The joy of assholes online

The online world is an interesting one. Not just for the really weird videos you end up watching (“Wait, it’s a Panda on a bicycle set to the sound track of 300? I have to watch this.”), but also because of the interactions you can have with people. Some people approach interactions with others how they would in real life; they say things that they would say to their faces and generally keep the tone civil, because life would get very complicated if all you did was walk up to people in the street and told them things like “ur shoes are fucking stupid LOL” or “I hope you die in a fire”.

My interaction with an asshole today was a Mr. Jim Morris. He saw my Canucks Royal Rumble video (a project I did with my writing partner J Bowman in which we created a video showing off what might happen should the Canucks ever get into wrestling) and decided he HAD to let me know several things:

jimross

Now you will notice that my first response to him was civil enough. I took it lightly and thought we could end it on a nice 1 for 1 comment, with me taking the higher road by not really attacking him in any way.

Then Jim broke what I call my “second chance” rule. My second chance rule is that I know people will often times say a ton of shit online, whatever pops in their head, without really thinking of the consequences. This is why whenever someone says something negative at me, my first response is usually very civil, in the hopes that I can humanize the situation so that we can both realize “wait a minute, why the fuck are we yelling at each other on the internet?”. Maybe somebody had a bad day and they lash out at something they read online? I understand people can react emotionally to situations that don’t warrant the level of hatred they’re putting out, due to other situations effecting them. I personally don’t believe that some people really want to “fucking kick Ben Affleck’s head down his throat so he can see what an asshole he is for playing Batman”, maybe they just had a bad work day and Ben was there to take the brunt of it.

It’s when people decide, after my first interaction, to go “you know what, I want to keep being an asshole” that I lose my shit. So first, here is my response to Jim Morris (it wouldn’t post on article, I tried putting it there, but it wouldn’t post god damn it. I hope Mark Zuckerberg gets his fucking head kicked down his throat so he can see- oh wait….)

Dear Jim,
Your first comment I shrugged off as simply someone who didn’t like the video and maybe had had a bad day, so they lashed out at it. Instead of lashing back, and possibly making HILARIOUS jokes about bed time (though between you and me Jimbo, I couldn’t possibly outdo you on those ones), I decided to just let it go with a friendly back and forth.
Then you responded again, once again going to that Jay Leno well of great punch lines, trotting out a solid line about bed time.
So with that said, let me try and break this situation down for you, and try to explain to you, why you are an asshole.
1) You didn’t pay for anything. You didn’t have to watch the video. Nobody forced you at gun point to watch the video (unless someone did, in that case, my bad).
2) You felt the need to make a dick comment about it. Believe me, I understand that comedy is a hard medium because one persons hilarity is another persons completely unfunny material. So again, I know there will be people who will like this, as there will be people who don’t like this. However, for some reason you felt the need to let me know this. Why Jimjim? Why did you feel the need to let me know that? There is literally nothing to gain from letting me know that you hated my project, think I am immature, and are worried about my absence record from school. This leads me to believe you are either a) an unhappy person who lashes out at everything around him for no reason other than to make yourself feel better or b) simply an asshole.
So Jimster, at the end of the day I may be immature, I may not act my age. But I’d rather be immature and enjoy myself making videos than an angry bitter asshole who has nothing better to do than attack other people for not leading their lives how I want them to.
In closing, tomorrow is a pro D day, so I can stay up late. Maybe I’ll see some more of your jokes on Leno.

(I had spaces in that quote god damn it! It blocked it together! The wall of text isn’t my fault!)

It’s full of snark, as you can see. I cannot state enough how weird I find it that people feel the need to be super negative to people for no reason. Sure, you see the video and hated it? Fucking tell you friends how awful it was. Scream about it on your Facebook account. But to take time out of your day to let me know about it? Why? What do you derive from this? I truly don’t understand.

And it’s not even like its constructive criticism. I can understand if the comment was “I found the humor to be too immature for my liking” and I would have gone “Good call, I can see how people would feel that way.” But no, Jim Morris needed, NEEDED, to let me know that I in fact was immature and that I wasted my time making garbage.

