Sunday, May 05, 2002

I have a theory about Andrew Sullivan.

Hear me out.

Andrew Sullivan is the ultimate troll. And, no, I’m not referring to his outlandish neck.

Anyone who has spent time on message boards on the internet knows what a troll is. They have various methods, but their primary purpose is to shut down any interesting discussion. Some use rather thuggish methods – spamming forums with racist comments and obscenities. On moderated forums this doesn’t work, so they’ve had to develop more subtle methods.

One brand of troll is the “Energy Creature.” Their particular skill is somehow managing to shift the focus of all conversation to them.

One way to do this is to make a somewhat (but not too) outrageous claim. When people refute it they demand proof. When proof is provided they demand more proof. When you provide absolutely irrefutable proof they claim they meant something else, which is also false. So, then you finally manage to prove them wrong (After a few tries, of course). Then, three days later they again state their outrageous claim as if it is fact and the conversation never happened.

After a few rounds of this, of course, people get wise to them and start ignoring them. So, they start being reasonable for a while, and buttering people up. They can be charming when they want to, so they get other people to be sympathetic to them. They play nice for a bit, and then just when others have decided they’re a bit reasonable…they start back up again.

Well, anyway, you get the idea. Using this, and other methods, they eventually manage to enrage people on all sides and completely destroy a forum. The only way to get them to go away is to stop feeding these energy creatures by completely ignore them.

I think Andy Sullivan is trying to shut down the left wing (what little there is) of the punditocracy. Michael Kinsley recently stated that you could waste an entire career swatting flies off the Wall Street Journal editorial page. But, they’re so ridiculous that one quickly tires of the exercise. Andy’s more skilled than that. He knows how to be just interesting enough and just reasonable enough to keep people come back for more again and again. Besides, it’s so easy he makes it kind of fun.

But, I think it is time to stop wasting time on this ridiculous individual. There have to be more important things to do than swat flies off the Daily Dish.

So, left wing pundits and bloggers unite with me! Take the pledge! From now on, ignore Andy Sullivan! Do not take the bait!

Do not feed the energy creature!

And maybe he’ll just go away…

ah, I know I won't be able to resist...damnit