13 January 2012
Over the last few years, I've found myself reading a lot of internet comments. Not necessarily the ones I get on my column, which I've resolved not to read anymore lest I waste a lot of time and gas money trying to hunt down the person whose screen name is "BigH8R26" and who shows up every week to remind everyone that I'm a moron and a hack, not to mention hideously unattractive. But unfortunately I do too often read comments about things I've read (or watched or listened to) online and they are often so vituperative and abusive that I wind up in a bad mood for the rest of the day.
So after years of thinking about all this stuff much too much, I sat down and wrote an essay about the whole phenomenon. It's called Haterade. It's not just about commenting itself but about the way the culture of "instant response" has changed the way we read and write, and even just go about living our lives.
Haterade is in this month's issue of The Believer Magazine. It's on the long side, so if you're going to read it I'd advise you to set aside a little time. It also starts with a fairly lengthy, embarrassing anecdote from my early career that might at first seem unrelated to the subject matter, but stick with it, if only to snicker over the embarrassing anecdote.
Opportunities for publishing long, juicy essays like this are fewer and farther between than ever and this is one of those pieces that I wrote on my own with no idea of where (if anywhere) it might be published. And while some more mainstream magazines were willing to publish it at a quarter or less of the length, I kept shopping around until I found a publication that was willing to print all 5000-plus words of it. So I'm very grateful to The Believer, which is a wonderful magazine you should be reading anyway. Oh, and you'll notice they don't have a comment board, though for better or worse this blog does.
Once again, here is is: Haterade. Enjoy!