As It Turns Out, People Are Dicks

by anna on August 22, 2008

My son has such a friendly, happy-go-lucky disposition, even when he is in the midst of a toddler semi-meltdown, that sometimes I think he must have figured out a way to mainline sunshine. His happiness is so precious, and so foreign to me, in fact, that I feel like I need to treat it with special care–like, wrap it in bubble wrap and surround it with plastic peanuts, and stow it away somewhere, so I don’t step on it and smash it to pieces when I’m looking for the pet hair attachment to the vacuum cleaner.

Just being around him–especially on a day like today, where he is all smiles and lovey doveys for Mommy–makes me a happier person, makes me want to believe, like he does, that people aren’t evil cesspools or bottomless pits of need. In fact, if we have a really good day, like when we go to My Gym or something, and he plays on the slide, I catch myself starting to assume that people will do the right thing, or the nice thing, or at the very least the basically CIVIL thing, when the need arises.

But then something will happen and I will come crashing back to earth, disappointed with myself and everyone else, unsure of where to place the blame, and wanting (even if just a little bit) to come down with some kind of fatal illness so I don’t have to deal with the bullshit anymore.

So I am writing this here, rather than screaming it, because as much as I believe it to be true, I would like for my son to at least have a shot at growing up and not believing and/or knowing that

PEOPLE ARE DICKS.

Clearly I have had some bad people experiences lately. Some are of the run-of-the-mill, road rage, cutting in line, pissing in your cheerios variety, and some are peculiar, head-scratching moments of dickdom that have finally built up, boiled over and now–well, sorry, but you’re all going to have to feel the wrath.

I don’t like most people. I am not a nice person. And if you have met me, and you are under the mistaken impression that I am a nice person, it is likely that this is because I don’t say what is going on in my head most of the time. I am very good at hiding my emotions. Yes, they pass this skill out to WASPs–along with highball glasses, madras shorts, and an affected forgetfulness of numbers of houses owned–at birth. One time my stepbrother said something to the effect of “Anna is really not so bad.” My mother told him that he thought this because I hadn’t “shown [my] teeth yet.” That seems an apt description.

As you probably know, last week we started running the New York Times Crossword on this site. Despite what some people in the interwebs View definition in a new window think, I am not enough of a moron to think I could take property from the Paper of Record without their permission. But, for the sake of argument, let’s say I were that idiotic–would I also have the audacity to go to other sites and promote the fruits of my thievery–you know, to increase the chances of getting caught? Apparently not one, not two, but more like ten to fifteen people thought that I might do just this thing, and felt it was their duty to do/say something about it.

One of these valiant, high-minded blowhards readers even took it upon themselves to spam half the Times’ email list, as well as the publisher of the Times’ crossword applet that we use, alerting them to my “feeble” attempt at stealing their intellectual property. Since I don’t have clearance to discuss the finer points of this particular incident, I will just have to say that the end result was in my favor. Which is not a surprise, since I OF COURSE did much research on using the Times‘ crossword on my site, and went to great lengths to procure the rights to do so.

But this did not change the fact that when I got the email from this asshole, I was headed into the gym with Mini, checking mail on my crackberry while we waited for the gym daycare to open, and totally not emotionally ready for such an attack. Since I started this blog, I have been expecting (hoping for?) some kind of character assasination/critique of parenting/indictment of superficiality and/or spending habits from readers. Not that I would relish these kinds of attacks either, but I felt confident that they WOULD come at some point. But this particular sucker punch came out of left field, and was delivered by a frustrated graduate of a certain prestigious university who pimps out his fifteen year old book about a weeny whiny pseudointellectual pseudotopic (that is not even politically relevant any more due to advances in science and technology) on a fifth rate html site that he couldn’t even design himself. Add that to the fact that he works a Dilbertesqe day job where it is likely he has to regularly kiss the asses of more talented and successful people ad nauseum, and you have a Central Casting character sketch for the movie adaptation of The Sociopath Next Door.

So, yeah, sucks to be him, but leave me out of it, dude.

Then, like we’ve been talking about late, I’m on Twitter and have a lot of reservations about it. But I have been working very hard on this blog, and though I know it is unreasonable to expect overnight meteoric success, I feel like there should be some kiind of expectation of collegial behavior among bloggers, no? I read a lot of blogs. A LOT. And truth be told, many of them I don’t even like, I just read them because I know they are popular, and I am not so arrogant as to think there aren’t things I can learn from someone who is successful. If this person is successful at something and I am puzzled as to why, then IMO it is all the more important that I try to learn from them. So I read, and read, and comment, and comment, and participate as much as I can, when I have something to offer.

Now, I don’t expect everyone to come to my blog because I went to theirs. Nor do I expect that people will come to my blog, like it, want to stay. Sometimes they will, sometimes not. That’s life.

But if I send someone a direct message with something directly pertinent to something they have written about–or tweeted about–something they have directly asked for help with, or something they specifically take an interest in–say, something they write a weekly column about, then I think it is not unreasonable to expect some kind of acknowledgement of my message. Just something like, “hey, really, thanks.” Or even, “Oh?” I do not expect friendship. I do not expect them to even be interested in what I have to say. But SOME VERSION OF PUBLIC POLITENESS, DON’T YOU THINK–AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF COMMUNICATION, OR SOMETHING, IS NOT TOO MUCH TO ASK. For God’s sake.

