Last night, Katie, Dave, and I went out to celebrate the fact that someone new on the Internet hates me. Hate mail fills me with genuine glee, which I know sounds like a weird reaction but I do have reasons:
1. I’ve been blogging for about five years now, so naturally I’ve received my share of hate mail. In all this time, not once has a piece of hate mail been thoughtful, respectful, or relevant to the alleged topic. I suppose this is because the kind of people who send hate mail are hateful, and it’s hard to be smart about what you’re saying when you’re pounding at your keyboard all Godzilla-like in a blind rage.
2. In high school, I used to have this theology teacher who was a real asshole. He also taught logical theory, not because he thought it was useful for us to learn but because he wanted to pick fights with/intellectually dominate us. Which he almost always failed to do, considering that I was parochially-schooled and his major mistake was injecting his logical arguments with church dogma. Anyway. As much as I disliked this teacher, I have to give him credit for introducing me to the logical fallacies (sorry about linking to Wikipedia but the other sites for this are full of crazy people), which I refer to every time I receive hate mail. As I’m reading the hate mail, I tick one after another off in my head, which always leads me to the conclusion that hate mailers are fucking dumb, and that I was always smarter to begin with.
3. People get so angry about bullshit they read on the Internet! Heee!
4. People get angry enough about bullshit they read on the Internet that they try to pick fights with strangers. Which may work with lesser mortals (ie, people who get mad when they receive hate mail), but it truly does delight me because how insane is that?
5. If you never get a reaction to anything you write, you’re doing it wrong.
So. That’s why I kind of enjoy receiving hate mail. It’s just so funny to me that someone I don’t know would be so angry about an opinion of mine that they would try to goad me into an argument, which I learned a long time ago is pointless to do because there’s no use engaging with someone who’s made it obvious that they don’t like you. My responses to hate mail are either Non-Existent or Short and Sweet, and then I go out and have beers with my friends to celebrate.
The latest piece of hate mail came from one of the band members that I recently reviewed for KDHX (they were the openers, so I reviewed them by default and in a much lesser capacity than the headliner). The actual review is here. If you’re the kind of person who reads comments on the Internet, you’ll see that this band member also posted an abridged version of his anger to the station’s site. Just as with his comment on my personal blog, his references to the bands in the third person attempted to hide his identity as a band member, which was silly because both the site and this blog run on WordPress and for all its other hiccups, it does make it really easy to see who’s saying what.
I was actually expecting this piece of hate mail. Although both myself and my editor were happy with the review and I thought my treatment of the openers was fair-but-ultimately-negative, obviously no one likes to be criticized and they’re still a shade too inexperienced to take criticism gracefully. Inability to understand a music critic’s job? Check. Unwillingness to accept that not all reviews will be positive? Check. Making infantile jabs that – per reason 1 above – have nothing to do with the topic at hand? Check. Again, I expected this to happen, but that doesn’t make it any less funny or make me wish any less, as I did during the show, that these bands would hurry up and mature already and start saying something worth listening to.
I think Fiala will be the most proud of this review and its reactions. He’s been saying for awhile that I should let him ghostwrite all my pieces so that he can unblinkingly destroy the artistic aspirations of every single musician who crosses my path because, according to him, this will have me working at Rolling Stone in less than a month. I’ve declined because a) wow, what an asshole, and b) I lovelovelove KDHX and am hugely proud that I get to write for them. Plus I am slightly concerned that if Fiala is allowed to criticize people in an open forum, I’m pretty sure the whole world might spontaneously combust.
When I told Dave about our reason for celebrating last night, he replied “Didn’t Lester Bangs say something like this in Almost Famous? You’ve got to be ruthless and a bitch, Erin.”
“Actually, I think he said “you’ve got to be honest and unmerciful”.”
“That’s it! Hahahaha! Well, it’s practically the same thing.”
“I guess so, although, you have to remember that Lester Bangs did a shitload of amphetamines.”
Which is why THIS is my favorite goal, because aside from getting to be really thin and chatty, alcohol is so much better than amphetamines in every way: