This is more than a little bit of a rant. I freely admit this. I would also like to briefly mention a disclaimer before I go any further: I tend to be liberally biased, I am an English major, and I am a human being. I highly doubt anyone besides me will read this ever, but if you are out there, O mythical reader, please keep those things in mind. I am flawed.

Now that that’s out of the way, I would like to file a complaint against online individuals whose comments and posts are written badly- yet who expect to be taken seriously. I just can’t do it.

I am fully aware that there are conditions in the world (such as dyslexia) that provide severe impediments to writing and spelling, and that yes, sometimes your finger does in fact slip and you misspell a word. I am also aware that education is not available equally across the world.

However.

There are also individuals (and I don’t think you quite realize who you are, but maybe you do) who have absolutely no sense of spelling, grammar, or how the caps lock key works. Here are three reasons why I have a problem:

1) The Spelling Errors.

“You silly libs think you can regulate the weather. So cute. Spend some more time in collage and you will think you can put on a bat suite and fly.” – The topic: Mitt Romney and climate change

“this fukker is sad. whats creepy is that there r actually ‘people’ who support him. like my fatazz neighbor.” -The topic: Mitt Romney and climate change

“At a time when the unemployed worker, needed Republicans and Democrats to work together, on a problem of epidemic proportions” ; David Cox.. It takes a “Leader” to get both sides to “come together” as the past four years has shown us, Obama is not! otherwise thing whould have been done. If Obama “was” a leader the Libya whould have “never happened” if he was a leader “real” health care would have been in place long before> If Obama was a “leader” thier would be “no doubt” for his re-election, look at the past and you will see the results of “REAL” leaders for we Americans “all of US” would be behind him, this is what most call “landslide” victories. this year there is no incumbant as a leader, the vacation is over, it is now time for someone else, as Obama “”HIMSELF” stated, one term Presedent. The facts state for themselve’s, a LEADER shows at least “some” inprovement upon re-election cycle. Obama has gone the other direction, everything has “increased” not “decreased” upon this example… WE CaNot Afford another FoUr years, unless you like $10 gas for your car! Question? why in creas the “efficancy” of the car when the cost to operate it double along with it…” – The topic: The debates of Election 2012, in response to Fox and The Daily Witness.com’s article entitled ” Clueless – Obama thought he won debate until told otherwise”

“ If you choose not to vote, please remember all the mean and women that have died over the year for you to have the opportunity. What a shame that you let their death be in vain. It is your choice, but if you can sav even 1 unborn baby, or save even 1 child from grwing up in a 2 mom or 2 dad household all by simply voting out the man who is bent on their demise, why would you not take that opportunity. If Obama remains in power to do these horrible things, how could you not feel like it is because of your inaction? It makes me sad that we cannot simply vote for common values to save lies. Remember in the Bible God used prstitues in the lineage of Jesus. He used tax collectors and the worst of the sinners to bring about the most change and the most good. Can He not now use a Mormon to bring about change and heal America?” The topic: Voting, as stated by a member of One Million Moms

Regardless of how you voted in this election, how you feel or what you think about the topics, the main thing that is a problem for me here is the misspellings  So sue me, I’m going to college to study language, and I nitpick. I still think this is a larger problem.
First, when you apparently refuse to use a spellchecker, misspell ‘collage’, ‘fukker’, or ‘Presedent’, what you are telling the world is that you not only are uneducated, but that you also don’t care who knows that particular fact. Language is a very important tool in a society; how you use it tells a lot about you as a person. The more carefully you consider what you’re saying and how you say it, the more reliable a source you will seem. For example, the first quote reads as someone trying to show how superior they are. This fails miserably, because not only do I, the reader, realize they misspelled the words, but I realize that the combination of these two facts means that the source is unreliable. I wouldn’t trust a snarky first grader, and I certainly wouldn’t take them seriously; I would probably, in fact, send them to go study their spelling and grammar and then back to school to figure out why, exactly, I laughed at them. It’s insulting to the reader to expect that half-assing your spelling is not going to lead to the assumption that you half-assed your argument also.

