Trimming the Lunatic Fringe
  Sunday   August 31, 1997




The Usual Suspects

NARC is onto me -- that's Netizens Against Rudeness in Cyberspace -- and they're making for quite an amusing afternoon. There's nothing quite like taunting a yapping, psoriasis-ridden chihuahua for sheer entertainment.

Who are they? Let's take a peek at their Mission Statement:

The misson [sic] of N.A.R.C. is as follows:

By word and deed to support and encourage the proper use of netiquette and good manners.

To this end we, the members of Netizens Against Rudeness in Cyberspace, pledge to adhere to the rules of netiquette and socially acceptable standards of courtesy in all our internet activities; to encourage such practices through the printed word and personal example; to encourage such practices through tolerance, honesty and tact; at no time to place ourselves in a position of superiority over our fellow netizens.

We are not the "keepers of the torch" but rather people who wish to bask in its light and share its warmth.

Now, granted, the concept of NARC is a fine idea, but judging from today's e-mail these folks are hardly the emissaries of social graces. Who are they personally? Well, from what I've seen of them so far they're a loose band of simple-minded folks who remind me of nothing so much as mental patients on extended furlough. Their kludgy web pages come adorned with cheesy graphics of the teddy-bear and angel variety, eye-gouging borders and backgrounds, animated wizards and fairies, tributes to Maw and Paw, IRC and ICQ contact information, guestbook upon guestbook, etc, etc... Awards figure prominently. Very prominently. Extremely prominently. And it's an award that put this yapping little mutt on my scent.

The ringleader, founder, and Queen Nutbag of these NARCotics -- who shall remain nameless and linkless to deny her the attention she desperately craves -- offered me an award for these pages the other day, an award I refused rather...well, rudely. (Backstory on this will appear later this week probably, after the game plays out.) She was not amused. Much e-mail has ensued, with not a whit of hers measuring up to the above mission statement. Mine hasn't either, but then I'm not the founding member of NARC and I haven't sworn to stamp out rudeness wherever it rears its ugly head, so I'm allowed to be an asshole. As it stands now, she's "left a message for my attorneys to contact me" and I should "expect subpoenas and search warrents [sic] to be forthcoming in a timely manner." Uh huh.

Clearly violating her own mission statement's position on netiquette, she's even posted my original e-mail on her web page -- but edited out the story that explained my rude reaction. (That's another story in itself, part of the to-be-revealed backstory.) Kind soul that she is, however, she did take the trouble to attribute the letter to me -- with full name and e-mail address -- and included a mail link to me so her readers could tell "this pathetic excuse for a human being" what they thought of me. It has been implemented to hilarious results.

Just about every letter I'm getting from these feeps starts out with a friendly, smarmy tone, then degenerates into name-calling and "advise" that I'd better learn to be a nicer person. Common threads are that the Queen Nutbag is a very depressed person and that it's not nice to be mean to her (as if that matters to me), that it was rude of me to reject her fine award, why am I picking on their Queen, what makes me think I'm so hot, etc... Many of them write after (I assume) having visited this site and inform me that it's not worthy of the award the Queen bestowed. It's all been pretty heated, hysterical, repetitive stuff that makes me wonder if they're not all handcuffed to the same bedrail in a lock-down ward somewhere.

Naturally, I'm loving every moment of this. I love a good flamewar just as much -- if not more -- than the next guy, and when you're battling nitwits like this you can afford to slay them and be inventive at the same time. I've taken to using this as a writing exercise: I'm experimenting with a variety of voices and characters. Some letters I answer normally, others I try to match the letter-writer's intelligence and vocabulary, occasionally I pretend to be bewildered and befuddled by this whole mess. It's ridiculously easy to slice and dice them, even when assuming a single-digit IQ persona. I'm reminded of a bumper-sticker I once saw: "I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed man."

Things should heat up tomorrow as I have absolutely no doubt that Queen Nutbag will, as I've done, post about this on her webpage tonight. She'll probably provide my URL this time, so her minions don't have to ask me for it anymore, and I anticipate more slander and violations of netiquette to be featured both on her webpage and in her defenders' mail. It's going to be great fun.

I'd give you her URL, but, as I said, I don't want to feed her desperate craving for attention. Just check back in tomorrow night for an update from the saner side of the fence.

Heeeere, puppy, puppy. C'mere, little doggie...





Copyright 1997
Chuck Atkins