It’s another day like any other, but let’s assign some arbitrary significance to it. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I don’t make resolutions so i won’t pledge to update this poor, neglected blog more often. But I’ve been seriously considering it. Time will tell.
It’s another day like any other, but let’s assign some arbitrary significance to it. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I don’t make resolutions so i won’t pledge to update this poor, neglected blog more often. But I’ve been seriously considering it. Time will tell.
I still get people asking why I abuse anyone who disagrees with me even though I’ve effectively answered the question multiple times over the years. I assume they keep asking because they’re stupid. To be more accurate, they don’t ask: they complain and whine that I abuse people. So they’re stupid whiners.
It’s fair to call people who make these complaint stupid because they are factually wrong. I don’t abuse everyone I disagree with. I disagree with everyone I disagree with. In the vast majority of cases, when someone posts a comment I disagree with I simply ignore them.
I think it’s worth reiterating that when people make an issue out of this, we’re talking about people I am RESPONDING to. I don’t go around chasing people to make negative comments on their videos/ channels/ blogs, even when they make personal attacks on me. We are talking about people who come into my domain and make comments that nobody in their right mind could think I’d have an interest in seeing.
The idiots I take the time to rip into are a subset of the ones who make obnoxious comments. Sometimes they say something so egregiously awful or clueless they thoroughly deserve to be ripped apart. Sometimes it’s just the smug self-righteousness they exude. Other times it’s the obvious total lack of thought behind the comment.
And there’s on more thing: I’ve dealt with thousands of these idiots over the years (not even a slight exaggeration) and I’ve gotten very good at picking losers who aren’t used to being called to account, just by the tone of their comments. I find these opinionated little dweebs to be particularly deserving of punishment. I often go to their channels and get a confirmation of the sort of comments they leave all over the place and I’m almost never wrong.
These scumbags sped their time spraying around negativity and develop an insanely distorted view of how important their “contribution” to the world is. Here’s a news flash, meatheads: your contribution to humanity is less than zero. You are an actively negative force that makes it harder for decent people to interact. The world would be better off if you didn’t exist.
This is why blocking is one of the favourite weapons in my arsenal. I can’t literally make them cease to exist. You know, unless I hire an assassin. Which I totally haven’t done. Shut up, you can’t prove anything! WHERE’S THE BODY?! There’s no case without a body!
I got distracted.
While my central topic here is why I rip into people, it is actually far more common for me to ignore/block/delete these idiots. I thoroughly recommend this approach to people over engaging with obnoxious commenters. This is mostly because these dribbling morons are not capable of engaging in any meaningful way. Their extremely limited thought processes barely go as far as far as vomiting out their pathetic brain farts and demanding they be acknowledged. And they will NOT shut up!
So don’t hesitate to shut them up. Besides relieving you of their non stop drivel, it’s a timely reminder to them that they aren’t the ones in control. If you allow them any level of control, i.e. you succumb to the mistaken idea you “have to” let them comment, they will never let you go. You don’t have to justify what you do in your own domain and you should never let other people dictate how you conduct yourself – that is your own decision to make.
But back to those times when I choose to rip into people rather than ignore them. To the people who say “you just abuse anyone who disagrees with you” I say “Your mother is a dirty stinking whore.” The other thing I will say is “no I don’t.” That statement is so far wide of the truth that it doesn’t deserve any other response. If you are going to make a comment that stupid, fatuous and WRONG I don’t feel inclined to bother with you.
If you’re convinced this is something I actually do, I don’t fucking care. If you harbour some belief that I am somehow compelled to respond to everyone in a way you find acceptable simply because they watched my video and commented then you’re a deluded fucking moron. So far as me producing video or written content and someone watching and commenting goes, there is no comparison at all.
The hours of effort that goes into creating content versus the seconds it takes a moron to smash their ugly face into a keyboard and provide their “insight” means their precious little comment has earned them precisely nothing. They don’t deserve anything in return and the twisted sense of entitlement that comes from fuckwits who think they have a right to be addressed just makes me more likely to treat them like the shitstain they are.
