Sunday, August 18, 2013

Voice inflection is everything

Internet outrage of the moment is Michael Grunwald's loaded tweet in which he said, "I can't wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange."

Maybe it's because I'm inclined to think the best of people unless they've proven to be vile. Maybe it's because I don't really know who Grunwald is. He's not on my regular read list. I vaguely recall reading a post of his some time back that somebody linked to that I thought was quite good. So in the absense of knowledge about his general ideology, I took it as sarcasm rather than the expression of actual murderous intent. I mean, I've seen bloggers I do follow and know well post countless requests to DIAF (die in a fire) and don't take those as serious threats either.

Of course, it's August. The news cycle is mostly trivial. The poli-junkies are bored. Many pick somewhat silly internet spats and instant outrage rules the twitter.

That tweet could have been read in several ways. Could just as easily been a diss on the drone program or subtle dig at the state of media today. Which is not to say it wasn't stupid to post it. That statement desperately needed voice inflection to make its intent clear. Maybe Grunwald really meant it murderously, (in which case I would condemn it too even though I've always found Assange to be creepy and self-interested), but I've seen nothing to suggest Grunwald is prone to violent ideation. So I guess I'll save my outrage for things that really matter rather than some awkwardly worded tweet probably posted after a couple of drinks on a Saturday night.

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