New Year, new you? We hear that a lot in January. The focus tends to be on the body, but what if you have a shit personality online? What can you do to fix that? Emily Writes can help.
I think 2019 should be the year that people who are assholes in comment sections try not to be assholes in comment sections. Oh but I’m not an asshole, you might be thinking. Maybe, probably you’re not – but maybe, maybe you are.
Not sure if you’ve been, or are being, an asshole? Here are some food analogies for you to outline why your shit comment is shit and makes you look like an asshole.
“This isn’t news!”
You’re right. It isn’t. Not everything you read on the internet is news or newsworthy. Sometimes people read things because they want to give their brain a break – they want something silly, something dumb. Other times they want to read a personal essay that gives insight into some aspect of someone else’s life that they feel might relate to them. Sometimes they want to find out more about Mike Hosking’s house even though they know they will hate themselves for it. A news website is like a buffet – you can’t just have meat, you need to have a deli section and sometimes you’re going to eat some of the deli meat even though you know deli meat makes you feel sick and you’re going to get sick. And while you’re destroying the toilet at work you’re going to think man I wish I didn’t eat that. But that’s no reason to march back to Valentines and say “That meat wasn’t food!” It was food, you knew you wouldn’t agree with it. But you ate it anyway. That’s on you, fool.
“Clickbait! You should change the title!”
Now this may shock you but writers want you to read the thing that they’ve written. If you don’t read it, then there was no reason to write it. If I invited you over to dinner and I texted you and said “I just made the most amazing potato salad! It will change your life! Come over and eat it” then you may just come over and eat my potato salad. If I text you and say “Come over, I only have sour cream and potatoes and I’m not wearing pants”, well, you might just leave me all alone with my potato salad.
Comment that shows you didn’t read the piece beyond the headine
Would you write a restaurant review without going to the restaurant? Just stand outside the place yelling and screaming like a tosser? Don’t do that.
“Explain to me why…”
When you’re a writer you usually write things in two ways. 1) Someone says “write about this thing” and you write about the thing and you get paid. Or 2) You write a thing and you send it to an editor or publisher and say “Do you want this thing that I wrote?” and you get paid. Sometimes you don’t get paid – it’s not the easiest industry to be in. The thing is though, nowhere in the small print does it say “as well as writing this, you need to spend two days conversing with Tim from Oamaru who needs you to explain what patriarchy means because he can’t grasp words with more than two syllables”. And you know why that isn’t in there? Coz it’s not my job bitch. Writers are not therapists or teachers or your mum. They don’t owe you their time – even if you have all this time because you got fired for looking at porn in the work bathroom. Sometimes a writer might clarify a few things if you’re genuinely wanting to talk more about what they’ve written but I’m yet to meet a writer who wants to spend a day being mansplained by some knuckle dragging dude who is 45 with the emotional maturity of a 14 year old who jacks off to Joe Rogan podcasts. If this was a restaurant you wouldn’t make the chef stop in the middle of cooking to explain to you what salt is. You need to pay me if you want me to explain what cis is. You’re not a Kardashian, you don’t get a private audience.
“You can’t write”
Imagine you’re in a restaurant. You were offered the spicy bratwurst but you’re not a sausage person and you don’t like hot food. Turns out everyone else goes for the same. It arrives, everyone digs in. All around you people seem to be enjoying it, or it is at least sparking debate about what constitutes a good bratwurst. Some are saying “this chef is really good”. That’s why they went there in the first place. But you take a bite and it is too hot because you don’t like hot food. It’s also a sausage, and you don’t like sausage. So what do you do? Do you climb onto the table and take a giant shit while screaming “THIS CHEF CAN’T COOK”. Do you do that?
“I hate this writer”
Oh I sure hate chicken nuggets I say as I gorge myself on chicken nuggets. I sure hate every *eats more* bite of this *almost chokes from eating so much* delicious *skolls sweet and sour* thing that I hate, I just can’t stop *swallows like a duck* eating this thing I hate. OMG this chef *licks deep fryer* this chef is so bad *scalds mouth, ignores pain, keeps eating* I hate this chef *groans loudly while eating more and more chicken nuggets*. STOP FUCKING EATING STUFF YOU HATE YOU MASSIVE WEIRDO. It’s not the chef’s fault you keep eating stuff they make because you’re a dickhead.
“This doesn’t interest me!”
If I bought a three-piece quarter pack and one of the pieces was a shitty wing and there was barely any meat on it, I’d be annoyed. You only had three, and one is bad. Fair enough you’d be upset. There’s only three pieces of chicken. But mate, you have all of KFC. All the chicken is yours. If you see a bit that is not something you want to put in your mouth, don’t put it in your fucking mouth. Don’t complain you don’t have enough chicken and this one bit isn’t to your taste mate. You’re surrounded by chicken. Eat another bit and shut the fuck up.
On most of my posts it’s something along the lines of “What about dads?” or “This would be great if it came from the perspective of a dad”. Literally I have curated a piece on vaginal prolapse and birth injuries and a dude has been like uhh vaginal prolapse is quite difficult for me, a man without a vagina. OK DAVE. 1) Not everything is for you. There are so many pieces of writing out there. Maybe this thing wasn’t written for you! That’s OK! Other things will be written for you. Don’t despair. 2) Write it yourself. Writers are not performing monkeys. Write something yourself, from your own perspective – if you story isn’t out there, someone will want to read it. So write it. But don’t monopolise every piece with whinging about how it doesn’t apply to you. It’s like going to a friend’s place for dinner and saying “Oh you made lamb? I wanted chicken.” Bitch make your own chicken.
So there you go – eat up. You can do this, I believe you can stop making shit comments in 2019.
Subscribe to The Bulletin to get all the day’s key news stories in five minutes – delivered every weekday at 7.30am.