As for anyone who wants to say “that’s fair enough but you go too far,” there’s only one person who gets to decide what an acceptable response is. Guess what? It isn’t fucking you. I simply don’t have the time to waste worrying about whose feelings I’m hurting and my sanity is too valuable to me to be fucked about by morons on the internet who think they’re the centre of the universe.
If you have a problem with this, you essentially have two choices. You could follow the advice of Gandhi who famously said “harden the fuck up, princess.” Failing that you could always fuck off. It’s that simple. If there is anyone still labouring under the misapprehension that I’m focused on retaining viewers at any cost, let me correct that right now. I checked my YouTube stats and I’ve blocked thousands of accounts over the years. If you have a problem with anything about me and it’s too much for you to manage to keep that shit to yourself, let me know. I won’t hesitate to add you to that list.
I would have a lot more viewers on YouTube if I wasn’t in the habit of blocking people and/or telling them to piss off when they annoy me. But I’d have a lot less sanity. Of course, in your own online interactions you should follow your own path. If it works for you, it’s the right thing for you to do.
But if you’re wasting any of your life agonising over how I treat anyone online, that’s just sad.
This is absurdly hard to write.
In short, I have the nagging suspicion that I’m doing myself a disservice by not maintaining this blog. It hasn’t been my main focus for a couple of years (as the distinct lack of posting shows) But the fact that I’ve had more success with it than I would have dreamed possible makes me think I’m in danger of throwing away something valuable. My motivation to even do something as simple as post my videos here has been very low and every time I make a start at re-vivifying this blog I lose steam and give up.
I’ve considered starting from scratch with Tumblr but what would be the point of that? While Tumblr is the trendy thing now, it’s nothing more than a delivery method. There’s very little that Tumblr can do that I can’t do here on this blog (correct me if I’m wrong – I really don’t get Tumblr).
I post a lot of content to Twitter (and Facebook to a lesser extent) so maybe I should start by posting that same content here. I guess one of the things that holds me back is fear of not having the time to dedicate to a proper blog post. I could obviously post rapid fire Tumblr-style brain farts and pictures (and I may well end up doing that) but I’ve always put quite a bit of effort into blog posts and I can’t shake the feeling that I’d be somehow failing if I didn’t spend the time I thought was required on a good blog post. Obviously there’s nothing stopping me from doing both – short and possibly multitudinous posts with the occasional longer more thought out offering.
Most of my focus for the last five years has been on YouTube and with this blog, I think I’m in danger of falling into the trap I often warn people against on YouTube. Obsessing for too long on *what* you should do tends to stop you from doing anything. Spending too much time worrying whether or not what you’re planning is good enough becomes the excuse for doing nothing. Perfect becomes the enemy of good.
Besides, as I’ve written here before, I thoroughly believe writing is a craft that you improve the more you practice it. Someone who writes regularly is far more likely to end up a good writer than someone who is holding off producing anything unless it’s their magnum opus.
More than once I’ve considered going back to my original theme – Angry 365 Day a Year. My original challenge was to write *something* – at least one post – every day for a year. I surprised myself by actually accomplishing this. And in so many ways (not least, more widespread internet connectivity) it’s easier to do now than ever. So maybe I will choose an arbitrary date and see if I can do it again. Make at least one post every day. Not necessarily angry but something to keep the blog turning over.
But while I’m on the topic, my original shtick was that I would be angry to a scale that perhaps wasn’t appropriate to the subject at hand. You know, the little things that piss us all off from time to time. Really cut loose with some outrage over something that arguably isn’t very important. Because sometime the big things are more depressing than anything else. So a little cathartic anger can be the release that stops you being crushed by the worry over big things.
