by Kent Sterling
A tsunami of comments flooded kentsterling.com early today, and because I try to reply to even the wackiest of thoughts, I was very busy this morning.
I was called names and referred to as a hypocrite enough times that I should have suspected something, but I was typing so furiously I never looked at the URLs of the comments, which were all identical.
That these comments were all in response to my post three days ago on the supposed catfishing of Paul George is a sadly or hilariously ironic truth that makes my shame in being duped all the greater.
It’s odd that some random guy would block out an entire morning to engage in a fictitious debate with someone like me. Maybe I should take it as praise, but this morning’s lesson will remain with me for years and may save me a lot of time and trouble down the road.
The content of the comments was bizarre. Normally, because I respond to almost every reasonable comment made here, the commenter and I tend to find common ground, and even the most cantankerous dissenter learns that I’m not nearly the kook he or she believes me to be. Today, the people became more and more outraged – to the point where they began referring to me as a racist – without rationale.
I’ve never been called a racist, so I was mildly concerned despite having done nothing to warrant that characterization. That dozens of others suddenly echoed those beliefs gave me reason for pause because the sheer tonnage of the people who were offended had to be considered.
Never wavering, I continued to reply again and again to the accusation. I was truly baffled by this strident and odd collection of people as each comment I wrote was used against me in a way that defied logic. There was a supposed HR expert who pleaded me to stop replying, and 42 people who called me a hypocrite.
After working at a news/talk radio station for 15 years answering the somewhat delusional rantings of those who disagreed with a message from a host, I grew thick skin and saw the complainers as challenges. There were very few people who called my office that I couldn’t bring back to rationality, but this was a vat of 42 lunatics that could not be reasoned with.
I began to think that there was something institutionally wrong with NBA fans. Maybe they are collectively nuts and beyond reason, but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t going to try, so I continued to tilt against this windmill of discontent with endless comments offering well-reasoned explanation.
Finally, out of compassion, pity, or both, the guy came clean and apologized. I suppose I should be angry, but I’m not. My day could have been spent more constructively than by sparring with the same guy for hours as he masqueraded as 42 different people, but overall it was a reasonably funny execution that I completely fell for. Hard to blame anyone but myself for not checking the URL.
Why someone would take the time to try to trick me in this way is a great question, but I learned something through this, and my level of frustration during a crisis was severely tested, and I never became a haywire flamethrower. At one point, I wrote that a commenter was insane, but I changed it before it was posted. Good for me, I suppose.
The irony that being catfished as a result of writing a post about the evils of catfishing and how the media fails in reporting the results of catfishing is not lost on me.
All I have to be proud of is that through the entire ordeal I never posted a nude selfie.