For months now, John Huppenthal has been commenting here in his own name. At first, it was noteworthy. No longer. Now, he’s just a fallen, disgraced politician. Instead of taking a hard look in the mirror and taking the steps needed to rebuild his reputation, he’s chosen to wallow in the very same conduct that exposed him for what he is, with the only exception being the removal of the alias that concealed his identity (well, sort of). What Anthony Weiner is to sexting, John Huppenthal is to blog trolling.
The reasoning here is breathtaking. Coming from Falcon9 or Thucydides, “Thucky” as he was known here, his comments were considered ignorant and offensive by BfAZ readers. When exposed as John Huppenthal using the pseudonyms Falcon9 and Thucydides, his comments were considered ignorant and offensive by the public at large. Yet he believes the same comments posted under his real name will be considered something other than ignorant and offensive. It’s like Anthony Weiner placing his name next to his dick pics and thinking “Problem solved. Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggedy-dog.”
I’ve engaged a few times with “the real John Huppenthal” in the comment thread. But no longer.
I preferred Thucky. Thucky was a useful idiot. The fact that I knew his real identity and readers generally did not was just icing on the cake. For six months, I wasn’t even aware who he was, but used him as a foil nonetheless. When Thucky was just “some troll” to readers, his anonymity protected me and other writers as much as it protected him. Just as one writing under a pseudonym is less filtered in his remarks, those responding to an anonymous writer have license to be less filtered as well.
Then there was the taunting he authorized by referring to himself in the third person. I asked this question in the comment section perhaps a dozen times: “Is it dishonest, using a pseudonym, to refer to yourself in the third person, leaving the false impression that you are not the person to whom you refer?” The question obviously answers itself. Of course it’s dishonest. What amazed me was that he kept on commenting. Here I was, saying in no uncertain terms to the holder of one of the highest elected offices in the state “you’re categorically dishonest and I know who you really are” and, oblivious to the law of holes, he just kept digging.
Best of all was the opportunity was to take Thucky’s comments and elevate them into new posts for the purpose of tearing right-wing philosophy apart. In that respect, Thucky was truly a useful idiot.
But Huppenthal posting under his own name is none of that. Now, he’s like a crazy person screaming conspiracy theories on the street corner who smells from having urinated on himself. To me, it makes no more sense to engage with him than it would to converse with the guy on the corner. Certainly, I have compassion for that guy on the corner. It’s hard to muster up the same compassion for Huppenthal, but whatever compassion I can find says it doesn’t help him to engage.
If you need an illustration, check out his comment to BlueMeanie’s recent post, Who are the Trump voters? Got that millennials? You’re all morons.
Ironically, I’m different from some of my colleagues here in that I welcome the comments from conservatives. When it’s not mean-spirited, I enjoy the debate. I respect John Kavanagh for commenting here. I’ve noticed that Steve is one of the few commenters, right or left, who can acknowledge having had something wrong.
But with John Kavanagh or Steve, I can engage without being sharp-tongued and feel productive in doing so. And there’s enough mutual respect, I hope, that an occasional lapse of courtesy will be ignored. I can’t get there with Huppenthal. When “Thucky” called me a moron, it somehow was funny. When Huppenthal does so, while at the same time explaining how it was he who was wronged back in 2014, it’s offensive, pathetic and outrageous all rolled into one. So, I’ve promised myself (and my wife) that I’m done.