Hello Korio
01. 09. 2017

Awhile ago, I started listening to The Adventure Zone on the recommendation of Miss Zoot. It’s a D&D podcast done by the McElroy brothers and their dad. The brothers also do My Brother, My Brother, and Me and about a thousand other podcasts so you’ve probably heard of them, or maybe you don’t know what a podcast is and that’s also fine.

Anyway, The Adventure Zone is great. Even if you don’t or never played D&D. It’s fun and funny and has a well-written story, and it’s just all around entertaining in a lot of ways.

Recently – and I don’t actually know what I mean by recently, because I’ve moved across the country and gone on a long vacation and stopped working and school isn’t in session yet and I basically have no sense of time – the first arc of The Adventure Zone ended. One of the brothers, Travis, started a hashtag telling his other brother, Griffin, what an amazing job he’d done writing the stories and DMing for the whole of the podcast, and tons of people retweeted it, because the whole thing was pretty damn great. This is all normal internet stuff.

And someone – I don’t know who because this is not a science blog where I need to rely on solid facts to tell you a thing, and I’m not in the mood to do any research (“research”) at the moment, responded to Travis saying, “Actually, Griffin is a pretty bad DM” or something like that. Using the hashtag. So his garbage, unnecessary tweet would be included in all the praise and thanks streaming by for Griffin.

And do you know what Travis did? He responded. I don’t remember what he said, so I’m going to do a Travis impression. This is it: “What the fuck, dude? Why would you even say that? What’s wrong with you? Why don’t you parents love you? Is it because you’re terrible? Because you seem terrible. You seem, like, super super terrible.”

That’s a pretty bad Travis impression, because he’s a nice guy. I think that was mostly a me impression, because yeah, that dude who responded was pretty super terrible.

And the guy came back once or twice to say things along the lines of, it’s just like, my opinion, man. And Travis told him, yeah, well, you’re talking about my BROTHER and using a hashtag meant to CONGRATULATE him, and you’re no good and I’m going to block you.

AND THEN. The terrible dude? Made some lament like, ugh, remember when you could offer your opinion to celebrities and they weren’t total assholes about it?

And how much of THAT garbage have you seen lately?

“Well, that’s my opinion.”
“Everyone has a right to their own opinion.”
“You have to respect other people’s opinions.”

Where the HELL did that idea come from? Not the “everyone has a right to their own opinion” thing, that’s fine. That’s true. But the belief that calling something your opinion means that everyone has to smile and nod along. You walk up with a steaming platter of dog shit and set it down in front of someone, all, “BEHOLD! MY OPINION!” and everyone is supposed to pretend it isn’t dog shit because it’s your opinion? That’s not a thing. That’s not a thing at all.

This dude was actually BEWILDERED that Travis came back at him to say, hey, not cool (which is probably way more accurately Travis-y than my earlier impression), and eventually blocked him. What’s the PROBLEM? I’m just giving you my OPINION. And all people – especially celebrities – are supposed to welcome your steaming pile of dog shit with open arms, because not only is it your right to share your dumbass opinions, it’s also your right to have them gracefully accepted, unassailed.

This kind of crap is all over social media all the time, article comments, blog comments, EVERYWHERE. There is always someone joining the potluck with their big ol crockpot full of complete dog shit, ready to get furiously angry at anyone who dares say, “Actually, you’ve brought dog shit to the party, and none of us want to eat that. Here are the reasons no one wants your dog shit.”

I totally and absolutely respect the right of anyone to have any kind of opinion they want. But who ARE these dumbasses who are labeling something an opinion thinking that gives it the same standing as facts? Or that it automatically trumps the opinions of others because it’s theirs? And let’s not even get started on the idiots who crow “free speech!” whenever confronted on their pocket full of dog shit, somehow having developed a belief that the right to speech unrestricted by the government entitles them not only to say whatever they want, wherever they want, but strips others of the right to respond.

It seems to be the number one way to shut down a discussion these days, or smugly “win” an argument. “Well, that’s my opinion.” Arms crossed, nose in the air, smirk of victory, stink lines of dog shit radiating off the random Facebook commenter.

I know YOU all know this because you’re normal people. But HOW did this happen? How are there such huge amounts of people out there, wandering around not knowing that opinions can be wrong? Truly believing that calling something their opinion means it’s absolutely correct and/or protected from anyone disagreeing?

I’ve been blogging for omg almost 20 years now, and these kind of people have ALWAYS been the comment section ruiners for me. Someone says something kind of shitty to me in my comments, but they’re just “trying to help” or “being nice” or “just my opinion.” I come back and say, “dude, you’ve just laid a bowl of dog shit right here and this is why I think it smells so bad” and it’s like I’ve walked up and directly punched them in the nards.

