What’s the point?

Here’s a truly random lunchtime post–or maybe it’s not so random.

An odd interchange of comments took place on one of the most “random” posts on this random blog.

I objected to an absurd statement about a very expensive car (a statement which I quoted and which wasn’t taken out of context). A person who used his full name took issue with part of my comment…sort of.

Foolishly, perhaps, I responded (I truly don’t believe that rich people can reasonably ignore gas mileage; it’s a resources and environment issue, not a money issue). It went back and forth, and in the process the commenter, still using his full name, managed to inform me that I was (a) poor, (b) ignorant or uneducated, and (c) a whiner with an annoying little blog.

No argument about the “little blog” part of it, and annoying is in the mind of the reader, so that’s fine too.

But here’s the thing…

Why on earth was this person, who doesn’t appear to be part of my plausible readership, here in the first place?

The post doesn’t show up in the first 100 results for “CL65″ or “Mercedes CL65 ” on Yahoo or Google. Nor should it.

I wasn’t saying that CL65 owners were stupid–only that it was ridiculous for a magazine to say “There is not a single aspect to the vehicle that a reasonable person could find fault with.”

But somehow this person felt such a need to defend this $186K car that he had to comment…

Here’s the other thing: Why would a commenter go out of his way to insult the proprietor of a blog? Does he believe I’m going to stop writing it because I’ve been labeled a whiner or because he doesn’t regard the blog as important? Is he trying to make friends and influence people?

Looking back at it, I realize something a little more bizarre: The comment was on a post that was considerably more than a year old. And has not, of course, been followed by a string of denunciations of this car model or any other car model.

I dunno. As you all know, I avoid controversy and contentiousness at…well, maybe not at all costs. (I still don’t use emoticons.) But even in my feistiest moods, I can’t imagine commenting on a 14-month-old post that didn’t address me by name and that I had to dig pretty hard to find. Go ahead: Write a post saying Honda Civics are for wusses or that Randy Newman is a talentless hack, and post it in some non-library-related blog. If you don’t call me out by name, I’m sure not going to go back a year later and comment on your post, wrong as I may believe it to be. Life really is too short.
By the way: I do owe one minor apology. I assumed that the car in question, given its sheer weight and gas mileage, probably had a mediocre turning radius as well. As the commenter said, that’s wrong: The tested turning radius (37.6 feet) is excellent for a 16-foot-long car.

The general question, I guess: Why would you go to lengths to object to something on a blog by someone you don’t know in a field you’re not involved in? Do people have that much time on their hands?

8 Responses to “What’s the point?”

  1. Matthew Says:

    If I had $186K for a car I would spend $150K on something worthwhile such as http://www.missionaryventures.org, a group with whom I go on medical trips.

    Then I would buy a nice Honda or something like than and put the remainder in the bank to pay for gas as it seems the price would go up.

    Who could possibly need a $186K car? I’m sure it is nice, but even I can’t be a conspicuous consumer.

    Who am I kidding I’d buy a house in the Yucatan and retire if I had a spare $186K floating around. ( http://www.mexintl.com/)

  2. walt Says:

    Yeah, if I could only learn Spanish, we might be thinking about houses in Baja–around Loreto, most likely. (I’ve tried, several times, but for some reason I’m resolutely monolingual except for computer languages. Really stupid for a Californian, I know. And sure didn’t help my GPA in college!)

    Heck, around here, $186K would buy…well, it would make a nice 18% to 20% down payment on a modest house in our neighborhood. Maybe 25%, for a fixer-upper.

  3. Christina Pikas Says:

    Can you tell from your server logs or statistics what google searches are getting to your blog? I get many for famous singers :) It’s sometimes pretty interesting to see how people are getting to your blog.

  4. walt Says:

    I’m pretty sure I can (but I only look at the Urchin figures from home), but I really haven’t spent much time on them. I continue to be bemused by the pure number of visitors–but then, a look at links suggests that some “visitors” are just spam link sites. Why they’d bother with this little site is beyond me.

  5. Brad K. Says:

    Walt, I think the answer to why non-librarians enjoy your blog, is your personality. You seem to be a sincere, polite host. You make the visits fun and informative.

    And for those of us that read, there are times you shed a bit of light about books.

    For myself, thanks.

    Brad K.

  6. walt Says:

    Books! I should talk about books! (I read–a lot–but lately it’s more likely to be magazines and printouts. Sigh. I’d like to get back to the book-a-week habit. Maybe soon. Maybe not.)

    Thanks for the kind words. As anyone who’s met me can verify, what you see here is what you’d get: I’ve never been good at assuming personae.

    Oh, Christina, I just looked at Urchin. 1,682 search terms in the first 16 days of July (!), of which the first makes little sense (“subnotebooks”), but the next 8 are all reasonable. After that it just gets strange…

  7. Alane Says:

    I confess I drive a Mercedes although it’s a more modest model that was 1/4 of the cost of the CL65 five and a half years ago. I learned to drive a stick in a Mercedes, my dad rallied in a Mercedes and he drove that same 1980 diesel from Ontario, Canada to Panama when he retired there a few years ago. It has over a million kilometres on it. So, a Mercedes may cost more (or a lot more) than many cars but a loved one will last well beyond the lifespan of most ordinary cars. And that keeps them out of landfills.

  8. walt Says:


    More power to you. My other friends who drive Mercedes also love them. Your evidence is real testimony that, with appropriate care, a Mercedes can last “forever,” or close enough. Which, as you point out, is a very good thing.

    I was never arguing against Mercedes–not even the CL65. I was arguing against absurd statements.

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