Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hey, Internet, shut up already.

This photo makes me happy.

kermit and pink cupcake
Originally uploaded by hello naomi.

I don't like reader comments on news articles. Because I was reading an article in the LA Times today about the possible sales tax increase to fund MTA public transportation projects in Los Angeles and it had a really awful reader comment following:

"2. Only poor will use new public transportation and i am not willing to pay higher taxes for that. As such, if this is come up for vote on November ballet, i am planing on voting NO.
Submitted by: Dmitriy
10:16 AM PDT, Jul 24, 2008"

Dmitriy, you fucking idiot.

For one thing, did you spell your own name wrong? It doesn't look right to me. For another, couldn't you have taken the trouble to proof-read your inane comment before punching me in the face with it? The fact that you have horrible opinions is stinging enough, but must you also deliver it with such horrifying grammar and spelling? "If this is come up for vote on November ballet?" So when you're attending a ballet in November (a theatrical art form using dancing, music, and scenery to convey a story, theme, or atmosphere), if SOMEHOW during this performance, one of the themes is the sales tax to fund public transportation, you're going to what? Stand up and shout "No?" Oh, I'm sorry, did you mean BALLOT, the action or system of secret voting, you evil, hateful man? I'm sorry, I didn't get your meaning from your fancy, wealthy spelling methods. My poverty stricken brain must have muddled that one up. As for "if this is come up" . . . just . . . what? Why don't you dip into one of your many piles of money to pay for better English lessons? All the better to insult the proletariat with.

You know what I vote, Dmitriy? I vote we disable comments on newspaper articles. I want to hear from the person who went through a vigorous screening process and had to have experience and recommendations and credentials to be published on this site. That's what I'm here for. I don't want to hear from the other goddamn yokels who are reading the paper. I would love it if the comments were a genuine debate of ideas from people, but they ARE NOT. They are this guy, railing on public transportation for the most self-centered, ill-informed, lazily posited reasons I can think of. "I'm not poor, I don't like poor people, this sounds like something that would help poor people." Are you kidding me? THAT'S what you think public transportation is all about? Not about relieving traffic in a city that's choking on it? Not about aiding the energy crisis we're all facing? Not about creating a green alternative that you yourself could turn to? Nope. Subways and buses are for the people who weren't smart enough to be rich like me, so fuck 'em.

And beside all that, have you no milk of human kindness running through your veins? Yes, poor people need public transportation because the expense of owning, maintaining, and fueling a vehicle in this day and age is fucking astronomical. Would it be so terrible, such a burdensome inconvenience in your life, to have to participate in a sales tax increase? Not to fucking mention the fact that this increase will, in actual practice, be a burden largely shouldered by the very lower classes you're railing against. You insipid jerk.

I would ignore the comments, but they're so seductive and right there, begging me to read and hate them! So I want them gone. The internet has given too many people too loud a voice in all the wrong ways. So I want it to pipe down on certain things it has no business piping up on.

"Only poor will use new public transportation ..." Jesus.


Chris Kelly said...

hah, welcome back to blogging. what a post!

and also, im pretty sure ive said this before on another post of yours, but because of the topic of the post, i love imagining you spell-checking the shit out of this so as to avoid sad irony. and you did it.

you win!

Philip Bertulfo said...

Years ago, there was a measure on an Irvine ballot that called for some sort of light-rail connection from the University to some relatively more interesting place, like Costa Mesa or some such. When it was overwhelmingly voted down (of course!), I remember reading the resulting article in the newspaper, and the article quoted some putrid douche of a man saying something like, "I'm not a blue-collar worker. I don't need light-rail."

I remember fuming about it for weeks. What kind of selfish, uncompassionate, elitist motherfuckers do I live with?? The man's comment angered me to the point that every Irvinian had become a bullshit neocon in my mind. Driving their sports cars and SUVs, not giving a fuck about the environment or any other class of people that might exist, housing their shit in prefabricated, gated, tract mini-mansions for the dull. Fuck those guys.

But then I mentioned this to my brother-in-law who pointed out that the reporter probably chose to include a comment like that because it was likely one of the most offensive comments s/he could get away with printing. That had simply not occurred to me. If the idea was to stir up some controversy, the reporter did a reasonably good job. Perhaps there are people that voted against the measure for other, more level-headed reasons. So why not include a quote from one of them? Why'd the journalist opt for the controversial statement? Doesn't that seem a bit manipulative? Why not just have a forum where anyone can say what they feel?

What I like about user comments is that, for the most part, there IS no filter; no screening process. At worst, it's a bunch of ill-informed fluff. At best you get a little taste of human opinion in all its naked glory and squalor. Any comment made outside of the proper article is made outside of one of the most transparent filters we have -- the journalist. So why bother having some dude-making-a-deadline correct for spelling and grammar when we can have raw, unfiltered human thought staring right through to our very souls?

You say you want the internet to "pipe down on certain things it has no business piping up on," but I don't know, that seems a little close-minded to me. Like or not, there are vast swaths of humanity that simply do not agree with your opinions. And you can hate them, there's nothing wrong with that. That guy Dmitriy [sic] is a total rotten fuckwad. But if we didn't have pigbile leperfuckers saying shit like that online, we wouldn't have the opportunity to understand just how truly fucked the opposing opinion actually is. And if we don't understand that, then we don't truly understand the complexities of the issue. We won't, perhaps, consider that these are real people with real, valid, if not ill-informed opinions.

Luckily, opinions can change. But you have to know what they are first before you can change them. We see where Dmitriy [sic] stands. No doubt many other times online readers feel the same way. But maybe you can write a measured, level-headed, grammatically correct response to his bullsh, and post it up on the user comments. It likely won't change his opinion, but it might change the minds of some of the other times online readers. Or it might get you into an online argument. But that's what we need, isn't it? Dialog with the opposition. 'Cause you can tell all of us on your blog that this guy's a dick, can't spell or write worth shit, and he isn't considering the facts, but you're preaching to the choir, Lindsay. We already know this guy's a dick. I don't think he does.


P.S. Words that firefox has underlined as being spelled incorrectly: "uncompassionate" and "phil." Oddly, "pigbile leperfuckers" made it through. Hmm.

Lindsay Evelyn said...

Phil, you make interesting points that all have a great deal of validity in them. The fact remains, however, that it upsets me, the reminder that some people are dum-dums.

Oh, and so you know, I do post responses to these guys. Rational, level-headed comments arguing my opinion in a respectful way. I just come here to awwwwww . . . freak out. Le freak, c'est chic.

Philip Bertulfo said...

Ahhh, gotcha. I had assumed that since you want the user comments gone, you wouldn't've responded to these guys. Foolish of me to think that. And by all means, keep continuing to freak out here! I'm glad you've come back.


Lindsay Evelyn said...

I want them gone, but I continue to fight the good fight.

David Morris said...

wait i dont get it dimitriye has of point imo if ur lazy and poor u shud WALK. i have a job i DRIVE

yall fags haha j/k peace

ecco5 said...

That was a fun read. I like public transit, it allows me to read when traveling, which i find to be quite the bitch when i'm behind the wheel.

I vote yes on the ballet.