In that vein, I want to rant about Tumblr. Not the content on the various Tumblogs – that is what it is. Everything across the spectrum from the truly pointless and rubbishy through to the truly sublime. No, I have a problem with the name “Tumblr”.
Where the fuck is the “e” Tumblr? Back when Flickr first became popular it spawned a whole slew of truly pointless websites that used the same spelling affectation. As if the sum total of their thinking was “Hey, look, our website is spelled like Flickr so we must be as cool as them!” Shut the fuck up! You fucking idiots.
One of the things I really liked about Twitter when it started was that they DIDN’T do that. I may have even done a little happy dance over the fact they included the “e”. Or not. Don’t judge me. Now that Tumblr has become so popular this stupid crap is probably going to happen again. Hell, it’s probably already happening, I don’t pay as much attention to tech start-ups as I used to. So we’ll get to have the dot-com bubble (and bust) all over again. Hoo-fucking-ray.
Thanks Tumblr. No really, thanks. Fucking morons.
If you look back over the life of this blog you will see multiple entries where I write about feeling guilty for neglecting the blog. This is another one. While I actually met the blog’s original goal of writing at least one entry every day for a year and I definitely exceeded any traffic goals I dared to set it’s faded away and I’m starting to feel like that’s a waste.
The blog has been secondary to YouTube since the end of that first year and postings have obviously dropped way off in the past two years but April 2010 was the first month on record I didn’t post a single entry. I have in my mind a plan to see if I can get back to the original idea of making at least a small post every day for a year.
I’m definitely not going to obsess about the daily target – I want the blog to be a positive experience rather than a pain – and I certainly won’t be obsessive about staying within the “angry” theme. I’ll be posting whatever occurs to me. Often this will be notes for possible future videos. There are positives and negatives to fully scripting videos but from time to time that feels like the best way to approach a topic and this is the obvious place to develop the scripts.
Plus, there’s the YouTube videos themselves. I plan to post them all here from now on – to be honest I have no idea why I stopped doing that, it would have kept the blog much more active. I do have the Twitter widget to the side so that at least has been regularly updating. I may post photos here as well (I have been posting photos irregularly to TwitPic and Flickr). In other words, it’s going to be a mixed bag but things will be happening here.
I’m not completely convinced of the value in maintaining a blog – things online have changed so much since I started that it seems less relevant now. But I do still believe that writing regularly helps your writing generally so I figure as long as I don’t let it stress me out increasing my blog activity can only be a good thing.
This is a “soft launch” and I’m making June 1st my official launch date to see if I can maintain a post a day for another year. By starting on an easier to remember date it will make my progress towards my goal more obvious. With a week to turn my focus back to the blog I’m hoping I’ll hit the ground running on June 1st.
Wish me luck!
I used to be so motivated to keep this blog running but it really has faded away over the last year. It isn’t as if I’ve stopped doing anything – I’ve remained really active on YouTube and in fact I’ve become more focused on what I’m doing there as several people have proven it’s possible to make good money through the site. So yes, that’s apparently what it takes to hold my whore-ish attention: the offer of money.
But in all honesty, that doesn’t explain why I haven’t been posting more material here- even if all I did was post my YouTube videos here, that would be three or four new posts a week. I’ve kind of made an assumption that anyone who really wanted to see my videos would watch them on YouTube but that probably isn’t completely accurate. It really comes down to the fact I’m incredibly lazy and have been for pretty much all of my life.
That might sound strange given the amount of work I did manage to do on this blog and the hours of work I still put into YouTube but it’s essentially true. I’m very lazy and will actively avoid any sort of work unless it’s something I really want to do for myself. Of course I do my work in my day job (just in case anyone I work for/with is reading this) but that’s to earn money. I don’t want to do the job but I do want the money. But you know those people who say they’d stay at their jobs if they wont the lottery? Those people are idiots.
Maybe I have an unfair advantage because I have a very clear idea of what I’d do for personal fulfillment if I didn’t need a day job (namely, my online adventures) but the idea of doing your day job for self-actualisation seems fucking insane to me. But I’m like that. Opinionated.
