We all know how the Internet is a breeding ground for incivility and blatant hatred because you don’t have to face the person you’re insulting.
But there’s a lesser level of contempt that bloggers deal with when they cross an invisible line that brings out boors. These folks aren’t hateful, just sublimely convinced of their superiority. They spring up whenever a blogger dares to even mildly criticize anything or anyone that’s popular.
Say, for instance, that you’re not crazy about Lemonade. Blog about it and you can be damned sure that you’ll be accused by somebody of being jealous of Beyoncé’s success.
Now, unless you’re a singer, a charge like that really makes no sense whatsoever. But even if you were a singer, why would a critique necessarily mean that you’re jealous? Can’t you have valid reasons for disliking one of her albums? Or even her music in general? Does that automatically make you a hater?
Boors have emerged whenever I’ve blogged something remotely critical about a book, movie, or TV show, targeting me because I’m an author.
I recently blogged that I thought Jon Snow’s resurrection on Game of Thrones was dull compared to other more dramatic moments in the first two episodes this season. The inevitable response showed up from one reader: I’m jealous of George R.R. Martin and that person’s never heard of me.
That was truly devastating.
Here’s the thing. Most authors aren’t on best seller lists and aren’t widely known. Even writers like me who make a good living from their royalties, get sent on book tours at home and abroad, are paid well for speaking engagements, win awards, and have successful careers.
Why’s that? Because the average reader in America reads or listens to only one book a month and there are 80,000 published every year. Saying that you’ve never heard of an author is like a little kid whining “Nanny-nanny-poo-poo!”
So if you’re a blogger worrying that your blogs don’t generate enough comments, there’s a major upside to that. You’re not getting hateful remarks or mockery from people who think they’re smarter than you are–and feel the need to prove it with the weakest weapons they have.
Lev Raphael is the author of the novel The German Money–which a Washington Post rave review compared to Kafka, John le Carré and Philip Roth–as well as 24 other books in many genres.