“I’m Right and You’re Wrong. It’s Science. Look it Up.”
A day in the life of your (not so) friendly neighborhood internet commenter, as I imagine it
If you’re a writer whose pieces appear publicly on the internet — you’ve been there.
You’ve just finished a thoughtful, well-researched article on a topic you feel passionate about. You’ve cited your sources; you’ve checked your grammar and punctuation 18 times. You’ve included appropriate pictures and examples. You’ve added your opinion, and also mentioned your interest in an open conversation on this topic.
Or, you’ve just written a piece about your own personal experience — as a mother, a father, a pet-owner, someone with mental illness, someone who started a business, etc. The possibilities are endless. This piece isn’t one you needed to research — you lived it directly — and you’ve included that phrase in your piece so that no one assumes you’re speaking for everyone who’s been in a similar situation.
You’re happy with it, and you hit publish.
The comments and claps start rolling in. Most comments are positive; some offer thoughtful perspectives you hadn’t previously considered. There’s a commenter who disagrees with you — but they were respectful about their thoughts. The comment was interesting and you’re thinking more about it.
Then, there it is. The angry commenter. Did they even read your piece? The comment isn’t articulate. It’s not factual. It doesn’t align with anything you were saying. It calls you a name you hope to never see again. What the hell?
Welcome to my writing, angry, nameless internet troll. I’ve been waiting for you.
As someone who publishes on Medium daily, I’ve gotten used to receiving these angry comments on my work, but I’ve not yet become less annoyed by it. I read these comments on the pieces my friends write; I read them on the pieces of strangers. They’re always there.
I’ve spent a lot (too much) of time trying to imagine this reader. Who is this person? How did I make them so angry? What must life be like for someone who feels this level of anger toward someone they don’t know?
I’ve decided nothing except that the commenter is angry about something that has nothing to do with me personally. I can only imagine the rest.
What you will read below is my satirical take on the type of person who spews hatred on the articles of strangers. I’ve tried to imagine their thoughts, their daily tasks, their overall life. I don’t know if anything I’m envisioning is accurate —especially as I’ve greatly dramatized this piece — but I wouldn’t be surprised to find it so.
This is my rendering of a day in the life and thoughts of an angry internet commenter.
10:30 AM: Rolls over, opens eyes. Scratches ass.
It’s time to get up, but I can’t say I’m happy about it. I’m still so pissed about The Legend of Zelda yesterday. What the hell was that kid even talking about on the discussion forum? How old is he, 13?! I’ll check the discussion forum right after breakfast and see if he’s still making comments. Grow up, kid. Learn from a master.
Speaking of breakfast, it should be ready.
“Ma! Hey Ma! I’m ready for my pancakes! Extra syrup! Bring them down!”
How many times do I have to tell her that the pancakes should be sitting on the coffee table in front of my futon, waiting for me? Goddamn it.
Let me just check my daily digest on Medium real quick. See if anyone is writing anything that isn’t 99% stupid.
Scroll scroll. Nope. Just the same old dumb human rights bullshit. All these people, thinking they’re oppressed. Oppression ended in the 1700s. How many times do I have to tell them?
Look at this woman, talking about how she doesn’t feel obligated to have sex when she isn’t in the mood. She claims her boyfriend accepts this?! No, he doesn’t, he’s definitely cheating on her. More of this “my body my choice” bullshit that women need to get over. I’m going to have to comment on this.
“Oh great, another frigid bitch. Newsflash — men can’t control their impulses so if you’re not satisfying your man, he’s getting it somewhere else. Get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich. That’s where you belong. It’s science. Look it up.”
Great, showed her.
Damn. I dripped syrup on my shirt.
:: Dips finger in syrup on shirt, brings to mouth. Licks finger. ::
1:00 PM: Puts finishing touches on insult to 13-year-old “The Legend of Zelda” player.
That will teach him to comment like he knows what he’s talking about. I’ve been playing this game for 25 years now. He has nothing on me and he should know that.
I’m hungry again.
“Ma! Where’s my lunch! I want grilled cheese! And chips! Don’t forget the Mountain Dew!”
I swear to god if she gives me any more shit about looking for a job I’m going to punch her in the face. She should be grateful I’m still living with her. Who else would she cook and clean for?
Oh, look. An article about racism. I’m so sick of this shit. Don’t they know racism died with Martin Luther King Jr.? They have all their rights. Apparently, they forgot, so I’ll let them know.
“Oh get over it. You think that just because there was slavery 700 years ago, that you’re owed something now? Newflash — you have your black TV channels, and black colleges, and black rights groups, and a whole month dedicated to being black. If white people had things like that though, it would be “racism.” You hate all white people. You’re trying to erase us. You’re the racist ones now. There’s studies about this and stuff. Google it.
Damn it. Why do I have to be the one to teach everyone everything. It’s like none of them ever went to school. I should write my own article about this. I’m not gonna though, because I don’t want to deal with ignorant people commenting on my stuff, telling me I’m wrong and posting links to research studies and shit. Those studies are all fake. They’re funded by Planned Parenthood. Buncha baby killers. I’m not trying to see that on my articles. I know I’m right, that’s what matters.
4:00 PM: Watching “Judge Judy.”
“Ma! Bring me the Cheetos! The new bag, not the stale bag! The crunchy ones, not the puffs! Don’t forget the Mountain Dew Ice Cherry! The 2-liter though Ma, not the friggin 20 oz.!”
She better get down here quick. I’m starving. That little punk hasn’t responded to me on the discussion board, so that’s good. I’ll light him up if he does. He’d better believe it.
“Goddamn it Ma! I said the Cheetos, not the Doritos! The goddamn Cheetos! Go get the Cheetos! No, no, leave the Doritos here. I’ll eat them later. Fuck!”
Judge Judy. I can’t believe this uptight bitch is still on the air. I wonder what she’s like in bed. Is she crazy, or is she buttoned up? I’d plow her. I’d do it. I don’t even care that she’s 500 years old. I’d show her how it goes with a real man. She only defends the pussies.
Oh, this is hilarious. This is rich. An article about a fat girl’s exercise routine. Yoga?! Please. We all know you don’t exercise. We all know you can’t do yoga. I never want to see this fat whore in yoga pants. Ever.
“Look at this. Another fat bitch just trying to convince the world she has healthy habits. Newsflash — no one is buying it!! If I followed your exercise routine, I’d be ten million pounds!! Go back to the donut shop you cow!!”
:: Brushes Cheetos crumbs off chest into hands. Shoves crumbs into mouth. ::
12:30 AM: Climbing into bed.
Dinner sucked tonight. I’m going to tell Ma tomorrow that she’d better not fuck up the meatloaf again. And why the hell did she forget to buy the cookie dough ice cream? She’s so stupid. No wonder Dad remarried. And if that little whiny shit 13-year-old ever dares to question my knowledge about video games, I’ll destroy his whole life. I’ve been playing that game for 25 years. Little shit.