Aaron R. Davis
Being the surly cur that I am, I often get a lot of comments on my blog that attempt to take me to task for all sorts of things: hating Republicans, being an atheist, making fun of Twilight and the terrible crime of liking the Star Wars prequels. Comments like that are just part and parcel of putting your thoughts online. You learn to deal with them.
After all, people can’t agree all the time, whether it’s politics, religion, terrible novels written for idiots or an overly-criticized series of children’s movies. That’s how life is. You expect that not everyone will always agree with you.
But there’s a vast distance between disagreement and self-serving stupidity. I don’t really care if someone disagrees with my opinions that Watchmen is a great movie and The Dark Knight is incredibly overrated. But if you’re going to disagree with me, tell my why. Leave a comment as thought-out as my post was. Don’t just be a jag and say “Fuck you, it’s genius!” when I make fun of Twilight. Why am I meant to take that seriously?
I mean, I’ve heard many times that everyone is entitled to their opinion and that everyone deserves to be listened to. But everyone is not entitled to me giving a shit about their opinion. Everyone is not entitled to me engaging them politely when they act like little pigs in my comments section. Sorry, but I don’t have to take you seriously when your comments are stupid.
I was taught that when you disagree with someone you shouldn’t tell them they’re wrong or stupid, you should ask them what they mean. When it comes to idiots, I like to tell them what they mean by decoding their idiotic screeds.
Here are some examples from my own blog:
Comment: “I am so sick of nerds who spend all of their time voicing their opinions about stuff nobody cares about. Nobody cares about what you think about the Grammys or anything else you write about for that matter. Get a life. Get off the computer.”
Translation: “I think the way to show you that I don’t care about what you say is to read your post and comment on it. Because nothing shows how little thought I’ve given your blog like taking the time to write a dismissive comment on it.”
Comment: “Too many words in this blog.”
Translation: “I’m illiterate and it makes me feel small.”
Comment: “If you consider Eva Longoria not to be hot, consider yourself a god damned queer because that fiery Latin hottie rocks my socks.”
Translation: “I’m so deep in the closet that I almost don’t know there’s even a closet to be in, and it makes me so damn angry!”
Comment: “If you’re going to rant about something, get your facts straight.”
Translation: “I want to correct you, but I can’t, so I’m just going to say you got your facts wrong and hope that it makes you insecure.”
Comment: “Ha! You’re sick of all the boys and girls named Taylor? I’m going to name all of my kids Taylor T. Taylor, and Taylor’s not even my surname!”
Translation: “I am a jackass.”
Comment: “I’m sensing a pattern in your recent posts. A pattern of rage.”
Translation: “I disagree with what you wrote, but I’m not smart enough to poke holes in your argument, so I’m going to attempt to make you feel insecure about some kind of perceived personal flaw.”
Comment: “I bet you are single LOL.”
Translation: “I am a massive semi-literate bitch who thinks text-speak is cute and personal judgments are a great way to distract from my lack of an actual comment.”
Comment: “Isn’t it fun ranting about the quality of crap these days?”
Translation: “I’m attempting to make you feel lazy and uninteresting for having an opinion on something I consider unimportant.”
Comment: “Boring clichéd ‘criticism.’ Guh, I guess that’s why you seem to have on average one comment per post, though.”
Translation: “I want EVERYONE who EVER sees this comment to know how WITTY and full of DISDAIN I am.”
Comment: “You are an idiot. You did the research and failed to turn in your report. How can you review a record, if as you say, you did not listen to all of it? Your prejudices totally overwhelmed the research. No journalist here. Undisciplined.”
Translation: “I’m going to be intellectually dishonest and try to hold you up to professional journalistic standards to show how intellectually dishonest your opinion piece was.”
(Special bonus on that comment: the guy was really, really pissed off at me for my lack of scholarly thoroughness on my cold-listen opinion of Paris Hilton’s album. Hey, pal, the onus was on her to make an album a person could listen to, not on me to suffer through her garbage.)
Comment: “A while ago I realized that the only reason I was coming here was for this specific weekly feature.”
Translation: “I’m so full of myself that I think implying that everything else you write sucks is actually a compliment.”
Comment: “This post seriously makes me consider cancelling my feed to this blog.”
Translation: “I’m so self-important I think you’ll feel bad about this.”
Comment: “WOOOOOOW. You need to get a LIFE. Please and thank you.”
Translation: “WAAAAH! You made fun of Twilight and Orlando Bloom and since my unicorn only exists in my imagination I have no one to soothe my hurt butt!”
Comment: “I know that you are going to write something pitiful in response to protect your ego, but I would like to be the bearer of bad news and say that your conceit is lamentable.”
Translation: “I can’t deal with people who don’t agree with me, so I’m going to pretend that what you say is never going to bother me, even though I’m terrified by it.”
Comment: “Tolerance is a two-way street. How can I be expected to be tolerant of your beliefs if you’re not tolerant of mine?”
Translation: “Unless you agree with me, you’re an asshole.”
Comment: “I don’t understand why you always have to answer someone who disagrees with you with an insult.”
Translation: “I’m so hurt that you’re answering my disrespectful comment with a disrespectful comment!”
And my favorite comment, which I got today (and do every few weeks): “You just want people to agree with everything you say!”
That’s always the last resort of someone who is frustrated when you take their personal insults personally, or won’t see things the exact same way they do, or take issue with their call to get a life by pointing out that their lives don’t exactly seem well-spent if they have enough time on their hands to get angry with you for not liking a book or a movie or a political position or an imaginary deity that means the world to them.
The truth is, I don’t actually care if anyone agrees with me or not. But if you’re going to disagree with me, tell me why. Make your own argument. Don’t tell me I’m wrong; talk to me about why you think I’m wrong. And “because you’re fat” or “because you’re a liberal” is not a reason. It just shows me you’re an idiot.
And if you’re an idiot shouting at me incoherently with nothing to say because you’re upset, I don’t have a responsibility to engage you.
You’re like that girl who is threatening to kill, cook and eat her pet cat unless Miley Cyrus comes back to Twitter: you need to be ignored and stop making demands of rational people to pay attention to your stupidity.
Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.