Saturday, April 22, 2006


This week, Daniel Hanninger discovers the disinhibitive nature of the Inter-webs. I find it amusing when folks in the mainstream press, even a good publication like the Wall Street Journal, discover the online world. Henninger, at least, has moved beyond the typical "Hey, there's these things called 'blogs'" story and tried to take a look at the effect of blogging on people's behavior.

Other folks have been onto the impact of anonymity on disinhibitive behavior through computer-mediated communication for quite some time. The concept is summed up rather nicely here. Essentially, people do and say anything they like to and about people they don't know
because they perceive themselves as "anonymous". They can dissociate themselves from that behavior because it happens online and they are "someone else" online.

I've taken advantage of that quality of online interaction before, but it grows tiresome for me. I suppose once you've been online long enough, you just want to be you. "Robosquirrel" stuck with me as an online hadle, but I have no problem with letting people know who I really am. Still, I can have an engaging discussion with people I disagree with without anyone getting upset or taking things personally. But I try to treat people as though I am looking right at them and not say anything I wouldn't say to their face. Not one thing I've ever posted on this blog is something I never talked to anyone about in person.

Other people like to use the disinhibitive nature of Internet anonymity to say whatever they like about people, especially things they'd never ever say in real life, at least not to someone's face. If someone disagrees with me, I'd like them to just say it to me, not link me up and accuse me of being sexist. Especially since I couldn't care less what random anonymous person on the Internet thinks of me, but my curiosity is piqued as to why 1) anyone would think I'm sexist and 2) why you wouldn't have the balls to just tell me you disagree with me and have a discussion. It's not like you have to look me in the eye or anything.

Through the miracles of modern technology, I found the link and asked the blogger what it was about my post she thought made me sexist, and that my understanding that sexism is the belief that one thinks the opposite sex is inferior. One of the frequent commenters replied:
"i love how racism is reduced to thinking blacks are inferior and sexism is reduced to thinking women are inferior.

dude! try to keep up!"
Reduced? That's what sexism is. I don't see the discussion going anywhere, since I've responded and been ignored - some people aren't fans of talking to people they disagree with. However, I am amused by the fact that folks feel like they can use words to mean whatever they want them to mean. Should I take being called sexist as a complement, of is it much worse than I originally thought? How could I know, if anybody can make any word mean whatever they want it to mean?

I could extrapolate from that comment that since sexism "means" much more than what it actually means, then she must be leaning toward calling me a misogynist, which couldn't be further from the truth, but how would I know without making equally rash assumptions about the feminists whose fleeting attention I attracted?

I really enjoy people coming by here with differing points of view and having conversations without going insane.

Red is trying to make me get a manicure now. I have to talk some sense into her.


Anonymous Anonymous bloody well said...

You are so stupid! This post is stupid! Your blog is stupid!

22 April, 2006 10:53  
Blogger Robosquirrel bloody well said...

Ooooh! I'll slap-fight you!

22 April, 2006 11:24  
Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon bloody well said...

Nothing wrong with a manicure. A good manicure will prevent hang-nails and nobody likes those. Still it's best to do it yourself - if you have the time.

25 April, 2006 22:12  
Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden bloody well said...

04 25 06
You know Robosquirrel, I don't get these people. They do a long post talking about feminism and do it somewhat intelligibly then give you that bs as an answer? Just goes to show you that there are straight up wackos out there who cannot own up to anything! It is best to ignore those feminazi types. After all, all men are penis wielding jerks in their eyes. One feminazi got on me for saying that feminism was about choice; choice to pursue your own goals and dreams without being limited by any glass ceilings etc. This feminazi said "NO that is wrong; being a feminist was about ridding ourselves of the patriarchy." Well when I hear that kinda crap I run the other direction because such moonbat idiots cannot be reasoned with. They are coming from a perspective where ALL men are bad by virtue of the benefits they receive from the patriarchy. Well I love my Daddy and Grandpas too much to even go there. I rarely think of ridding ourselves of the patriarchy in those terms. Ultimately I believe in equality of opportunity...

26 April, 2006 15:26  

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