Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Minneapolis Tragedy

It should not come as a surprise that some of the best reporting and commentary on the bridge collapse is coming from the blog of James Lileks. Lileks is a great writer, and one of uncommon common sense. Today, he makes this valuable observation, while commenting on things that we have learned:

There’s nothing onto which people cannot project the narrowest, most reductive political agenda. Could be the Internet; could be human nature. Perhaps in 1604 AD the sight of an ox cart upside down in the ditch inevitably led to an argument about the king. We’ll have the answers in the end, and we’ll know what could have been done. But sometimes Things Fall Down, and it’s a simple, and horrible, as that.

It's probably human nature, but there's no doubt in my mind that the Internet plays a role. The comments sections on many political blogs have become so vicious that it's a wonder that the bloggers choose to keep it active. What strikes me as amazing is that so many of the vicious commenters go out of their way to read things with which they know they're going to strongly disagree. That's fine; I often do it myself for the purpose of challenging my own thinking. If I can't formulate a response to something that I'm reading on an issue, I figure that it's my responsibility to brush up on my own arguments. But many of these folks have already made up their minds, and their sole purpose is to insult, defame, and elicit anger. It strikes me as somewhat pointless.

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