you suck and I hate you.

Chris Bowers on Flame Wars:

The internet is a reflection of the public's sprawling and diverse views, which are brilliant, disgusting, mediocre, and everything in between. It's a big country, with lots of different people who talk about stuff in different ways. Some of them are mean. This isn't a problem, it's just humanity.

That is certainly true, and I think one of the reasons the Village often recoils at the tone of discourse online is because its inhabitants are so thoroughly distanced from the tones of discourse many Americans use when discussing politics. There is nothing unusual about Americans being extremely harsh in political discussions, as most Americans around the country already know. As a nation, we are not a genial country club. We are, instead, a diverse republic with a once mighty modernist public sphere that has rapidly deteriorated into hundreds of micro-spheres, all of their own norms, tones, and trolls.

However, the flame wars we are seeing online goes even beyond the diversity of American opinion and tone, and even beyond sexism and racism still running rampant through many of our micro-public spheres. It is also connected to how the leading Democratic campaigns themselves are functioning as leaders of the Democratic rank and file. First, the campaigns themselves have always been heavily charged with identity politics, no matter how much they claim otherwise...

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