I didn’t mean for this post to be so Travis-heavy, it’s just what got me thinking about it and aggravated recently. (Again, I don’t know how long “recently” covers, but I’m always vaguely aggravated.) I don’t understand why this has become such a common thing. I don’t know who is teaching people to believe that every word that comes out of their mouths is a blessing upon those around them, and not, occasionally, a steaming pile of dog shit that needs to be cleaned up.

I have a lot of shitty, bad, wrong, and baseless opinions. Everyone does. If you’re going to slam one of those down on the food table, if you’re lucky, one of your friends will come along and tell you, “Hey, it seems you’ve brought dog shit to the potluck and that’s not cool.” If your response to that is, “THIS IS MY DOG SHIT, I’VE BROUGHT YOU THIS DOG SHIT, AND I WANT TO SEE YOU ALL EAT MY DOG SHIT AND DON’T DARE TELL ME THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH MY DOG SHIT BECAUSE THE FLIER JUST SAID TO BRING A HOT DISH TO SHARE AND AS YOU CAN SEE MY DOG SHIT IS STILL STEAMING,” people are going to realize you’re not worth including in the pot luck. And they’ll start to avoid you and your dog shit and you’ll have to take your cold dog shit back home and no one will have even taken a polite scoop of it, and no one will bother to tell you anymore that your dog shit is no good, because you are unreceptive to dog shit corrective action.

I went too far into the dog shit thing, and I kind of apologize for that. But seriously. WHY ARE PEOPLE LIKE THIS. What has happened in the world to make people feel like this, to think that they’re not to be called out or challenged for any reason? This is not a complete post because I’ve devolved into helpless flailing over here, so experienced readers of this blog, please draw the conclusions I’ve intended to draw and explain them to me.

8 responses to “That steaming pile of dog shit you brought.”

  1. Shelley aka Delicia says:

    You have nailed Internet Culture in this post. I wish I could make everyone on the internet read this, internalize it, and not be complete douchecanoes touting their opinions as paramount.

  2. Paula says:

    This is nothing short of brilliance and should be required reading before the issuance of an Internet License (which should totally be a thing).

  3. Swistle says:

    I love this and completely agree with the baffled flailing. Also, “polite scoop.”

  4. Jesabes says:

    I think it’s because people have gotten confused and think their opinion is their identity. Which, hey, sometimes the line is really blurry. But someone can call you out on an opinion without also thinking you should go curl up in the corner and die. In fact, if they’re pointing out the flaws in your opinion nicely, they’re trying to make you live better. Not die.

  5. heidi says:

    My opinion is this is the best thing I’ve read all week. Seriously, nail/head.

  6. Jeannie says:

    I totall agree. And I wonder what happened to “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I mean, it’s ok to disagree with someone, but I think people need to draw a line between, “I have to say something because if I don’t, X will happen” and “I have this opinion but it is not going to add anything to the discussion and nothing will change and I’m only going to hurt someone needlessly, so why bother sharing it?”

    Thanks for writing!!

  7. LeighTX says:

    “and as you can see my dog shit is still steaming” is the best. You are 100% correct in your aggravation. Also may my pastor husband borrow this for a future sermon? He may or may not change the word “shit.”

  8. As someone who has been interacting with (and often having disagreements with) people for longer than the Internet was a thing, I suspect the answer to “Why are people like this?” is the anonymity of the internet itself. Some folks think it’s perfectly fine to say stuff on the internet that they’d never say to a person’s face. It’s one of the crappy features (pun intended) of the internet and it has ALWAYS been here.

    I’m all over that First Amendment thing. People have the right to free speech. But what those folks who bring the dog shit to the potluck don’t realize is that having the right to say something does not mean any of us have to listen to it. We don’t. (Also, it absolutely does not mean that speech is free of consequences.) Blocking people is a form of free speech, too, that says, “Your dog shit stew is not acceptable at this party.” It’s not punching anyone in the nards… even if that’s what it feels like to someone who’s never been told they’re horrendously impolite. They either don’t realize their crockpot is full of dog shit or delusionally think dog shit stew is really chili con queso. In either case, it’s a rare individual in the comment section that will be convinced that maybe they shouldn’t be sharing dog shit stew.

    Jesabes is onto something with identity and opinion being so enmeshed. It’s much easier to look someone in the eyes and tell them (kindly, one would hope) that their opinion is not a good fit with the rest of the participants in the group. It’s a lot harder to work through that process online — not just because the lack of human contact makes it so impersonal but because the time lag can serve as a hardening agent for opinions. Is there a solution? Sure… just keep trying to politely ask the people bringing the dog shit stew to the party to please take it away and come back with something appropriate. If that doesn’t work, block ’em. (I’ve had to block my own sister on Facebook, so, you know, sometimes being reasonable just isn’t ever going to work.)

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