People like to say that the blogosphere is like high school. Uh-uh. The blogosphere is more like a bunch of people who were loser dorks in high school, who get spilkies at the prospect of finally being the ones in power. They love nothing more than to abuse power the same way that they had power abused on them. So a lot of them are asshole dicks without any sense of common courtesy. Like, if people marginalized you at one point, you jump at the chance to do it someone else. Wow. Super grown up.

I don’t have a point with this post. Just feel like ranting so that I don’t take it out on my family. I’ll be back to my usual, charming, morbidly depressed self tomorrow.

{ 20 comments }

PauvrePlume August 22, 2008 at 9:26 am

WORD.
(*cue fist knocking chest, then flinging in the air in homage to you)
:)

QB August 22, 2008 at 9:46 am

What I personally love is that apparently these people can’t read. Because it says at the bottom of the crossword:

Please note that this crossword is printed under license and with the direct consent of the New York Times. If you have questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact the New York Times Syndicate for more information.

Alexandrialeigh August 22, 2008 at 10:06 am

Amen, sister.

J. August 22, 2008 at 10:59 am

Wow, I had NO IDEA people were so interested in making sure the NYT’s intellectual property was protected! Sheesh! They really have nothing better to do? What little lives they must lead. Don’t let the shitheads get you down, although there does seem to be a particularly high percentage online, and in L.A. too.

shonda August 22, 2008 at 11:02 am

People are definitely dicks.

My Buddy Mimi August 22, 2008 at 12:35 pm

People are also idiots. It’s a lethal combination.

Heather August 22, 2008 at 8:02 pm

The post that first got me hooked on your site was the one about sponges. Sponges do smell weird. And people? People are total dicks. This post may have been merely a rant but it summed up my entire attitude towards the general public. You’ve totally earned yourself a reader for life.

Leslie August 23, 2008 at 1:11 am

I love to read Dooce.com. I saw an ad for your blog on there, so I thought, why not… although I thought it weird that someone was advertising a personal blog. Personal blogs are the sorts of treasures that are more fun to hear about word of mouth, or trip over on the internet, or through a posting on another blog.

You know what’s great about Dooce? When she complains, she makes it funny, not whiny. If you’re wondering why more people aren’t reading your blog, this one entry defo turned me off, and it’s because its so negative. Reading personal blogs is a form of entertainment- people want a break from the real mundane world and all the “Dicks” in it. After reading your diatribe I just feel shittier afterwards. Which definitely makes me not want to read another. It didn’t make me laugh, it made me roll my eyes. Just some unsolicited advice.

Oh- and the having a hissy fit because people aren’t being “polite” and responding to your emails or comments on their blogs…. in general it seems to me like stomping your feet and having a tantrum isn’t the best way of attracting allies.

anna August 23, 2008 at 7:13 am

Wow, super helpful, Poster With Fake Email Address Who Lives in North Hollywood. You know what people who write do? They write. Sometimes it is good, and sometimes it is bad. And sometimes it is angry.

You know what people who don’t write do? They criticize. And they live in North Hollywood.

You’re right, I should always be in a good mood, and I should always think about what might be entertaining for YOU, seeing as this is NOT YOUR BLOG, and that you are NOT EVEN A REGULAR READER.

Thanks for stopping by! I’ll put a bunch of smileys in my next post so that I can be sure to win your approval, since you seem to have your finger to the pulse of blogging dos and don’ts. OKthxbai

Mary Anne August 23, 2008 at 7:39 am

I saw your ad and clicked on it. I just started a blog myself (like this week…you will be able to tell when you see the sad state of my ads which will get fixed next week…only so much a girl can do at one time), that was an interesting way to promote it. I have a backlog of about 20 posts that I was working on while I was deciding whether or not to take the jump and a few of them sound a lot like this one….I’m sorry people are dicks and sometimes you gotta call them out. At least you aren’t calling people out personally, in my book, general rants are okay. Personally, I liked it…and if I lived in LA, I’d probably know a lot more dicks than I do where I am! Best of luck!

Amity August 24, 2008 at 8:33 pm

Yes, people are idiots. I totally agree.

Samuel Diamond August 25, 2008 at 1:06 am

This was a good post, and people are dicks. But you can’t justify it by saying that you are not a nice person, and when you meet someone, you hold your true feelings on the inside.

In the end, I rather someone being a dick than someone who is mean and if they don’t like me, might have a passive-aggressive streak by not showing their emotions.

Not to shoot you down, but I can’t call to defend someone against dicks if they have dick-like personalities ( ie: I don’t like most people. I am not a nice person ). I have read a few of your posts, and believe you to be a decent person, yet it seems you have the “don’t make me angry” personality that shows up in some of your writing.

Keep up the good work. But if you are going to say you are mean and don’t like people, I can’t expect a riveting story where I am rooting for the protagonist against anonymous internet dick-heads. Both the villain and the hero have their social fallacies.

