The arrest of Henry Louis Gates and its resulting controversy has led to an increase of crazy-talk on the internet, not the least of which has been people visiting the online magazine where Gates is editor-in-chief to leave vile comments.

The Root, an African American-centric journal of culture and politics owned by the Washington Post, has predictably seen a tremendous spike in traffic lately, some of which has been from cretins visiting the site to spread their unique brand of jackassery.

A few commenters used grotesque racial epithets, others crudely parodied black speech, and some proudly called themselves racist. One used the screen name of James Earl Ray, the man who killed Martin Luther King Jr.

Those probably should have been removed, said Terence W. Samuel, deputy editor of The Root, but he added that worse comments had been taken down.

"For the most part, as long as the comments are not threats of violence, and the most vicious, nasty, racist comments, we leave them up," he said.

To their credit, the people behind The Root don't seem to be too disturbed by the idiots suddenly trolling their site.

"But we've invited this conversation," Mr. Samuel said, "and nine out of 10 days, it's a great conversation to be having."

Needless to say, these commenters probably didn't receive stars from The Root's editors. Just a hunch.

Site For Blacks Attracks Slurs After Arrest of Gates [New York Times]