GeeGuy Plays Detective

On Christmas Eve morning, my 'blog received the following comment:

From reading the tripe that passes for posts on this site and the idiots
that leave their silly responses...
If you make up the electorate in Great Falls, perhaps it is good that Mr.
Gray lost...he seems like a bright and dedicated leader. Good luck with your
"community activist."
My lord you people need to stop drinking the water there...

The longer I have this 'blog, the less those sorts of comments bother me. This is especially true when the person who trashes my writing apparently believes there is a grammatical rule that requires periods to come in threes. (It's called an ellipsis, my fine posting friend. It is used to indicate the omission of quoted material. Since you did not quote any materials in your post it was, in your case, misused.)

Anyway, this anonymous stinkbomb got my goat a little bit. It attacked me, my writing, my friend Dona Stebbins, and my hometown. So I thought I would dig a little deeper.

First, the comment was made at about 2:14, a.m., on December 24. Using my usage software, I determined that the comment was made through XO Communications (www.xo.net) and originated in San Jose, California. The user came to my site from Wulfgar's contest page. The poster returned to my site at 8:30 the following morning, apparently to see if there had been a response to his or her comment. He (Let's use the masculine for the sake of convenience. By doing so I am, of course, not trying to imply any special favor with the ladies.) has not been back since.

He called my writing "tripe." Assuming, safely I think, that he did not mean to state literally that electronic words on his computer screen are actually made from a cow's stomach, I can only assume he used the word figuratively, or a slang, to mean "rubbish, ...something of little value, or nonsense." (Note the correct usage of the ellipsis.)

Blogshares notwithstanding, very few blogs have any actual monetary value, and even fewer have any literary value, so I think it is safe to assume the reader was implying that my writing is nonsense or rubbish. 10 or 15 years ago, this might have bothered me. But I have achieved a relatively decent amount of success in a profession that is 80% writing, so even though one might disagree with me, I know that I can at least understand and articulate a point of logic.

Therefore, I deduce that our hit and run friend simply disagrees with my comments about Mayor Gray. I think this is supported by the ad hominem attack on all those who apparently agree with me ("you people need to stop drinking the water there.")

So why does someone living in San Jose, California, care enough about mayoral politics in Great Falls, Montana, to read and make a post? If we assume, on the one hand, that this person is wholly unfamiliar with Mayor Gray and/or Great Falls, I think we can conclude that the poster has really confirmed my point about the Great Falls Tribune. If he is getting his news about our mayor from the Tribune, then of course Mayor Gray "seems like a bright and dedicated leader." I think it is a stretch, though, to think that a complete stranger would follow our politics and then track down a weblog and then make a post.

Plus, while the name of it escapes me, the writer uses a tool of argument to try and make his point. Have you ever noticed how people will call talk radio to slam on President Bush, but will first say, "I'm usually a Republican?" Or, "I don't usually follow politics, but in this case what the GOP did was sooo bad, I had to call in." It is a way of trying to give yourself credibility by removing your views from the partisan, adopting a cloak of neutrality.

In our poster's case, he said Mayor Gray "seems like a bright and dedicated leader." Not that he is one, but he seems like one. This smells like someone who is trying to sound neutral. And this, once again, would indicate someone in San Jose, California who has, for some reason, taken a sudden interest in small town mayoral politics. I doubt it.

Nope, my bet is this. Some friend or relative of Randy Gray lives in California. He found the site, and couldn't help but come in and give me a little poke. But he lacks the cojones to state his relationship to our Mayor.

By the way, despite the length of this post, the deduction made was made in a few seconds. I don't want our ellipses-challenged friend to think I'm obsessed with him!


ZenPanda said...

The link to this posters' comment is bad so I can't view it.
You can block anonymous comments if this bothers you.

A fine bit of detective work!

david said...

Heh...another aspect of blogging that I enjoy -- being a "detective" of sorts to figure out who is reading you and such.

a-fire-fly said...

You are a much better writer. Excellent use of sarcasm, strong points, correct punctuation.

Anonymous said...

It was Randy Gray's time to go. Between the brouhaha over low rider trucks to letting Stewart Lewin get inside his head at Commission meetings he needed to go.

WolfPack said...

Is anyone surprised that Gray has a following out in California? From his priorities as mayor, I thought it was clear that's who he was pandering to. I'm surprised that it took so long for someone from the land of "fruits and nuts" to speak up. I bet she posted anonymously because she thinks all from Montana own guns and are likely to use them.


Did you really mean to insult someone for the improper use of ellipses? I can only hope you were speaking the language of “fruit and nut” so that you would be understood by the CA poster. Next time please include a four letter worded translation so I can understand what you’re getting at. Did you learn this “fruit and nut” dialect at Missoula? Taught in the “Things That Will Never Get Me a Job” class?

GeeGuy said...

Wolfpack: I was trying to insult the poster in any way I could find!

Seriously, I was actually expecting to be taken to task for my ellipsis comments, albeit for a different reason. You see, I am prone to their overuse as well.

While I realize the proper use of an ellipsis is a bit arcane, in my profession I am expected to have at least a minimal understanding of grammatical rules. :)

WolfPack said...


I could actually care less about some Gray nut. My real purpose was to take a Bobcat shot at a Grizzly but you side stepped it very effectively. I'll try again another day.

Ed Kemmick said...

Geeguy, I'm afraid you're wrong on the use of ellipses. True, one use of them is to indicate omission, but according to my "Oxford Companion to the English Language":
"Ellipsis points often serve, as does a dash, to leave a statement dramatically 'hanging in the air' (The enemy slowly came nearer, then...), after which there may be a new paragraph, a change of topic, or no further text. When points are used to suggest not an omission but a pause (They left...rather quickly), they are known as points of suspension or suspension points, and are not elliptical."
I'm not sure what use your correspondent was trying to make of his ellipses, but he was not guilty of the clear-cut grammatical error you supposed.

david said...

And don't forget Herb Caen, the best of the "three-dot journalists!"

GeeGuy said...

Ok, ok. I lose!

To my anonymous tripe sniper: Please accept my humble apologies for insulting you about my perception of your misuse of ellipses.

Any other insults, expressed or implied, stand.

dona stebbins said...

Great detective work, Geeguy! I think anonymous posts that throw stink bombs reflect on the poster. If they had cojones, they would take ownership.
I have missed the blogosphere for the past week. We went to San Diego for a week, enjoyed it, and gleefully returned home last night. Nice place, but I wouldn't want to live there. Great Falls is just FINE with me. We especially enjoyed driving down from the airport last night without fighting 5 lanes of traffic.
Anyway, I missed all of you...