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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 12, 2005 / 3 Nisan, 5765

Internet Goons

By Pat Sajak


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Obscene phone callers rarely reveal their names and numbers. Those who write abusive letters to movie celebrities almost never include a signature. The loud-mouthed drunk at the ballgame doesn't shout, "You Stink! And I am Sam Smith of Elm City!" It seems there is something about anonymity which brings out the worst in us. If you doubt that, come with me into the often-weird world of Internet chat rooms and message boards.

The Internet was supposed to be a boon to reasoned debate because it allowed anyone who could get online a chance to participate. Unfortunately, the "screen name" was invented, and people were able to disguise themselves with cute little pseudonyms like CuddleKitty934 and CoolDudeJJ33.

Participants not only create new names, they're able to create entire identities. I suspect most self-described 18-year-old Scandinavian women named Inga who collect and wear string bikinis are, in reality, more likely to be middle-aged, pot-bellied guys named Lou who collect and wear string cheese

Here's what generally happens: someone posts a message on a particular topic, someone else posts a response, and others join in, either agreeing or disagreeing with the first couple of posters. Eventually, however, an "Internet Goon" arrives, hurling invective, calling names and disrupting civility. Posters then tend to respond to the Goon, and decorum deteriorates quickly. The Goon gets the attention he craves, and then moves on to another message board or chat room where he can enrage a whole new set of posters.

It's not too difficult to imagine the real life of an Internet Goon. Ignored by his co-workers or neighbors, stuck in a job he hates (if he has one at all), he sits and seethes in front of a computer screen, where he is finally able to get some attention. People respond to him and talk to him and about him. His outbursts can change the course of any discussion on any topic. Finally, people actually care about what he says. He is somebody.

Most magazines and newspapers require a name and legitimate mailing address before they will print a letter to the Editor, which seems reasonable to me. Why should anyone take your views seriously if you won't even identify yourself? The Lincoln-Douglas debates would seem much less compelling if they had been the LuckyLadyBug-hot2handle debates.

In my role as a television performer, I have a strict rule about letters. If they are unsigned, I don't read them. I might be interested in what Mr. Howard Smithson of Ohio has to say, but I don't care much about the views of "Angry in Akron".

Internet Blogs have proliferated in the last year or two and the marketplace of ideas has expanded, but most bloggers identify themselves. You know who is doing the writing, which can help you assess what the writer has to say. Most of the responses to the various blogs, however, come from people who hide behind a screen name. And, of course, most writers can count on our friends, the Internet Goons, to toss a few verbal grenades.

Still, if you have to be called an idiot, a moron, or worse, it's less hard on the ego to be called those things by someone who identifies himself as HotdogToGo543.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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JWR contributor Pat Sajak is the recipient of three Emmys, a Peoplesí Choice Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He's currently the host of Wheel of Fortune. To visit his website, please here.



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