Oh internet, you beautiful, beautiful beast.
We have at our disposal the most powerful communication tool ever developed in the history of mankind. And we’ve used it to make ourselves dumber than we’ve been in recent history.
If you couldn’t tell, I’m feeling salty. Publishing has taken a little bit of a dive recently, mostly because client work went absolutely ballistic over the month of December and through the first part of January.
Seriously. When most companies start ramping down for the year, my clients’ response to that line of thinking is “fuck that, what can we do to completely cement 2015 as a win and go running into 2016 like gladiators entering the goddamn Coliseum?”
I love them for it. I love their drive and their motivation and I’m always honored to be able to come along for the ride. 2016 is going to be a powerhouse year for a lot of people and we’re going to make some very cool things happen together.
Anyway, excuses, excuses, whatever, whatever…publishing fell off and I’m slowly but surely digging my way out of that hole.
Enter the first part of January. That’s when something interesting happened. That little post I wrote back in September on how that article about taking a train across the country for $213 is horseshit went nuts.
It went nuts in a way that redefined reach for me. See, up until that point, I was happy when a few thousand people read the stuff I wrote. I’ve had things go semi-viral in the past and it’s cool when you see that five or six thousand people saw something you put out there. I don’t have thousands of regular followers so views into the four-figures are kind of a big thing for me when they happen.
But then the post started getting five or six thousand views a day. Then it started getting ten thousand a day. Then fifteen thousand. Having fifty thousand people read something I wrote was amazing to me. I was beside myself.
But then a hundred thousand people read it.
Then two hundred thousand.
Then three hundred thousand.
At this point, over a million of you have read that post; a post I wrote because I thought that the other side of a shiny, happy portrayal of a train trip (that in my mind kind of sucked) needed to be told. So I sat down and started writing. It’s what I do.
Unfortunately, that’s also when a significant number of you lost your fucking minds.
I want to be perfectly clear here: the effort that went into coming up with some of the names I was called for having written that post rivals the effort that went into writing the actual post. Paragraphs and paragraphs were written making every assumption about me you could make while coming up with increasingly complicated (and entertaining) ways to (try to) insult me.
Part of me actually wants to go back through the best of the best and re-post them so that the rest of you can see how good this got. The other part of me realizes that there is an infinite number of things that would be a better use of my time. That list includes cleaning the hair out of my shower drain trap, counting the number of little metal teeth in the zipper of the jacket I wore today, and clipping my toe nails so that I can clip those clippings down to mini-clippings themselves.
That’s how much the insults meant to me. They were nothing. They were entertainment. They were memorable only for the amount of time I spent laughing at them and those responsible for writing them.
To read the insults, however, you would think that those that composed them had their entire existence riding on whether they’d made an impact; whether they’d managed to hurt me in any possible way. And I loved them for it.
You know why?
Because they showed me that words still have meaning.
Somehow, my ramblings about a train were enough to trigger an emotional response in others. Reading some of this stuff, you’d think I had written an opinion piece advocating for pregnant women to go have government-funded abortions while handing their guns over to Barack Obama himself, after which they would be forced to shit on a Bible.
But there wasn’t a single letter of politics in the entire piece. I didn’t talk about government funding of mass transit or the way the United States fails to stack up against much of the rest of the developed world when it comes to our rail system. I didn’t blame one party or the other. I never said the word “democrat” or “republican.”
I said that long-distance train travel sucks. I called a significant portion of this country’s landscape boring. I criticized shitty food for being shitty. And I said that people smell bad and tend to be rather filthy en masse when stuck together for an extended period of time.
And you tried to shut me down.
Well guess what…
You don’t get to win.
In your little world of shouting as loudly as you can about the smallest thing that pisses you off; of resorting to name calling and insults because I had the audacity to say that corn fields bore the everloving shit out of me…you don’t get to win.
See, in your seemingly endless efforts to prevent a point from being put on anything these days that you don’t agree with, you only served to show why those of us that can do so, must do so. You fail to understand that the creative’s way of looking at the world – our way of verbalizing those inner monologues that most people have but don’t dare to let escape – these are the things that stir thought and emotion and make the endless hours spent banging our fingers against our keyboards worth it.
If we ever lose sight of that and temper our language and opinions simply to capitulate to you so that you…ohhh no…won’t yell at us? Well, then our world becomes just as meaningless, pointless, and boring as yours.
So there you have it. Have I irritated you once again? Have I ruffled your oh-so-sensitive feathers?
Let the insults begin.