The second quote is also pretty awful.  Personally, I tend to lean towards what I suppose is the same political bias as this author. What I understand from this statement is that I am in the same group as, what my best guess is from cultural context and probability, a young teenager who delights in what I can only assume is some form of chatspeak. I have no idea who this person is in real life, or their age, but leads me to this assumption is the type of insult (fukker, ‘people’, ‘fatazz’), the lack of capitalization, and the apparent belief that the letter ‘r’ is an entire word. The lack of capitalization suggests to me that they also really don’t care too much about thinking as much as saying – even people who I know have severe problems with dyslexia and the like are fully capable of taking the time to capitalize a sentence. It’s a very simple key to push- and in fact, there are two. If you are typing, you have options. I will, on occasion, forget capitalization of the pronoun “I”  especially when writing a Facebook post. But forgetting to capitalize your starting word in a sentence really tells me you aren’t too invested in what you’re saying, because you just wanted to spew opinions and move on. I am hugely against chat-speak as you might guess from the fact I am writing this blog; I think laziness and speed are being valued over content and I see it as a tragedy that American culture is losing respect for quality instead of quantity. I also see it as a particular trademark of younger generations (Oh, I sound so old…) who don’t feel like taking the time to fully shape a thought before sharing it with everyone. (I promise you, Facebook junkies, we don’t really need to know what you ate, when, with whom, and how much of it came out of you again. It’s REALLY not necessary to be plugged in and connected with everyone all the time.)  I suppose in short, I find this source unreliable. Incidentally, reliability is not only used for writing papers or researching topics- it shapes how you respond to other people. A reliable source is someone I would carry on a conversation with because I trust that they will at least consider what they are telling me instead of spewing out nonsense like a sprinkler head attached to a fire hydrant. I don’t trust this author remotely, and I don’t consider them a good choice to carry on a conversation with – at the very least, not online. I hope that in real life they are much better at presenting themselves, because communication is an important life-skill to have.

And, oh, the third quote. First, as a side note, whoever you are, it isn’t necessary to put everything in “quotes”.  It lends nothing to your argument and is faintly reminiscent of a teenager who has just discovered air-quotes.  I don’t think that was the intention when using so many of them. Also, please consider: ‘whould’, ‘thier’ (my computer is already auto-correcting that. I am having to fight to keep it misspelled), ‘Presedent’, ‘themselve’s’, ‘CaNot’, ‘FoUr’, ‘in creas’, and ‘efficancy’. Kudos to you, O anonymous, for realizing capital letters are, in fact, a thing that exists. I will put forth the idea to you, however, that you may have overused them when it comes to ‘CaNot’, ‘FoUr’ and the ‘WE’ preceding, but points for the attempt. Reading this entire block of text, I come to two conclusions about the author; they are too angry or too uneducated to quite understand how spelling, quoting, and apostrophes work, and while they have a perfectly legitimate point (albeit one I personally disagree with) they are misrepresenting themselves and giving a bad name towards the group they support. I am not going to argue with the content here, but a strong, convincing argument needs to have a strong thesis, clearly communicated points, and accurate facts to back it up. The clarity is the problem. This reads crazily, and the weird spacing of ellipses and greater-than signs (among other things), in addition to the spelling errors, makes the reader have to work hard at understanding. If they cleaned it up, it would have perhaps been a better representation of the logic we all search for in a debate; instead, it’s an example of an argument, which means there’s a lot of shouting and not much content. Instead of a strong argument, this reads as a rant by someone who is uneducated (again, still, some more – I keep harping, I know) and confused.

Finally, One Million Moms. I have some problems with the group, but I will agree with them that it is important to vote, especially in the United States where that is a valuable part of the democracy (and if it isn’t it should be). The problems with this are the misspellings (‘mean’, ‘sav’, ‘grwing’, ‘lies’, and ‘prstitues’), and the use of numbers instead of words, which suggests either the mother is trying to be trendy or she is using her phone to post. Usually, since facebook will mention if something is from your phone or not, I will check to see if that’s the case, and I don’t think in this instance it was. Because of that, I am sad on behalf of this mother. I really hope her kids learn language in school and can spell better than this when they are old enough. If the woman is trying to be trendy, I wish she would stop. I can’t take a mature woman seriously when she writes like a teenager.

We all know what the Caps Lock looks like….

2) Capitalization

Oh joy.

“**Rush I hope you read this before you go off the air!!..Turn the TABLES..Dems say they want the RICh to pay more than the rest of us!.The the Republicans should write & pass a Bill that Lowers the TAX rates fo the Middle class ONLY!..from the current 2012 rate & also leaves the 2012 Rate for the Rich!..then the Rich will be paying even more in % as compared to the Middle class!..See if Obama Reid & Pelosi will BITE!” -A Facebook Limbaugh supporter.

