Monday, 14 June 2010

You know you need to get out more when...




Last night I looked in on Yahoo Answers for the first time in ages. Three years ago I had a few months of enforced leisure and spent some time answering questions there, mostly those from foreign learners about English grammar. I soon got fed up with the naiveté of the questions and the ignorance and stupidity of many of the answers, especially when my factually faultless and impeccably constructed contributions got thumbed down, and answers parading pole-axing ignorance were chosen by the asker as best of the bunch. Why do people who know diddly-squat about language feel free to put their oar in, I’d chunter, instead of listening modestly and attentively to those of us who know what we are talking about? Dash it; I shall start a blog instead.

Anyway, last night I found a very silly question from someone who claimed to have opened a hairdressing salon where he employed a bunch of homosexuals. He wanted to know if he should disinfect the place regularly, so that straight customers would not be driven away by the fear of contracting the HIV virus. The question struck me as so utterly benighted that I decided it was a wind-up, designed to elicit apoplectic reactions from the politically correct. I had spent the evening with a bottle of wine, corresponding with a nice but very predictable evangelical fundy street preacher from the USA. 'Evolution science depends on THEORY rather than fact, and then has an artist sketch what the prehistoric person looks like.' Anyone who can spot a flaw in her evaluation of the scientific method, answers on a post-card, please. Anyway, I was feeling the need to be bad after all this, and so contributed a misspelled bit of venom: ‘sack them faggits’, man, I don’t want no goddam faggits cuttin my hair spreddin gay disease everwhere an stuff’ feeling sure the questioner would get the point that I had seen through his trolling. Seconds later I received this self-righteous little wobbly by e-mail from someone who obviously thought the questioner in earnest: ‘you teach children? you're fowl [sic] ... i cannot belive you posted that content on an account that you have had this long...you have my pity... pity the fool i say...' I wrote back, snootily correcting his spelling and pointing out that I had written a deliberately stupid answer to a deliberately stupid question. Then I got an e-mail telling me my answer had been deleted for violation of terms of service, and two more from the Wobbler saying ‘FVCK YOU!’ [sic]. I went to his answer to the same question and flagged it as inappropriate in retaliation and…

… I came to. I realised I had just spent an evening writing to an ex-Wiccan recovered drug addict who is now high on Jesus and conspiracy theories and beyond all reason, followed by fifteen minutes replying to an egregiously stupid question, then a spiteful little spat with the pious twerp who messaged me, then pettishly marking the writer’s own answer as inappropriate simply because he had not allowed me the option of replying to his ‘fvck off’ messages. ‘Tell me this isn’t true,’ I thought. ‘Tell me it has not come to this. It has. I’m off to bed.’

Right. Any passing God-botherer is kindly requested to move on now, and not to try to save my soul for a while. Your attentions are disturbing the balance of my mind, and I’m going to be as ripe for Bedlam as you are unless you leave me alone, OK?

12 comments:

The Diva on a Diet said...

Please tell me your little Wobbler really did use "fowl" instead of "foul". That's simply too precious for words!

Vilges Suola said...

Indeed he did. The 'fvck you' spelling was deliberate, I think, after I had corrected him in my best school-masterly fashion. That he imagined I taught kids (he must have read my profile) and that he couldn't spot my misspelled and syntactically incoherent sentences (I can't rimemba what I ackshully rote but man, it wuz like pritty fvcked up) was another indication of his umm, lack of attention.

Deiniol said...

I don't know if you've seen yahooanswerfail.com, but you can get all the joy of reading the crème de la crème of YA's lunacy without being tempted to respond yourself.

Vilges Suola said...

Thanks, I'll have a look at that.

Fionnchú said...

VS, this sums up similar frustrations I have after putting so much unpaid labor into Amazon with my 1150-plus reviews since '97. So much of the Net benefits from our voluntary efforts while the corporate aggregates benefit.

I guess we do too by "free" blogs via Google, but the imbalance of careful craft to idiotic babble appears again to reflect the 'real world' rather than that cultural betterment that this latest version of mass empowerment and affordable literacy once predicted.

Why are so many sites arrayed in the like or dislike manner? The way morons can vote down or "unlike" sensible comments annoys me no end. Keeps me from bed too!

Vilges Suola said...

I suppose we ask for it, imagining that we can tidy up the idiotic babble in our own small way, or reason with the unreasoning. You Tube can be depressing in the extreme; the vicious, ignorant, and credulous have never had such a platform! And yes, it is depressing when thoughtful book reviews by educated people appear alongside twaddle, and people don't seem to be able to see the difference.

Fionnchú said...

Has the Internet Killed Professional Book Reviews?; I had my say on the comments page; I found this right after commenting here. One advantage of this medium: we can continue the conversations and not let the twaddlers win-- cf. your own dialogues with ex-Wiccan fanatics?

Vilges Suola said...

Good comment of yours on that page. Heartening to hear your reviews are valued among so much competition - proves it's worth it.

I wonder how far the exchanges are conversations, though. I have a whole bunch of comments to make on my Jesus-lovin' former Wiccan's latest message, which is a minor masterpiece of credulity, fantasy and muddled morality, but what's the point? Since I am the Spawn of Satan, what else does she expect from me but disagreement?

I think - I hope - that the net won't kill professional reviews but they are quite hard to find online.

myverygaywedding said...

This post is making use of 'paragraphs' in the most dramatic, arresting and effective way!

If I were a member of the Grammar & Style Patrol, this entry would get an award...

...instantly!

Vilges Suola said...

Cor, ta very much, you can come again!

James said...

I love that xkcd comic. I remember that particular one whenever I have similar problems on the internet. Usually I don't bother fighting any more.

Vilges Suola said...

James, I know what you mean, but I do think regular public fundy-baiting might serve to keep waverers out of their clutches, so I... um, fundy-bait often.

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