Sunday, January 23, 2011

Strange New World

Some time ago, while Googling my name in concert with a recently published book, I encountered a dreaded citizen review (not the first and, I suspect, not the last). Needless to say, it was not a glowing tribute of my highly touted talents. In fact, I was called many names therein, including an “overly optimistic douchebag” and “asshole.” Now, this particular title of mine importuned its unemployed readership to remain upbeat, not lose hope, and uncover every possible stone in his or her job search. It was not intended to rile the public at large. The book even received a half-page review, and recommendation, from a fellow named Harry Hurt III in the business section of Sunday’s New York Times.

But this is a strange new world that we live in. The virtual equivalent of road rage awaits everybody and anybody who puts himself or herself out there. Indeed, the average Joe and Mary has been empowered as never before—furnished with a venue to express his or her opinion on books, movies, politics, religion, food, and, of course, everything else, including the worth of their fellow human beings.

The woman (least her username suggests the feminine), who tarred and feathered yours truly in a profanity-laced diatribe, decreed at one point that she knew—positively knew—based on the book’s less than somber title, that it would be an awful read and downright offensive to her. But, apparently, she couldn't resist.

Why pray tell? If I have learned anything in life, it’s this: If I absolutely know something is going to be dreadful (a book, movie, etc.), I avoid it like the plague and forage elsewhere for my entertainment and kicks. Ah, but I suspect that the average Joe and Mary Reviewer frequently gets off on being offended, enraged, and on his or her high horse. Unfortunately, in all too many instances, both Joe's and Mary's opining amounts to the virtual equivalent of road rage.

Obviously, I consider myself neither a “douchebag” nor an “asshole.” I would even find fault with the adjective employed in front of the former: “overly optimistic.” But with citizen reviewers poised and ready to pounce, it isn’t just writers, artists, and actors who need fear the verbal guillotine. Merely commenting on an online news article, or in a Facebook thread, is wont to infuriate your opinionated neighbors, who just might call you the worst kinds of names and wish upon you the worst kinds of hardships. Such are the times we live in…we might as well get used to it.

1 comment:

  1. Thick skin is surely needed, especially in the world of the arts. Why do people relish in being negative but have difficulty being positive....a sad human condition.


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