According to the internet scribes I am: "Idiot," "Dazzling," "Total Dick," "Ignorant," "Complete Ass," "Young," "Arrogant," "Unethical," "Pathetic, or what," and many more. (Check it out here.) All as a result of a little blog post I wrote about why I hate a couple of Bon Jovi's songs, and Jon Bon Jovi as a person. Boy has this mayhem taught me some life lessons.
First, apparently I'm a troll. If you've never heard of this internet term (I hadn't - p'wnd), it refers to someone who posts inflammatory comments with the goal of inciting an emotional response from other internet readers. Now, admittedly, this is a pretty subjective term. Anything could be emotionally charged to anyone and I, I thought safely, had assumed that those people who actually liked Bon Jovi were realistic about their fandom. But, like anything else, you get enough people in the room there are bound to be a few nuts.
Now I don't say "nuts" in a derogatory sense (yes I do), but just that there are some people who are so passionate that they're blinded by their strong emotions. I feel this way about many things (Andy Capp's Hot Fries, My Dog Chico, Liberty), and so I suppose I can forgive the flagrant attacks on my character, however unfounded.
All of that said, I'm glad to be trolling. If the things I write provoke an emotional response, than I'm accomplishing everything I dreamed of when I graduated from journalism school.
Second, I learned what an uphill battle responding to negative comments is. When the first comment was posted I thought, what would be the professional thing to do? Of course, it would be to remain silent. But then I thought, but why? Wouldn't it be kind of fun? Yes, I answered. So, off I went, and for one day I responded to every comment.
This was much more draining than I expected. I try (unlike my adversaries/readers) to live by the rule that I don't write anything (online or otherwise) that I wouldn't be willing to say in person. So, I tried to pepper my responses with tempered logic and the occasional low-brow insult. This was entirely ineffective and, mostly, kind of boring. I took all this time to whittle my responses down to concise, entertaining bits, and then I'm answered with rambling nonsense.
(Some people seemed to suggest that my replying to comments made it seem like I felt I was offended by people who didn't like my post and that I wanted to set them straight. This is not the case at all. I welcome dissent. I also welcome a good, mild-mannered argument. I don't feel a need to prove my superiority to internet readers, I thought we could have a nice conversation. I was wrong.)
So, from no on (until I change my mind, or a special circumstance arrives), I'm retiring from replying to negative comments.
Third, Bon Jovi still sucks.