The Royal Heffernans

Quite possibly the best family ever

Thursday, September 18, 2008

F&$#ing Commenters

With the exception of this lovely, family-owned blog, I really, really, REALLY hate the people who feel obligated to comment in response to articles online. The idea in itself is sound - comments provide a forum to respond to the opinion of others. Ideally, the comments would be sound, logical, thought out counter-arguments or well-reasoned kudos. Instead, the vast majority of commenters are semi-literate morons that, quite frankly, I'm surprised can even read and write.

The examples are too numerous to cite, so I'll just pick two from the sports world the past couple days...

1. Several days back a cell phone-taken video made its way online showing Dallas Mavericks player Josh Howard saying some unsavory things about the National Anthem. I'm 100% sure this is simply a case of a high-profile athlete making a stupid joke to a friend, assuming confidence. God only knows that if even one-tenth of the tasteless jokes I've made in my lifetime made their way to the interwebs people would have a significantly different opinion of me - they'd think I'm awesome and hilarious! The difference between me and Josh Howard is that he's a public figure and I'm not. But the point remains the same - sometimes you say things in confidence, and it's difficult, even for those that live in the limelight, to filter your mouth 24x7x365. The commenters to the linked article above would do well to keep that in mind before accusing Howard of treason, which several actually did.

2. First a disclaimer, I hate Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated, but still read him out of some perverse need to get my blood boiling. He always disses Notre Dame, I know every article will include one or two shots, and I know this will piss me off to no end; and yet, I still read him. So it was with reserved enthusiasm that I dove into his weekly college football mailbag yesterday. It's really hard for me to find blame with Steward here because the idiot Notre Dame comment basically served this up on a silver platter. This is a fairly typical reaction for Notre Dame fans in general. Flying way off the handle and proclaiming the team national title contenders after winning a game because of 6 turnovers. True, they caused and converted on all those turnovers, but the offense itself only had 260 yards total, so it's not like they're suddenly Southern Cal. They beat the worst Michigan team in decades at home, in a deluge, while being handed the ball multiple times within Michigan's half of the field. Let's not make this out to be more than it is folks. If they hadn't won that game, they'd be the worst team ever.

My point is this, the media in general are idiots. When you have idiots (commenters) responding to idiots (media) everything ends up getting blown out of proportion. Then the idiot comments become accepted as "public opinion" and we all get generalized. In the two examples above the Howard reaction will be characterized as a public outcry for him getting cut by the Mavs and the myth of the loud-mouthed, blind optimist Notre Dame fans will be perpetuated. All this because a bunch of unemployed losers have nothing better to do all day that trawl the web looking for hot-button subjects to which they can leave inflammatory responses.

So my plea is for commenters to please think everything out before commenting on anything. I'd love to see more major media outlets remove the anonymity from their comment sections. Maybe if people knew they could be held accountable for what they said they'd be a bit more reserved and the comments could fulfill their true purpose of constructive criticism.

P.S. I'd better get a shit-load of retarded comments in response to this post!


rhett said...

How dare you not defend America and the National Anthem against Josh Howard, Hitler?!?!?!?! Commenters are the fuel that propels the media to check itself and gives everyone a voice to be heard!!!!!!!! Generalizations are so easy....and useful!!!!!! Exclamation points!!!!!! Aaaaaarrrrghhhhhh! Fish fry.

Colin and Liz said...

i actually read mandel as well, and often have the same thoughts. i actually have been debating writing in with a break-down of his very formulaic method of writing articles. it consists of about 60% football analysis (which is why i read him), 20% crazy assumptions, and finishes off with 20% of a scathing reply to an email he plucked from thousands which conveniently proves his point. i suppose he is, and should be, happy that thousands write in to him, but anyone could write the lead college football articles for SI and everyone would still read them. if i had thousands of replies sent to me weekly i could easily grab one or two to deride as uninformed and make myself look like the mighty football analyst that i am. good work mandel, you are a hack.