inessential by Brent Simmons


As a system admin for a free service, I sometimes get email (sent to the webmaster account) that could be charitably described as raunchy.

Some people think that the great thing about email is that you can write and send the filthiest abuse you can think of to complete strangers. It's fun and cost-free (cost-free in many senses of the word).

Such mail never comes from people I've heard of, and it always comes from one of the free email services.

My sensibilities aren't so tender that the language actually offends me. (Were these messages better written and had some character development and perhaps a little plot -- and were the protagonist someone other than me -- they might be titillating. Okay, I'm joking, but you get the point.)

What is offensive is just the sheer meanness behind it. What kind of person gets a kick out of this? Someone who doesn't see other people as human. Or who does but has contempt for humans.

As these messages are violations of the Terms of Service of their free email service, I report them.

As I do it, I say to myself that I'm removing some bad genes from the gene pool.

It's not true, all I've done is mildly inconvenienced somebody. But I keep my fingers crossed that the person will have learned that behavior on the Internet has consequences, and that words are actions.

My guess is that the person hasn't learned that lesson about home or school or work or whatever.

Well, small person, you're on my turf now.

John VanDyk has an interesting solution to the same problem.

Alwin Hawkins wrote to say:

The phrase we use in the nursing trade is "chlorinating the gene pool." As in...

"Look at that stupid kid riding his motorcycle without a helmet!"

"He's just chlorinating his gene pool. Best done while they're young."

Dude, nurses kick ass.

The Hunter S. Thompson of the weblog world has to be Mike Donnelan of the aptly-named blackholebrain. Check it out today.