Burn books are all the rage right now. There’s my personal favorite, Suri’s Burn Book, there’s Mitt Romney’s Burn Binder… The origin of the burn book, as I best know it, is the classic film Mean Girls. The Plastics’ Burn Book introduced us to phrases like “grotsky little byotch” and informed us that Coach Carr was hot stuff (why, I do not know).
If you’re considering an internet burn book as your route to fame and fortune, allow me to present you with a cautionary tale.
In college, my friends and I put together our own “burn book,” except that this was 2005, so we didn’t have Tumblr or any of those other newfangled internet devices. No, we had MS Paint and Facebook, and we abused them for all they were worth. This being college, there was no yearbook to cut pictures out of, so we drew stick figures of people and then wrote comments, and posted to a Facebook group. I would like to point out, in my limited defense, that we didn’t do this out of pure malice; a friend of ours had started dating a girl and completely ditched our group of friends for hers, and we were hurt. Being 19, we didn’t think to go tell our friend he was being sort of a jerk, we just assumed it was the girl’s fault, and took it out on her. I’m not proud of this. Also in my limited defense, we somehow thought this Facebook group was sort of like a bookshelf in Regina’s bedroom – a place no one but us would ever look, we’d occasionally have a laugh at it, and that would be that. This was pure naivete on my part. Please, just assume everything you put on the internet, ever, will be found by the exact person you don’t want to find it, and act accordingly.
Thus, it should not surprise you that we got caught. No one pulled a Regina George and distributed our graphics around the dorm; but someone did find my little Facebook group and emailed our dorm advisors about it. Up until this point in my life (and, okay, still) I was a pretty good rule follower, and I was terrified that I was going to get called into Mr. Duvall’s office or forced to sit in a gymnasium and talk about my “lady problems.” Fortunately for me, none of this actually happened. Lacking a Spring Fling dance to make a dramatic speech at, I was forced to suck the poison out of the situation the old fashioned way, via cookies and apologies. Thankfully, that strategy mostly worked, but to this day, the whole Burn Book thing is pretty near the top of my list of “Things I Wish I Hadn’t Done.”
The moral of the story? Don’t write mean things on the internet, or in a book, or anywhere, really, about people you know. If you want to write hilarious critiques of celebrity children while pretending to be a celebrity child, on the other hand, be my guest.
Image via Heroine TV