SOCIAL STUDIES If You Don't Have Anything Nice To Say… Zooey Deschanel

This is an Internet rant about Internet rants. This is a rant about anonymous, unconstructive, Internet meanness. It’s not because I think everyone should be happy and cheerful all the time. It’s just that I think people should be decent and respectful to each other.

Everyone has a right to individual opinions, but just because you don’t like something does not mean that no one else does. So, unless you have some really thoughtful and constructive criticism, why say anything at all? Or rather, why say it publicly? With the advent of the world wide web was born this conundrum; while the Internet has the fantastic ability to bring people of common interests together, it simultaneously gives people the ability to say all the nasty things they want, completely anonymously.

I have the utmost respect for true critics and writers who devote themselves to analyzing and appreciating art; this is NOT who I am talking about. Often the content of comments sections goes something like this (in Mad Libs form):

SouPerP1mp69: I hate (name of an artist/celebrity not in room)! He/she is (unflattering adjective) and (unflattering adjective) and someone should tell her/him that he/she should stop (verb/name of profession)-ing.

Well SouPerP1mp69, you lost me there! If I didn’t like sushi, would I say, “All sushi restaurants should stop making it for other people because I don’t like it”? No, I would not because that makes NO SENSE. If you don’t like a writer, don’t read their books; if you don’t like an actor, don’t watch their movies and so on and so forth. The people who are making art, successfully or unsuccessfully, have a right to do so and I can guarantee you that none of them are spending time making the things that they make for people who hate them.

So, why would someone go on a message board like a weird little sneak and write a bunch of mean stuff about someone? There are certainly artists that I don’t particularly care for, but do I publicly go and say mean things about them? No, I do not, because they shouldn’t care what I think, because they’re not doing it for me and if I don’t like it, then I am simply not their crowd. If people are supporting their efforts then I deduce that they have an audience of people who enjoy what they do.

It’s wonderful that people have different tastes. The word “opinion”, intrinsically, has no “right or wrong”, only “yours and mine”. People can buy into, surround themselves with and immerse themselves in whatever suits their fancy! So why rain on other peoples’ parades?

This leads me to my real point: what I want for our 1-month-old baby website HelloGiggles.com. I think negativity is the enemy of creativity because it stops people and shames people and that is not what I want for our community. I want this site to be a place where people feel comfortable and safe. I want this to be a place where people encourage each other instead of bringing each other down. And mostly, I want this to be a place where people identify themselves and stand up for the things they say and inspire each other to do better; write more, draw more, make more music, create more and share more. I will be darned if we don’t.

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  1. Beautiful inspiring light! Instead of focusing on the negative and the things they don’t like people should find things they like and give opinions on those topics. We are human and can’t possibly like everything we see. But that is what makes art so beautiful it’s based on opinion. I cringe everytime I see a negative comment. What is the purpose? will it help that person grow? Are you just being mean to hurt them? I love that you are making people aware that their words hurt and they should be more considerate towards others. Spread kindness!

  2. I don’t know if I personally can fully agree with it. It’s always a matter of what and who you’re talking about. Having an opinion is perfectly fine, if you can tell people why you think like that. Just going around the net and spreading hate for the sake of it is definitely not a great thing to do. After all, there’s something like Netiquette. In real life situations people who, just like mentioned, go on certain websites just to bash things, would never dare to do so. In one way the internet has freed our minds – and corrupted them. But on the other hand, people have always been like that, they just have a bigger audience this time. With the internet it’s the same as with guns, for example. Not the internet made people like that, the people using the internet made it what it is.

    So I think that if somebody has an opinion, s/he is totally entitled to it. After all people need criticism at times. Hey! It can make them better. Of course if it’s about a band or art, yes, then better shut up, as you might think it sucks (or whatever bashful word you like), but if other people wouldn’t like that one, you’d have never ever heard about it in the first place.

    The best thing still is people who think that with their hating on things, they do the world a favour, or that people actually care about that.

    So, ladies and gentlemen, if you spot those trolls somewhere, don’t encourage them by answering their posts, just ignore them. It’s what mummy always said ‘They will get even more angry if you ignore them, and eventually stop’.

    And one last thing from me: Reading through all your posts made me very happy. Thank you for using decent grammar and spelling words correctly. This is something that always burns me inside, for example the youtube comments. *shiver*

    (Now if my grammar sucks (haha) might be because I’m not a native speaker :D )

  3. i abso-freakin-lutely agree 100% with u! its’ not just anonymous comments, it’s also negative posts. it’s so annoying and unnecessary. I’m proud to say that I just turn a blind eye to any of that crap but ufortunately not everyone can or does and it’s just silly. I’m all about peace and love and treating others the way u want to be treated and just being good and kind in general. Yes, if u have nothing nice to say, keep quiet. :D

  4. Amen, sister :)

  5. Urgh, I hate Zooey Deschanel! She is nice and morally just and someone should tell her that she should stop being awesome-ing :P
    Just kidding, NO ONE hates Zooey Deschanel! Lots of people have tried to explain trolling to me, and I understand what it is and what people hope to gain from it, but I still haven’t found the point :\ You wouldn’t go around insulting people in the street, so why do it online? People are silly :P
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  6. I found this post to be extremely relevant and inspiring to ladies of all ages. It’s time for those who are offenders of this to understand that an opinion, is exactly that – an opinion. Respect and appreciate the differences in other’s thoughts and ideas – you will be surprised at how much you learn!

