I recently sent an email to a list with some of my friends on it and asked "what is X?" X was something that someone emailed me and I had no frigging clue what it was, but it seemed related to the group's interests, so I asked them. I received a long, nasty flame from a complete stranger about my ulterior motives for posting the question. It went on for several paragraphs about what a loser I was, how I clearly was a pseudo-intellectual, yada, yada, yada. We've all seen them. We've all wondered what the ranter was smoking.
I don't have any particular point in making this entry other than to say "stuff like this really ruins my day". It ruins my friend's days, too. I have a friend, who I'll call Alice, who asked one of her employees (we'll call her Beth), how Beth was doing. Beth, who is black, ran to one of her coworkers and complained about Alice's racist behavior because clearly Alice wouldn't have feigned interest if Beth was white. (Ironically, Beth once said to Alice that she "looked so fine from behind" that she could be black).
You want more examples? I got 'em. At PCC (Portland Community College), I was talking to some women in the Women's Studies programs who were livid when I objected to their assertion that all sex between men and women was rape. Being a male, they said, meant that I only wanted to maintain the status quo and therefore didn't have the right to participate in the debate. After some similar, though less intense conversations with other PCC women from that program, I learned to avoid them entirely. I wound up wanting to take one of the Women's Studies classes just so I could find out what they slipped in their Kool-Aid.
I think that some Monks (real, not Perl) have the right idea with that vow of silence thing. It seems that some people are just looking for a fight. They have their chip on their shoulder and if you don't knock it off, they'll shrug and blame you for it. They're vicious, mean, and nasty and an ignorant email from a complete stranger managed to put me in a complete funk for a couple of days.