The Hazards of Blogging

Blogging is a dangerous job, and not for the faint of heart.

Not that it involves the physical risks of, say, coal mining or timber cutting, or the mental burnout that a surgeon or stock trader might experience. The hazard is more of a slow-acting moral poison, a soul-crushing spiritual vacuum brought on by repeated exposure to blogging. First, there’s the information overload. You wind up knowing way too much about things you were perfectly happy being ignorant of. Oh, and the places you’ll go! The people you’ll see! Keeping tabs on everything that’s going on throughout Greater Blogistan requires going to some very strange and, if I may use a technical term, icky places.

Going through the headlines yesterday, I noted Barack Obama had left the campaign trail to go to his ailing grandmother’s side in Hawaii. Any morally intact person would silently wish for her good health and fortune and move on to other news. But never underestimate the ability of rightwing blogs to lower the bar several inches into the ground and still manage to trip over it. There, on Memorandum [], just beneath the Obama grandmother story, was a link to the Gateway Pundit, a popular rightwing blogger who has turned excessive exclamation points and EMPHATIC USE OF ALL CAPS into an art form. I couldn’t resist. I had to see what comforting words of solace and respect he has for Obama and his grandmother []:

”Obama used his grandmother on the campaign trail this year including comparing her to racist, anti-AmeriKKKan pastor Jeremiah Wright and calling her a “typical white person”:

But, Obama will take two days this week to see her in Hawaii.”

Milk of human #@%&ing kindness, if you ask me.

Like roaches, when you see one on a story like that, there’s bound to be more. So I strapped on my waders, gloves and goggles, took a few Cipro and washed them down with a mixture of bourbon and jaguar urine and plunged headlong into abyss.

From the creatively named Betsy’s Page, who goes with the passive aggressive approach in “Best wishes to Barack Obama’s grandmother” []:

”I really hope she gets better soon. Despite his trumpeting her supposed racism before the public in order to excuse his time in Reverend Wright’s church, I’m sure she’s filled with pride and love to see the grandson she helped raise be on the cusp of being elected president.”

Manly macho blogs whose titles remind you they are written by men, like Invincible Armor []:

”Obama’s grandmother, fresh from being tossed under the bus, will finally have Obama’s undivided attention in Hawaii for a few days as the 3:00 AM “president” will be unavailible as his campaign is suspended.”

And there’s more [],

and more… [],

And, Jeebus save me, more still []…

…each one crazier and uglier than the last, until your courage buckles and your faith in humanity cries out from the assault and you rise before your monitor and ask the unanswering internets, “Have you no sense of decency? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” Which, as becomes clear, most of them don’t. My point is not just that these people are warped by hatred and lacking social skills – they are [] – but that they and their commenters make up the hardcore base of McCain and Palin’s support, the people you see at the rallies shouting “traitor!” and “terrorist!” and dragging our political discourse as far down into the mud as they can. To understand what you’re up against, you need to know what the worst of your opposition is thinking.

I read these people so you don’t have to.

I link to them because I have a bit of a sadistic streak.

For that, I blame the blogging.

– Michael Turner