Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Words that have no meaning.

Troll. In the early days of the internet, "troll" meant someone who lurked on a discussion board and intentionally wrote inflammatory rhetoric, for the purpose of stirring the pot and causing conflict and consternation.

And example would be a discussion board devoted to knitting cashmere, and a troll might come along and post (usually just once) that angora was far superior to cashmere, and cashmere devotees where insane.

Now consider a discussion board devoted to the merits of knitting, where in one poster starts a thread titled "I love cashmere, do you?" Someone posting on this thread that angora was superior to cashmere would not necessarily be trolling, even if they used the term "insane".

This is the Age of Obama, and Troll now means anyone who has an idea I don't like. Even if I have invited counter opinions.

The Fox News headline read "Obama's Effort at Online Transparency Stymied by Internet Trolls".

But the article said this:

Obama held an online "town hall" forum on the economy and invited the public to post questions on the White House Web site.

Three and a half million people participated in the event, but the "trolls" had their way: Following a coordinated campaign by marijuana advocates to vote their topic to the top of the list, questions on the future of the U.S. dollar and the rising unemployment rate were superseded by questions about legalizing pot as an economic remedy.

How often does the general public get access to the President to pose questions? Not very often, and probably less since Joe the Plumber did. So how exactly is a question about the economic benefits of legalizing pot a trolling question?

It's not.

Unless you are using the new meaning of "troll", which is someone making a point of argument that someone else does not like.

What does this have to do with dogs?

How about the word "puppymill"?

In it's original meaning, puppymill meant a facility so foul that the owners could not escape animal cruelty charges. A puppymill almost always operated exclusively outside of any regulatory jurisdiction, such as the USDA or state inspections. The animals from a puppymill were by definition in horrendous physical condition, evidencing signs of grave neglect.

Is that what you think of when you think of puppymill? Or do you use it to describe any facility without carpeting where a dog spends part of its time in a crate? Perhaps for you it just might mean a facility (irregardless of condition) that has several breeding dogs, 10 or 20 or 50 or more.

What number you think constitutes a puppymill is most likely a function of your own health, physical fitness, age and imagination. When mom is cold, she assumes everyone is cold. If dad can't see to read his book, he assumes the room is too dark for anyone to see to read. If you don't think there is any way on earth you could manage the care of more than 20 dogs, 20 dogs is probably the number you think a puppymill starts at.

Nowadays, as some have said before, a 'backyard breeder' is anyone who doesn't run a facility the way you think they should, but has less dogs than you. And a puppymiller, in modern terms, is anyone who doesn't run a facility the way you think they should, but has more dogs than you.

These words have no meaning, yet everyday people urge their legislatures to seriously limit freedom based on these words alone.

The Washington State Legislature did it just the other day, as reported in the AP:

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Washington state Legislature has approved a measure cracking down on dog breeders who operate puppy mills.

Under the bill, dog breeders and owners would be barred from owning more than 50 dogs over six months old that are not neutered or spayed.

The word "puppymill" has become empty but inflammatory rhetoric. The original work of Trolls.


No comments:

Post a Comment