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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 7/10/10

The Comment Meanies Revealed

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When anthropologists in the distant future try to figure out what the humans of 2010 were like, I hope they don't resort to reading the comments posted beneath news articles and blogs on the internet. I've had to curtail the amount of exposure I have to these angry, misinformed tirades for fear I will give up completely on the human race.

There's something about these "comments" that is incongruent. It takes a lot of time to read through all these remarks, and even with all of the typos, it takes time to write them and respond to the saner requests for compassion and reason. Some of these writers seem to have a lot of pseudo facts to support their positions, so I would imagine it takes time to gather all of that mis/dis- information (or maybe they just have right-wing talk radio playing in their sleep).

So who has that abundance of free time these days? Anyone who is fortunate enough to still have a job is probably doing twice as much work because most employers have cut staff to the bone. While OSHA and union contracts might stipulate that employees should get breaks and lunch, my experience is that most employees are voluntarily skipping these in order to keep up with their work load. When your cohorts are being laid off, and you have a mortgage payment and kids to feed, and credit card bills at 20% interest, you'll jump through any hoops your employer puts in front of you. And when you finally get home, you probably have little energy to waste on responding to news stories online. So I don't think these "commenters" are among those fortunate enough to still be employed.

Judging by the level of mean-spirited bile they hurl toward the less fortunate in our community the unemployed, those who seek to avail themselves of our dwindling social safety nets and those who have no place to live it's hard to imagine that these pseudonym'd authors are so full of self-loathing that they are part of the very groups they attack.
So who are they - these verbose warriors who slay the poor with their angry accusations of laziness and freeloader-ism, using any news article as an excuse to blame the victims of this economic crisis that is annihilating the middle class?

If I take the conspiracy route, I could envision teams of writers employed by the uber-wealthy to perpetuate the myth that poverty is the result of a lack of self-discipline and responsibility. Using Orwellian double-speak-thinking and heartless scapegoating, their mission is to confuse, distract, divide and demoralize the masses so they never identify their tormentors.

A less paranoid explanation is that these are retired, middle-class seniors who happened to have come into adulthood during that fortunate time slot when playing by the rules got them the good life. They spent their lives working at a job that paid them enough to buy a home, a couple of new cars and send their kids to college. They may have even been able to retire with a pension while they were still young enough to travel and enjoy their life. If they didn't fall into the trap of using their home as an ATM machine, they might not even have a mortgage payment. And they think, if they could do it, everyone can. They get their picture of reality from Fox News and Beck and Limbaugh and they have no idea that their lives were a fluke, an opportunity that never happened before and will probably never happen again. They don't realize that the doors that opened for them were closed to many others in their own generation, and to very few in the generations that followed. They haven't had to look for a job in years maybe not since their first job which lasted through to their retirement. And now, they spend their days demeaning those who didn't catch the golden ring.

If the authors of these demonizing diatribes hail from that fortunate group of retirees, we have only to wait for the next shoe to drop before they are jolted into the reality of the rest of us. Those who are not afraid to peer behind the curtain concealing the casino criminality we call "The Market" are warning that pension funds are underfunded by trillions. If their predictions are accurate, we might soon see many of those anonymous commenters lined up, homeless and hungry, waiting for the library to open so they can post one final note WTF happened?!


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Jeeni Criscenzo is an entrepreneur, peace activist and author. She was 2006 Democratic candidate for Congress - 49th District. In 2003 she traveled around the country in an RV, writing her daily blog: CPR4Democracy. She is also a founder of (more...)
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