may be - is the only side.
These are the readers who, rather than relate to those with whom they disagree, badger, berate, curse, humiliate, cow, dismiss and otherwise abuse them for daring to think otherwise.
These are the readers who would like nothing better than to terrorize the talkback landscape into a verbal version of Grand Theft Auto video games. These are the readers whose purpose, first and foremost, is to dehumanize. They are counter-compassionate, denying all humanity for those they feel that it is their life's duty to, literally, write off.
They would like nothing better, than to reduce discussion to the level of what may be called Dinformation, in which noise and volume and misdirection and misappropriation of selective portions of truth, take the place of fact and reason.
The hallmarks of the BarcaLounger bomber are many, their causes and betes noires diverse. They may include:
There are no Palestinians, never were. Therefore, let them go back to where they came from, or starve, or be killed, where they are.
Jews have no claim to Jerusalem or the Holy Land. Therefore, let them go back to where they came from, or be put on trial, or put to death, where they are.
The goal of the other side is to ethnically cleanse and/or annihilate all of those on my side. Therefore, all means are legitimate in resisting their goal.
The road to hell is paved by moderates. Those who preach moderation are wussies or naive or cowardly at best, treasonous at worst.
Those of us who are dubiously privileged to see all Talkbacks in their original, straight-from-the-large-bowel form, long ago gave up hope of having people actually communicate with one another through this remarkable medium.
What a damn shame. What a crying waste. _______________
The Palestinians' time is running out.We owe the Palestinians a state60 years of Nakba, 60 years of nothingOur Defense Forces, our war crimes, our terrorismFor our worst enemy, Hamas, just two wordsThe New 12 Tribes of Israel
Talkbackers interested in being interviewed for a prospective article on the talkback phenomenon are invited to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org