Saturday, April 03, 2010

The arrogance of "just look away!" The contradiction of active-ignoring on the Internet

My primary source for news on the Internet is

I won't do an infomercial for Reddit, but suffice it to say that it's a handy place to find out what's going on just about everywhere.

When Anne Coulter recently came to Canada for some speaking engagements, the front page of lit up with links to news stories about her appearances, and also to numerous personal rants by Redditors, mostly vilifying her for the uncountable ridiculous, indefensible, hateful, insane things she's written and said over the years. allows users to comment on stories, and the number of comments on anything relating to Coulter ran into the hundreds.

Among the comments was a contingent of people saying, "Ignore Coulter and she'll go away," or otherwise chiding the original poster of the article and other commenters, saying, "Don't give her the attention she seeks."

I suppose on some rudimentary, schoolyard level, there is a certain simple logic to this.

What struck me about it was the undercurrent of arrogance in people believing that by simply turning their backs on Anne Coulter, she would somehow vanish into the air.
As a quick side note, there were a number of comments and stories saying that Anne Coulter should not have been allowed to speak in Canada at all. I think that's ridiculous. Canadians, particularly Canadian students, have every right in the world to see, firsthand, what crazy looks and sounds like. There is no better example of contemporary crazy than Anne Coulter.

Sure, she's vacant. And sure she's factually, provable wrong on just about everything she says and writes. There is also ample proof online that Anne is quite liberal in one respect: her willingness to plagiarize. Her books have been dissected by readers who show, line by line, what she stole from other writers.

Wrong and weak-minded as she is, if some university wants to invite her to speak; if some crusty rightwing Christian organization wants to pay -- I can only guess -- her fee to appear, then let them.
So, there were the people of Reddit screeching about Coulter, "Ignore her and she'll go away!" Some, more subtle Redditors, simply posted a comment saying "Ignore, ignore, ignore." I guess it never dawned on the Ignoregentsia that they were, in fact, contradicting their own point by posting at all.

That said, it strikes me, personally, as weak and stupid to be an active ignorer. I mean, there are plenty of things I genuinely ignore because I genuinely don't care about them: reality shows, mainstream TV news, network television in general, sports, contemporary music, political punditry, advances in Brazilian basket weaving, religion (except for the scandals), celebrity-watching, etc.

I ignore these things on a daily -- hourly, really -- basis, and know many other people who do, to varying degrees, as well.

Strangely enough, though I ignore these areas of media, they still exist! My ignoring them hasn't snuffed them out. How can this be?

I hear the balcony heckler shouting, If you ignore these things, then how do you know they still exist? Well, I can't help overhearing conversations around the office, around cafes, via friends and family, on the radio.

Ignoring the things I have no interest in doesn't make them go away. Lucky for me, I don't care. I ignore these things because they hold no interest for me. I couldn't care less what becomes of them. But if I were an active ignorer, I might be sorely disappointed.

Like I imagine the active ignorers of Anne Coulter must grit their teeth whenever someone has the gall to post an article about an appearances in Canada being canceled, or yet another one of her sneering, snide remarks: "Canada should try having free speech! It's fun!"

Fuck you, Anne.

But what actually grated me more than Coulter's execrable commentary, and maniacally-grinning-unfunny-sarcasm, were the screeching choruses on Reddit demanding that everone ignore her!

That strikes me as coming from the "perception is reality" crowd; people who believe "out of sight, out of mind;" people who believe "if I close my eyes, nobody can see me."

That way of living doesn't work. Alcoholics Anonymous has been in business for more than 70 because -- shock! -- ignoring problem doesn't make it go away.

I won't buy one of Anne Coulter's books. I wouldn't pay a dime or waste a moment of my time going somewhere to hear her speak. Her remarks are sufficiently vicious, delusional and shocking to the prevailing morality that she'll be in the news as long as there is a lowest common denominator.

You don't want to be part of that lowest common denominator? Cool. But don't tell me I can't gaze through the peephole once in a while to see what's going on.

Because if you make your "ignore list" long enough, there's always going to be something that'll have you running to stick your head under the quilt.

Anne Coulter, and her coterie of haters are nothing more than bullies. You don't facedown a bully by running away. You take them head on. Why? Because they're cowards at their core, and it was with just this sort of rotter in mind that the old expression was coined, "Give them enough rope and they'll hang themselves."

I'm all for doling out that rope.

1 comment:

Macphisto said...

"if some crusty rightwing Christian organization wants to pay"

Why do you continuously exclude leftwing Christians?

By the way, I wrote this with my eyes closed, so no one can read it.