If You Don't Have Anything Nice To Say…

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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