Thursday, July 1, 2010

Don't shoot the messenger

It was brought to my attention via a great blog post at that the comments on my column over at TTAC last week got a little rough. I resisted the urge to go look for myself. Ugly comments really only reinforce what I write about here.

When I wrote those couple of pieces for Jalopnik I made the mistake of refreshing my browser almost obsessively, reading each and every comment and getting more and more pissed. I'd keep reading over the course of the next couple of days, as long as the feeding frenzy continued. It accomplished nothing but to make me feel, well, icky. I obviously encounter enough a$$holes on a daily basis. I don't need to add any more to the mix.

Here on this blog I have the luxury of moderating comments. If you're a dick, your comment doesn't get posted. Simple as that. I'm not here to give you a forum in which to make yourself feel like a big man by being sh!tty to me.

But I don't have that luxury elsewhere, so I have a rule. I generally stop reading comments over at TTAC after the first day. A full day's worth of comments is long enough to give me a sense of what the general direction of readers attitudes will be. Last week was actually the only time it got as ugly as it did. The first day I responded to some people and ignored the worst offenders, but I could see that it was taking a turn towards a Jalopnik-style free-for-all so I didn't go back. Nor will I.

The thing that really gets me is this: If you are so upset and worked up over what I wrote, I can guarantee you that you are the person I'm writing about. You're pissed because I just called you out on your idiocy. Frankly, everyone else - the normal, polite, engaging, non-sexist, non-racist, hygienic, intelligent people - everyone else thinks it's funny.And they think it's funny because they know it's true.

The things I write about don't just happen to me, and they don't just happen at the auto show. Anyone who has worked with the public for any amount of time can tell the same stories. The only difference is I'm standing in a convention center when these things happen, and they are waiting tables or ringing up your purchases or writing your traffic tickets or trying to help you at the bank.

So I'm not the only person who thinks you're an a$$hole. Basically, everyone you encounter every day of your life thinks you're an a$$hole. Don't shoot the messenger.


  1. If I had a dollar for every time a TTAC commenter gave it to me between the eyes, I'd have a 401k. If I had a dollar for every comment I've had to moderate at TTAC, I'd be lounging on my yacht in Saint Tropez right now. TTAC's a bit of a shark tank, and the internet has never encouraged anyone to be polite and considerate.

    At the end of the day though, we have to let our readers express their opinions... and ultimately, more of them defended your perspective than criticized it. In a combative online environment like TTAC's, that's about as much as anyone can ask for.

    As far as I'm concerned, if you're pushing buttons you're doing the right thing. And if you can put up with the car show gawkers, a few online snarks should be no thing at all.

    You go girl!

  2. You seem terribly bitter sometimes. And you seem to hate men. Why not get out of the job before it kills you?

    Regards, Expat in Moscow

    P.S.: Thanks for allowing anon comments!

  3. It's funny 'cause it's true and precisely the reason why I choose to make my living burying myself in a room full of security computers where I can lock everyone else out with the rationalization of "it's a security risk". I could never stand at a car show or other event and have to deal with all of the self-professed "experts" out there. I'd get fired for berating every single one of them. If I didn't die from a heart attack or other stress related ailment first.

    I don't always agree with your assessments but I respect what you do and the balls it takes to write honestly about it. The fact that you apply yourself to your profession, take it seriously and find enjoyment in it is all that matters. It's kind of attractive as well. What a bunch of computer nerds on the Internet think is inconsequential.

    I'll let you in on a little secret. 99% of them don't know their ass from a left-handed knibblin' pin. They talk a good game but that's because Google is open right next to the screen they are trolling on so they can seem smarter and more capable than they really are. In reality they are sitting there sucking down Mountain Dew with a bag of BBQ Fritos getting flavoring powder and grease all over their keyboard and mouse while a doobie full of skunky weed smolders away in an ashtray on the corner of the desk. Probably have orange finger prints on their worn-out tighty whities from scratching their junk every 5 minutes. They bag on you so they can feel better about themselves. It sounds so cliche but there is a truth behind every stereotype. I know this because I have had a few of them work for me and they were frustrating personalities at best.

    I enjoy reading your posts everywhere you post work.

    Oh and you're welcome for that visual! ;)

  4. I've liked your columns at TTAC; it's why I decided to read your blog here. I just read through some of the comments. As far as internet idiocy goes, it didn't seem too bad. But then again, I wasn't the one being criticized. Actually, I think some of the more bile-filled comments indicate that you were on target with a few people, particularly those who expect to get away with the behavior you lambast. That kind of reaction makes me think your column is doing some good, at least to let people like one self-aggrandizing commenter know that not everyone is all that impressed and money does not excuse inane behavior.

  5. I like the fact that you can call them a dick and pull their shit. I speak at events and the fact that someone can leave an anoymous post and just totally mess with my mind pisses me off. So, good for you, and keep it up :)


  6. This is why I tend to not read comments. I've experienced enough people in my time to know that most opinions aren't worth a pinch. More often than not, people say things just to say them. They react and then spew. Anonymity makes it worse ten-fold.

    You have things to say from an uncommon perspective. Most people can't say that--all they know is the world according to Fox News and Glen Beck or NPR and Al Gore--so they feel threatened... or something. Honestly, this is behavior I just don't understand. It's rude, hypocritical and lame. Coincidentally, so is a preponderance of the population.

    Bottomline, you put your views out there for the unwashed masses to read, and respond to, and things are bound to get dirty. Sadly, blogging ain't all beer and skittles.

  7. This column is great. It resonates with the various jobs I've had that involved dealing with the public.

    Here's my theory: if you've ever worked a counter or anywhere else in any kind of service industry, you can see the truth of what is written here. If not, well, you may be one of the Angry People -- Angry, because, at some level, you see yourself being written about and don't much like what you see -- but don't feel so inclined to change, either, because it doesn't really accord with your high self-esteem, does it?


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