The internet rage machine

First World Problems (
First World Problems (
So one evening last week I was reading a blog that I check regularly, and the author posted a link to a music video. The guy posts such links semi regularly, and quite often they’re good music. Above the link to this particular one, he wrote something along the lines of, “I think that Song A by this band is the very best track released this year, but this one is pretty good, too.”

So I clicked on it…

By the one minute mark, I wanted to kill someone. The song used an unbelievably grating noise for one of its rhythm instruments, the melody was annoying, the singer sounded as if he had 38 marshmallows stuffed in his mouth, and the background singers were screeching.

I didn’t like the song.

Out of morbid curiosity, I tracked down Song A, the other song by the same group the blogger had mentioned as being his favorite song of the year. I was only 15 seconds into the video for Song A before I remembered having seen it when the blogger mentioned it earlier. It was almost as hideously bad as the newer song.

The next thing I know, I’m back at the blog, and I had clicked “Comment.” I typed something like, “I had thought that Song A was the most revolting pile of sonic excrement that had ever been foisted off on unsuspecting listeners in the history of the universe, but this new song is even worse. I don’t understand how anyone can like this painful noise.”

I stared at the comment I had typed for a good minute. And then I deleted it and went to read something else.

There is no point in leaving that kind of vitriol on someone’s blog. Just because I don’t like the music doesn’t mean that other people can’t enjoy it. Just because they like something I don’t (despite how I may tease some friends) doesn’t mean that they are bad people. I post links to music videos on my blog just about every Friday, and I’m sure that some of you look at some of my choices and wonder what kind of brain damage I must have suffered to like that song, or that singer, or whatever. Right? And all of you are kind enough not to post comments telling me how awful my taste is. For which I am grateful.

So, why did I get so far as to type up that nasty comment, even though I didn’t send it? I can make excuses. I have been sick for about eleven days, now, and sometimes I’ve been cranky because of the symptoms, other times just so worn out from all the coughing and tossing and turning at night that my better judgment isn’t active. It’s also a time of year when I often get moody. But the truth is simpler than that: sometimes I’m a self-absorbed jerk. Every person, from time-to-time, is a self-absorbed jerk.

And I thought I understood just how bad any of us is capable of being. I thought I had understood how whiny and entitled people could be, and that no one could surprise me with shallowness or disproportionate anger.

I was wrong.

But rather than explain what has astonished me, let me quote Peter Cohen writing for iMore:

Let me say at the outset that I’m pretty ambivalent about U2 myself. They’ve never been one of those bands that I’ve absolutely had to have the latest album from. In fact, Songs of Innocence is the only U2 record I have in my iTunes library.

But the inordinate amount of actual anger directed at Apple and U2 over this is so disproportional to the actual event, I’ve started to wonder about the mental state of some of those complaining. It’s really been off the charts.

If you fall into that camp, let me speak very plainly: I have no sympathy for you. I have trouble thinking of a more self-indulgent, “first world problem” than saying “I hate this free new album I’ve been given.”

You can read the rest of his post, here. I think he nailed it.

1 thought on “The internet rage machine

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