Forgotten threats from forgotten anonymous commenters

Dennis Perrin is one of those guys who isn't content merely to disagree with what people say. He has to make things up and put words in their mouth.

Accordingly, in his latest attack on Little Green Footballs, Perrin wasn't content with disagreeing or even name calling; he had to smear LGF (by putting anonymous words in his mouth by way of commenters' remarks):

The commenters never addressed my actual arguments; they simply went after me personally, telling me that I was insane, anti-American, pro-Saddam, probably a fag, or better yet, transsexual. Once they read certain key words, their brains clicked into auto-assault mode, and nothing, n-o-t-h-i-n-g, could stem or alter their spewing. At Little Green Footballs, several commenters bluntly advised me to leave the site, or they would track me down via my IP address and kill me. Probably hot air, but there are plenty of crazy people in the world, and arguing at an anti-Arab racist site wasn't worth taking the risk, however slight.
(Via Glenn Reynolds.)

Asked to produce evidence of a death threat, Perrin stated that he wasn't threatened in his own name, but that of an alias:

What that tag was I have no idea, since I posted there maybe five years ago, two computers and three hard drives in the past.

I knew very little about that site's politics at the time, as I was relatively new to the Web, so I thought I could argue from a different perspective in good faith. Umm, right. My biggest mistake was insisting that the Palestinians are human, which is science fiction to Chazzy's tribe. Several commenters told me to leave, and one said that if I didn't, he'd track my IP address and "hunt" me down, encouraged by a few others. Now, whether this was possible or not, I don't know, but as I said in my earlier post, I figured, f*ck it, and moved on.

So, an anonymous commenter alleges that he was threatened by another anonymous commenter?

With a standard that sloppy, I could leave a comment in one name, then threaten it in another name, and then claim that I received an anonymous death threat, but that I can't remember who I was or who made it.

Glenn Greenwald, call in your angry vengeful Brazilian boys!

As it happens, I have been threatened with death. Right here on my own blog! And if I'm responsible for comments left at my own blog, doesn't that mean I am responsible for death threats made against me? And considering the fact that the commenters were also threatening each other, perhaps all the threats are my fault.

This is just sheer nonsense. (And that's even if you believe that Mr. Perrin really was threatened and really can't remember what his pseudonym was nor the pseudonym of whoever allegedly threatened him.)

Considering what Perrin has written in the past, I am inclined not to believe him now. Years ago (in response to Perrin's rather unhinged attack on James Lileks) I wrote a post analyzing his attacks on Christopher Hitchens, and there was something disingenuous about the way he smeared Hitchens with ad hominem invective -- all the while calling him an old friend -- that made me distrustful. I also found the way he injected race into sports not only distasteful, but largely the product of his own hyperactive imagination:

"many white men...are transfixed by black flesh in motion. Dizziness occurs....Perhaps this is why, equilibrium returned, they despise black jocks in celebration."
As a sportswriter, he certainly didn't care for American fans:
elements like racism, religion, patriotism, and blood lust intertwine with the love of sport to produce phenomena like Texas high school football fanatics, Hoosier hysteria, and the Yankees' Bleacher Creatures
To which I exclaimed,
I knew it! Sports fans are bloodthirsty, racist religious bigots! Not only that, they're (gulp) patriotic!
Not being Hitchens, nor a sports fan, I found nothing personal in any of that. (Although, when Perrin implied that W.C. Fields was a socialist, that hurt....)

I see no reason to believe his latest allegations about five year old anonymous death threats to a pseudonym he can't remember.

posted by Eric on 10.31.07 at 04:07 PM


I find his accusations believable. His experience on LGF isn't that different from my own (where I was attacked as a commie rat bastard for daring to quote Thomas Jefferson in a discussion about liberty). Thinking that the insanity of my attacker was obvious to all, I at first ignored him and continued the discussion with others, until other the commenters bit by bit made it clear that they agreed with the insane guy and became more aggressive in their attacks on me.

Come to find out, that's business as usual in the LGF comment threads. So I have my opinions about Charles Johnson and the site he runs, but except for right now, I don't talk about it and don't think much about it either. I just don't go back and they can be them and I will be me--in our own seperate places.

So I believe Dennis, but he's still a weenie for making a big deal about it years later.

Also, although I comment in my own name today, back then I used aliases and I couldn't tell you for sure which one I used in that thread.

tim maguire   ·  October 31, 2007 4:48 PM

Well, yeah, Tim. But if you spent some time hanging around, arguing in good faith, and learning the hard lesson that wingnuts are evil people, way back when you'd just begun hanging around in the blogosphere, certainly you would have a decent idea of what was going on at the time, more or less, that would allow you to home in on a post you'd commented on and . . . eureka! there's my old handle!

Dan Collins   ·  October 31, 2007 6:06 PM

All you have to do to get respect for any point of (reasonable) view at LGF is to point to your posts before registration.

When I get flack I always go into - I was there for the first 100 comment post - and that quiets down a lot of the crazies.

That said - I mostly just read the front page these days. The rest is not worth it.

M. Simon   ·  November 1, 2007 1:20 AM

I'll have to agree with Tim. Both that LGF will have crazies, and that Perrin is a weenie for whining about it, especially without evidence.

But, I hardly blame LGF for it. Any partisan and sufficiently high trafficked site with open comments will attract bombastic blowhards. It functions as a service to other bloggers. Without popular, partisan blogs like LGF and DailyKos, their restless commentariat might come to blogs I like!

Jared G.   ·  November 1, 2007 1:37 PM

That's a funny take, Jared, and maybe your right. When certain sites act as a gathering place for people with anger issues, it spares the rest of us.

But I still blame LGF. Sure, I know, Charles Johnson does not write the comments and he can't be held responsible for any particular one, but he can be held responsible for the overall tone of the comment section.

I see Dan Collins posted above and, as you probably know, he is a regular contributor to Protein Wisdom, a high traffic conservative site. Despite the obvious partisanship, PW comment threads are more or less under control. They are high spirited, but good natured, and a sense of humor is required and displayed no matter the discussion. Trolls are suffered (at least for a little while) and good-faith dissent is welcome.

Lower trafficked sites like this one, Roger L. Simon, Vodkapundit, etc. are the same--partisan but rarely, if ever, obnoxious. In my opinion, that's not an accident. It's because of the tone set by the board moderators.

tim maguire   ·  November 1, 2007 2:36 PM

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