A short time ago, I made a comment on a Facebook post by Matt Walsh, self proclaimed Sayer of Truths. It was an off the cuff remark which was one part sarcasm, one part snark and, if I’m being completely honest with myself, one part unintelligent retort, at least if I were trying to argue my point from a scientific point of view (I wasn’t). I’ve commented on his FB Page before and usually by the time I chime in I get buried within a flood of comments. This time I was buried by the flood of commentators responding, not so nicely, to my comment.
First off, why do I read/follow a conservative and seemingly closed-minded person like Matt Walsh especially since I am the progressive liberal feminist type he trashes so often on his blog? [I really don’t associate myself with a political party or any -ism. I’m either a very liberal conservative or a very conservative liberal. It’s probably naive or disingenuous of me to say, but I like to think I have the ability to see all sides of an issue.]
Well for starters, know thy enemy, know thy self. It’s always good to know what people on the opposite end of the spectrum of your Belief System are saying. Except I’m not enemies with Matt Walsh, just perhaps some of his “truths”.
In fact, Mr Walsh and I do agree on some concepts like shopping carts and not everyone is college material especially given the outrageous costs involved. However we disagree substantially on other things like all Muslims are violent and suicide is an avoidable decision. So Mr Walsh might be willing to chat with me over a couple pours of Bourbon but he wouldn’t invite me into his home for the good stuff.
Like I said, I’ve chimed in on his posts before and usually my words go unnoticed. This time, for some reason, I was one of the first commenters on that thread. Sometimes the stars just align, and you’re standing where their light is most concentrated.
I made a comment that was mostly sarcastic but I thought was clever and witty. Almost immediately people started picking it part. Even Matt Walsh chimed in (politely I might add) to show the error of my argument. If the Failure Mode of Clever is Asshole, then I definitely stepped in it. Then the Trolls showed up.
First Thing I Learned
I was starting to regret making that comment and thinking that I sacrificed credibility for sarcasm when I noticed two things. First a couple of commentators chimed in to support my comment. And for every commentators that was bashing me in the comments, there was a supporter who clicked like on my comment.
The Takeaway: There was a reason I made that comment and even though perhaps it wasn’t well thought out, it was important that I spoke my mind.
Second Thing I Learned
Then the trolls showed up. One even got a bit over the line with his remarks. To his credit, Matt Walsh chimed in and agreed that troll-child should not have said what he said.
In the past my perception was that Mr Walsh defended his supports while letting his dissenters wallow in troll venom. Perhaps I never noticed him chiming in before when someone presumably on his Thought Train got out of hand. Or perhaps now that he has been blogging for a while and his audience has increased a million fold he has been the blunt of too many uncalled for remarks and he has gained a modicum of sympathy/empathy a term usually not associated with conservatives.
The Takeaway: People with different points of view can have a discussion about their beliefs and ideas without having to get ugly about it.