Have you noticed how some people are getting more and more cowardly online? What is it—the anonymity with which people can so easily and obnoxiously criticize others? The growing tone of incivility in this country?
I think I have a pretty thick skin when it comes to online criticism. As a rule, I enjoy any dialogue with readers even if it’s to tell me that they think I’m full of shit. Sure, there have been times when it’s gone over the top such as when certain “anti-circ” extremists descended on my blog, the Huffington Post, and my personal email account because I dared to write a humorous look at my own circumcision. The level of vitriol was so extreme in that case that it got scary—some people even threatened me with violence. That was my first taste of how crazy anonymous commenters can be even though the vast majority of the feedback I’ve received over the years has been the polar opposite of that.
So why am I so irritated today about a fairly innocuous, stupid, and ultimately meaningless comment I received on an interview I did with a French director of a great new film opening in the U.S. tomorrow? I posted the interview yesterday on the MSN Movies blog and just a little while ago received the following comment:
“ZZZZZZZZZZZ…Five minutes of my life I will never get back…”
I realize it’s nothing in the scheme of things but it absolutely boggles my mind that someone who clearly has zero interest in the topic took the time to read the entire interview and then took additional time to post that obnoxious comment. Why would that person read it at all, I just don’t get it? I’m sure that person wouldn’t have made such a comment if he or she were sitting across from me, so why does being online make some people act so differently? I know it shouldn’t bother me, and such idiotic stuff usually doesn’t, but after working hard on that piece, it just bugs me that this is the only comment. If you happened to have read the interview (you can find it here) and feel remotely moved to comment in any way, I’d very much appreciate it. I’ll never ask such a thing again but that person just hit me on the wrong day. Is it just me or is the online world getting brattier by the minute? At least if there were any wit or intelligence involved, such remarks might be interesting.
Maybe I’m also in a foul mood because I got caught in the Snooki traffic at the Grove today. She was being interviewed by Mario Lopez in front of Barnes & Noble. Of course you’re familiar with Snooki’s literary masterpiece, “A Shore Thing” that included such chapter titles as “Penises Always Look Bigger Under Water.” Now I hear she has another book deal. She was standing in front of a sign advertising an upcoming book signing with Perez Hilton. Meanwhile, exquisitely talented writers I know can’t get agents to return their calls. Grumble, grumble.
Okay. Bitter rant ended.