In 2007 a friend of mine made a 30-second video and put it on YouTube. It caught the eye of a person of importance, who threw it on to YouTube’s front page. Almost overnight the video racked up one million views, and 2007 was a time when one million views was enormous.

With popularity come both praise and scrutiny. While most comments on the video were positive, the expected, “Well that was stupid” and “What a waste of my time” potshots were scattered throughout.

I enjoyed the video. Maybe it’s bias because a friend made it, but it was 30 seconds, silly, and nothing more. To be upset that it wasted your time… I mean, it would take 30 seconds to type and post a negative comment. Wouldn’t writing something hateful be just as much a waste of time? Wouldn’t doing something positive be more productive?

My point is: with the advent of the Internet came the advent of the couch critic. People have always had opinions; the Internet gave them a platform with which to fart theirs to the world.

I did some research, clicking on profiles of the whiners. Many hadn’t posted any videos of their own, which I found interesting. You can’t do anything creative yourself, but have opinions about other people’s work? Nice.

One especially vocal person had footage of Honda Civics tricked out in Neon and whale tails. My thought seeing that was, “Yes, a 30 second comedy video is stupid, but putting neon lights on a Honda Civic? Awesome.”

(Still looking for that sarcasm font.)

I almost posted my comment on one of his videos, but instead left well enough alone. It’s not in my nature to wander onto someone else’s video/Facebook/Twitter and start blasting them. I’ve better things to do with my time. Plus, how you respond to art says more about you than the art. So if your response to something is name calling… yeah, that says more about you, than whatever you’re insulting.

Anyway, as said, that was 2007, eight long years ago.

Today, things are different.

There are still the “That sucks” trolls out there, but a new breed of “critic” has emerged: The Personal Attacker. I have been witness to (and borne the brunt of) comments on jokes that don’t end with “Not funny,” they start and stop with “YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE!”

No real criticism of the content, just straight to personal attack. Which happens in part because many websites allow users to post their thoughts anonymously. When you can create a fake name and hide behind it? You have the freedom to say everything you always wanted, because there are no consequences to being rude.

I can’t say it bothers me, because I’ve seen Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and watched what my friend went through with his YouTube video. So, long before I posted anything of my own I saw people I liked take it on the chin, and it prepared me for what’s out there.

Opinions are opinions. Take your favorite movie. Someone out there hates it. Your favorite song, your favorite food, and so on. Someone hates something you love. You can fight that, or accept it. Not everyone likes the same things. Big whoop. And it goes both ways: something you hate, someone loves with all their heart. A movie you can’t stand, a band that makes your ears bleed… someone out there is supporting that garbage.

(Be an easy place for a Nickelback joke, wouldn’t it?)

So, knowing people like different things, when someone says something nice about a joke or meme of mine, I thank them. I’m human, and appreciate compliments. When someone insults me, I ignore it. It doesn’t hurt my feelings, and I don’t feel any need to address their negativity. I’m not going to get into a posting war, because that’s what they’re looking for.

One person almost had me bite, though. Not because his insult was cutting, but because it was so ill founded. Insults I can handle; ignorance bothers me.

I posted a meme about veganism, and a troll noted that while he didn’t mind me insulting vegans, he thought I should move on. Called me a one trick pony, in fact, because he remembered I had posted a joke involving vegans two years earlier.

Even though I had posted over 90 memes since then, two jokes, two years apart (with the second actually being nothing more than a tag to the first, and not an actual second joke) made me a one trick pony.

I almost responded. He got my goat, and I drew up a list of bullet points for the anonymous poster.

“One trick pony? Well…

  • I have 4 CDs out, meaning over 4 hours of comedy, and barely one minute and thirty seconds on one CD of those 4 pertain to vegans.
  • I have over an hour of jokes on YouTube, with roughly one minute of that total being dedicated to the vegan bit.
  • There are the 95 memes you can find simply by clicking my name on the joke you didn’t like. Two of those 95 are about vegans, which is a whopping 2.1% of the total. (Oh, and by the way, when I say “my name,” I mean MY name. I use my real name, because I don’t need to hide when posting my thoughts/work/ideas online. Not that you would bother doing the most minimal of research to discover any of this. As a vegan, you only saw the two jokes that concern you, because as my friend Jeff pointed out: “Vegans think the world revolves around them.”)

Sitting down to write all this, I hit “play” on my DVR; I wanted to watch the previous evening’s Late Show With David Letterman.

Wouldn’t you know it, Dave did a bit about vegans.

Sometimes the universe gives you a little smile of reinforcement when you least expect it.

I stopped writing, and deleted my response to the troll.

If a vegan joke wasn’t beneath an icon like David Letterman, then I was in good company.

Boo-yah.

(Oh, and if you were curious about my friend’s 30-second YouTube sensation… clicky-clicky)

 

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