I know you don’t have to be happy all the time, but don’t explain your anger by stating you aren’t a nice person. Just say you’re angry. I’ll understand where you’re coming from.

Crash Commanda August 25, 2008 at 4:03 am

Congratulations, you got your first idiot blasting you about something stupid. That’s a great leading indicator that your blog is getting traction. Expect to get many more, and it will almost always be about the stupidist things you never expected anyone to care about, much less waste time writing about.

On a separate note, I highly recommend you give yourself some crackberry-free zones in your life. During times that are generally super fun with your family or friends you should turn the thing completely off (get a seperate cell phone – it’s worth the modestly extra expense). Start with an hour a day – you’ll feel better, a little less like you have ADD.

Jen August 25, 2008 at 7:28 am

Wow, not only did you have to deal w/ a dick of a person but you had the worst kind – a dick with WAY too much time on their hands! Those are like a rage virus, infecting all who come in contact w/ them. Hope tomorrow is a better, dick free day!

anna August 25, 2008 at 11:10 am

@Samuel Diamond, thanks for your comment and for reading the blog. I get what you are saying, but I will respectfully disagree. Firstly, I did not mean to justify anything by saying I’m not a nice person. I just wanted to say it, because sometimes people think I am largely based on how innocent and naive I look–there is a big discrepancy between how I look and how I am that sometimes disappoints people. Also, I disagree that constructing a morally ambiguous protagonist is a problem–look at Dexter, Nancy Botwin, Frankenstein, Hannibal Lechter, Don Draper, Tony Soprano, etc. ad nauseum. Moral ambiguity is the new black!

@Crash Commanda: thanks for your comment–this is valuable advice. And you are right, the only thing worse than being criticized is not being criticized, or something to that effect!

Toe August 25, 2008 at 1:28 pm

You’re rant is so eloquently put that I didn’t think it a rant at all. More power to you to put your thoughts in any kind of resemblance of logical thought. Mine on the other hand seem to lose translation but I got your point very clear. Yes, people are dicks and those that criticize you for putting it into words on your own blog are the dicks you are talking about.

Mr. Right Click August 25, 2008 at 4:33 pm

This is my first appearance on my wife’s blog. I just wanted to say that Anna is a very nice person but, like all of us, can be not as nice some of the time, especially when confronted with a person who is a dick. She is genuinely sweet and caring and (as you can see) gorgeous, and as you can discern from her writing intelligent and funny. No wonder I believe I am am the second luckiest man in the world after our son, mini, who has her for the caring, loving, doting mom of all moms that she is every day. Sorry for the intrusion but I was compelled to finally speak/write. –MRC

anna August 25, 2008 at 8:01 pm

Aww, thanks honey. You do know that people will assume I wrote that myself, though.

Leslie August 25, 2008 at 11:57 pm

Hi again. You’re right. I think my comment did come across as too harsh. I think it’s fine that you’re in a bad mood sometimes and that you write angrily sometimes. I didn’t say that you should always be in a good mood.

The reason I made the comments I did was because you said in your post that you read a lot of blogs and try to figure out what makes them successful. To quote: ” I have been working very hard on this blog, and though I know it is unreasonable to expect overnight meteoric success, I I read a lot of blogs. A LOT (etc)….. I just read them because I know they are popular, and I am not so arrogant as to think there aren’t things I can LEARN from someone who is successful. If this person is successful at something and I am puzzled as to why, then IMO it is all the more important that I try to learn from them.”

From those comments, it seems like you’re interested in your blog being successful, and interesting in interacting with other bloggers. That made me want to tell you why I’ve been a loyal reader of a very popular blog for 6+ years in the hopes of being some assistance in your understanding of what seems to be working for one blogger who supports her entire family with her website.

She wants to be entertaining and funny, inclusive of her audience, adding value to their lives by finding common ground we can all laugh at. So – take what you will from that, or assume you have all the answers, up to you. I think you want to commiserate, and I’m sure you’ll win fans that way too, lord knows there are a LOT of angry, not-nice people out there and misery loves company.

I kinda like to think that maybe one day you’ll blog all the anger out, and then get tired of it, and start seeing all the good in the world instead of the bad.

And I am a very prolific writer and blogger with an audience who was attempting to be “collegial” with you in the form of constructive feedback, and instead of getting a “polite acknowledgement” from you for the time I spent commenting on your work, you just got defensive and tried to rip me a new one . How cool of you.

anna August 26, 2008 at 8:05 am

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, Leslie. I’m not sure why you would base your opinion of it on one post, when I know you have read many more than one. And I’m sorry if I came across as being defensive–but that tends to happen when one is attacked.

I’m glad for you that you have found what works for you on your blog. I am in the process of finding what works for me. There are many, many bloggers out there. I am a huge fan of dooce, but it is not my intention to copy her. What would be the point of that? So, fantastic for her if she is always funny and inclusive of her audience–although I don’t think you would get universal assent on that claim, either–but this is my blog, and for the most part my audience seems to enjoy my writing. If you do not, then I invite you to find a blog that better meets your needs.

Sometimes I am a little harsh with people who post as sock puppets. So, sorry, but that is my perogative.

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