One of my trolliest of commenters, in response to my usual debunking of his typical respouting of Foxobeckian drivel, asks:
"Really, Sid. Is this how you speak to people in real life? Does this make you feel more manly on the Internet? Are you unable to be polite to people with whom you disagree?"
Aside from the hilarity of the framing, coming as it does from a guy whose comments are, in most cases, the equivalent of dropping by to take a dump, there is a grain of a reasonable question there.
This being a blog which by its own title announces my intention to rant, readers ought not expect silken speech. However: I base everything I say on fact, demonstrable and demonstrated with relevant links. I make no excuses for responding to ubiquitous idiocy and craven cynicism with strong language, but I most strenuously lay claim to careful thought and open-eyed assessment.
Similarly, the careful reader will note that when challenged by commenters with reasonable questions and interesting documentation (yes, it has happened) I respond -- happily! -- in kind. I love to engage those who disagree, when the disagreement amounts to something -- anything, in fact -- more than the schoolyard taunts and -- what shall we call it? Blue language? -- that usually appear. It's particularly amusing to read the above questions, coming from a person who evidently has no idea how uninteresting and unoriginal his (or her) comments are. "I know you are but what am I" is not a style that carries much weight after about the third grade.
So. Were it ever to happen that the person in question engaged in actual discourse, responding to a point I'm trying to make in a given post with actual counter-arguments while keeping at least a toe on the firmament, he (or she) would be engaged most enthusiastically, with respect commensurate with that given to my argument. In the case of this individual, however, there's no evidence that there's the capability.
Meanwhile, I suppose I owe answers: