• Confessions Of An Ex-Freeper.

    Yes, yours truly was a Freeper. No, not a Detroit Free Press "Freeper." An actual semi-lurking member of the Free Republic forum between 2004 and late 2008 or early 2009.

    It started innocently enough. Not knowing jack squat about RSS feeds, I started looking for a news aggregator and the constant flood of news topics fit the bill, except they had conservative opinion attached to them. Which was fine in most cases, because I happened to be somewhat conservative at the time. I believed in the Second Amendment, the death penalty, being tough on crime and even tougher on the wallet. I actually thought most of the wealthy guys got where they were because of their hard work. I spent afternoons listening to Michael Weiner Savage bloviating all over the airwaves. I didn't care for Rushbo, but I didn't view him with the amount of absolute contempt I do now. "Young and dumb," so to speak.

    They say kids start out liberal and grow conservative as they get older. I was the opposite -- I became more liberal as the scales began falling off my eyes, and boy, did they ever.

    The opinionated commentary didn't strike me as odd right off, but it kept nagging me as time went on. As you can see in the previous blog post on Freepers, these guys were some rather vindictive little bastards at times. If there was a post about a couple of black guys going to jail for robbery/rape/assault/etc., you bet your ass there would be calls for shooting the "sumbitches" point blank or bestowing an ass-raping frenzy upon them. Some of the same talk was also reserved for white criminals, to a lesser degree -- basically, anyone who committed a crime "deserved" to be given the full "rape and living hell" treatment. A lot of talk about what they would do if they were in some crime victim's shoes, provided they had easy access to a gun or three. None of that phased me back then -- I guess I figured the lot of them were selling woof tickets to impress their online buddies.

    A lot of the commentary veered into racial antagonism and veiled, cryptic dog-whistling, and sometimes it was enough for the Admin Moderator to step in and "zot" the offending post. The racial animosity towards non-whites in general was always there, but the shit really kicked into high gear once people found out who was running for president back in 2008 -- these guys seemed a lot saner back when Bush was ruining running things. Those folks didn't have much tolerance for liberals or opinions that seemed remotely liberal, either. Neither did the mods -- some of these folks ended up being "zot-bait" for the "viking kitties."

    I found myself sometimes playing the "sane man" role when I came across those bits of epic stupidity at FR. A bit of reasoning, empathizing, etc. I don't remember it working that well, namely because a lot of the people on FR were dyed-in-the-wool conservatives in their 40s, 50s, 60s and older. And there was this 20-year-old black guy wading hip deep into a pool filled with the most prejudiced minds that managed to hunt and peck their way through the Internet. Interesting times, those were.

    The more Freeper threads I read, the more inclined I was to seek out alternative sources to balance out the bullshit. It's how I stumbled upon places like "Field Negro" and "A Black Man's View." I don't remember any black Freepers publicly outing themselves, nor did I ever reveal who I really was. Pen names are a wonderful thing, ladies and gents. Even then, I didn't have the desire of being "one of the good ones."

    It all came to a head when I stumbled on a thread mocking Michelle Obama -- at this point, I remember they were comparing this black woman to a gorilla. If you know anything about black history, you can see where this could be a problem. I simply let loose with saying out loud what the rest of the crowd had been wanting to say. Needless to say, I got canned for it.

    The funny thing about being banned on FR is you can read the posts and retain access to the ping lists you were on before being banned, but you can't make single post. Or edit your profile. Or do anything that would allow you to voice your displeasure with your current status. When you got shut down, you were shut down for good.

    Sometimes I still wonder why I was even drawn to FR in the first place. At any rate, the experience woke me up to the underlying bitterness and vitriol that's exploded into a cacophonous symphony of color aroused rage and hatred during Obama's term.

    ASIDE -- Feeling a bit of "nostalgia" for FR, I browsed a few threads, including one where current GOP superstar Rick Perry was being beaten up with flip-flops over flip-flopping (gee, I remember John Kerry getting this same treatment on a grander scale), and found this gem:
    Hey, when it come to taxes you're one sick tax loving dude. According to your lack of logic, if I make a purchase out of state I owe MY state a sales tax.
    I physically make a out of state purchase...no tax.
    I make a out of state purchase while sitting at home, I owe a tax?
    How does my physical presence change anything?
    BTW, it's a "sales tax" not a purchase tax. 
    As far as I know, most states ask that the value of your out-of-state purchases be recorded on your state's income tax return. Most people never do this. I'm not keen on the idea of having to pay my state tax on an Internet purchase, but I'm not gonna bitch and whine about it, either.