[ This topic came up as a sub-thread on a news item, and one of the people resented that I was commenting there. So I'm raising the issue here. ]
We are a community, and as such, there is going to be some diversity of opinion. That is healthy, and I'm all for it. There is seductive to pile on in comment threads and say something like John Boehner is an idiot, often in terms which don't contribute anything of substance. Such comments are just a way to blow off some steam and mark our membership in the Democrat or Liberal tribe. I understand that, I've made my share of comments like that.
But when a comment betrays what I believe are liberal values then I feel like I need to call out that comment as being wrong-headed. Daily I see comments which seem completely contrary to what I hold as liberal values. Just because we have ire for some particular conservative being roasted in a news item isn't license to say any thoughtless insult at all.
Specifically, ones I see frequently (and probably others that don't immediately come to mind):
- implying someone is gay as an insult
- pointing out that Chris Christie is fat
- guffawing that Ann Coulter is really a man
- snickering that a man must have a small penis because he has a gun
- wishing that someone is going to get raped in prison
When I've called people out on it, I've been called a concern troll. Or that I have no sense of humor. If I "joked" that of course so-and-so is Jewish because they are rich, or that so-and-so obviously is a criminal because they are black, I'd expect an outcry. Nobody would think such comments were witty or humorous. Likewise, I don't see the above list as being humorous.
Why do we tolerate commenters using sexual orientation, or looks, as an insult? Bobby Jindal, or Mitch McConnell, or Michelle Bachmann can be called out on their destructive beliefs without resorting to ad hominems.
Larry Craig is widely rumored to be a closeted gay man. If he said something stupid about the environment, then there was no need to speculate on his orientation. If he said something stupid about the economy, there was no need to speculate on his orientation. But when he actively worked against gay rights, then I think his orientation was a germane point to raise. In such situations I hope what we are pointing out is his hypocrisy, not his gayness. But frequently I didn't get that feeling -- I got the feeling that the commenter was just insulting Craig for being a closeted gay man.
What do you think? Is this not really as common as I think it is? Is it common but you think I'm being over sensitive? Am I mistaken that these aren't liberal values, or that TPM's community doesn't share them?