They say you should never read the comments section. Well, for work I have to sometimes and I can tell you it’s often filled with people who seem quite angry. I imagine they don’t have a lot going for them in life and it’s somehow everyone else’s fault, so there’s some anger displacement as they take their emotions out on people like me who are just doing their job. This is most apparent when commenters go for ad hominem attacks, or in other words insulting me or others personally rather than critiquing ideas.
For many, these personal jabs are brutally difficult to grapple with emotionally. Maybe I’m weird, but I actually laugh at them. After all, some person on the internet who’s never met me nor knows the first thing about me is going to judge me as a person? Please. As my mother always said, consider the source.
I critique car renderings often for work. When I do this I know not everyone is going to agree with my assessments and that’s just fine. However, some people seem to believe the fact they have an opposing viewpoint to mine makes their rightness and my wrongness self-evident. If those same people also go for the ad hominem attack, they often do so by saying I’m “just a writer” and so I know nothing about art or anything else.
Why they think this is such a cutting remark amuses me. Often, people use what they’ve found hurts them to attack others, since they know it’s effective from past experience. Perhaps they feel they only have one redeemable skill and so assume it’s the same story with me – that’s simply a conjecture on my part, but it’s all I’ve got since I don’t know these people personally. Or maybe they feel writers don’t contribute anything to society, a ridiculous notion, all things considered.
What really makes me laugh with these attacks is the person levelling such criticism doesn’t know anything about who I am or what skills I possess. I actually am an artist and while I’ve been creating art just for myself, I’m actually gearing up to start sharing my art more broadly. Using my own artistic senses, I say what I honestly think, which seems so very offensive in today’s social climate. So when these strangers on the internet say I “obviously” can’t do a better drawing of a car, well they’re wrong. As proof, the header image for this post is a multimedia depiction of two Corvettes I did at age 15.
The point isn’t to brag about how great of an artist I am – I have plenty of room to improve, trust me. The point is we really don’t know who we’re talking to online, but many people just assume things about the other person since that’s easy to do and it makes them feel powerful. For this precise reason, I don’t like getting into arguments or even heated discussions with people on the internet. There’s no real exchange of information and so the whole interaction doesn’t lead to anything truly constructive.
Speaking of my art, I’ve been working on the cover for my next book, but it’s a little slow going. I’m not really sure when it’ll be ready as I’ve been training myself in a new art style and I have limited extra time to dedicate to the project, but I am making progress. Hopefully the cover will be ready before too long. I’ve also been falling behind on getting posts on this blog lately, so this is me getting back in the saddle with a new plan to keep abreast while still maintaining my other projects.
I think you nailed it. I don’t argue online either for the simple reason that I won’t change the other person’s mind no matter what I say. That person isn’t here for discussion, he’s here to argue, and you can’t beat that.
That’s pretty good for fifteen years old!
Thanks, Alex. You’re right about people who just want to argue, not actually exchange information and consider ideas.