I really, truly do not get people who live in a world where they feel the need to spread negativity at no gain to themselves or anyone. You know how easy it is to be an asshole online? Super easy. You know how hard it is to take the upper road sometimes? Very. But I take the upper road 95% of the time because, honestly, I don’t want to become just another asshole that ruins peoples days. I could, believe me. I write, I can be a very well written asshole, I could plan out a three part series of how much I hate somebody, but why do that? What makes your life so sad and broken that you think to yourself “holy shit, that online recipe for roasted chicken was BULLSHIT, I am going to go let that person know what a fucking waste of space they are and that I hope they fucking choke on their recipe much like I choked on the dry chicken I just cooked:”

Again, I am not a super PC person, I don’t believe we need to sanitize everything down to a “safe” level (I love fighting in hockey and I think kids getting hurt on a playground is a rite of passage god damn it), but there is a basic human level where someone approaches you that you have to decide “Should I be an asshole?” that people online constantly cross, and I just don’t get it.

For example, I do not like a lot of music. Music just isn’t my thing. Tons of people I know LOVE music. They can’t picture life without music, they cannot fathom a world in which they don’t have a soundtrack to their lives. For whatever reason, music just never connected with me (maybe it’s because I never listen to lyrics, I just get caught up in the sound of it all). That being said, it makes no sense for me to find a song someone liked, then let them know “You’re fucking stupid if you like that song, it’s trash. God, I don’t even know why you like music.” Why would I do that? Who gains in that situation? Nobody. (Except Ronald McDonald. Somehow I get the sense all clowns feed off of evil.)

The funny thing is, I currently have a precarious position in my life where I can often end up potentially angering people. I write about the Canucks in a humorous manner, yet I also have to interview them in the locker room. So my jokes on twitter might possibly be read by a player, and he could get upset about them. I have two choices, one, stop doing humor that might broach a line, or two, man up and apologize if I actually do offend the player.

Because of this, I follow some simple rules:

1) Only joke about the hockey players hockey skills. Stay away from personal life stuff (though I do dance the line by making jokes about players being party animals, like Patrick Kane). I will not make jokes about rumors of players banging other players wives or stuff like that (yes, that means I have stopped my Jeff Brown jokes).

2) Never ever joke about their family or even bring their families into anything

3) If a player does get upset, find out what they got upset over and decide if I felt I crossed a line or not

A recent example was Tom Sestito, a Canucks player who blocked me on twitter. I have interviewed Tom several times this year and was actually on board the Sestito train early on. Have I made jokes about him? Yes, of course I have, I joke about everyone on the team, but I have never said anything I felt crossed a line. The closest I have come is doing a running gag where I take the Angry Bird Pigs face and put it on a Tom Sestito picture and called it “Pigstito”.

ppFor the record, I love Angry Birds Pigs. I have that on my iPhone cover, it’s an Angry Bird Pig. So I have never meant the Pigstito thing to be an insult, I just honestly find it stupidly funny to imagine Angry Bird Pigs scoring goals and playing hockey. I can see how somebody without any context might view that as mean spirited, though, so of course my first thought was “oh shit, I wonder if the Pigstito thing pissed him off.”

So I dutifully used a source to try and find out what I had done to offend Tom so I could figure out how to proceed. If it turned out the Pigstito thing pissed him off, I would have apologized and stopped doing that gag, because it is not my intention to make a player feel like shit with that kind of gag. If I had found out that Sestito was angry over me tweeting a joke (like say I made a joke about how Sestito throws body checks like a drunken frat boy. He looks super un-coordinated at times when he tries to throw a huge hit, his limbs go everywhere) then I would tell him I was sorry for offending him, but I would keep doing jokes that I didn’t feel crossed a line. I am easy enough to ignore, so I would just tell him to block me and that would be that. I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to insult him after that exchange, though.

In the end it wasn’t the Pigstito stuff at all and it got worked out, but that is always a line I have to be careful with. My main role in writing is to take a humorous approach to it. This means I will make fun of players (but on the other end, I will build them up, too. The “Keslord” thing got a huge push from me in 2011 for example) because people want to laugh when they watch sports, or they want their sporting heroes to be portrayed as some ass kicking gods sent to this earth to fight on their behalf. Sports can get super serious so it’s nice to have that laughter.

The problem of course is “how far do I go” and that is something I struggle with daily. Dale Weise is an easy target for jokes. They go over really well with people. The thing is, from my past experiences, he seems like a sensitive guy who doesn’t respond well to criticisms, jokes or otherwise. On top of that, he is one of the nicest guys you can talk to in the locker room. So I have to decide “what jokes should I make?” and most often I won’t poke him too much because I know he might take it the wrong way (All of this is predicated on the small small small chance a player might read something I tweet. Believe me, I work under the premise that none of them will read me, but on the off chance…) That being said, I do have a “job” to do, so if Weise wants to get angry at me for making a joke about his physicality, then he has every right to be. He can block me on twitter and refuse to talk me in the locker room ever again. I still would not take this moment to go into asshole mode and call him a plug or randomly insult him.

