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The heat wave in Boston has continued long enough that people have stopped making global warming jokes. It's 80 degrees out by the time I get to the office in the morning; perhaps my memory fails me, but this seems slightly unnatural. Dark clouds taunted us over the weekend but departed with only a few scornful drops, and the forecast for the next week and more is for more of the same. Not good, although I haven't heard anyone say "drought" yet.

After a week of hectic headlines, all I have come up with is that David Horowitz should call it quits. After the slavery-reparations business, his most recent piece on why gays (and women) shouldn't be allowed in the military makes it abundantly clear that he is what we net-savvy folks call a Troll.

From The New Hacker's Dictionary: Troll. ... 2, An individual who chronically trolls... regularly posts specious arguments, flames or personal attacks to a newsgroup, discussion list, or in email for no other purpose than to annoy someone or disrupt a discussion. Trolls are recognizable by the fact that the have no real interest in learning about the topic at hand - they simply want to utter flame bait.

The way you deal with trolls is to ignore them. If no one reacts to his pathetic polemics, he will shut up. Someone please spread the word to the colleges, so we don't have any more of those embarrassing newspaper incidents.

Lest any lurking conservative (what are you doing here? but you're welcome to stay in any case) take issue with my characterization of his Salon column as pathetic, I will point out a few of the sins he commits in this piece:

  1. I am not an expert, but anything that seems intuitive to me must be correct (most of the rest of us try consulting something called "evidence," at least before we spout off in a global publication).
  2. Although I am not an expert, anyone who disagrees with me (even if they are an expert) is succumbing to the forces of political correctness (the Salon piece is in response to something Andrew Sullivan wrote, appealing for the dismantling of "don't ask don't tell;" I've heard Sullivan called a lot of things, but not PC).
  3. I am going to trot out a series of arguments advancing my position and claim that the entire topic is forbidden ground due to the eeeeeeevil forces of political correctness (although the exact same arguments have been heard [and refuted] dozens of times over the years this debate—which does exist, I've taken sides in it—has been going on).

Quite aside from all of that, I want to note that I feel most insulted as a reader by his claim that the goal of the military is to produce "the most efficient killing machine that money can buy" free of the weaknesses of individuality and self-interest. I have a long-standing dislike of all things military, and even I know better than that. Soldiers are still people, still individuals, and they are allowed to have dreams and plans and thoughts of their own. That is in fact one of the reasons why I tend to dislike the military; if automatons were marching off to kill another it wouldn't be so bad. And for all his nattering about "unit cohesion," which comes off as a term he heard somewhere and thought would impress all of us, he has failed to convince, well, anyone I suspect, who originally believed otherwise, that they should not be allowed to love.

The sad thing is that there is a debate going on in this country on this topic. Judging from his output, however, Mr. Horowitz prefers standing in the corner and throwing spitballs to actually taking part in it.

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Except where otherwise noted, all material on this site is © 2003 Rebecca J. Stevenson