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What I'm Giving Myself for Christmas

Im terrible with resolutions. Many others seem to be bad with them, too, so I don't feel like the only one who ends up failing by February—but this is still a problem, because the flaw that spawned the resolution in the first place is still there.

So this year, I'm pretending to give myself a gift in the form of a resolution. Maybe that will work. Here's what I'm going with: In 2011, I'm going to try to stay out of online comment sections, especially on articles and posts that I've written.

In an ideal world, the comment section would be an active place where those reading the material offer opinions; the author chimes in to add detail; and everyone leaves happy. Let's not be naïve, though: The Internet's just not that way. Authors bait the reader by trying to be provocative, and readers take the bait (often insulted that they spent five minutes reading something). It's a strange dynamic ... and I've given in to it on both sides.

This week featured plenty of examples of this behavior, as I managed to get into comment-section skirmishes over Phil Collins and Julian Assange, of all things—on the same day—and I can safely say no one got anything out of either conversation. So, why bother?

Sure, I should probably still answer questions, acknowledge mistakes and make clarifications when people comment ... but when someone feels strongly enough to comment about how wrong I am, their response is probably more cathartic than conversational.

So, I'll try to let people have their say without clever retorts or attempts on my part to sway opinion. It's a gift for us on both sides of the screen.


THE WEEK ON THE RANGE

We followed the developing story of the shooting of Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry, who was shot by apparent smugglers in Peck Canyon; let you know that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Congressman Raúl Grijalva urged Gov. Jan Brewer to restore funding for life-saving transplants, citing the case of David Hernandez, a 48-year-old construction worker whose lung transplant was eliminated as a result of Republican budget cuts; and shared the latest twists in the Republican efforts to get different names to choose for the Arizona Independent Redistricting Committee.

We warned you that campaign 2012 was already underway in Congressional District 8, with a conservative group running ads targeting Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords; linked to Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb's suggestion that state lawmakers balance the budget before cutting taxes; and told you about the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

We let you know that Medusa Kabob House and Rice House are two more new restaurants opening downtown; shared a rundown on which video-game console you should buy this year; brought you more video from the Great Cover-Up; and continued suggesting great Christmas gifts that help out local authors, musicians and shopkeepers.


COMMENT OF THE WEEK

"well i saw for the first time bla bla bla. and we yada yada yada. and i got my??????????? HAVE A GREAT HOLIDAY."

Facebook commenter Kat Pringle, responding passionately yet nonsensically to last week's Tucson Weekly motto: "Tucson Weekly: Your holiday-party conversation starter."


BEST OF WWW

This week, as part of our ongoing "Secrets of Tucson Bartenders" series, Amber from northwest-side restaurant Harvest shows us how to make a margarita using fresh local ingredients. While you might not have several local gardens at your disposal like they do at Harvest, there's still something to learn about how to turn a drink from dull to bright.

Also, we have a report on Tucson's services for the homeless. While the temperatures have been higher than usual this winter, people living on the street still face a number of obstacles every day.

In other news: Mari Herreras spoke to Oscar Jimenez of Wingspan on the subject of anti-LGBT bullying. While his school rallies in opposition to such bullying have stopped for 2010, he'll be back in front of schools encouraging young people (and their parents) again in 2011.

More by Dan Gibson

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