“It’s funny that the same people who deny that there is a possibility of faith and an un-seen God and heaven are hypocritical enough to call Christians “closed-minded”…
Science is based upon NOW… what is seen… is there a book of the past, written 3,000 years ago telling the laws of Science… haha… No!?!
As a matter of fact, just 200 years ago, the scientists believed that the WORLD WAS FLAT. Haha, who knows what they’ll admit to being wrong about in another 200 years…
I’D LIKE TO ASK, WHILE I’M AT IT: What is it that all you close-mined atheists are arguing for or supporting? You have no one, nothing to defend. You just feel the need to have your own opinion and that is fine. I respect atheists. I think they’re RATHER SMART in what they believe, but they are missing just ONE PART OF IT… FAITH!
Many scientists, while trying to disprove God’s existance have failed and turned to God, just look it up…
Atheists, close-minded but still smart… Christians smart and faithful… that’s what makes us right…. faith!
Science is constantly changing to simply fit today’s relevance and obviousness… there is no assurance with science and too much doubt…
Close-minded atheists…
Never expected this from Miley… big fan.. but… idk…Hollywood and Science will do that to ya… devil’s work, I say! 😉
Atheists spend too much time trying to prove HOW we got here, instead of explaining WHY we are here WHAT our meaning is and WHERE we go next… it’s all based off of something that has already happened…
Truly, we as a society, don’t give to shits about WHAT happened, we’d rather know WHERE we are going and WHAT is to happen… so much for MOVING FORWARD… haha..
Atheists are too close-minded and delusional to get by… they are risking everything… why not believe? pathetic atheists…. I feel sorry for them…” – The topic: started with Miley Cyrus… From Youtube

“THE SON OF BILLY GRAHAM, FRANKLIN,RUNS THIS MINISTRY AND IS IN NEW JERSEY, AND NEW YORK RIGHT NOW WITH LOTS OF VOLUNTEERS, HELPING SANDY VICTIMS…….FEEDING, SHELTERING, AND CLEANING UP NEIGHBORHOODS WITH HOME OWNERS WHO LOST EVERYTHING……SAW IT ON DAYSTAR AND T.B.N. …LOOKING FOR MORE VOLUNTEERS TO GO N HELP……..” – One Million Moms, Gift Box Project on Facebook

“If everyone would listen….its not abortion he is against its abortion being used as birth control! And federal money paying for abortion as birth control. But the women libers can’t see that a lot of the reason our country has fallen to shit is cuz all the parents are working and NO ONE IS RAISING THE BABIES EXCEPT THE STREETS!” -About Romney, Election 2012

First one! First, the punctuation is way off. There are too many periods and asterisks, and way too many exclamation points. Second, the capitalization doesn’t make sense. Capitalization and exclamation points are intended to be used to display either strong feelings, high volume, or to notate an interjection or exclamation. According to that logic, this person is yelling the entire post, or feels strongly about every single capitalized word and exclaimed sentence (which is all of them). Now, I understand the idea that you can be a very strong believer and want to emphasize everything you are saying. However, when you SHOUT EVERYTHING AT SOMEONE ALL THE TIME WITHOUT A BREAK WHATSOEVER, your audience in effect goes deaf. Instead of everything you say being paid close attention to, they start to tune you out. It’s the same thing as listening to music very loudly in your ears- if it’s consistently loud, you sort of tune it out as a dull roar. With variation, you can attract attention and still emphasize what you’re saying. It’s a matter of balance. This individual apparently hasn’t quite fully understood the balance necessary to turn their suggestion from a dull roar into a pointed statement. Also, not only do they not emphasize variably, they choose to do it at the most random moments. For example, “The the Republicans should write & pass a Bill that Lowers the TAX rates fo the Middle class ONLY!..from the current 2012 rate & also leaves the 2012 Rate for the Rich!..then the Rich will be paying even more in % as compared to the Middle class!” (By the way, checking to make sure you haven’t repeated words can sometimes be important.) When you read this sentence out loud, ignoring the exclamation points as necessary, the capitalized words fall nowhere near where the normal tonal emphasis in day to day speech would be. Instead of helping to further the point, the emphases actually retard understanding while the reader has to pause and figure out how to make sense of what is written. This does not make the author seem very coherent or believable.

