The Comments Game

« June 2016 »


The research pile is a barren wasteland, so I guess it's time to have some fun with the USA Today comments section. There are a lot of things going on in the world that aren't inherently dumb in and of themselves, but will invariably lead to a certain type of person making a certain type of comment. So, and this will be mostly "live", in that I will be positing an outcome and then reporting on that outcome as I type this, without fudging things to make me look better.


Roots is about slavery. Anything that is about slavery generally prompts two types of comments fairly quickly. One, some (white) person comments that talking about slavery just makes race relations worse, usually by making white people feel sad. And second, some (white) person saying slavery wasn't even white people's fault because Africans sold their fellow Africans into slavery. It's basically supply-side racism.

It actually took twice as long as I expected for this to come up in the USA Today comments section. Thirteen whole comments before one Danny French brought up the African thing, which, while technically correct, doesn't actually constitute an absolution of the Caucasian world. And it was a dozen comments later before someone said Roots was just meant to rile up black people and make them vote for Democrats.

To be fair, most of that was due to the fact that Roots is a remake, and remakes also piss off the Internet, with people who like the original wondering why kids just can't watch some square-aspect-ratio, 1970s-budget standard-definition version of the story like they did. I can't speak to the artistic value of the remake, but there's always something to be said about an across-the-board production values upgrade.


Apparently "Finding Dory" includes a lesbian couple. Or the trailer did. Or it might have. Human lesbians, by the way, not lesbian fish, as I assumed from the headlines. I wasn't really paying attention because I'm not that interested in a sequel to the first Pixar movie I didn't bother buying on home video starring one of the reasons I didn't buy it on home video. But any inclusion of LGBT characters in a mainstream movie, especially a cartoon, is going to inspire certain comments. One is gay people forcing their agenda down society's collective throat, and the other is the proclamation by someone who cares very much who other people sleep with that they don't care who other people sleep with. Let's go to the tape!

Wow. It took 40 comments for someone to talk about how much they didn't care about whether someone is a lesbian or not, so why do they have to announce it. And another 5 comments before someone mentions how kids entertainment has to have sexuality forced into it. That's not to say that the rest of the comments were pro-gay. They weren't. They just fell outside the standard tropes I assumed. Lots of generic "how horribles" and "Obama's fault" and "dumb liberal" stuff. I am disappointed.


I freely admit I'm in a bit of uncharted water here. Prominent disabled British super genius physicist tells world he's baffled by why anyone would support Trump. This is somewhat unprecedented, and so I'm going to have to extrapolate from everything I know about dumbassery. I'm going to go with anti-intellectualism, of the "these geniuses aren't so smart in the REAL world" variety, and a shot at atheism, which is laughable coming in defense of Donald "2 Corinthians" Trump. Let's see what happens.

That was tricky, because for some reason, USA Today has three nearly identical articles on the same subject, and it wasn't until I clicked on the third one that I found the vast majority of comments. But about 67 comments down, I hit the mother lode. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"He is incredibly talented physicist but not real smart on alot of other issues. He is an athiest and knows nothing about the anger that exists over the state of our country."

But good news! Well, not "good', but still. Only 13 comments in, one "Tom Suever" proved that I can still be surprised by the variety of ways someone can be awful on the Internet with the following comment: "But if Hawking is so smart how come he hasn't invented something to heal himself?". If Stephen Hawking had only read this, he'd truly understand Donald Trump's appeal.