It is amazing the attention a little controversy attracts. Life’s little dramas are like the universal meth of society. No one is immune to it’s addictive properties. In every aspect of our culture, even the most passive observer will witness people regularly indulging, as if by compulsion, in the latest scandal. And the centers of gossip and drama have been well known for ages. Whether you’re at the water cooler, break room, employee lounge, dinner table, or somewhere else, “What’s the latest…?” is a question that is meant to tap the ubiquitous well of gossip which allows us, at least momentarily, to live vicariously through friends and family, and make our own lives feel a little less dull.
There are those, however, who will not be satisfied with the sporadic, vicarious experience, and therefore seek to create drama on a more regular basis in their own lives. I recently “met” one such person online. I stumbled upon her blog, was under the impression that comments were welcome, left one, and then learned from her response I really wasn’t welcome at all. Without retelling the whole story I will use the words of my younger brother Tom who, I think, summed up Kara’s experience and feelings in this short allegory:
A couple of years ago I opened a candy shop on University Ave. It was a pleasant little business where my friends could come and relax in the company of familiar faces and indulge their sweet tooth. I sent around advertisements to let the locals know where I was and what they could expect from my little confection connection. One day, while dipping my apples a stranger walked through my door. A stranger! I didn't know whether to yell "RAPE", or "FIRE", but my initial thought was "Who does this bastard think she is"? I didn't know her from Eve, but there she was, bold as brass, standing in my candy shop. As you can imagine, I threw her out immediately. Of all the nerve!
I thought the encounter and the reaction of my visit to Kara’s blog were so unusual and, to be honest, humorous, I decided to write a post about it. And like all good gossip my post received a lot of undue attention. Most of the comments were from usual readers, some from new readers, and then a few from the "anonymous" demographic. Strangely enough, however, the anonymous comments were surprisingly similar and left in very close chronological succession. Coincidence? I’ll let you be the judge. (The comments have not been altered at all.)
(May 18, 10:56 pm)
your gay dude. get a life!
(May 18, 11:13 pm)
Your a freaking reatard. get a life dumb fag. You think your so funny dumb shit.
(May 18, 11:41 pm)
so your a teacher huh? I bet you wish you had a real job so your wife could stay at home and blog like the others. looks like the blogging is left to you instead because your wife is too busy making money to pay for your cheap ass.
Upon closer inspection any reader, with the literary skills of a 7-year-old or higher, will notice how similar these comments are. I am not proposing that there aren’t three people out there who dislike me as much as the comments would suggest. On the contrary, I’m sure there are thousands who dislike me that much, with the numbers growing with each new post. I just think it’s highly coincidental that there are three people out there who 1) hate me, 2) have such similar taste in insults, and 3) struggle with the same basic rules of grammar.
Now, I have no evidence that it is Kara who left the comments and have no desire to make such accusations. I’d like to think that Kara has moved on, and that she has not given me, or my stupid blog, another thought, and is, as I write, out swimming with her top heavy baby. But I do think the same person left them. So for convenience of writing I’ll call the anonymous commenter, “Cara.”
Despite the criticisms left by Cara, I would like to say that she is always welcome here and I wish to offer the hand of friendship and assist her with some of her writing disabilities so that when she returns her words will carry more weight. Let me preface my critique by saying all my advice should be taken with a grain of salt, as I am not an English teacher, and also struggle with spelling and grammar. But I think together, Cara and I can achieve more. Let’s get started.
In all three comments Cara has trouble with the difference between the possessive pronoun, “your”, and the conjunction of “you are”, “you’re”.
In two of them Cara tells me to “get a life” because she assumes that anyone who may have a differing opinion or different sense of humor must therefore, not have a life and should straightway go out and get one. I just think Cara has used some faulty logic here. Despite my vast differences with Adolf Hitler I would never argue that he didn’t “have a life.” On the contrary he stayed quite busy conquering neighboring countries, killing Jews, and sleeping with his generals. He had a life, despite the fact that he used it poorly.
In two of the comments Cara suggests that I am homosexual, but then turns around and contradicts herself in the last comment when she refers to my wife. This is not only faulty logic but also a poor debating technique. Your initial insult of homosexuality only loses weight when you reveal to your audience that I am married to a female. And I’m not saying that having a wife is indisputable evidence of heterosexuality, but doesn’t it help?
In Cara’s last comment she did land a hurtful blow when she suggested that teaching was not “a real job.” I admit that the teacher’s paycheck leaves little to be desired, but is society really at that point where our feelings for teachers matches the monetary compensation we provide them with? Friends and family assure me that this is not the case. But then again, they are “friends” and “family” and may therefore just be blowing hot air up my butt. It is entirely possible that they agree with Cara and think that I’m a schmuck for teaching. However, I can’t help but think that if Cara had held her own teachers in higher esteem, she may have learned something from them and, as a result not spelled “retard” like a retard when calling somebody a retard!
Lastly, when making any kind of insult you have to be careful that your wording doesn’t detract from what you are trying to say by conjuring other ideas in the readers mind. In Cara’s last comment she said that it “looks like the blogging is left to you instead because your wife is too busy making money to pay for your cheap ass.” (This again is in reference to my low paying job.) I couldn’t help but laugh here because of the way Cara makes blogging sound like one of the necessary chores on a farm, like getting the harvest done before the first frost, or fetching water from the well for drinking and cleaning. In my mind, I could almost hear my wife say, “Well I’m off to work. Looks like a storms rollin’ in, so make sure you get that blogging done early.” Also, had Cara done a little research she would have learned that my wife is a stay-at-home-mom, does not have a paying job, and enjoys her own fair share of blogging. So in effect, the argument just makes Cara sound stupid to anyone who may know my family at all.
Because I’m not one to give criticism without coupling it with praise I want to say that I think Cara has a lot of potential as an insulting hate blogger. Right now her skills are just a little raw. But with time I think she will become clear, concise, and efficiently hurtful. And with all the drama she creates for herself, I'm sure she'll have ample opportunity to practice.