You will hate this article

BIV

I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
Apr 22, 2002
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#1
You will hate this article

Yahoo’s Virginia Heffernan confronts her commenters: "No matter what I write, you will think I'm an idiot"

by Virginia Heffernan

Hey y’all, the comments on this piece are going to be vicious.

They’re gonna say I’m an idiot, that I have brain damage, that this article is drivel and pap. No matter what I write! You’ll wonder, if you read the commentary, how I can even take such razor-sharp insults. At the same time, you might be amused: someone might opine that my writing is to good writing as McRibs are to barbecue.

Then maybe someone else will gallantly jump to my defense and say he’d be willing to **** me anyway, even though I’m an idiot.

Poor me. It won’t matter what I write about or what insight I bring to it -- I’ll always be, alas, an idiot, and often not even a rapeable one. Instead, I’m someone who got the job because she must be married to the boss, someone who can’t write her way out of a paper bag.

The paradox of working hard to be a writer—I spent 12 years on an English Ph.D. and have worked 15 years writing columns, while also learning formal proofreading, fact-checking and the grammar and spelling of American English—is that, in the usual way, you get degrees and jobs because you’re smart, only to be told, once you’re doing the job you’re trained for, that you need to go back to remedial school. Or the hospital. Or the morgue. Because you’re such an idiot.

Because I don’t write often about gender, I am not monotonously called a slut or a whore, though you never know when that old chestnut will enter the commentary on an article (which could be about Syria or shoes or beta carotene). As long as an article is written by a woman, then the slut-shaming is just on—as it has been for the novelist Deborah Copaken Kogan, who this week recounted her game, bemused and sometimes exasperated path through the slings and arrows of you-ignorant-slut-land in a tour de force called “My So-Called Post-Feminist Life in Arts & Letters.”

When the piece went live, Kogan was deluged with tales of sexism, mild and not mild, from the front. Among other things, women writers told of the comical lengths that publishers and marketers of their work go to to sell the authors as pinups. Leaving out anything political from this conversation: Aren’t you, wherever you are, and in whatever line, glad that your face, body and hair aren’t up for bruising debate every time you diagnose a patient or mount some drywall or file a brief? Aren’t you pleased that your job doesn’t entail a chorus of “You’re an idiot!” every time you clock in?

Mostly I don’t mind it, getting jumped by commenters day after day. Often I think it’s good for me, like growing up in a tough neighborhood. Sometimes I’m even surprised at how thin-skinned new writers are, or writers who aren’t used to the rough-and-tumble world of online commentary. “I can’t take it,” a prize-winning, top-selling poet told me recently. “I’d rather write for my mom only than get knocked around by the bullies who comment online.”

I try to tell these sensitive writers that online commentary is its own form, with its own conceits, tight as a sonnet. Above the line we reporters and columnists write —Mitch McConnell this, Microsoft that—and below the line commenters boo us. They tell us we’re the end of journalism; they tell us we’ve sold out; they throw tomatoes. That’s their job, like writing columns or articles or poetry is our job.

And in gaps in the vitriol, there are often flashes of extraordinary insight. I would say there are always those flashes. Amid the slung mud of the you’re-an-idiot haters on a piece of mine earlier this week, there were dozens of great questions about why I’d review an app that’s only available for Apple, and whether the rave I’d written constituted an ad for the app. These are questions I’d genuinely love to address with readers, maybe in some shared space between the column and the comments. But the truth is, I get a little scared to go down there to comment-land. It’s a rough scene, like a punk club, and I might—I will—get hurt.

Is there a way to comment without trolling, bullying or gaslighting? Does the threat of rough commenters scare you away from writing? Does the sight of cruel comments at the end of the piece color your impression of the piece?

What do you think? Yes, I know you think I’m an idiot. But what else?
Yeah, I'd say she is:
 

gleet

What's black and white and red all over?
Jul 24, 2005
22,543
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Idaho
#2
The paradox of working hard to be a writer—I spent 12 years on an English Ph.D. and have worked 15 years writing columns, while also learning formal proofreading, fact-checking and the grammar and spelling of American English—is that, in the usual way, you get degrees and jobs because you’re smart, only to be told, once you’re doing the job you’re trained for, that you need to go back to remedial school.
This sentence only uses seven commas. A good sentence has a minimum of nine.
 

SKEPTIC

Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.
May 12, 2007
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1060 W. Addison St., Chicago, Illinois, 60613
#5
Took her 12 years to get a PhD and she didn't become a physician? Lol.
I remember you nicely summed up her "style" awhile back.

