So What Do You Do When They Call You a Fascist?

I can certainly attest to this.

I've been called a fascist and a jerk, and those are the nice ones!  A new study has found I'm not alone.  Anyone who publishes for a living will encounter nasty -- and sometimes even cruel -- comments on what they write.

According to a Web site that reports on these things, one in five comments included some form of incivility, with name-calling as the most prevalent type, a recent study notes.

“Many people just can’t seem to avoid the impulse to go after someone else,"  said Kevin Coe, assistant professor of communication at the University of Utah and one of the study’s authors.

I've often wondered about the people who write these comments.  I'm sure some of them are those who disagree with what I, and others, write.  But some are just downright mean.  A fascist?  Really?  And I think that one came from a humorous op ed I wrote about road rage.  Another person commented that road rage just wasn't funny.

I have friends who write more political pieces and they get comments that would scare me.  The closest I've come to that is when I wrote about the terrible Westchester basketball game where the white players insulted the black players.  Someone wanted to know why I didn't write about the fact that the black players called the whites "crackers."  I hadn't heard that, but it doesn't compare to the whites saying at least they had fathers to go home to. (I'm sure I'll hear about this, too.)

I have another friend who wrote a column that someone who knew him took personally.  That happens, too, even though the piece had nothing to do with the commenter. 

I write mostly about being a mom and some of the weird things that happen to me because I'm really closer to a grandma's age.  But I had a woman come up to me in the grocery store and tell me I write too much about me.  I said I'd write about her, next time.  And I just did.

Here's something that shocked me.  Incivility was more common among infrequent commenters, not the ones you imagine sitting at their computers and blasting hate your way. Equally surprising, uncivil commenters were just as likely to use evidence in support of their claims as were the more respectful individuals.

 And you're not going to believe the part of a newspaper that people most often slammed.  The sports section.   Though, I guess with the emotions swirling around the World Cup, that's not a big surprise.

So I'm going to practice what a friend counsels when he gets a nasty comment.  At least they're reading you.



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