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Don’t forget, editors edit. As a letter writer, I’ve seen some of my less collegial screeds accepted for publication but trimmed. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a less-than-collegial style. This provides a ruse that letter writers are polite.p>What the Internet seems to have done is allow individuals to be their own editors and everything is permissible (though not beneficial — I can’t remember the Scripture reference). br> — Stu Margrey br> Denton, Maryland /p>
At the risk of being invited to duel, some of what Shawn Macomber says about the manners of the Internet is undoubtedly true, but not all of it.
The critical difference between the Internet and other media is that it is directly personal. Unlike the costs involved in setting up a newspaper or magazine, an Internet account is not prohibitively expensive. As Patrick Hynes recently reported in your pages, the blog is now recognized by political strategists as being a very powerful campaigning tool. Think of how short a period of time it’s taken for that state of affairs to evolve, for individual citizens to become so empowered. Many of his correspondents will be feeling liberated by the fact that there now exists a medium of communication where their views are important and, yes, they will be heard.
The Dan Rather Experience has been one of the very few occasions when private individuals have brought a public figure to account, unprompted and entirely of their own accord. This would not have been possible if blogs and e-mail did not exist. Shawn might ask himself the question whether or not the negative e-mails he receives are not counterbalanced by the greater public accountability that the Internet seems to be able to deliver.
Of course, there’s no excuse for bad manners. I work with hundreds of e-mails every day. A relatively reliable mechanism for determining whether or not the sender is going to be difficult to deal with is to read the e-mail address first. An individual’s choice of e-mail address has become one of the most personal forms of self-expression, the truest statement of what its owner perceives himself to be — it’s like DNA. If the sender has a puckish or weird e-mail address, just don’t open it. And a Dear John’s a Dear John, whether it’s e-mailed (an E-John?) or not.
His own experience of floods of negative e-mails reflects what other commentators like Paul Craig Roberts have reported, after he put forward the proposition that the Iraq War was “a strategic blunder” in Townhall.com. Dr. Roberts reported that he received a mass of e-mail accusing him of every crime under the sun up to and including treason. But what Shawn might notice is how the e-mails he receives are generally reflective of other positions floating about the Net, whether from left or right. It’s a giant echo chamber — the trick is to find the truly original thought.
Lastly, the Internet, like its users, is a child of its time. In a world where every appetite must be immediately satisfied, a world of MTV, 24 hour news, all-night stores, microwave ovens, 3G cellphones, outsourcing and, yes, high-speed Internet access, perhaps it’s not surprising that a few ill-mannered, aggressive individuals slip through the Net. Any bad manners on the Net is reflective of how coarse the common culture has become across the English-speaking world. It’s confronting and changing that that’s the real challenge.p>Now where did I put my epee? Or was it my latte?…..
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?