So I have to decide how Jay Leno I want to go (broad, easy humor) or Letterman (more cutting, fun humor) and every day I ride the line. The end point is, that if I do happen to offend someone, I will either apologize, or be civil about it. I don’t dig in my heels and go into asshole mode. If Dale Weise saw my tweet about “I’ll give him $10 to hit somebody, anybody” I would explain no offense, but the physicality in his game is a talking point. I would stand my ground on it. I would not go “SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU STUPID SCRUB. Try paying attention in practice instead of reading twitter you fucking knob.”

This has turned into a ramble that all two of you are probably still reading, but my end point is, when you decide to directly communicate with someone, you always have a choice. Treat them with respect, or be an asshole. You can still disagree strongly with someone without deciding to go the asshole route. That’s all I’m saying.

Now luckily for Jim Morris it is my bed time, so I am going to sleep. Thank you for letting my rant and rave, internet.

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10 thoughts on “The joy of assholes online

  1. Hey Wyatt,

    I’m a long time lurker first time commenter (erm, I don’t know if that’s a word but I’ll go with it). I always enjoy your articles on LOB and have fun reading your twitter commentary during games (I remember when you made the comment about Weise, and I completely agreed with you). This is a great article, and I would say this also applies for any forum (I’m talking about you, CDC). It’s not only attacking the players (“Kesler hasnt scorred in 2 gms hes such a usless plug packge him n edler to buffalo FOR CODY!!@#$”), but attacking other posters for having different opinions. And good luck if you call a player someone likes classless, or a player someone doesn’t like classy, or you call a post classless (what does that even mean anymore? That the players are on the ice with a monocle and a top hat? This is how I imagine it now.)

    Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for this article, it was a great read! And I look forward to reading more of your stuff.

    • Thanks Deb! I will continue to write, as it is my release valve on stress and creativity regardless of people who want to demean me.

      Thanks for reading! I appreciate the comments! Though that Kesler for Cody thing, I think that might have some legs…. 😉

  2. There’s something really interesting about how people act online, especially when it comes to the ridiculously over the top death threats like you mentioned. In some ways it’s just this huge game of one-upmanship. “I am outraged at this thing that this celebrity said/did, so I’m going to let them know that! I can’t just say “You suck and I hate you” though, that’s what EVERYONE is saying. I’m waaaaay angrier than those people, and I HAVE TO let them know.” No consequences and also the desire to stand out from the crowd, and things get ugly very quickly.

  3. You’re totally on point. Don’t forget people with undiagnosed metal illnesses use the internet, if you bump into one don’t expect any reason from them. Perhaps Mr Morris doesn’t have any issues, pity the fool and move on.
    I completely understand your anger…Don’t get sucked into his hateful world. It’s like picking up a hot coal and waiting to throw it at someone.

    Also love reading/watching your work, Don’t listen to anyone telling you to grow up. Laughter is the fountain of youth. Live, laugh & enjoy your work you are living the dream my friend!

  4. It’s easy and somewhat ‘safe’ to be an asshole. It actually takes effort to have a constructive conversation / debate, and you have to stick your neck out and provide your own opinion. Sadly, most people are lazy.

  5. Couldn’t agree more with Deb’s comments. I always enjoy your work. Don’t let the bastards get you down! I wonder how these people survived, carrying around all that negativity and anger, before the advent of the internet. I have not yet had a chance to watch the Canucks Royal Rumble because GS3 won’t do it justice but I am eagerly anticipating a little (or maybe a lot) of silliness. I might have to liven up the business centre at my hotel later as it’s -30 with the windchill here in Winnipeg and I don’t feel like going outside! Keep up the good work – regardless of asshole commenters, we all need a little immaturity now and then. Being a kid was fun!

    • Thanks Melanie! I am glad people got a kick out of the Rumble, because even though it was a ton of work, it is really satisfying to see people enjoy it and laugh because of it. I’d rather be viewed as immature and fun loving then bitter and angry.

      I also get a kick out of people who think just because I spend time on projects like this, that I am somehow irresponsible. I hold down a full time job, have a History degree, and do all my dutiful boring adult duties. If I didn’t have an outlet, I would go crazy, and using my creativity is that outlet! People who want to shit all over that, go for it, they are only showing themselves as unhappy people.

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