It really does seem like a waste to not maintain this blog as I have managed to garner a decent amount of attention through it. The thing is, it achieved its primary goal. The name of the blog, “Angry 365 Days a Year”, was my mission statement for the first year. I was going to make at least one blog post every day for a year being angry about something. Mission Accomplished. Unlike George Bush, I didn’t get a big banner on an aircraft carrier proclaiming that. Also unlike George Bush, I wasn’t lying when I proclaimed “Mission Accomplished.
My original intent was to develop material for standup comedy routines but the combination of seeing how hard comedians work and the rise of YouTube killed that idea. I have a lot of friends and acquaintances who are working comedians and they work incredibly hard for frequently small returns in terms of audience size. That’s too 20th Century for me. Occasionally I piss them off by mentioning my viewer numbers on YouTube and the fact I can actually make money.
A lot of that material I have posted on this blog has ended up becoming the basis of videos and I had considered using the blog to continue to write up script ideas. But again, the whole “I’m a lazy bastard” thing rears its ugly head. Most of my videos roll out quite nicely without needing a formal script (I tend to play out the idea in my head a LOT before making the video). The ones that are scripted are usually the product of a script I scrawled out in a notebook while riding public transport on the way to and from work. So in either case, typing them up in the blog is doubling the work and I can’t be arsed doing it.
I’ve had a few ideas this year about how to bring a bit of life back to this blog. They were mainly about doing shorter posts and more visual posts but I haven’t really followed through. The thing is, I think it’s good for me to write more. It’s a good skill to practice, it keeps the mind sharp and it’s likely to help me make videos. One idea I’m almost certain I’ll follow through with (now that I’ve had it) is the TFU Files.
I’ve been running a regular video feature on Fridays for a few months now. It’s a week in review type of thing that I call Totally Fucked Up Friday (abbreviated to TFU as shown in this charming graphic done by YouTube pal DrakeMagnum).
The news items I select for the video all serve as evidence to prove my theory that world really is Totally Fucked Up.
It’s proven to be quite popular with users and now I frequently get suggestions for topics. Between the suggestions and my own reading I usually have plenty of worthy TFU stories to choose from and I end up narrowing it down to two or three choices. What I’m thinking for the TFU files is that I’ll write a short piece for every potential idea (maybe as short as a one paragraph brain fart) so I’m thoroughly geared up by Friday.
I like the idea of doing this because it essentially lets me do a response for every person who gives me a suggestion. I probably only use one in ten suggestions (or less) but I do like to encourage people to give them to me. Sometimes I don’t use a suggestion because I can’t think of any good jokes about it, sometimes I feel like it isn’t right for me (I’m very cautious about stories that involve death or personal tragedy) and sometimes the suggestions are plain fucking stupid.
Honestly, the number of people who seem to have no fucking idea about my motivations stuns me. Am I too subtle? Of all my flaws, I didn’t think one of them was leaving people guessing as to what I think about things. For instance, I get people who seriously expect me to join their racist crusades, apparently because I’m an angry white guy. They tend to get “fuck off” as a reply along with a link to one of my many anti-bigotry videos.
Another benefit of making a short post for every idea would be as a reminder to me. The number of times I’ve thought about a good idea during the week and then totally forgotten about it when it comes time to make the video is ridiculous. I normally (stupidly) wait until Friday to get down to planning the TFU Friday video. This has led to many agonising instances of me berating myself for forgetting what the hell it was I had planned to do or maybe simply being unable to find the link to the story I want.
So in short, making this blog a repository for TFU files is a win for everyone. I don’t lose material, people who suggest things to me get recognition and attention span challenged readers get plenty of tidbits to provide diversion during the day. Unless I complete fail to follow through again.
But what are the chances of that?
