Partisan Politics get Personal


Dear Ask DesCamp;

Okay, so I let a supreme partisan douchebag get under my skin again. It only happens every couple of years but this one happened on a friend’s innocuous thread started on FB. Perhaps you’re familiar with it.(!)

First, I’m not partisan. I’ve come to believe that all politicians are assholes working alongside their collective news teams to rile up the public enough to get reelected every four years. And the more you bleat bleat bleat about the injustices committed by the other party the dopier you look. It’s just a fucking waste of time.

Usually I let all this roll off. Except for this time when the douchebag’s facebook page is nothing but photos of him drinking Jack Daniel’s, drinking Jack Daniel’s and smoking a cigar, posing in front of empty Jack Daniel’s bottles, and playing with “Ranger Rings” (I’d never heard of them but apparently they’re exercise rings to do pull ups on) and he has multiple pictures of himself pulling himself up on Ranger Rings with a little American flag stuck into the brick behind him.

What a douchebag.

Which is why, when he complained about something Obama had done for the umpteenth time, and his original foil in the thread — a man by the nom de plume of Kilgore Trout — stopped antagonizing him, I jumped in.

Here’s the real question:

In a life with too little free time, when I have pledged myself to a life of no distractions in order to finish my creative endeavors, where does the noble pursuit of douchebag taunting fall in a worthwhile life, and how much time should I realistically invest in it?

Yours in kind regard,

Dear Salty:

I am indeed familiar with that thread, and I watched in both horror and amusement as it disintegrated into name-calling, threat-making and general assholery.  Perhaps some people on the thread were drinking that evening – it certainly appeared to be the case.  Case of Jack Daniel’s, I should say.

Your question is a good one, and although you couched your activity in the humorous vernacular of “douchebag taunting,” what you are actually spending time on is far more noble: you are standing up for what you believe in and fighting against what you perceive to be unfair and ugly discourse served up with questionable data.

You likely noticed I made several attempts to ratchet down the vitriol, stooping so low as to post stupid jokes, quotes from Caddyshack (the number one film of all time) and highly-questionable photos of myself and my alcoholic dog.


Needless to say it didn’t work, and the insults continued to trade for a couple days. At last count, there were 286 comments to the simple question, “what is the worst news source in America?” and many of them were ridiculous and as off-topic as Sarah Palin at a debate.

By the way, FOX News for the win.

The temptation to take things to a personal level is always high in these types of conversations, and I myself am guilty of that.  I have been known to use colorful language and make personal judgments about permanent alimony recipients who refuse to earn a living, sometimes forgetting that they are lazy, entitled, selfish, aimless, horrible people too.  I’m working on that!

Back to you.  Sorry.  I’m working on that too.

You took the time to write me this letter because obviously you don’t like the feeling you got after the exchange with Mr. Jack Jungle Gym Cohiba Daniel’s, so you have actually already answered your main question of: how much douchebag taunting is too much?

“Too much” is, like alcohol, the amount that makes you feel shitty in the morning. Taking this analogy further, let’s decide that from now on you will nurse your comments calmly over time, rather that shot-gunning them with an opinion beer bong.

“Nursing” your comments can have another meaning as well, which is infusing them with intellectual nutrients rather than the junk food of ad hominem attacks.


I recently unfriended someone on Facebook who repeatedly posts racist, xenophobic, paranoid and profoundly stupid things on their page.  I had stopped trying to convince him how idiotic these postings proved he was and instead just had to walk away.

I think any time you find yourself trying to change the mind of a person who is clearly dead-set in an opposite direction and who has no intellectual curiosity or capacity to engage in reasoned debate and decision-making, you are fighting a losing battle. Abandon the field and go pour yourself a beer.

Look at the bright side: it was through this unfortunate thread that you met me – and I am fabulous!  I think we will be lifelong friends, just as I am with the man whose Facebook page started this whole fiasco, our mutual friend Jack.  Guess how I met him?


Online, during a hilarious email debacle that is described here: please click and read about the funniest email chain ever.

My counsel to you is to continue fighting the good fight for things you believe in but to temper your comments to reflect the thinking man you are and to step away when it feels more like binge-drinking at a frat house than savoring a fine Cabernet.

Finally, good luck with those creative endeavors!  If you find a way to eliminate distractions please forward me that information immediately.



This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. raftman

    One small correction – the New Oxford American Dictionary has decreed that the term you used above “FOX News” is a contradiction in terms and is improper English. Furthermore, the word “News” takes great umbrage at being associated with the corporate entity “FOX” and is threatening legal action against you for slander should such offensive misuses continue. “News” recommends the following alternatives for pairing after the word “FOX” to more accurately describe its content – vitriol, blather, nonsense, embellishments, exaggerations, proselytizing – and perhaps most accurately – propagandist. Thank you for your cooperation on this matter.

  2. John Meaney

    I don’t believe that Fox News is the worst news source on TV; in fact, I think it’s a good one. However – I also believe that getting one’s news from just a single source is not a good idea these days. I watch MSNBC (I think that Rachel Maddow is brilliant, although I don’t agree with her much ), CBS, and CNN. I don’t watch ABC or NBC, because I think the quality they offer is less than that of the others. Hearing both sides – MSNBC on the left, FOX on the right, and (I think) CNN in the middle seems to work for me.

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