Two minute hate

Sometimes even I am still shocked by the level of free-floating hatred over on the right. Witness the latest Rall kerfluffle. Details are the same as usual: Rall does something outrageous, the right wing bloggers go nuts, work themselves into a frothing frenzy of righteous indignation. And then the sociopaths chime in, filling up comments sections with fantasies of the violence they would like to inflict upon Rall’s person, if ever given the chance — fantasies of such obscene specificity, the guards at Abu Ghraib would blush with shame. Maybe I’m naive, but I just don’t see these violent wankfests played out on the liberal blogs I read. It is Orwell’s Two Minute Hate, updated for the internet age.

In its second minute the Hate rose to a frenzy. People were leaping up and down in their places and shouting at the tops of their voices in an effort to drown the maddening bleating voice that came from the screen. The little sandy-haired woman had turned bright pink, and her mouth was opening and shutting like that of a landed fish. Even O’Brien’s heavy face was flushed. He was sitting very straight in his chair, his powerful chest swelling and quivering as though he were standing up to the assault of a wave. The dark-haired girl behind Winston had begun crying out ‘Swine! Swine! Swine!’ and suddenly she picked up a heavy Newspeak dictionary and flung it at the screen. It struck Goldstein’s nose and bounced off; the voice continued inexorably. In a lucid moment Winston found that he was shouting with the others and kicking his heel violently against the rung of his chair. The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but, on the contrary, that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge-hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic.

…judging from a few of my emails, this post is open to misinterpretation. I know that both sides have plenty of anger to go around. And I’m not trying to defend or excuse Rall’s cartoon. I’m just dumbfounded by the comments sections on some right wing blogs, which are full of dozens and dozens of individual fantasies of specific violence the posters say they wish they could commit. That’s what I’m talking about when I say I don’t see that sort of thing on the liberal blogs — at least not the ones I read.