I’ve finally started a long-overdue project, something I originally meant to start last year. So sue me, I need to work on my attention span. Last year when my girlfriend’s mum, “Bo” was visiting from England, she brought along some diaries she’d kept when she was young. Bo wants to maintain her privacy so that’s as much as she’s going to be identified by me. I have a bit of a fascination with artefacts and I found these particularly fascinating.
Besides that fact I would have found the diaries interesting in any case, by sheer coincidence she started the diaries just before the outbreak of World War Two. She started writing on December 31st 1938 and she turned 13 right on the eve of Britain declaring war on Germany. So (to me at least) they transform from being an interesting piece of family history to a unique document detailing World War Two through the eyes of an ordinary teenage girl.
Having said that, I feel like I should stress that the diaries aren’t necessarily compelling and exciting. In fact, the very mundane nature of a lot of the entires are what I like – this isn’t someone imagining they are recording history, it’s a young girl making short entries about her day to day life. (Spoiler alert- the outbreak of war doesn’t score a mention; Bo is more concerned at that point with how much birthday cake she has left.)
I love the physical books that Bo records her diary in as well. They are electrical engineer’s diaries she scored form her dad and besides the tiny spaces for daily entires there is a plethora of information that is apparently useful to engineers. This part of the diaries alone makes me feel like I have a time machine.
Because of the tiny space available for each day’s entry the entries are very short – they are like Tweets from the past. Given that I’m a little obsessed with Twitter at the moment, I’m going to set up a Twitter account for Bo’s Diary as well. If I had been more organised, I would have started this project back on December 31st and added an entry each day. I’ve decided to play catch-up and cram in a lot of entries until I reach the current date. I should be up to date within a month and then I’ll post one entry each day.
By sheer coincidence (trust me, it’s a coincidence, I don’t plan things this well) I will be posting the entries exactly 70 years after they were first written. Bo is visiting again at the moment (which is what has prompted me to finally kick this project off) and she has brought a few more diaries from later years. The original set run sequentially for 10 years from 1939, so I’m setting myself up for a 10 year project.
This being the internet I’m sure I will run into people who want to prove how clever they are and the will “uncover evidence” that proves these diaries are fake. I have two things to say to that. First, thanks for thinking I’m that dedicated. Anybody who knows me knows there’s no way I’d put this much energy into a hoax. Second, fuck off. Seriously. I have no interest whatsoever in proving myself to some head-up-his-arse internet troll and I won’t waste any time with any moron who wants to snipe at this project.
The actual way I present the diary is likely to evolve over time. I’ll be able to ask Bo questions about entries (although there’s no guarantee she’s going to remember all details). I’ll do some videos showing details in the diaries. I’ll probably scan some of the other pages from the diaries from time to time. And during the war years, I’ll probably provide links to details of significant events that coincide with the entries.
The sequential nature of blogging and Twitter make them a perfect fit for this project. Ever since I became aware of these diaries I’ve though there would be an audience for them. Even if it turns out nobody outside of the family is interested, this is still worth doing as it creates a digital backup of the diaries and preserves a bit of family history.
Plus, it will give me something to do for the next ten years.
If I’d known I was going to get all this company, I would have cleaned the place up a little. My “Should your website have a Flash intro” flow chart turned out to be very popular on Reddit (and a few other sites). So much so that it was the top post on Reddit for most of the day and it was the top post for the day on WordPress. When you’re as shallow and ego-driven as me, this makes for a good day.
Although, in all seriousness, I really would have taken more care with the post if I had known so many people were going to see it. There were a couple of appalling typos in the first paragraph (which I’ve since fixed) and several people rightly pointed out that the jpeg of the flow chart I embedded looked kind of shit. I didn’t bother to change the image. Give me a fucking break – it’s a hosted blog that doesn’t make me any money, how much of a shit am I actually expected to give?
