Today a commenter suggested I do a post called “When Is It Not OK To Act Like A Pretentious A-Hole,” in response to my being the usual hothead I am and knocking people for their “mediocre” taste in music. Have you seen my behavior in the comment section sometimes? I either love you or I want to strangle you, but either way, I respect you for taking the time to comment and create a dialogue. When I respond, either pretentiously (as this commenter pointed out — hi Jany!) or kindly, it is coming from a place where I’m more grateful than not that people are reading and either getting riled up or getting the joke. As I’ve pointed out before, if you’re being pushed to comment in either direction, then this microphone is on and you’re hearing me — whether or not you like it.
However, dealing with commenters sometimes can be a real bitch. If you’re having a bad day and someone goes straight for the jugular, it really hurts. Other times people are so off point, that even their attempts at being mean just come off as really entertaining. After writing on the Internet for a couple years, I feel there are three camps of people out there when it comes to those who read stuff online:
1) Those who read the Internet for the fluff it is, then go on with their day. These are also the people who, if they comment, make a joke, include “HAHA” in there somewhere and tend to call me “Chatel.” I love you guys.
2) Those who read it, take everything seriously and all but throw feces at the wall when something doesn’t match up with their opinions on something. These are the people who either comment in long tirades with their version of facts, that may or may not be accurate, or just simply tell me I suck. That’s cool, I do suck [insert sexual joke here.] I love you guys, too, in a weird masochistic way.
3) Then there are those who are through and through “trolls” who don’t necessarily read an article, but just read the comments section and start throwing around stuff that doesn’t make any sense. These are people who basically jump on the “you’re a fucking useless blogger” bandwagon, and have zero regard for what’s being discussed. These are also the people whom I would like to line up and ask: “Would you comment that way to the blogger’s face? If you didn’t get to hide behind the Internet, would you still be so hateful?” I don’t like you guys. You’re meaner than me and that’s not cool.
As someone who, for reasons I can’t figure out, actually reads every single comment, I can confirm that it’s not easy. My looks, my intelligence, my family, my relationships with people and my decisions have all been insulted. I have also received some pretty scary threats that were sent directly to my email when I wrote about my abortion and the Westboro Baptist Church was kind enough to hit me up on Twitter and call me a whore. That was fun! Seriously, it was.
I could lie to you and say it doesn’t bother me. I could claim I’ve never once shaken with fury or tears, but since I do write from the heart and am very honest about my personal life, I’ll tell you right now: yeah, you’ve made me cry — congratulations! Granted, it’s only days that already sucked, but still it happens. So what have commenters taught me? I’d like to say patience and acceptance, but no. Internet commenters have just taught me how to make them hate me more. I feel like I should teach a class in it.
Photo: Conde Nast