Trolls Gone Wild, Part One: Operation Change The Subject

Over the last few days, I’ve noticed a few incidents that tend to reinforce the notion that many of our detractors here are not overly interested in actual discussion. Instead, they simply want to repeat ad nauseum the same old talking points (often already thoroughly debunked and discredited) and silly attacks.

Case #1: On Sunday, I posed a very simple question: “If the US lost the war in Iraq, then who won?” It was hardly an original question, so I guess it was only appropriate that so many of the answers were less than original. It was amazing how many people, when answering that simple question, preferred to answer the one they wanted to: just who lost the war. Publicus, Wieder, Steve Crickmore, Semanticleo, groucho — the usual suspects — all couldn’t resist the opportunity to vent their vitriol. It took a couple of hours before anyone started actually talking about the question at hand.

Then, yesterday, I decided to take the low road and take some shots at John Murtha. I figured that would bring out some of his defenders, but it seems nobody wants to defend the guy. Instead, they wanted to re-fight another argument, namely the Bill Clinton impeachment. When that flagged, Scooter Libby found his way into the discussion. If that wasn’t enough, BarneyG decided to indulge in some very crass, very crude insults at Paul Wolfowitz and Shaha Riza. I’m not quite certain how that became germane, but it was incredibly illustrative of just what sort of person BarneyG is — and should he ever be banned from here, his “Wolfie to give his adulterous slut mistress a $60K raise” will be Exhibit A.

Changing the subject is a common tactic when you realize you can’t argue the point. I’ve done it myself several times, both here and elsewhere, but I at least have a smidgen of shame over it.

The annoying thing about it is how easily it can work — and how stupid you feel when you realize you’ve fallen for it.

(Part 2 has been delayed. I should finish it tonight or tomorrow morning. Sorry…)

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