I did get a good laugh out of the goon who had no idea how stupid he made himself look telling me to fix my “grammer”. It’s always a good idea to make sure you haven’t made any mistakes with your own spelling or grammar if you’re going to criticise someone else. Besides, if I wanted to get really pedantic towards annoying pedants I’d make a big show of pointing out that they were typos, not errors of grammar.
I would like to say thank you to all the supportive commenters, both here and on Reddit. That ratio of positive people to morons has been truly gratifying. Maybe some of you might even come back.
One of the things I found interesting is the recurring theme of people who want to show how clever they are by pointing out who did something “first”. You don’t have to do comedy/satire for very long before you realise there really aren’t any new jokes. And you don’t have to put your work out to public view for very long before you see how many people who will never create anything original of their own are eager to find fault in what you do.
This Toothpaste for Dinner cartoon was pointed out to me – it is essentially the same joke but I’d honestly never seen it before. It just shows that it isn’t a particularly original idea for a joke. One person in particular was obsessed that I’d ripped of this blog post (referring to it here on my blog and on Reddit as “the original”). True, this one is actually about using Flash (for a whole site rather than an intro) but I’m not shy about saying (a) I’d definitely never see it before and (b) mine is way clearer in its intent and, in my not so humble opinion, way better.
The flowchart I’d actually seen a little while ago that was what I was thinking of when I did mine was about showing cops when to use a taser (hint: only use a taser if the only alternative is using your gun). I wish I could find it but I spent all day searching with no luck. So I’m copping to it barely qualifying as an original idea but the self-proclaimed “orignal police” got the specifics wrong.
One last thing about the day that made me laugh (which probably won’t make anyone else laugh). This blog had settled into about 600 views a day, sometimes more, sometimes less. And here’s the stats chart for the big day:
That line at the bottom isn’t at zero. It varies beteen 500-800. But when the day’s total went over 60,000 it’s so out of scale with previous totals that it looks like it used to be zero.
This is my third most popular post by the way. My most popular post was about the diet pill “alli” that makes you shit oil uncontrollably. I’m not sure if this is a step up.
I know there are more abandoned blogs than active blogs out there but I’ve been feeling a bit guilty about neglecting my little corner of the blogosphere. Not too guilty. It isn’t as if I’ve been drowning kittens. More like maybe I kicked a puppy. The kick may have even been accidental. Like I slipped and before I regained my balance my foot made contact with a puppy. So not that bad.
Okay, so maybe the puppy was startled and yelped in fear. Maybe it even ran off. Into traffic. And was disembowelled by a tram. But that’s hardly my fault. What was the stupid fucking puppy doing getting in my way anyhow?
So anyway, I’ve been neglecting this blog which is not particularly nice because this blog has been good to me. So I’m thinking it’s time for a resurrection of sorts. My grand plan is to start using the blog more often again but in different ways. The whole “being angry all the time” shtick has gotten a bit boring for me. At least writing about it has gotten old. I tried to avoid being half-arsed with blog posts so as a result posting took a lot of time and effort which had stopped seeming like it was worth it.
YouTube was my downfall. It’s so easy. For me, anyway. It isn’t that I don’t put a lot of work into my videos and responding to comments, I do. But I do find it very easy to spend the time and execute on YouTube and less so here on the blog. So YouTube has thrived while the blog has withered. That’s life. The fact that I’ve been getting into Twitter lately hasn’t helped the blog either (follow me if you aren’t already). Facebook still doesn’t appeal to me (nor do MySpace or any of the others) but YouTube still has me hooked. But I’m not ready to give up on the blog completely.
I have a bit of a re-invention in mind. The plan is mostly formed but it will likely evolve. The posts will be more regular but shorter. And probably much more visual. I’m getting into the idea of doing more humorous graphs and charts. And maybe Despair.com-style demotivators. And the surveys WordPress lets you do (probably tied to my YouTube videos). Maybe even a webcomic.
Shallow crowd pleasing stuff in other words. You’ll love it.
