Why ‘Say Something Nice On The Internet Day’ Is Bullshit

As part of her eternal crusade to make the internet a safe space for her bottomless self love, Jane Pratt has declared today “Say Something Nice On The Internet” Day. On this day, every blogger is supposed to take a break from our usual activity of flinging verbal feces at one another and “say something nice.” Especially female bloggers, because of sisterhood and stuff. Besides the obvious fact that February 29 is a terrible day for your made up holiday, this is silly for a variety of reasons.

As you can see from the above photo, Jane has sabotaged this right out of the gate with some sort of “love thine enemies” placard. Looks like we made the cut! But to put Jennifer‘s well-reasoned screeds against immoral idiocy and Latoya Peterson‘s incisive examinations of white privilege in the same category as dim, superstitious harpies like Dr. Laura and Jerry Falwell reveals that in Jane’s mind, despite her protestations to the contrary, everyone who disagrees with or criticizes her is equally out to get her. But it’s okay, because she…loves them anyway? Sorry, but this seems disingenuous and passive aggressive to me.

Which brings me to my next point: there’s a huge difference between evil trolls calling you a whore and legitimate criticism. Not to mention, the type of collegiate sparring I’ve grown fond of in the blogosphere. (I joined the debate team in high school for a reason.) The stupid and/or crazy people who regularly leave ridiculously offensive comments are not likely to participate in “Say Something Nice” day, so that leaves the rest of us. And the rest of us think we’re nice enough already.

Look: I’ve heard this song before. And nine times out of ten, a wounded cry of “WHY ARE YOU BEING SO MEAN TO ME?” is an attempt on the part of someone who writes for all the wrong reasons to silence their critics so they can continue to self-aggrandize. Personally, I’m not going to participate in Say Something Nice Day because for me, everyday is Say Something Nice Day for the things that I like and want to draw people’s attention to. One of the things I love most about my job is turning people on to bits of culture that I find valuable. But unfortunately, not everything is worthy of praise. The world is full of stupid, ridiculous, and flawed attitudes, and by providing counterarguments as to why those attitudes are stupid, ridiculous, and flawed, I hope to advance the discourse in a constructive direction. Sometimes the dumb things are frivolous and fun to write about, like seapunk. Other times, they’re deadly serious, like rape culture. Obviously one is more important than the other. But if I only wrote about the things I liked, I’d only be doing half my job. And I’m not going to give anyone a pass just because we both happen to have a vagina.

Then there are the beneficiaries of “Say Something Nice” day. If you look at who xojane’s writers are writing about, it’s mostly people they like already, and sometimes themselves (no, really!). It’s easy to say something nice about someone you like. I do it every day, because it feels good to be nice. (Thank you, awesome people in my life, for giving me many occasions to do this.) As for the people you don’t like, well, I’m guessing you dislike them for a reason, because you are a rational being who makes decisions based on facts. I am not going to say something nice about Terry Richardson, for example, because all the facts tell me he’s a sociopathic creep who uses his position of power to coerce young models into doing things he knows they don’t really want to do. No warm fuzzies for you, dude.

And lest you think I’m throwing stones from glass houses, I’ve had so many mean things said about me it’s not even funny. But I don’t write to make people love me, so I take it in stride. Sometimes, I even see where my critics are coming from. Other times, the comments give me further insights into the origins of the douchebaggery I’ve just discussed. When you choose to post something into the public domain, you have to acknowledge that someone might come along and take a big, steaming shit on it, and if you can’t handle that, I highly suggest you write it in your diary or join a community that heavily moderates comments.

I’ll leave you with an anecdote about Margaret Atwood emailed to me by EIC Jennifer, who doesn’t need me to verbally fellate her to know I think she’s smart:

I remember Margaret Atwood mentioning that a reviewer described her as “always grimacing” and she went through all of the pictures taken of her, and found that in half of them she was smiling and in half of them she was not, which confirmed her theory that if a woman is smiling nicely 50% of the time and not smiling the other 50% of the time she is, in fact, grimacing.

Word.

