Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Public Service Announcement: The Last Word

(Update at bottom)

Most blogs have a feature that allows people to know when someone has commented on their post.  They can do this by mail, or by a comment feed, or a little message center in the dashboard.

Most people who blog are aware of this, but there's a number of commenters who seem to think that they can pick a 6-month old post and get the last word in on the discussion because the actual conversation part is dead.  Why do think people are doing this to get the last word in and not be noticed by the smart bloggers and commenters?
Because the dumbest fucking comments are made when the thread has been dead for 6 months or more.

Rarely do I ever get anything positive or intelligent when the post has been dead that long.  I'm not sure why anyone bothers doing so, maybe they link it to their friends and show how they "pwned" the original poster, maybe its so that future web nomads will leave the discussion with the impression that no one could argue against the last commenter's "brilliant" point.  Whatever the motive, it doesn't work and it looks rather stupid.

It reminds me of this guy.

Now, this guy is Internet-Famous for standing behind a bunch of people with a sign and making them look foolish.  The first time I saw it, a colleague at work had emailed it out with the words "The guy in the back is my hero."

I admit to chuckling when I first saw it.  It's amusing as it is.

Thing is, he's standing behind all of the women in the photo.  I'd hardly describe that as a feat of courage.  Judging from what I know about human beings, he probably hid the sign whenever any of the women turned around.  Not exactly a hero.

Granted, the thought of him shitting his pants, running for the hills, or being duct-taped to a pine tree once that group of protesters noticed him is pretty funny.  But it makes the overall stunt more an anecdote of amateur clownishness than the brave act of counter-culture rebellion I suspect the gentlemen was going for.  And certainly not the heroic moment of comedy its held up as.

I supposed my point is that's there's something especially disgusting in cowardice.  I mean, it's one thing to be an unrepentant asshole and get surrounded with hatred and banned from message boards and blogs and such for your rudeness and it's one thing to merely be stupid and outmatched in every argument you set foot in.

But to be stupid and/or rude and know you'll be hatred, banned, or outmatched and then go out of your way to avoid it but still look like a badass little rebel who gets the last word?  That's pretty low, even for a fucking troll.

I suppose what I'm saying, to translate to the language of misogynistic assholes, is "Good god, grow a pair".

Update: Look what I got in the mail today, as if the universe wished to remind me of this post and prove my point.

I'm giving you a screencap of the email rather than just linking the comment because the comments don't have dates. And the date to this comment is so very important to me.

These two comments were left two years, one month, and five days after this post was originally posted. It's like the universe is validating my opinions.

This guy might actually be a very brilliant comedian who was hoping there'd be a date stamp on the comment. If not, well, he's like a birthday present. A really late birthday present. I mean, I'm still not impressed with his idiot friend, or likely to click on his idiot link, but this may be the best comment I've ever gotten. Thank you, Bob.

For the record, there's some sort of radio recording supporting his story. So he's a truthful, late, probably cowardly (or just obsessive or stupid), asshole troll. I really don't care, though, because this is an old post and he started out with calling me names. Now, to be fair, I called the guy with the sign an asshole but the man is demonstrably an asshole and it doesn't matter that he's not as big a coward as I thought or he's a paid plant or what-have-you. I can upgrade him to the level of timely asshole troll willing to get into an argument for attention, which isn't exactly a brave, intelligent, or respectable person. So I fail to see how this is defending him exactly. Bob is being abusive on a two-year old post. So I'll be publishing the abusive comment, but not the followup comment with the link because I am a bitch.


  1. Srsly.. that's a great example :o Not very "heroic" to hold a sign behind ppl who aren't looking at you.

    I'm always shocked by ppl who show up to a long dead thread or post just to say something thinking about how clever they are that when ppl accidentally stumble onto the post they'll see how this guy "won" the debate with his awesome argument -_-;;

  2. I'm sorry some commenters were mean to you. But people who disagree with you, even in a rude manner, aren't the same as this 'iron my shirt' guy.

    "Disagree with me? Found my post a few months late on newsarama? Ha! You're a cowardly sexist!"

    They might need to 'grow a pair', but you need to grow up.

  3. My personal policy on months-late troll comments is just to delete 'em. If they're on-topic and interesting, I'll leave 'em, though I always kinda regret that their late comment won't get any real attention.

    But late-arriving trolls and cowards always get the ax. Come to think of it, early-arriving trolls and cowards get the ax, too. Huzzah for the ax!

  4. Mikey, this isn't someone arguing that Jade is a better Lantern than John or that ASBAR is a clever parody. This isn't even someone saying "I like Greg Horn's artwork because his She-Hulk looks like an actual woman" (and if you argue someone was, go back and check out that link to the Horn argument again.) In both examples the subject is sexism. The disagreement is about sexism. The assumptions of the people making the disagreement are classically sexist.

    Not only that, they are making the same kinds of arguments that have been torn apart previously in the comment thread.

    It looks like a duck, dearie. I'm not being childish because I won't give it the benefit of the doubt and treat it like a horse.