Oh, and I’m revisiting my blogroll too because I know there’s some dead blogs there. And I’ll be trying to visit those who are still active more often. So if you consider yourself an old faithful and you’re not on the blogroll maybe you should drop me a line 😉
Be seeing you soon! Probably.
I feel almost embarrassed at how much I’ve neglected this blog over the last couple of months. I haven’t felt like I’ve had the right mindset for writing longer pieces and I have this weird thing where I feel that writing shorter pieces is kind of cheating. Which is stupid. I get like that.
Given that I’ve been posting videos to YouTube almost every day I could simply have posted those here with a bit of commentary. Which I might start doing. Again. But I’m also making plans for a possible career change and writing more would help me develop that. So, in short, there is likely to be much more activity here.
Plus, I’m back from my brief visit to the USA and I didn’t get arrested or killed. I have to admit, my paranoia did not subside until I was safely home. At the start of the trip I was simply worried I’d have some nasty run-in with homeland “security” and end up getting kicked out. From then on I was paranoid that I’d lose my gear or myself.
All in all in was a fantastic trip but all too short (3 days in San Francisco and 3 days in Los Angeles). It did fill me with new positivity about YouTube and the people involved. The central part of the trip was going to see “YouTube Live” in San Francisco. The show was actually much better than I expected and everyone I met was really nice – including the people I don’t like on YouTube.
I’m not sure if I was star struck or if it was simply sensory overload but being surrounded by a dozen people who each have hundreds of thousands of subscribers on YouTube was a surreal experience. Especially when one of them (Michael Buckley) said he was star struck meeting me.
So I’m going forward with a renewed faith in online “community”, feeling creatively charged up and looking for some challenges and new horizons. Watch out, anything could happen.
I’ve commented/joked before that the internet is essentially the largest human behavioural research laboratory in history. I sincerely hope there are a few PhDs being worked on that analyse the group dynamic we see at play here every day. I’m sure some great truth about the human condition is waiting to be illuminated.
While being immersed in the horror that is the internet is more than enough to make you completely lose faith in human nature, taking a breath now again and stepping back can be very helpful. Even the worst, most infuriating behaviour from morons can help you learn something if looked at from the appropriate angle.
For instance, people’s tendency to slip into paranoia and conspiracy theories freaks me right out. From high end 9/11 “truth” whackjobs to the insane conclusions people leap to when interacting on sites like Facebook or YouTube. There are days when I think the majority of the planet have their brains set to a default “crazy” setting – it’s the only explanation for the leaps some people make.
It would be one thing if it was only paranoid schizophrenics having conversations with the saucer people who made these crazed dives into deep chasms of illogicality. But perfectly rational people (or people who are good at covering a lot of the time) will frequently indulge in paranoid responses to perfectly straightforward situations. One example is they way people respond to a glitch YouTube has been having recently.
I suspect this actually coincides with the last “upgrade” to Flash as YouTube (like most video sites) uses a Flash player for their videos. Whatever the source, this bug has gone unfixed for way too long (at least a month) What happens is that videos frequently fail to play. When you click “Play” you see a little spinny thing that suggests the video is loading but nothing ever loads – the screen goes black.
Actually, not quite nothing. YouTube make it worse by displaying an incorrect error message: “The video you have requested is no longer available.” Speaking as someone who occasionally takes on controversial topics, I am frequently receiving comments along the lines of “OMG what did you say? They’ve taken the video down! Big Brother is silencing free speech!” Well, no actually. It’s just a shitty site with a shitty glitch.
But a LOT of people leap straight to a paranoid conclusion. I’ve learned to be less stunned by people’s tendency to descend into paranoia. Besides, with the US Government making it clear they’re indulging in wholesale surveillance of the entire population, CCTV cameras on every street corner in the UK and an internet overrun with idiotic trolls determined to fuck up your enjoyment of life, paranoid may as well be the new normal.
