You know, this thread epitomizes why I've pretty much lost interest in Scalzi's Whateveresque.
Normally this is the type of conversation and subject matter I'd be intensely interested in - but this is also the type of conversation that seems to attract self-absorbed asshats the way flies are attracted to the shit buffet. This conversation started out interesting - and then almost immediately attracted the attention of two resident dickheads who expend a tremendous amount of time bashing each other and engaging in ad hominem attacks. And when they do talk about the subject at hand, they engage in pompous pseudo-intellectual pronouncements - the kind people make when they're either trying to start a fight, or when they are more interested in showing how big their reproductive organs are, instead of actually having a conversation. Both of these pompous jerks consistently show a complete lack of respect for any opinion other than their own. It's like being trapped on a bus with a bunch of teenagers.
I despise such nonsense. I've got enough assholes in my life, I don't have to to go looking for them. And I'm tired of having to tell these two idiots to shut up so the adults can talk. Their grandstanding bullshit constantly drives away those that I'd really like to talk to. The forum host doesn't seem inclined to do much about it, and that's his choice of course. But frankly the whole thing just turns me off.
Bill Cosby used to tell this joke: "So I asked this guy, why do you do cocaine? And he said, because it intensifies my personality. Intensifies your personality? Yeah, but what if you're an asshole?"
That's how I often see online conversations. Like cocaine. It strips away the thin veneer of civilization and exposes what's underneath. If you're a relatively decent person, you're still a relatively decent person online. But, if underneath it all, you're an asshole - well then that becomes exceedingly clear online. If, in person, you're the kind of guy who craves the approval of others yet states loudly 'I don't care what other people think of me' or better yet, 'I didn't come here to be liked' then online you're going to be an insufferable asshole who has a pathological need to be right all of the time. If, in person, you're the kind of boorish oaf who always has to be the center of attention, then online you're going to be that irritating jerk who always has to have the last word, always. And just like cocaine, if you're addicted to it - then you've become a liability to those around you. People start crossing the street to avoid your loud, boorish, coked-up assholiness.
And sadly, that's how it is for me and the Whateveresque. The esque is like a club that's been around for too long - it used to be fun, and interesting, and cool things happened there. Then the assholes showed up and started snorting coke in the bathroom and fighting on the dance floor.
It was fun while it lasted and I may look in occasionally, but I'm not sticking around anymore.