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Sometimes it's best to keep quietPosted Wednesday, January 12, 2011, at 2:41 PM
Following the weekend shootings in Tuscon, the sheriff out in Arizona used the word "vitriol" and basically said the political discourse needs to be toned down.
Vitriol is not exactly a household word and it hit a national nerve.
The world vitriol has a scientific meaning but in everyday speech, it means abusive or venomous language used to express blame or bitter deep-seated ill will; or a rude expression intended to offend or hurt; an attack in speech or writing; bitter verbal abuse; to lash out, attack, assault, snipe.
We're probably going to be reading and listening to thoughts, debate, facts and opinions on the vitriol in national politics for some time to come.
But what about the local level?
Is there "vitriol" in public discourse in Greene County?
By local politicians or elected officials, I say no for the most part. But I do see it -- in some of the comments that are left on the paper's website.
On Monday when I sat down in front of my computer at work for my turn to "monitor" the comments, there they were, again -- those hateful, vicious, bitter, rude comments and false facts.
I am so sick of having to read comments about how someone is worthless or no-good or how they're a bad mother or just like their father, or how they should be hung from a high tree, shot at sunrise, have body parts removed or be introduced to "Bubba."
And the "vitriol" appears not just on my stories or ones about people in trouble with the law -- it appears on good-news human interest stories, personal blogs, town council stories, county political stories, and even on stories about high school sports.
I could urge everyone who leaves these types of comments (not everyone does -- there are lots of good comment-makers) to tone it down -- but a lot of good that would do.
So to the people who do leave the "vitriol" I'll just say this: If you need attention, you get it, but not in a good way. You may be entertainment, but you're not helpful and you don't add anything positive to the discussion. And as one who has to read your vicious comments and/or incorrect facts, I grew weary of your attitude a long time ago along with most of the other readers.
Remember the old saying: It's better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
Anna is a staff writer at the Greene County Daily World and can be reached by calling the office at 847-4487 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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