I opened up this particular gong show act in [Re: Fanaticism], as a reply to a post by Pentrant. Tony rang his own personal gong on the argument, and I agreed with him that amongst the two of us there isn't much need of an internet argument that we couldn't do in person. However, Tony's Uncle Matt decided to get involved. Uncle Matt has blog links to a couple of the blogs I follow only in sadness via Feed the Wingnuts Some Sledgehammers. Therefore, it shouldn't be a surprise that he has written quite a bit of ridiculousness that is making me angry.

I have to stop reading this sort of stuff. It's probably not good for my outlook on life, which I'll be one of the first to admit sucks to begin with.

I've decided that I'm in the mood to editorialize Uncle Matt's latest posts and break them apart, simply to help myself and do it somewhere where I am free to use as many words as I need, not some stupid HaloScan box.

The comment in particular that has been driving me crazy took two or three readings before I think I was able to make a connection of it to the topic at hand:

Have you read the NY Times lately? Please go back and read about a month's worth of frontpage articles and then we'll discuss oppresion of Christian idea and thought...this from the so-called Paper of Record.

First of all, what does "Paper of Record" mean?

I love the sudden interjection of "oppresion (sic) of Christian idea and thought" in the middle of a discussion of Conservative v. Liberal fanaticism. It implies that Liberals aren't Christian or don't have/care for "Christian idea and thought". I know a number of individuals who would take offense at that. My parents, alone, would take a huge offense at that.

Somehow, though, "a month's worth of frontpage articles" from the New York Times can exemplify how much Liberals "oppress ... Christian idea and thought". If I watch carefully, apparently, magically, the entire New York Times staff is Liberal Christian-Haters; magically Conservatism is the Only Party of Christianity.

I'm not a lawyer, but even as an academic, "a month's worth of frontpage articles" isn't anywhere near swaying evidence. In fact, it's not cite-able, it's not source-able, and a court of law or journal of science that accepted something like that is a poor court/journal indeed. At least, as a simple example, when I link to Feed the Wingnuts Some Sledgehammers, I'm linking to a series of definite editorial which make definite points and cite/quote sources. Sure, they're editorials, and thus not evidence, but are examples, are backed up by evidence, and provide some insight into what we think they mean. Therefore you can think of it as a living autopsy, which sometimes provides good evidence in court.

So, you're unable to point to any basis for your opinion, but I'm ridiculous. I have given you an example (the NY Times).

Once again, liberals on display: sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Sigh. It's always nice to be mocked. I feel so much better knowing that my opinions, my friend's opinions, my family's opinions, my friends, my family, and me are insignificant.

I shouldn't even respond. I'm getting to the point where the contents of my stomach boil when I try to understand Conservatives. This is yet another time where I make a reference to one's ideas ("that's more than ridiculous") gets transformed into a reference to oneself and then personal attacks start flying. It amazes me that people confuse themselves and their ideas (or sometimes themselves and the groups they belong to). I know that I'm much more than the sum of my ideas and beliefs. There's an entire branch of Psychology devoted to studying how the brain and the psyche are so much more than the sum of the parts (Gestalt Psychology).

I guess what really irks me, though, is the condescension and belittling. It is a topic that comes up for me every now and then. I've fought that all my life. It bothers me every time I encounter it. It's part of why I was so messed up in Elementary schools... At first it was fought with ego and outrage. Then came passive agression. Thanks to the Internet I've since learned to channel it into over-humility with hidden waves of sarcasm seething with vitriol. But then over-humility becomes a hard habit to break. When I mean no sarcasm, it can sometimes seem to be there. Sometimes over-humility can even be mistaken for lack of confidence. But, then again, there are the people who realize that any real humility or sarcasm touches on truth... I would even go so far as to say that it does take confidence to be truly humble. It's one of the things I respect sometimes of Japanese culture and its focus on being humble.