Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I'm Rubber, You're Glue...Burning Glue

E-mail may just be a new alternative to writing letters, but increasing anecdotal evidence suggests that on-line communication serves very different purposes.

E-mail allows users to criticize, insult and bait virtual strangers who've done nothing more than write an opinion piece or some other innocuous article on the Web, or in a newspaper or magazine.

Take, for instance, this response to a recent article about the difficulty some long-time pot smokers have in quitting.

Robb McCune,address unknown, emailed:

"Nice read on Pot. if the logic in your story was correct when people who are depressed go to a doc and tell them they would tell them better ways to cope and think about why they are depressed rather then prescribe something like Prozac etc. Nice straw man argument. What is that like reporting 101? Did you just regurgitate what the Good DR said rather then report?"

There does seem to be substance hiding in this tangle of mangled English. Hard to tell. Why the obvious tone of acrimony?

Or a senior at Lehigh University, who writes, "...For your edification, Mr. Katz, I suggest you do some of the research that should've originally been included in your article. Start with some of these published studies. While it's still obvious that marijuana usage, especially among adults should still be casted in a negative light, I think you do a serious injustice as Register Science Editor, to not at the least mention in your article emerging evidence suggests the drug could indeed have some beneficial effects. I think if you took the time to at least interview some of the users themselves, they'd have told you that.

Again, the author seems under the control of an angry muse.

Paste these URLs into your browser and you'll see that none pertains to the question of how to help marijuana-dependent adults quit.

One hopes McCune finds a program of some kind. An anger management program, that is.

Moquet sent further comments indicating that he is actually a personable fellow rather than a weaselly snark.

These are merely two examples of the e-mails that we are all subject to, fair and unfair. Writing takes time and reflection, which would allow flamers time to reconsider. E-mail is strangely uninhibiting, although we know that it is far less private than "snail mail" and as easy to store.

E-mail inaccurately gives people the idea that what they write is ephemeral. But it is not. It all becomes part of your permanent record.

And we all thought the "permanent record" business was a middle school teacher's ploy.

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