What a douchey written article.
http://wackbag.com/threads/how-many-bolivians-are-dying-because-foodies-love-quinoa.149444/

At that time, she took a douchey Guardian article and somehow made it even more douchey.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/16/vegans-stomach-unpalatable-truth-quinoa

http://news.yahoo.com/how-many-bolivians-are-dying-because-foodies-love-quinoa--184648929.html
 

SKEPTIC

Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.
May 12, 2007
3,181
1,870
488
1060 W. Addison St., Chicago, Illinois, 60613
#9
From the comments . . .

OK, I read about 300 posts and the over all feeling is:
4-1 against for the following reasons
Comments about your PhD come off as smug superiority and you sound condescending.
Your articles are more concerned with style than substance
Very liberal (not necessarily a problem) while seemingly grossly uninformed. (Which is a problem)
You assume the problem people have with you is based in sexism. Only because your paranoia drives you. Most of us don't care.
English is NOT J school. English does not make you a journalist.
It is ridiculous to talk about thin skinned posters and then write 9 paragraphs of weeping self indulgence.
Good luck in your next career choice.
:D
 

SKEPTIC

Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.
May 12, 2007
3,181
1,870
488
1060 W. Addison St., Chicago, Illinois, 60613
#10
Saikotic

from the comments . . .

As a woman, you feminists really #$%$ me off. Stop asking for special treatment if you want to be considered an equal. There was absolutely no need to bring your gender into this "article". And quite frankly, this read more like a #$%$y diary entry than an article.
 

Hog's Big Ben

Getting ass-***** in The Octagon, brother.
Donator
Jul 28, 2005
27,874
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#11
That's a very fuckable 40-something broad.

 

whiskeyguy

PR representative for Drunk Whiskeyguy.
Donator
Jan 12, 2010
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Northern California
#12
Admittedly I just scanned the article, but I have no idea what point this dumb ass whore is trying to make. That the internets is mean?
 

Chino Kapone

Yo, whats wrong wit da beer we got?
Jun 10, 2005
16,959
2,196
608
#14
And in gaps in the vitriol, there are often flashes of extraordinary insight. I would say there are always those flashes. Amid the slung mud of the you’re-an-idiot haters on a piece of mine earlier this week, there were dozens of great questions about why I’d review an app that’s only available for Apple, and whether the rave I’d written constituted an ad for the app. These are questions I’d genuinely love to address with readers, maybe in some shared space between the column and the comments. But the truth is, I get a little scared to go down there to comment-land. It’s a rough scene, like a punk club, and I might—I will—get hurt.
She starts off a paragraph with the word "And" to justify, only to herself, the 12 years were worth it.
 

Saikotic

Scraping a dull blade across your tender eyeball
Donator
Mar 5, 2005
33,617
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Right Behind You
#15
She could have stopped writing after the word "idiot" and then walked around in circles with a loaded diaper, ponging herself in the head with a ball peen hammer while singing "I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar" and it would have had a better point than what she ended up writing.
 

tattered

Uber-Aryan
Wackbag Staff
Aug 22, 2002
23,845
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#16
I agree with the comment that SKEPTIC posted from the articles comments. For someone who claims to supposedly be thick skinned this article reeks of insecurity. Look if you actually got a PHd in anything you clearly aren't an idiot but at the same time it doesn't mean that you aren't woefully ill informed. Not to mention allowing political beliefs influence any article that isn't an opinion piece is shoddy journalism. Journalist are supposed to just present the facts and allow the reader to decide not attempt to sway them to their side of the argument which is again shoddy journalism. This slit isn't an idiot but she sure as hell isn't even an ok journalist. Cronkite would be ashamed of his profession if he was still alive to see what it has become.

that said, id bang it like a screen door in a tornado
 

Party Rooster

Unleash The Beast
Apr 27, 2005
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#17
So do I get a pass on hating her because I recognized her awful writing style before she confirmed it to the world? I feel sorta hipsterish.
 

tattered

Uber-Aryan
Wackbag Staff
Aug 22, 2002
23,845
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JERZ
#19
im surprised no one had pointed out that just from 1 paragraph i can tell she knows an awful lot about doing Oxy. Which, ironically enough, used to be a white trash thing to do but has become all the rage with Hipsters, just like that quinoa, driving prices way up. fucking hipsters ruin everything should of been the point of the article