Monday, August 27, 2012

Read blog comments? Hell, no!

Someone recently asked me whether I looked at readers' comments below my blog. Answer: Never. Here's a little secret: I bet many people at this newspaper and others feel the same way.

Before anyone posts a response telling me how elitist I am, let me add that I write back politely and with interest to everyone who sends me an e-mail to ask a question, disagree with an opinion or present an alternative point of view. But back when I DID read blog comments faithfully, the vast majority seemed to be generated by folks who fell into three categories:

1) People who have an agenda, read one trigger word (such as "schools" or "Islam") and then deliver the same diatribe, regardless of what the rest of the blog says.

2) People who "disagree" by being boorish and advancing no contrary argument. When I wrote a piece saying I thought Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" would make a better national anthem than "The Star-Spangled Banner," responders called me a Communist -- yes, people still use that as an insult -- and suggested that, if I didn't like living in America, I could go somewhere else. I hadn't said anything about disliking America; in fact, I had suggested a song that showed why I APPRECIATE America. But you can't reason with idiots.

3) People who post comments that have nothing to do with what I've written. I wrote another entry explaining how we ought to separate the artist and the art, using Mel Gibson (who seems to be a jerk but certainly has skills as an actor-director) as an example. One reader, totally missing the point, went on about why Mel Gibson should never be allowed to work again in Hollywood -- or, perhaps, on Earth.

Many of these comments are anonymous, aptly enough: Even the posters don't want to be known for who they are. I'm sure intelligent responses get posted from time to time, too. But looking for those often seems to be like looking for a diamond ring in a dumpster.

4 comments:

Archiguy said...

Larry, I'd respond and say how much I respect you as a critic - you're one of the best I've read - but you'll probably never see it. Heh.

Anyway, I can easily understand why you don't read the comments. The collective intelligence of the average Observer commenter is apparently lower than their average age.

Today's geezers sure do spend a lot of their time being irrational and angry, it seems, if the comment sections are any indication. Webecomingming a very stupid and uncivil country. I blame cable news networks, one in particular.

Ghoul said...

Amazingly, you still call it a blog. What you have is just another opinion article on the Observer's website. A blog is a dialog between the author and the readers. But a dialog would mean you would have to associate with the masses, so that will never happen.

Good luck and get that resume updated, it won't be long now.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you don't read the comments, you stupid fat bastard.

Anonymous said...

Blog and newspaper comments sections are the least enlightening form of communication ever invented. No one whose opinion is worth reading chooses to communicate through this medium. You'll never get back the five seconds you just spent reading this.