Sunday, October 16, 2005

Babulican Apologizes

Balbulican is a blogger who positions himself as being left to left-of-centre on the political spectrum. As such he's normally taken contrary positions to mine, but like me he's usually civil about it.

Which made some recent actions of his inexplicable. A few days ago he sent a troll comment to three of my posts--one via Blogger, two via Haloscan. I dismissed the triplicate nature of those comments as lack of originality.

Apparently my dismissal got him angry enough to post an explanation of his "behaviour":

Oh, did you think it lacked originality? I thought the idea of a triplicate repetition in your blog of your own abusive and not very interesting insult, as deployed at Robert's, was sorta funny. Well, no accounting for taste or senses of humour, I guess.

Well, I'll let him explain the rest:

I owe the Phantom Observer a BIG apology, and I owe his readers an explanation. Here's the story...If you don't want the narrative, just scroll down to the last paragraph for the apology.

One of my secret, guilty pleasures is hanging out occasionally at Robert McLelland's Blagh. There are blogs on the left and the right where you go for conversation. And then there are blogs where you just go to wallow in stupid, partisan name calling. When I want to wallow in right wing idiotic rage, I go to SDA: when I want to wallow in left wing idiotic rage I go to Robert's.

I know, I know. But at least it doesn't involve minors, drugs, or explosives, and I ALWAYS wash my hands afterwards.

I had traded barbs a couple of times with our host, the Phantom Observer, on Robert's site, and always found him to be an articulate and thoughtful writer (and funny). So I was distressed when someone identifying themselves as "The Phantom" jumped into an interesting discussion on US health care and waiting times with an offensive and trollish comment. It was annoying because the issue was a good one: and it was annoying because it didn't seem like the kind of thing The Phantom Observer would do.

As an aside, this isn't the first time this has happened. Angry_in_TO once misattributed a posting from The Phantom Soapbox to me; to this day I still don't know if he's corrected it. I do suspect -- based on the level of sarcasm in the blog entries -- that this same Phantom may be the ultimate source of Balbulican's distress, but this is not absolute proof.

When I comment on a blog post, I will always attach my own blog's URL, and I will use my blog's title to identify myself. Just so you know.

So with the unerring logic for which I am so justifiably known, I immediately leaped to the wrong conclusion. I posted a nasty response on Robert's site: then I came to this site, and pasted the trollish remark, slightly edited for context, in three of the Observer's threads. My intent was to illustrate how irritating and disruptive that kind of idiocy can be: my accomplishment was to demonstrate my own impatience and stupidity.

The Phantom Observer reconstructed what had happened, contacted me by email with great civility, and explained the misunderstanding.

So here's the apology.

Phantom Observer, I am deeply embarassed by my mistake. I apologize to you for not having the brain to realize that you would not have written anything as stupid as that. And I apologize to both you AND your readership for invading your fine blog with what must have seemed an inexplicable piece of foolish and offensive trollish behaviour. Thanks for your gracious email clarification of what went on. I hope to have the opportunity to apologize in person, perhaps with the humble offering of an appropriate beverage, at one of the Ottawa Bloggers Sessions. Sackcloth and ashes will be the order of the day.

Well, I think we're scheduling the next NCR Blog Mafia meeting for early December, so I'll hold Balbulican to that beverage.

Incidentally, this is one of the reasons why I don't consider Balbulican a moonbat. A moonbat will never apologize for bad behaviour, on the grounds that "the other guy deserves it, and never mind why." With this apology, Balbulican demonstrates he's one of the good guys.

UPDATE (16h42): Just corrected Balbulican's name throughout the post. I'm one of those people who believes that fixing spellings does matter.

UPDATE (16h50): Except that I needed to change the post title back, just to make sure all the linkbacks work.