Tepido the Torpedo

By Dominique Flemings

A reason I tend to stay out of political catfights is that there never seems to be a place for an easy-going individual such as myself who has a life outside of the issue at hand. It’s always a most unpleasant experience when someone will simply not shut up about a certain topic. I try my very best to not do this – an excellent example found in the Japan Blog Review is my angst over one Arudou Debito, and how this manifested itself in party of my review of the Japan Times. Sergio had his turn when he reviewed Debito’s own website, and then we were done. As you can guess, there is a certain website on my mind that has not been so restrained in its criticism of Debito: Tepido.org.

One common characteristic that I have with Tepido is our general dislike of Debito. I say “general” because Tepido seems to have made smearing Debito his life purpose. I cannot imagine what drives Tepido to hound Debito to the point of tracking the physical location of Debito’s book collection. The determination that he has in monitoring Debito’s every word (and, apparently, every book) reminds me a great deal of the “torpedoes” or hired guns that were the favorite tool of bosses in most gangster films starring one of my old favorites, James Cagney. Next thing we know, Tepido will shouting on his home page, “Debito, you dirty rat!”

James Cagney? Or Tepido when asked
what he thinks about Debito?

I am certainly not sticking up for Debito, here. Quite the opposite – I just fear that he’s managed to have quite a negative effect on a fellow critic. When your dislike of something or someone begins to define you, you are the loser in the situation. Even if Debito was running for political office, he wouldn’t merit the volume or scrutiny Tepido gives him. Debito is simply a vocal columnist and author –until Tepido practically elevates him to the level of a revolutionary by criticizing and dogging him in the way he does. The sort of nitpicking and espionage Tepido undertakes with Debito verges on ludicrous.

More relevantly, I feel that Tepido is by and large working against himself. When one clicks on the “Welcome to Tepido.org” tab, you are invited to identify yourself as either a Debito skeptic or supporter, but I have a feeling that skeptics are not wont to remain skeptics after a quick skim through Tepido’s rants. Supporters, on the other hand, no doubt come to the conclusion that if all Debito detractors are as mad as this one, then there is no use in talking with him. In summary, Tepido makes a sensible and rational discussion of the issues far harder than it needs to be.

My only hope is that Tepido the Torpedo decides to tone things down, as he succeeds in doing little but making those who have rational and genuine criticisms of Debito look as foolish as him. And as long as Tepido continues in his absurdity, he’s only doing Debito favor after favor. Thumbs down to a simply ridiculous site.


~ by Japan Blog Review on September 13, 2011.

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