A comment on comments
Submitted by TheHick on April 17, 2011 - 3:30pm.
This newcomer to Honesdale has it all figured out. I was just wondering what her compensation package for the landowners whose rights she intends to deny includes. Do they still get to pay exorbitant taxes? I was just wondering.”
First of all, is it an ad hominem attack? Well, it calls the author a “newcomer to Honesdale.” Is “newcomer” a pejorative? This is tricky. It shouldn’t be a pejorative; but there is a syndrome in this area, among some groups, that only people whose families have been here for generations are important, and that newer arrivals are outsiders.
The problem is that, as moderators, in order to impute that meaning to TheHick, we have to become mind police; to claim that we can get inside his/her head and know that, even though he/she is using a term that is not a pejorative, he/she means it as such, and the comment should be deleted. This is too slippery a slope to embark on. It's a heads up to keep an eye on commenters and see if they have a habit of fomenting this division and playing upon fears and resentments about it, but does not yet justify a deletion of this one comment.
Any other terms that can be considered pejorative? No.
Any statements contrary to fact? We don’t agree with what's said here, but what we see is mostly opinion. There’s an opinion that the argument in “Just One Pad” denies people’s rights. There’s an implied judgment that local property taxes are exorbitant, possibly open to debate but not open-and-shut false. There's plenty that can be disagreed with, or argued against, but really only one thing that, it could be argued, is just flat-out counterfactual: the statement “I was just wondering.” Hick is not wondering at all; he/she clearly knows exactly what he/she thinks. But that’s the use of a rhetorical device, irony.
Merriam-Webster defines irony as “a pretense of ignorance and of willingness to learn from another assumed in order to make the other's false conceptions conspicuous by adroit questioning.” It is perhaps a stretch to call TheHick’s questioning “adroit;” from a literary critical point of view it seems pretty heavy handed. Nevertheless, this comment is clearly an example of the use of irony.