And then there’s the tendency of people to lie. Most rational people have a healthy suspicion of authority figures and the media. Great pronouncements of truth have a disturbing tendency to turn out to be self-serving lies. And the internet has been a valuable tool in exposing many of these lies that would have otherwise escaped detection.
Mind you, the internet is also obviously a massive source of the most outrageous lies imaginable. And a horrifyingly efficient distributor of lies. Like most people, I spent a lot of time being appalled at the most egregious lies being circulated. I’ve spent time trying to debunk some of them. But you know what? Sometimes it’s enough to take away the lesson “Wow, a lot of people tell lies. A lot of the time.”
I’d love to tear down the houses of lies that the politicians live in. I’d love to expose the venal media hacks who lazily and shamelessly circulate these lies without applying any critical analysis. And I’d really love to make the gutless scumfucks on the internet take responsibility for the vicious lies they peddle. But I can’t. There’s too many of them. Accepting that simple fact can be incredibly liberating.
I see people lie about petty, trivial things all the time. I see people tell lies that are absurdly easy to prove are lies. Not differences of opinion, not misrepresentations, not mistakes. Deliberate, premeditated, calculated lies. And when so many people do this over completely meaningless things, how much more likely is someone to lie when there is something serious on the line? As much as the liars I’ve been confronted with online sicken me, they’ve helped me by ensuring my bullshit detectors are usually turned up to 11.
Just because it’s on the front page of the New York Times doesn’t mean it isn’t a lie.
So the downsides of the internet have actually helped me balance my worldview. Learning those things about human behaviour is helpful. But a helpful lesson I frequently forget is that it can tell a lot about me too. How I respond to negativity can be a very good indication of how balanced my mindset is.
The worst of the negativity is always on YouTube. While I have had the occasional stupid troll on this blog, they’re few and far between compared to the cavalcade of idiots on YouTube. I strongly suspect this is because interacting on a blog required the reading and the reading is more challenging than the looking YouTube requires of you. Don’t get me wrong – I love the looking. But there’s no denying the reading requires an additional level of commitment.
My reactions to YouTube trolls have varied wildly over the last two years, something that may well have a relationship to my mood swings over the same period. I’ve gone from grinding them into the ground, trading insult for insult until they give up, to having zero tolerance and deleting abusive comments instantly and blocking the worst offenders. At the moment I’m leaning more towards block/delete but indulging in the occasional slugfest when it seems funny.
But I’m very conscious of how much it consumes of my mental and emotional energy. Case in point: a little while ago, there was a particular YouTube dweeb who was really pissing me off. He was going the whole way, indulging in truly insane conspiracy theories about the motivations of myself and other people, telling pathetically obvious lies that weren’t even worth debunking. And he would not shut the fuck up.
I spent a bus ride to work thinking of a way to get back at him and came up with quite a good idea for a video. I never go after individual people in videos so this would have been going after his sort of stupidity generally rather than him specifically. But it would have been obvious that I was going after him. And that made me pause.
While I have a lot of fun going after the hater mentality I’ve been careful not to make it about them. When I have a go at haters it isn’t from some deluded idea that I’ll make them change – it’s a message of support to the other victims of their stupidity. Giving someone the message that they aren’t being attacked because they’ve done something wrong, they’re being attacked because their attacker is a fucking moron can really make a difference. It’s easier to bear stupidity when you have a sense of solidarity with other decent people.
So I didn’t make the video. Yet. I’m still going to make it because it’s a bloody funny idea (IMHO) and I think people will enjoy it. But it needs more distance so it’s about me doing something funny rather than simply me biting back at someone who pissed me off. The moment I made that decision was incredibly liberating. A huge amount of stress left me when I realised I wasn’t letting this mentality control me.
And I didn’t even have to say anything to the fuckwit in question. Because they don’t count. That is something that I really hope decent people understand. Sometimes, not responding is the most powerful thing you can do. Because then you’re living life on your terms, not theirs.
Living well really is the best revenge.