Feeding the troll

What we learned in the last thread is that a straight white man from Texas can't abide anyone thinking that Letterman's jokes about Palin were out of bounds.

Now, I know Midkiff is a bottom feeder and isn't very bright besides, so forgive me for dramatizing this next point. Sometimes ridicule is wrong and undeserved even when the object of ridicule is a proper subject of criticism for other reasons. Putting aside Palin, it was wrong for me to refer to Midkiff as a not very bright bottom feeder in the first sentence of this paragraph. Perhaps those things are true, perhaps they aren't. In any case, truth was not the point. The discursive function of those insults was to delegitimize Midkiff by expressing contempt for the very idea that he might be considered an equal. If I'm lucky, those words will also interfere with Midkiff's capacity to engage in reasoned discussion by making him so mad that he can't help but respond with a string of obscenities.

But let's move on if we can. What project was Midkiff engaged in when he responded to the Palin/Letterman post? According to his self-presentation, Midkiff was concerned not to let Palin get away with crying crocodile tears about sexism. But since the point of the post was to call Palin out for crying crocodile tears, you have to think that there's more going on here. My guess is that had I not called out the (obvious to me) sexism of Letterman's jokes then there's very little chance that Midkiff would have commented.

So we have here a situation where Midkiff -- a person, it should be noted, who has so little interest in engaging me that he has all but given up commenting on the blog -- cannot help but chime in when it is suggested that prominent female politicians ought not be ridiculed on the basis of their appearance. Why does he care so much? I mean, there are some pretty clear reasons to avoid that sort of stuff. What's the benefit of insulating it from criticism? None that I can see. And yet it mattered so much to Midkiff that he began a conversation with me.

Here's one thing I know for sure. The bra burning feminists who Midkiff disparages would have predicted precisely the behavior from him which he has so kindly exhibited.

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