August 25, 2004

Ignorance Can Be Funny

I just got back from band camp about half an hour ago, and I still have to unpack and do laundry, but I couldn't pass up an opportunity to mock the stupidity of one of my fellow human beings. Therefore, it's time for a lesson in how not to troll a blog. Pay attention; There will be a test at the end of the week. Also, in order to keep the open'll put this post in the extended entry. I WANT MORE OPEN THREAD COMMENTS UNTIL BAND CAMP IS OVER! There are 8 right now. I want at least 15 by tomorrow at this time. If you happen to be an expert on Swiss Cake Rolls, now is your time to shine.

You should definitely read this post though, because it contains vital information.

As you may know, people occasionally decide to leave comments on posts that are several months old. I'm not sure what they think they'll accomplish by essentially spamming my archives, but that's not important.

Anyway, that's Lesson Number 1: Don't comment on archived posts. Look at the "posted at" date and see how old it is first.

We're in luck today, because we have an example of a troll comment that does everything wrong. If you look at the bottom of this post from March 9, 2004, you'll see the following comment, which was posted at 1:27 this morning:

"Give me ONE example of the administration saying that criticism is no longer allowed, and I'll purchase not one, but TWO of your albums. Come on. "

"Those people out there who claim that this administration is trying to surpress descent about the war in Iraq should watch what they say."
-Donald Rumsfeld

You see, I challenged readers to provide an example of the Bush administration crushing dissent. The top quote is from the post, and the bottom quote is from the troll. I'll give you a second to absorb that information.

Now, if you are a person of about average intelligence, you should notice that there are misspelled words in the quote. "Dissent" is written as "descent," and "suppress" is written as "surpress." This brings us to lessons 2 and 3. Ready?

Lesson 2: Provide sources for your quotes.

The above quote is not linked to any outside source, and since I'm not the one who posted it, I have no obligation to find out if it's a real quote. If you can't show me a source, it means you probably just typed it from memory. The spelling errors are a dead giveaway. Because of this, there's a good chance that Donald Rumsfeld never actually said what is attributed to him here. Find an introductory psychology textbook and read about the reliability of eyewitness testimony, and you'll understand why I can't treat this as a real quote. Now, let's move on.

Lesson 3: Provide context

If I grant for the sake of argument that the quotation actually was uttered by Donald Rumsfeld at some point, I still don't know what context it was said in. It could be like the "haves and have mores" quote from Dubya, which was meant to be a joke, but is being thrown around by neolibs as an example of Bush's elitism. Or how about the "[Americans] need to watch what they say, watch what they do" line from Ari Fleischer? It was used to show that the administration was calling dissent dangerous, but in context, it was a warning against racially motivated violence. In addition, knowing the kind of guy Secretary Rumsfeld is, I wouldn't be surprised if he was just being ironic. Think about it for a second, and it's friggin' hilarious. Unfortunately, I still don't know if he actually said it. This brings us to our final lesson.

Lesson 4: Follow directions

Even in the event that this is a real quote, it still doesn't fulfill the requirements I provided, so I won't be buying any Barbra Streisand albums anytime soon. Let's look again. This was my challenge:

"Give me ONE example of the administration saying that criticism is no longer allowed, and I'll purchase not one, but TWO of your albums."

Once again, even if that quote is real, there's nothing in there saying that criticism is no longer allowed. Nothing. It's just a suggestion, and the last time I checked, those didn't count as rules.

And now, some final comments.

My challenge is still out there. If anyone can provide an example of the Bush administration clearly saying that criticism of their decisions is not allowed, I will purchase two Barbra Streisand albums. However, if a possibly fabricated Donald Rumsfeld quote that still doesn't meet the requirements is the best anyone can do, I'm not worried.

And now, I will continue unpacking. See ya.

Posted by CD on August 25, 2004 10:32 PM
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