Sunday, February 27, 2011

polling the wit

Yesterday’s post caused most of you who commented to chuckle.  But not everyone.

A reader was a bit put out at me for -- .  Well, rather than paraphrasing (and running the danger of skewing the point), let her speak for herself.

”Why would you think it's funny for one person to call another person a fat cow? Yes, the woman behaved badly - but being unkind in response does nothing but create more ugliness. Seriously.....we have quite enough of that.”

It is a point not easily dismissed.  A fellow blogger and I spent part of an afternoon recently discussing the tendency on blogs (especially in comments) for people to indulge in some rather nasty name-calling.

Not the witty banter one would find at an Algonquin Round Table.  You never hear things like: “If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.”

Instead, the verbal equivalent of a medieval mace clutters the internet.  “Stupid.”  “Dolt.”  “Racist.”  “Fascist.”  All of them designed to merely terminate civil intercourse.

So, I stand in the dock accused of being – “unfunny,” “unkind,” “ugly”?  I am not quite certain.  But it is my blog so I will appeal to the dear readers to render a verdict.

There are two questions.  You will find them posted rather inconspicuously to the right.

The first is: what should I have done about the waitress?  Turned her in to see her get fired -- or sat there enjoying the performance (which is what I did)?

The second question involves my next two posts.  My stay at the airport offered up a wealth of stories.  I have chosen two more to share.  But I will warn you.  They have witty twists.  And I do not want to offend any sensitive souls out there.  The majority will prevail.

Your second vote will be on whether to spike the next two stories or to allow liberty to ring throughout the land.  (I didn’t spend my life as a lawyer for nuttin’.)

The poll will have a brief (but fulfilling) life.  So, get your vote in fast.


Steve Cotton said...

And I think it helps to know the Mexican sense of humor. It has a Marx Brothers-Three Stooges aspect to it.

Cheese said...

I take my philly cheese-steaks wit whiz. And I'll take your yarns wit wit.

Mcotton said...

1. You were right in staying silent. The customer did not know she was insulted. Any comment from you or others would have escalated the problem. Who knows where it would have led. Instead humor prevailed, silently.

2. Let's hear, or rather let us read the other stories you have to share with us.

Charley said...

I agree with the Mexile, calling someone a racist is not "namecalling" but an opinion based on examination of evidence. Not the same as calling someone a dolt, or stupid. Calling someone a "crazy uncle" is chiding other readers to not take the
blogger too seriously.

i don't see much namecalling on the mexico blogs.
Censorship, yes.
But considering the source, not unexpected.

John said...

Apparently I have been banned by some Blog writers because my commenters made unkind remarks about their comments on my Blog. I was thought to be wrong for having posted the offending comments.

I agree with Tancho - can we really be so thin skinned as to worry about a crackpot or twos comments - sad really.

Early on in my Blogging life I was taken to task about editing or deleting the opinion of others - so it is hard to win on this - damned if you do and damned if you don't.

We do not allow bad language, but tolerate bad form assuming our readers are intelligent enough to separate the wheat from the chaff.

My recommendation is to not worry about crank comments and enjoy life - some seem to be taking it all way too seriously.

Felipe Zapata said...

The woman who sent you the complaint failed to note the essential element: The target of the insult was not aware she had been insulted. No harm, no foul.

Regarding some of the other comments here:

1. Racist is indeed an insult. Plus, it is the fall-back tactic of the PC community that is designed to immediately silence those who disagree. Usually it is very effective, which is why they continue to hurl it on a regular basis.

2. Free speech refers to the freedom to voice contrary opinions. In a civil manner. Name-calling is simply rudeness. I don't excuse it as "free speech." There is such an incredible quantity of rudeness and crassness in cyberspace these days, and it spills out into the physical world to our detriment. Good folks don't allow it or put up with it. Effective communication requires standards. That so many otherwise-intelligent people fail to see this is an indication of how low we have fallen.

Kwallekno said...

Can't we all just get along? Well no, not all the time, a person acting like a fat cow needs to be called on it or its a down hill run over a cliff for all of us.

Mexican Trailrunner said...

Judging from the poll, we are not in any danger of having your wit tempered. Whew!

Steve Cotton said...

Obviously, we agree on the concept of name-calling. Just not on what should be on the list. Some labels (Socialist, racist) can be based on objective data. My experience is that too many folks these days pull out those labels as discussion stoppers. After the name is called, nothing else follows. Thus they have become mere terms of anger.

When I started the blog, I noted the difference in tone between several Mexico message boards and the blogs I read. There was a large minority on the boards who tended to monopolize most conversations with the type of bar fight language you hear at the local tavern, Not so, the blogs. They were tea party polite.

Recently that has changed just slightly. I read quite a few Mexico blogs. And I have seen the name calling creeping in. I'm not sure why.

But we have stories to tell. And conversations to hold. So, let's get on with it.

Steve Cotton said...

I simply found the comment amusing. As I said, the commenters point was not to be taken lightly, and I hoped we could have a conversation on the concept of name-calling.

As far as enjoying life goes, I am with you. And both of us will continue to write on that topic.

Steve Cotton said...

But, in this case, as several people have already pointed out, the exchange was literally graceful -- as if performed by a ballerina. And that was the point of the story. The best witty remark is where the target remains oblivious. She could have used several other options that would have been nothing but rude and common. Insteead, she was the Fonteyn of the bon mot.

Steve Cotton said...

That is the miracle of push polling. You always know where it is going to end up. A little performance art now and then never hurt anyone.

Steve Cotton said...

But it has led to a discussion far more interesting than I had supposed.

Steve Cotton said...

I think I mentioned before that under normal circumstances, I would have sat down with the English woman just to chat -- to soothe what I could, I didn't, though, because of the next bizarre event that happened that day. (I would begin to think my very presence skews the universe, but that path leads to madness.)

And I am certain I would enjoy post-dinner conversation with you. You are one of that rare breed in this ever-maddening world: truly a good sport.

Steve Cotton said...

You forgot to mention that you were a waitress in high school.

Steve Cotton said...

Good one that.

Your Name Goes Here said...

Wish I had something witty to contribute, but I seem to be out of vinegar this morning!

tancho said...

Lots of worse things to be called than fat cow.......geez name calling?

Alan said...

Steve, in case you wondered, I vote "you go man!" on both. Whether it was PC or not, you are not in staid, tight collar Salem in front of Gov K, or even Justice Gillette. Too little humor and too much vitriol makes for an unreadable blog

Beck said...

Life's too short not to laugh about the absurdities. Keep posting your brand of wit!

sparks said...

Mucho witting the pole .. as it should be

sparks said...

>>> would not know what him them
But if it was a she that himed them ... and they always have translators

Steve Cotton said...

And that I shall. The next installment is on its way.

Steve Cotton said...

It was like a very enjoyable convention.

Steve Cotton said...

Snow? There is a line from a song "like Christmas in LA" meant to convey the feeling of something that is a bit off. Maybe not.

And I will be there in a mere three days.