The Debito-Tepido dispute comes to visit Hoofin to You . . .

The comment chain was on a post from earlier this month, and the chain starts here.

As I know I’ve said here before, both the main guys on that thread are good guys who have been Facebook friends of mine at one time or another. Contrary to what some of the commenters on Tepido have stated, I am 80-20 in support of what has been about. When you think about your realities, there is very little that you are totally 100% in agreement with. Things are more like 80-20, right?

As I’ve summarized before, Debito Arudou wants to see certain improvements to Japan, and I happen to agree that Japan is really weak on certain things. The more credible people on the Tepido side want to make sure that Japan gets a fair shake on the internet, and I can agree with that, too. As I am always reminding people, a lot of Japanese are stuck in Japan–they have the same problems with their government, and even elections don’t seem to fix it. [It’s just that] I just don’t see it as a useful cheap-assed excuse to start messing with foreigners because some Japanese have it just as bad. I think the better approach is: fix the problems.

Somebody felt I was anti-American because I didn’t agree that yellow ribbons were a form of sacrifice in the post-9/11 American scene. Other people seemed to suggest I was anti-Japanese, because I don’t believe that foreigners in Japan should be treated like some kind of voluntary underclass (especially when our military helps defend Japan and or trade relations help put coins in the pocket).

Some people raised the Fox News-style “fair and balanced” argument, which most people in America who know better are sick of. Their opinion is the fair balance–even going so far as to claim it’s “fact”–and everybody else is crackers. Well, that’s a bucket of sh*t.

We got others who insist that their views must be published on the debito website. Take it from me: you suddenly get eight people’s opinions on an emotionally charged subject, you want to cut-and-redact, too, if you don’t want to generate an even bigger brouhaha. I don’t see why the designated forum of Tepido isn’t satisfactory for their anti-Debito-and-anyone-else-who-defends-the-right-to-say diatribes. But for some reason, it is not. Probably because the same 12 people get tired talking to each other over the internet comment threads. I know I got 84 hits from there today, but it looks like 12 people hitting my one post an average of 7 times each. My WordPress number (page hits) went through the roof, but I doubt my Quantcast number (visits from identifiable computers) will even move.

It makes me laugh. Two of the Tepido posters said they “stopped reading” here months ago. But then, I see the same IP’s popping up as read me from time to time in a given month, and have for the past couple years. You guys don’t seem to know how the internet numbers game, of “who has real traffic and who is a paper tiger?” goes. I had somebody pull that about a year ago with a “blog review” site, which they linked to GaijinPot. I’ve always had more readers since then than before, so I don’t know what to tell you. I would blog if the number were countable on one hand.

Since 2003, and maybe even before with the AOL chatrooms in the late 1990’s, I am surprised at the number of people who use the internet to pick fights, what I termed “delightful bickering” back then. “Hey, I’ve got nothing better to do. Let’s start some delightful bickering on the internet!”

This is what the Tepido site has always seemed to me. Sure, I know the hardcore followers (what’s hardcore out of 12? Six? Four?) feel that they have a bone to pick with Debito Arudou.

– They didn’t like his post 3/11, Fukushima commentary.

– They don’t like the fact that he doesn’t portray Japan as this sunny place where everything is always grand, and those who don’t agree are “whiners” and people with emotional problems.

– They want to be able to go over to someone else’s website and post whatever they want, and have it appear exactly how they said. But even the earlier version of the internet comment board, which was the editorial page of a newspaper, didn’t allow that.

– They want the juice on the right side of the refrigerator, not on the left. Cheese on the left.

– If they can take or win, then that’s what’s right and fair. That’s true justice. Whatever you want, well, why don’t you just clam up? Hey, we made our great deal in Japan in the late 1980’s, and . . . what are you doing here? (Keep the military spending and trade relations open, though. We use that.)

– We can speak the language, due to our time here, and so therefore do not water down our advantage with your talk about equal protection and fundamental fairness.

– Too bad if your [somebody’s] marriage went south. Your Japanese wife should be able to do what she wants with your kid in her country. Who do think you are, anyway? The father?

Stuff like this. This is why Tepido is read by the same 12 people all day. This is why the chatboards never took off in the 2000’s, and why the AOL version fizzled in the late 1990’s. Delightful bickerers aren’t well- or long-tolerated in the real world, in “RL”.

Why do they ever get the idea that they are, online?

[Update 9/23/11: It has been pointed out to me that some people do not believe that Debito is still in Japan, and apparently there is a lot of previous commentary about that on Tepido. I can’t say either way. However, I do want to point out that equal protection of the law is something that is a universal quality. When people speak up for the idea, they shouldn’t be shouted down. As I’ve been saying, ideally the embassies should be in the forefront of these kind of issues—not blogs! Trying to shout people down on the topic is smelly.]