  5. See, and herein lies the problem. The comments weren't the kind of overt sexism as seen in the picture. I'll agree that they're poorly written, vitriolic, and dumb for the most part, but the thesis of one seems to be 'if you don't like it, don't buy it' while the other is 'i don't see a problem with bare midriffs.'

    These arguments might be poorly formed. They might even be wrong, but the writers aren't deliberately trying to denigrate women, even in jest. I'm not saying there's not sexism in their sentiments, but I doubt the writers are aware of it. 'Iron my shirt' has no such excuse.

    You want to argue why those commenters are sexist and wrong and call them pains in the ass for coming months late to a comment thread, fine, but don't compare someone who expresses an opinion to someone who carries offensive slogans to get a laugh. It's not the same thing. I say this and belabor this point because, though I disagree and get angry with about 99% of what you write, I think you're better than that.

  6. Mike -- Actually, I've got more respect for the guy who's trying to get the laugh.

    Because he's just trying to get a laugh and may not necessarily be trying to harm the original argument.

    But the two I linked were comparing feminist complaints to "think of the children"-style censorship and misogyny and homophobia as a way to dismiss the concerns and belittle their opinions.

    At least the guy trying for the laugh is open about it. They're just as thoughtless but are trying to look thoughtful.

    And they didn't even have the guts to do this in a conversation where they would have to immediately engage another viewpoint. They did it on an old one, so that the last thing a reader would see would be the pseudologic, with no more sensible followup pointing out the holes in that argument (which are sometimes refuted in the original post, and sometimes have shit-all to do with the original post but serve) so that a less-than-attentive reader would leave with their words in their head, not those of the original poster.

    So I guess you're right. The comparison is bad. I'd rather have a conversation the guy with the sign than the guy who pulls bullshit of his ass and swears it smells better than my roses.

    Particularly if he does this when I've left the room, so he can give people the impression that my roses smell worse than that bullshit.

    And what the hell is it about you that makes me want to answer you with metaphors?

  7. It's exactly the same. That guy who carries offensive slogans is no different than the commenters who come to comment threads months or years after the fact to troll or to get the last word.

    Some of these trolls say "slogans" a lot more offensive than "iron my shirt", I might add. Admittedly, the folks linked in Ragnell's examples are not of that ilk, but we've both seen enough of our share of worse.

    But the real point of comparison is that in both cases, we're talking about cowards. Folks who are all to willing to carry signs behind peoples' back or to post triumphant retorts or idiotic insults on posts because they think it won't be noticed.

    Sometimes, very rarely, they are people with actual substantial contributions to the discussion, but most of the time, they are exactly the same as that guy. They've got wisecracks, insults, or just supposedly triumphant retorts that they're perfectly willing to flaunt in our space behind our backs but not when called upon.

  8. It may be random google traffic. I know I've occasionally stumbled upon a post where I've left a comment only to look up at the date afterwards and realize it's a year old.

    Of course, in most cases, it's not usually to attack people.

  9. I was actually just wondering the same thing about people who comment on ancient threads. I always dread seeing those notices in my inbox, or on the blogs I frequent, because they're almost never anything of substance. They're either spam or stupid comments, and as you said, they're always looking to have the last word.

  10. Oh, you just wait 'till June 17th, 2014. Then you'll be sorry!


    We had a guy on our site who did this for every thread. He wasn't a total idiot, I guess. But he was probably better off not getting replied to.

  11. i got the same feeling about the guys in the museum spelling out YMCA by standing next to the crucifixion picture. It's humorous, but seems to be done quickly and with fear of discovery since the photo is blurred and has poor exposure.

  12. My blog gets comments on old posts all the time. I don't think I've ever thought it was by someone wanting to get the last word. People that think getting the last word is important aren't really the types to comment on other people's blogs. They usually have their own blogs and use them to always get the last word.

    I know with WordPress, it's possible to automatically turn comments off after a certain amount of time. I've just never thought it was that big of a deal.

  13. I figure he was standing in the back because otherwise the joke doesn't play when the crowd gets photographed. You have to see all the other signs first as the setup for the punchline to work. If he was standing where the protesters could see his sign, he'd have his back to the camera, y'know?

  14. The Iron My Shirt guy is Rich Shertenlieb. He was there as a radio stunt from 99X in Atlanta. Totally staged. He repeated the stunt at a Hillary rally last year. You can scroll down to his name here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/99x
    to see the details

  15. If you weren't so retarded, maybe you would hear the whole story. Not only was there someone giving a speech that he was holding the sign for, but he started yelling the phrase on the sign AND got interviewed by the press, which was published in newspapers such as USA Today amongst many others. Get your facts straight before you try and sound noble.

    Oh and by the way, it's Rich Shertenlieb, Toucher and Rich, Mornings 6-10, 98.5 The Sports Hub. 985thesportshub.com

    Oh, and one more thing. IRON MY SHIRT

  16. And here we have a living embodiment of the trope! Aw. How cute!