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    • Elizabeth

      Wait, did she put Daria on that list? I mean, I love The Gloss and all, but going after Daria? That’s it, Jane Pratt, we’re in a fight.

      • Ashley Cardiff

        Daria famously mocked Pratt, in the episode “The Lost Girls,” where Pratt is portrayed as Val, a name-dropping, self-obsessed teen magazine editor.

      • Cee

        Wow, wasn’t Daria ages ago? She sure holds a grudge. What a child.

      • Elizabeth

        Daria could dress me up like Lady Hitler from The Venture Bros., and spend 25 minutes mocking my cankles, and I’d still be like, “Eeee! I’m on Daria!”

        Sigh. I’m just going to go to sleep on a pile of Sassys and dream that Jane Pratt never grew up. That sounds like a really mean thing to say, but I’m pretty sure that’s what she does at night, too.

    • Katie

      The second paragraph of this is absolute perfection. Sums up all my ill-will toward Pratt.

    • traci

      really? another xojane piece from ya’ll? it really has gotten pathetic.

      • Superjack

        really? another commenter who thinks this blog can’t critique a fellow blog?

      • traci

        it won’t let me comment to you- it wouldn’t be such an issue if there wasn’t an anti- xojane post every week. it is so sad that this blog has to piggyback off of xojane. that is what it seems like. and somehow miss that they alienate readers by doing so!

    • endn

      Hah! Excellent points! I do read xojane for funsies, they do have some good contributors and articles, but the whole tone of xojane tends to be pretty self-congratulatory in terms of what contributors write about, which is fine, except that there’s a whole passive-aggressive pitch of being in opposition to other women’s sites where things are just too judge-y or feminist or critical or whatever, it really gets under my skin (especially when they use that as an excuse to post horrible/offensive/harmful things just for the sake of “individual voices”), and goes hand-in-hand with the weird egocentric role of Jane pratt in the site, where she kind of inserts herself into articles (she’ll leave weird little p-a editor’s comments, especially after ridiculously controversial/offensive stuff, that explain how she disagrees or even that she didn’t read the article before it was posted, so she distances herself from them, while leaving them on the site totally unedited… really bizarre, self-aggrandizing and annoying) and into the site itself with little posts and videos full of name-drops and references to 90′s celebs and her earlier career (and it won’t jibe at all with the rest of the site.) That photo of her “loving her enemies” is just so gross to me, like, such a nice little jab while pretending to be such a positive force for women’s writing, especially when some of the articles up now have to do with some deeply powerful issues like assault and abortion and body shaming and self esteem, and she shows her personal issues as… famous places she’s been dissed. Uh what? so relatable jane!

      okay that’s my beef with the site. the whole say something nice day thing is fine and all, it’s just another self-protective self-congratulatory impulse on their part, that they say is not directly related to the multiple shitstorms some of the worst articles have already caused (one of which they jokingly call “Cat-gate” and defended so ardently that they chose to protect their writer at all costs instead of writing any kind of sincere informative non-passive-aggressive-and-snarky response to, another of which Jane wrote another little editor’s note distancing herself from without actually doing anything about it, and another of which the author herself flipped out and was allowed to write an entire snarky article about how mean the commenters were in responding to her offensive and not-well-argued post.) Point is, totally not surprised, and they’re welcome to pat themselves on the back all they want and bask in all the positive comments they get, but jeez, lay off the gloss and etc! as if y’all are a bunch of psychos out to get her, like fucking jerry falwell and dr. laura! I’ve read all of your critiques of their content and they’re always well-reasoned, funny and relevant. Grow up, jane pratt, sheesh.

      • endn

        Haha jesus sorry for the long comment! you just so perfectly summed up my problem with xojane, just had to let loose my tidal wave of frustration.

    • Kristy

      This hateful piece is a perfect example of why a Say Something Nice on the Internet Day is necessary. Don’t think I’ll be visiting the gloss again.

      • Kit

        YOU. YOU ARE PROVING THE AUTHOR’S POINT RIGHT NOW.

