Pucker up, buttercup


I've never liked ass kissers much.

John Rogers likes them fine. He's a fine writer and a smart man, but, well, in the past, he and I have expressed a difference of opinion on this subject. In email to him, on my own blog, and in his blog's comment threads, I've expressed the view that a great many of his more vocal commenters have a tendency to slobber all over his posterior, a display which I personally find distasteful and unseemly.

John overtly disagrees with me, and I wish I could find the comment threads on a past entry here where he did it, but I can't right now. Nonetheless, suffice to say, he's chided me in the past for making this observation, stating quite forthrightly that he doesn't feel his commenters are overly toadyish, and even threatening to ban me from his blog if I continued to assert otherwise.


However, check out this comment thread to his latest post. 37 comments on Canadian politics, which is fine, in and of itself... but not one person here mentions the first thing that occurred to me... namely, that Rogers' addressing his original post to "Hey, Hive Mind" is kind of insulting.

In the first comment, someone provides the specific answer Rogers is looking for, which is nice. Rogers comes back almost immediately with the statement "Damn, I love the hive mind".

I know John is just joking. Hey, he kids the Hive Mind! He doesn't really mean to refer to all of his readers as some sort of Borg-like communal brain that exists only to provide him with trivia he's too goddam lazy to research himself. He certainly doesn't think of his legion of loyal fans as, you know, some kind of zombie-like subset of nameless, faceless drones with no individual personalities, some mass conformist collective consciousness he can address in casually contemptuous terminology without anyone taking the slighest umbrage. And I certainly shouldn't break into a rendition of Bob Seger's "I Feel Like A Number" for many, many reasons, not least of which because it dates me, even if we ignore how lousy my singing voice is even when I don't have some aggravating throat thing that's making me hawk about four ounces of phlegm every ten minutes.

No. I know Rogers isn't talking to me, because if someone referred to me as "Hey, Hive Mind", I not only wouldn't go fetch their fucking slippers for them like a good little bitch, I'd probably punch them in the teeth. (Well, I wouldn't; I am the least violent of all humans, but it made me feel all manly to type it, just for a second there.)

But I did want to point out that geeks tend to prize themselves on being non-conformists, on being individuals, on being unique. Rogers' audience is largely comprised of geeks (I don't use the word as an insult; I'm proud to be an ubergeek myself), so when he can refer to them with as negative a sobriquet as "Hive Mind" and not only immediately get exactly what he's asked for from them, but get 37 additional comments, not one of which notes the slightest irritation with his enormously condescending (to say the very least) designation of his fans, well...

...there's this scene in Broadcast News where the Joan Cusack character is buttering up her boss. She finishes her utterly obsequious little riff, and her boss agrees with her effusively and excuses himself, and then Albert Brooks says something sarcastic to her, and she replies "Oh, you just think anyone who is proud of the work we do is an asskisser."

Brooks responds: "No, I think anyone who presses their lips up against their boss' buttocks and then SMOOCHES is an asskisser".

Hey, Hive Mind... that's some fine, fine smoochin'.

And John... if you're reading this... I know you're a busy man, and I still admire your writing ability. But if you're going to call your readers Hive Mind, well, you've just lost this one.

Not that you care, I'm sure.

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