NOTE: Cafe’s chief political columnist Carl Diggler is still on an indefinite and unexplained leave of absence. In his place we’re running Deep Dig, a choice archive of The Dig’s best columns during his 30-year-long career as a reporter.
Like most Gen Xers, I’m addicted to BBS. That stands for Bulletin Board System, for you Baby Boomer Luddites out there! There’s a world of news, rumors, discourse, and even dating abuzz, all accessible at the tap of a keyboard. Last year, I caught wind of the Gang of Seven phenomenon weeks before my peers did, all thanks to Usenet. However, like all commons, there is a tragedy here.
Usenet, while empowering wunderkind young reporters like me, has also given a voice to people I’ll just refer to as “the haters.” When you try to postulate a political point, or — worse yet to these lowlifes — converse to a female, the haters respond like children. Just look at this rude interaction I had the other day:
D1Gital@earthlink.com: who else thinks John Anderson is primed for takeoff in ‘92?
Evg3ng1@rusnet.ru: fuck off to carl
PERESTROIKA_BETRAYAL@rusnet.ru: shut the fuck up
Vladimir@Stasi.net: end your bullshit Carl
Well, that’s what you get for trying to have intelligent conversation with guys who probably live in their mom’s basements.
Someone with thinner skin might be angry about this abuse, but not this cool young reporter who’s used to the full-contact sport of covering politics. Far from being mad, I’m actually laughing about how these haters seem to follow me everywhere.
D1Gital@earthlink.com: My ideal partner is someone who I’m not afraid to laugh or cry in front off. But opposites attract. Think Reagan and Tip O’Neill
D1Gital@earthlink.com: Would you want to talk on the phone sometime? It’s nice to chat with someone who really understands you. I can get lonely this time of year
HACKER_ELITE_FORCE@earthlink.com: HAHA CARL PAUL COELHO SUCKS BITCH
firstname.lastname@example.org: lolll Carl tell her about the time you flew to Nashville to hook up with a fat chick you fukken loser
HACKER_ELITE_FORCE@earthlink.com: BITCH YOU LOOK LIKE AN EGG
Yes, this is how the haters respond when you’re trying to have an intimate conversation with a lady. This just shows how jealous they are of people who are actually doing something in the world and not just sitting around a computer screen looking for up-and-coming journalists to harass.
Though these malicious, infantile children may think they’ve gotten the best of me, it is actually I who has the upper hand. You see, I’ve found the perfect response to really get the haters where it hurts: I’ve threatened to sue all of them. I’m not really going to sue, even though slandering me is plainly a violation of my civil rights and litigatable offense. Yes, actually filing suit would assume I care about these people enough to devote that type of energy. But already, I can see the results from my tactical response. The exaggerated laughter and mockery my legal threats have been met with proves that they’re running scared. That puts the score at a decisive Carl: 1 — Haters: 0.
You should do this yourself next time you’re the target of abuse because of your desire for open discourse. Revel in how the snail-like beings twist at the salt of your verbal jiu jitsu, and you’ll realize that they’re the ones who are mad now.
One day, we’ll all be connected online. In ten years computers will be powerful enough to let us share animated pictures of Gary Hart and Alan Simpson to anyone, anywhere on Earth. My articles will even appear on BBSes, huge headlines like “George H.W. Bush Carries All 50 States In Reelection” and “Clintons Found Guilty Of Murder.” But before that day can come, SysOps need to get off their duffs and clean out the haters and abusers so innovators like me can change the world.
This article originally appeared in the February 29, 1992 issue of the Minnetonka Bugle.
Editor’s note: If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of Carl Diggler, please e-mail email@example.com or notify the police.