  7. Hi, Zooey!
    I think it’s easy for most people just to disregard whatever is different, that gives them a sense of superiority.
    It is very brave of you to make such a constructive statement.
    Congrats to you and all of the amazing people who contribute to make Hello Giggles so nice to be read :)

  8. I completely agree with this post. I own a small business, a skincare studio. Just last night while par-oozing the internet and Googleing my business to see what was out there in cyber land, I came across a negative post on Yelp. The thing is, this poster that was writing of this so called negative experience they had, had while in my studio…well, it never happened. You see not only am I the owner of this very small business, I am the ONLY employee. Therefore making it impossible for them to have had this experience b/c I have never met them? I do not know what makes people want to be mean. I do however, agree that negativity kills creativity.

    I pride myself on the fact that I am not overly sterile and 100% business all the time. I level with my clients, treat them as friends. I am invested in their lives, their stories and am honored that they share them with me. My personal, as well as my business philosophy is that you are only as strong as the community you surround yourself with/contribute to. I believe in positivity and letting goals grow no matter how silly they might be to the negative onlooker. I have created a warm environment where touring indie bands have a showcase (in fact She & Him, along w/M. Ward are a few of our favorites and frequently grace the soundtrack to our facials). I believe in embracing my guests, which have become friends with a smile and a hug. I also believe in signing emails with an X and an O. That being said, I am not sure why someone would choose to muddy up my otherwise happy little environment with their negative notions on how I do business.

    At the end of the day positivity breeds happiness and sparks creativity.

    I also wanted to say that I loved the post on if indie bands sang Disney songs, I actually re-posted it on my business FB page (again, since we love and frequently play your music). And I do believe it was Thumper from Bambi that said “if you ain’t got nothin’ nice to say, then don’t say nothin’ at all”! ;)

    XO,
    Adrienne

  9. The internet gives people a wall to stand behind while they throw grenades over the other side without looking to see what kind of damages they might be doing. It allows them to become disconnected with their humanity, even though it’s supposed to bring people together. People aren’t themselves on the internet because they feel like they don’t have to face any consequences for what they post. I’ve always been amazed by this phenomenon.

    Oh, and of course, love your music and movies Zooey and can’t wait for “The New Girl” in the fall.

  10. Love, love, and love! *crushing even harder now on the delightful Zooey Deschanel* <3

  11. I agree 100%! Why do people say things on a social network they wouldn’t say in a social setting?

  12. Right on, Zooey! Negativity is such a powerful thing, people don’t even realize sometimes. And hate really does breed hate, absolutely nothing positive can come out of a negative comment. Everyone has a right to be individual and unique and have their own thoughts and ideas about things, but why bash on someone who happens to think or feel differently than you do. It’s insecurity, that’s what it is. People need to have respect for each other, or else how can you expect anyone to respect you. Thanks for some enlightenment Zooey! I ADORE your website!

  13. This post is essentially why I changed the direction of my blog a bit and have stopped communicating with fellow tumblrs like I used to. I understand the need and/or want to rant, but it often just feels like a bunch of people hiding behind the veil of the internet being rude and mean just because and that isn’t really something I want to be a part of since, you know, I’m an adult.
    From what I’ve seen it seems as though you Hello Giggles ladies have succeeded in making this a welcoming, diverse and safe space for all of us. Thank you for that.

  14. just another reason why everyone should adore miss zooey d. spread love not hate.

  15. Just found your blog! My bf and I are huge fans of yours and yesh, post = agreed. Thanks for being quirky and sensible as always,
    AAutumn Amber ~

  16. Opinions are like a$$holes. Everyone has one. =P And the internet is definitely the easiest and fastest way to communicate those opinions to multiple people at once.

    That being said, why can’t we all just think and express positivity instead of delving down negative thought threads? I think the world would be a better place =)

  17. Honestly, just the other day I was ranting about this same thing to a friend. People can be so cruel and it is just makes me really sad. Great post, Zooey <3

  18. I totally agree with this. I was actually just talking to one of my friends about this exact thing. She lives in philadelphia and does some pretty awesome street art. She just did this amazing piece and it was posted on her friends blog http://www.streetsdept.com (It’s an awesome blog if you love street art and fashion!!) and some really mean people wrote some really mean things about her art. And like you said, I understand if you have an opinion, you are entitled to that opinion, but there is no reason to lash out and bring someone down with your negative words. I just don’t understand why people are so mean to other people, there is so much negativity out there. Lets all pray for more positivity and kindness in this world!

  19. Thank you! I am often shocked at what people post on the internet under a mask of anonymity–and you’re absolutely right, in respect of art and artists, we should be nice. It is absolutely easier at times, but always better for everyone when we remember that just because we can’t see the face of the recipients of comments, at the heart of all of this are real people and we have a responsibility to our fellow man! :)

    Have a good day, all.