What hath blog wrought?

March 9th, 2010 by | Tags:

Rants are like flame wars; I tend to regret them.  Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of my life.

All right, the last part was just to complete the allusion.  Still, a moment’s post in anger tends to have long consequences.  (The first, of course, is a lot of hits.  There’s nothing like a rant to get people clicking, and I can’t blame them.  I love a good internet fight, too.) 

Sometimes you’re wrong.  Sometimes what you are ranting about gets reversed, taking away the anger and making you look like a goof.  And sometimes time goes on and you just don’t care as much as you once did, while the rant stays as fresh and angry as ever.

So, I probably should have anticipated the moment when David switched off the podcasting equipment after my second rant about Cry for Justice #7, and mentioned that the writer had gotten death threats.


Obviously, death threats are illegal, creepy, and stupid under all circumstances.  But there are other responses that, while legal and lighter, also make me feel bad for The Ranted.

The thing about a small community on the internet, is that when something happens, it can be hard to get away from it.  People all read the same thing at the same time, and they respond at the same time.  Sometimes they (like me) don’t read the original material, but see the event discussed on another site, and respond to that.  The more people write, the more people read, the more people respond, the bigger the thing gets, and often, the angrier people get about it.  Because it all happens at once, all that anger blasts out, and while each outburst of it might be in correct proportion to the event, the collective response can be bigger than the offense.

I’m not saying that any part of a response is wrong, or that people are wrong to write what they think (Except, of course, for the death threats.  For crying out loud, people!), but at the same time I can’t help but feel sorry for people who made one decision that just happened to implode the internet.

This isn’t my only response, of course.  Like I said, I like an internet fight.  Also, in situations like Cry for Justice, I often hope that big kerfuffles like this will inspire the company to reverse their decision.  Much as people like to pretend otherwise, they know that comics companies at least try to give them what they want.  Still, I feel a twinge of guilt for being part of the internet rage machine vomiting lava over someone.

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5 comments to “What hath blog wrought?”

  1. If someone writes a death threat to a writer over something that was written in a comic book, then they have bigger issues than what blogs they read or what podcasts they listen to. Hell, no offense, but compared to Mightygodking’s vitriol on the subject, you came off as mild by comparison.

    But still, the committee that stood over James Robinson’s shoulder and dictated Cry For My Mortgage Payments killed a 5-year-old girl for cheap heat and in the process ruined two other characters for a good long while. I do think bullshit needs to be called from the Vocal Minority on the intertubes.

  2. Nice red lamtern reference, E.

  3. It is awful when people to resort to death threats in trying to express their rage, and no writer deserves to be on the receiving end of that.

    But something else that bothers me about when people do that, is that it also makes it easier for people on the receiving end of the (non-violent, non-threatening) criticism to simply dismiss the valid complaints.

  4. I think that if you’re so upset over a comic that you’ve gotta harass or send death threats to the people who made it… you should stop catching feelings and quit reading comics. At the end of the day, it is just a story. If you’re that worked up over it, diss it, take a step back, and never look at it again.

  5. @West: Any excuse to think about Ruffles the Rage Cat.

    @Maddy: True, but I think some people will take any excuse to dismiss criticism. I remember one writer responding to criticism of one story (not saying who, not saying what) who wrote a controversial story that got a lot of criticism. He had a stock response, ‘This guy wrote in to me saying that he didn’t like seeing X event happen in the book. But that never happened! It was never on panel. So I think people are over-reacting.’

    He had a ton of people talking about that story from every angle, and he picked one kook to dismiss everyone’s argument.