It has been an inordinate amount of fun, thus far, promoting my searing, scathing new book of humorous observations, Confessions from the Comments Section: The Secret Lives of Internet Commenters and Other Pop Culture Zombies. As I had predicted, the book would prove divisive-even controversial. I get that. After all, when you create a comic depicting God and the Virgin Mary engaged in a “miracle showdown,” some people are going to get their knickers in a twist.
Even though my purpose in crafting that portion of the book was not to make fun of The Deity or the Blessed Mother, but to lambaste the fundamentalistic caricaturizations of these “entities” that apparently dwell in the minds of millions … some people prefer to be offended first and to comprehend later. In fact, my purpose was to make a statement about the untenable idea of the doctrine of Original Sin and its utter incompatibility with modern thinking, science, sensibility, and sanity.
You’d be surprised how very often the concept of original sin tends to show up in online comments section conversations, particularly since so many people refer to each other as “idiots” in dire need of “salvation,” which of course relates intrinsically to the notion of that infamous primordial Fall, as opposed to the observable truth that the world was created with strife, conflict, bad manners, warlike behavior, disease, and excessive earwax build-up, among other things.
Similarly, a lot of Amazon reviewers were uncomfortable with the fact that I chose to make fun of EVERYONE (including myself) in a book explicitly intended to lampoon people who … make fun of EVERYONE. Maybe I should have opted to make fun of only a few, select groups. Others objected to the relentlessly sardonic tone of the book’s humor, which I found ironic, given that the book was intended specifically to expose and humorously scorch people in comments sections who employ the most deplorable language, crude insults, and sanctimonious, hypocritical “dialogue” imaginable.
That was the purpose of the book. To roast and spank these types of people while shining a light upon the hilarious side of the depths to which human behavior can plunge online. I have to work with the material at hand, and it’s often pretty grim. One can’t exactly take a wet noodle to a gunfight. You’d think some people might appreciate that I was trying to put a humorous, insightful spin on truly appalling human behavior that millions of commenters have no problem exhibiting in everyday, common ways and forums. Besides, I wanted to go for the gusto, as it were, and strike hard. It’s my book, and I call it the way I see it.
Alas, some people do not “get” satire at all, and many people are uncomfortable when humanity, with all its peccadilloes, is put under the microscope. It makes people shift nervously in their recliners. The gentle, innocuous humor of Reader’s Digest is more their speed, and God Bless ’em. I do indeed wish we lived in a world where human behavior online could be accurately profiled and examined through the prism of wistful Reader’s Digest reminiscences and pastoral remarks. Because that would mean we lived in a much better, nicer world.
But we don’t, Blanche. We don’t.
My book is for readers who like smart-ass, no holds barred, piercing, wordsmithery when it comes to analyzing the Human Condition. People who “get” and squirm with delight while reading a book like Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces, for example … and people either “get” the humor in that book or they don’t. It fascinates or it flummoxes, as biting satire and wit always ought to do.
Luckily, most readers and reviewers proved sophisticated and well-read enough to appreciate my little attempt to capture the raging tempest of online human folly and, frankly, I harbor no resentment toward those whose hairs curl in opprobrium or wild misunderstanding, either. We all have our unique tastes and perceptions of humor. But don’t buy a book that says on the back cover that it’s going to fight wicked or ridiculous aspects of social decorum with sharp, biting, unmerciful humor and then be shocked-SHOCKED!-to encounter, er … sharp, biting, and unmerciful humor.
At all events, for another insightful glimpse of my journey into the vortex of internet comments sections, have a look at the opinion piece published today in The Daily Dot. It’s called I Only Came Here for the Comments and might help to entertain you, and likewise to explain, peradventure, my motivation for entering that chaotic online world in the first place. Click the link below or copy and paste it into your browser to visit The Daily Dot. We’ll chat again very soon.
Confessions from the Comments Section is available at Amazon and all the usual outlets by clicking the cover of the book, above and on the right. Enjoy, Gracious Readers.