A New Year’s Resolution

New Year’s Day is a time when people make resolutions.

Here’s mine: Whenever I get an email like this–

To: [email protected]
Subject: you have no clue what you are talking about.
Date: Sat, 31 Dec 2005 20:01:36 -0500
From: (Withheld to protect the guilty)

(End of email)

–I’m going to send them a link to this article.

Whether caused by substance abuse, incipient autism, cognitive challenges, or just plain cowardice, this is a case of an intellectual vacancy,

Why? It’s not because the title of the email might be construed as insulting. It is because there is nothing else besides it. There is no there there.

I mean, really, this is an act of mental masturbation. It gives me no clue why I have no clue, or about what. So what’s the point? Do you think I care in the slightest that some apparently dim bulb takes exception to one, several, or all things I say without citing any reason for it?

I mean, really, if someone twenty feet away from you on the street suddenly calls you an idiot, and that’s it, with no explanation or reason for his opinion, would you take it to heart? Would it lower your self-esteem? Would you agree with him, or carefully self-examine your life as a result?

No, you’d completely ignore him, and probably think him deranged.

So why should I think otherwise when I get the electronic version of the same.

Now if that person out on the street called you an idiot, then said or otherwise indicated why he thought so, that’s a completely different matter. He may be right; he may be wrong, but at least you have something to work with and consider. If he is right, he’s given you the chance to correct and improve. If you are right, you get the chance to correct and improve him.

Contrast that to this email. What could I possibly do to make this person happy? Here, I am truly clueless.

For all intents and purposes, the authors of this type of email may think they’re doing damage, and they are: to themselves. For all practical purposes, they might as well have said, “I demand you consider me an idiot!” and save me the mental effort of drawing that conclusion.

The Other Possibility

There is one other possible explanation for such emails other than retardation of reason. That is simple, common cowardice.

After all, if you give a reason why I am clueless, an idiot, etc., etc., you open yourself up to an argument, and inherent to any argument is the possibility of losing it. Take a position, and you have to defend it.

Or perhaps such people think I might do “something” to them, even though I’m again clueless as to what that something might be, or why I would ever care enough to do something about a particular sample of what is literally nonsense.

Whatever it is, it doesn’t rack up big points on the sane scale, either. If you need to play a game rigged in your head where you’re essentially talking to yourself with me as a prop, well, if that’s not mental masturbation, what is?

From now on, if you’re going to insult me, you’re going to have to do it right. Feel free to call me what you like, but if you expect your email to have even the tiniest effect on me, you’re going to have to say why and about what. If not, you get a link to this article.

P.S. Additional insults do not qualify as an explanation. For instance, I periodically get an email from an long-term AMDroid who calls me a crackhead, and that’s all the emails are about: my being a crackhead. I’ve seen more creative bots. That’s no good, either.


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