I left a comment earlier today on Scott Greenfield’s post entitled “A Book Unreviewed: Norm Pattis“. The comment reads:
I have never met Norm Pattis “IRL” (as the internet lingo goes) and likely never will. I have had a few exchanges with Pattis on Twitter and used to read his blawg until he decided to go into self-exile from the Blawgosphere, wandering into the online desert on a high-horse with no name.
It was with considerable discomfort to read Pattis’s most recent post entitled “Weinergate And The Government We Deserve,. He predictably, and lamentably, continues his passive-aggressive online Cold War against what he disparagingly calls a “community” of legal bloggers (with appropriate scare quotes). With scant recognition of irony or cognitive dissonance, Pattis then employs both innuendo and hyperbole to denounce his online detractors:
There is a book to be written about the Internet and the lowering of inhibitions. We now live in a push-button culture. If you can think it, say it, is the motto of the day. It breeds a coward’s bravado; speech is confused with actually doing something.
The online world is an easy trap for the unwary, as I well know. Just the other day I got into a senseless round of sniping with a professional jeerocrat, making a complete ass of myself. It felt good, so I did, so there. But now it’s old and sorry news, yesterday’s roadkill for those who love to rubberneck. Beware the clatter of keyboard cowboys.
The online world makes instant push-button Lotharios and heroes of us all. Scan the comments section of a local newspaper sometime. One anonymous screed after another, soon cross-breeding and piping vitriol at one another in steaming bundles of verbal offal. Weiner apparently thought he was a sex symbol. He found a she to bite his bytes, didn’t he?
“Alas”, as Pattis would likely respond.
What would be truly heroic would be for Norm to dismount from his high-horse and name his critics. Criticizing anonymous commenters in newspapers is an easy target, but why not name your critics? You say you have been victimized, or so we are led to believe. Yours is a heavy sling to carry, but even David named Goliath when he fought him. He didn’t hide behind a rock launching stones from a safe distance.
It is disingenuous and hypocritical to criticize the Internet as the cause for the lowering of inhibitions, without first acknowledging one’s own disinhibition. My efforts to remind Pattis on Twitter about his own injudicious and, frankly, juvenile tweet that destroyed a professional and personal friendship with Scott Greenfield continues to fall on deaf ears.
Finally, to insinuate about a “Professional jeerocrat” without naming him is no less a coward’s bravado.