Second quote. This person strikes me as someone who is angry and yet trying to play it off as humor and sarcasm. A hint- it’s not an effective strategy. The capitals slow down the reader and don’t do anything to further the discussion of the topic, or anything to further a blatant argument. They just get in the way and make the reader’s life more difficult. Example: “I’D LIKE TO ASK, WHILE I’M AT IT: What is it that all you close-mined atheists are arguing for or supporting? You have no one, nothing to defend. You just feel the need to have your own opinion and that is fine. I respect atheists. I think they’re RATHER SMART in what they believe, but they are missing just ONE PART OF IT… FAITH!” Regardless of whether or not you are a believer, this person’s hard-edged bitterness will get you nowhere. “RATHER SMART” is perhaps capitalized as a sort of preventative measure to try and cover up the argued nature of what this person is saying – a sort of, “Look, I know you’re smart. But you’re an idiot. See?” It does not need emphasis. In fact, if that entire sentence remained un-capitalized except for the word ‘faith’, it would be rhetorically stronger because the single capitalized word would be what the entire rest of the section leads up to. As is, the capitals ruin the building-up effect.

In regards to the third quote, all I really want to say is that I can’t think of a single sentence that needs to be ‘shouted’ like this on Facebook as a status. This certainly does not need to be in all caps. I have higher expectations for people who are supposed to be older than I am when it comes to writing online or wherever; I expect a level of intelligence and consideration that can be seen in how they communicate. Writing this sentence in all caps seems unnecessary at best. Come on, One Million Moms. You can do better. Support the people who have been struck by tragedy, and support education. Preferably at the same time.

Finally, the capitalization is misplaced in the last quote. Whether Romney is for abortion or against it, this person is firmly convinced that working parents abandoning children to be raised by the streets is the reason abortion should be outlawed as a form of birth control, as it has led the United States down the drain. Not convinced on that one. What I am even less convinced of is that the final words all need to be capitalized. Perhaps the phrase ‘abortion AS birth control’ might be more effective. As is, the author seems a little counterproductive in emphasizing that the children we do have (perhaps despite birth control or abortion) are being left uncared for by their working parents. Which seems to be a counterpoint (to me, at least) to the idea that abortion should be cut off from federal supply. Instead of proving their point, it seems to me that ‘women libers’ who are working towards abortion may be acting as they see fit to keep unwanted babies from growing up on the streets. In short, the capitalizations are emphasizing the wrong part of the argument and may entirely counteract the author’s intent.

3) Coherency.

“Neither were “those” Preist, but it was the Church compromising it’s religious integrity that allowed people like you and them into their institution. “Those” Preist have the same interpretation of “Jesus” as you do in “Spirit”. You help them by being a sympathizer. Your beliefs have cleared the paths for them and made it easier for future cases in all churches. This is about people having free will from God, as your apparent logic promotes against, these children were not born homosexual.” -The topic: Ellen DeGeneres and J.C. Penny

“Well said. I agree with every word. The woman Fluke, has no shame. She does not even have a job. She has a live in shack job who is employed, so let him pay for her birth control.. Even more disgusting is that Obama has chosen to support her views.” -Sandra Fluke

“Let’s apply the Romney test: Should we be borrowing money from China to give free contraceptives to a 31-year old woman with a law degree, who chooses not to work because she’s enjoying the celebrity status created by a left-wing media?
Remember, the money borrowed from China will have to be paid back . . . by our children and grandchildren.
Ms. Fluke — explain to me why it’s moral to pass the cost of your contraceptives, plus interest, to our children and grandchildren.” – Sandra Fluke

“Question:

Why are atheist so crazy they think they are the judge of the validity of answers on religion?

Answer:

I think because Christians have humored these idiots for far too long.
Atheists are so deluded that they think they are the judge of whether the answer to their questions are right or wrong, which means they do not ask questions to gain knowledge. They come asking questions for the purpose of changing a religion to a new religion that matches their point of view. This of course means that the atheist asking the question thinks he/she is God. They never once respected the education or the position of the person who they question.
That’s like an idiot going to a language professor to learn grammar, and the teacher says ‘hurry’ is a noun (I know its not a noun, but this analogy is about atheists to Christians), and the atheist says, “I don’t believe nouns exist because ‘hurry’ is not a noun. A noun is a word that describes a comboobala ( a word and situation an atheist makes up to make it impossible for anything about it to be true). If any word is a noun then it is the word ‘to.’ ” And then the grammar teacher actually humors this nonsense about the made up condition comboobala.
That’s what Christians do. They say who God is, and the atheist denies who the Christian says is God. Then the atheists makes up a god that doesn’t exist, then argue with Christians on the basis of this made-up god, and Christians who know a bit more than the atheists, actually humor this foolishness. It goes on and on……….” -Yahoo question and answer

I don’t exactly follow what the first quote is trying to say. I think it has something to do with priests, the church, and compromised religious integrity leading to homosexuality springing up in the church now that it’s an option, but I’m not sure that I’ve understood it correctly. I suppose my first instinct is to simply stare at it for a while and try and muddle out some sort of sense, but between the quotes, misspelling, and general confusion, I want to just say that whatever point was trying to be made has effectively lost all power because of how poorly written this is. I can’t even tease apart which side of the issue they stand on for sure. I’m fairly sure that Ellen’s sexuality is not related to this statement except perhaps tangentially, so I’m not sure why it was written in the first place.