      • Kj

        …snark?

        …hopefully?!

      • kit

        Oh my god, I hope snark! That would be really good snark, if so.

    • Kj

      *ptweeeeewww-KABAM!*

      That is the sound of this article being exactly perfectly right on the awesome target and blowing it to smitereens!

      I hate stuff like “Say Something Nice Day,” because it seems so contrived. I have opinions that I like to share. Sometimes they are nice. Sometimes they are not! All comments do not have to be mean, by some universal law of the internet.

      nine times out of ten, a wounded cry of “WHY ARE YOU BEING SO MEAN TO ME?” is an attempt on the part of someone who writes for all the wrong reasons to silence their critics so they can continue to self-aggrandize.

      …this is probably the best part of the article for me. I hate when people try to hide behind emotional crap like this.

      Thank you, theGloss, for continuing to be so awesome! (Oh God, there I went and said something nice. Ugh.)

      Also… really, theGloss is on par with Jerry Falwell and Dr. Laura on your hate scale?! Really, Jane? Clearly that’s a mind like a steel trap, right there. More ugh.

      • MR

        Yeah, I thought it was funny how if you read the words that are right to left, right below: Pratt’s ‘I Love’ – It’s guess who? Yes, nice work guys. She’s definately feeling it.

    • jay

      I seriously CANNOT believe that one of their writers targeted her “say something nice” at herself; it’s just preposterous. Nearly every article on xojane is dripping with narcissism and braggy, self love and nearly all of the comments are sycophantic–any commenter that isn’t blatantly sucking the dick of the writer gets dog-piled on immediately for daring to disagree with the hive mind.

      • Cee

        YES! All of this! Early on in XOJane’s start, I critisized a Cat piece (shocker). I got such a shitstorm for DARING to opine anything negative about Cat’s “unique, keeping it real” voice. How does a trust fund baby who squanders her fortune snorting bath salts and Plan Bs real? Anyways, yes you either blindly agree with everyone’s articles like a brainless parrot who just repeats everything everyone else said or your a mean evil troll who doesnt “get it” and made the writer pout.

    • Mindy

      ANOTHER post about XOjane?? Do you guys blog about anything else? Every post is always so negative

      • lg

        Really? I’m pretty sure they post 15-20 stories a day and I’m even more sure that those 15-20 stories are not all about xojane. People are allowed to share their opinions. Don’t read it if you don’t like it.

      • traci

        i noticed that too. IMHO it seems way too much like being a bully. which is something that no one should do! there is plenty of room for all the ladyblogs out there without having to put anyone else down just to get their traffic up!

      • MR

        @traci: You know I don’t remember there being a negative XOjane article on this site for awhile, and yet, Pratt’s picture above clearly mocks Jennifer’s picture on her posting yesterday. Also Jane puts ‘the gloss.com’ first thing right below her ‘I Love’ – clearly signaling it out as a main focal point of today’s XO adventure. Now let me see if I get this right? XOjane’s actions are meant to be friendly?

    • Valarie

      Look, there’s a lot to dislike about xo jane. But Lesley, you guys, Lesley! There’s my something nice. Lesley Kinzel is far better than the site she works for. faaaar better.

      • endn

        truth!

    • Cee

      I hate read XOJane but I have the BIGGEST crush On Hannah Johnson.. So conflicted!

    • MM

      The thing that really infuriates me about xoJane is that girl who posted a friendly interview with Tucker Max and then was so butthurt by the fact that some people dared to take issue with it that she posted TWO whiney feelings hurt articles.

      I still read that website at least once a week though. Especially the awful articles. I’m contributing to their page views! Ughh

      • Cee

        Yes, I read those! She should be fired. She interviewed that misogynist (which so many airheaded commenters defended “ZOMG Tucker Max is TOTES FUNNY, Id sooo fuck him”), made rape jokes, said she didn’t understand why chink was offensive.

        This whole thing happened because people “fucking hurt my feelings” as she put it in her article. It looks like all those women hold grudges even on the pebble that went into their shoe in the first grade.