In my last post, I wrote about two things that recently moved me, Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler and a computer game called Auditorium. The post wasn't deathless art, but then, we're on a blog. Anyway, besides the thoughtful comments we can always count upon here, there was this gem:
I'm sorry, are you supposed to be a talented writer? Your uncreative, hackneyed prose makes me wretch, well, actually, it inspires a florid complexion: the reification of my embarrassment for you; reading one of your books is like listening to a benighted hick-state imbecile intoning some vacuous, all-too-familiar pop song before the panel of American Idol judges. I didn't read this article. You aren't fit to comment on The Wrestler. Darren Aronofsky is a genius; you are not even close. However, I will proffer a modicum of praise your way for offering writing tips on your website. Although I'm sure this was done solely to further fertilize the narcissism you've cultivated thus far, it is still, I suppose, "nice." Keep up the mediocre work! God knows if Hollywood-- i.e., IDIOTS--understand and approve of your work, then you must be quite the sui generis thinker and novelist.
Now, there is a temptation--oh, is there--to lay into "BlogSmacks,"to point out the grammatical and spelling errors, the misused words, the fallacies of logic and rhetoric. But that's not why I bring it up. Instead, my reasons tie to a rant I made about tech support hotlines: I'm concerned about the increasing failure of people to take responsibility for their words.
I'm a writer. Words matter to me. I believe that there is no social force more powerful than a precise, impassioned, and thoughtful arrangement of words. The right words in the right order can change the world. Don't believe me? Talk to Obama--or to Goebbels.
I enjoy argument and debate. Crossing intellectual swords turns me on. And as my wife would be quick to tell you, I'm an opinionated guy. Sometimes right, sometimes wrong.
But one thing I always do, always, is sign my name at the end of my opinions.
My problem with customer service hotlines is less that they won't fix my phone and more that they won't admit their refusal to fix it. My problem with anonymous, argumentative posts on blogs is that they are the intellectual equivalent of holding a finger in someone's face while chanting, "Not touching you, not touching you!" They're a way to irritate, not communicate. And they leave me wondering, why?
Why take the time? Are they meant as jokes? If so, most miss the target.
Is it really as simple as the desperation of lonely individuals screaming for their fifteen seconds? The digital equivalent of graffiti?
Or is the anonymity the point, the sheer cowardly thrill of attacking without the possibility of response, like hucking a beer bottle out a car window?
People like "BlogSmacks" don't bother me--they baffle me. Their words don't wound; hell, they don't even prompt reflection. If they intend to do that, signing their name would be a good first step. Developing a more sophisticated opinion than "Nahnny-nahnny" would be a second.
But they do leave me curious.
What the hell is the point?