Second. “She has a live in shack job who is employed, so let him pay for her birth control..” WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? I am going to assume that the author missed a few words in this sentence, which only tells me that they didn’t care enough to type what they were thinking accurately or clearly, and therefore I don’t really need to treat them as a reliable source.

Third. The ‘Romney’ test doesn’t make sense in this instance. Not only does this ‘test’ not make sense, this author apparently decided that Fluke was demanding contraceptives for her own use. Fluke instead described other students who, for health reasons, or financial reasons, were unable to acquire birth control when it would have improved their quality of life. Instead, this author begins painting an inaccurate picture of Fluke, which I suspect is largely biased by Rush Limbaugh’s immature name-calling although I obviously can’t prove that, and complaining that our children and grandchildren will be paying for Fluke (in particular and only) to have contraceptives now. This is silly, to be blunt. First, one woman’s healthcare would not saddle everyone’s children and grandchildren with crippling debt. The US is big enough that it wouldn’t happen. Second, available contraception helps young women already struggling against a gender bias to have more equal footing with their compatriots. Not only does it help with other gynecological and/or medical issues (such as cysts, menstrual cramps, migraines, acne, and endometrial or ovarian cancer), but looking at male sex patterns, it makes it possible for young women to enjoy the same rights as sexual-liberated young men. If men can have access to condoms, women should be allowed to have access to birth control. Logically, anyway. (Not to go overboard on this, but the Viagra argument does seem appropriate to this person’s thought process). Third, at least half of those children and grandchildren are likely to be female. Fluke is not only presenting the argument that contraceptives should be available now, she is acting so that they will be available in future. And as much as this author may dislike the idea, their offspring and descendants may very well benefit from contraceptive availability when they are alive and in college. And morality has very little to do with any of it; it is usually considered a greater immorality to take improper care of yourself than to pay more money to make sure you are responsible for your body and its functions. In short, the argument makes no sense to me at all.

The question pose is already aggressive; however, the answer uses a straw-man fallacy to explain why atheists are ‘deluded’, without ever realizing that by misrepresentation through a bad analogy (which, mind you, makes no sense either. Not sure what the analogy was supposed to do other than confuse the asking party) and by clearly biasing themselves against atheists, they make themselves unreliable and show a great deal of prejudice while they’re at it. The logic baffles; “Atheists are so deluded that they think they are the judge of whether the answer to their questions are right or wrong, which means they do not ask questions to gain knowledge. They come asking questions for the purpose of changing a religion to a new religion that matches their point of view. This of course means that the atheist asking the question thinks he/she is God.” This person says that atheists are deluded into thinking they know right and wrong because they think they are God; presumably God is worthy of judgment. In short, the author has just stated ‘they think they can judge things because they think they can judge things’. This is circular logic. Second, by lumping all atheists into the stereotype of disrespectful, religion-changers who don’t care about the good little Christian’s status or educational position, the author shows their own ignorance of individuality and the fact that stereotypes are not, in fact, a fixed reality. It is not a strong point to speak from. The second flaw is the idea that, again, the good little Christian ‘humors’ the atheist because they ‘know a bit more’ and it ‘goes on and on’. Bluntly, even in researching just this post, I have seen more Christians humored than atheists, and I have seen lower intellectual quality in the Christian posts. This is not to say all Christians are dumb, or that all atheists are intelligent; I was raised Christian and still identify with many practices and beliefs, and I flatter myself that I am not a total nincompoop. Looking at the response, I feel well within my rights to say that the author has not only not explained the so-called craziness, but they have fed into the tradition of the blind Christian who essentially sticks their fingers in their ears when faced with discussion of the mythology of their religion, and it does not help their position remotely.

On all of these sites, self-presentation matters!

I suppose I will wrap up this monster of a rant with simply saying, if you want to be taken seriously online, please, please, please, please, PLEASE take care how you say what you’re saying.  Spelling, grammar, capitalization, punctuation – they all really do matter and affect how other people perceive you. And if you’re going to get into arguments or post opinions, please make sure they make sense. I think there are few things more embarrassing than setting out to prove why you’re in the right only to support the other side by your ignorance or lack of clarity.

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