Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Predictable Comment

What a pointless waste of money!
What a frightful waste of time!
This is lame, disgusting drivel
And it isn’t worth a dime!
What a waste of a reporter
When this clearly isn’t news!
Your priorities are foolish—
Give us something we can use!
This misguided bit of effort,
Lacking substance, style, or taste,
And my time it took to read it
Are an utter, total waste!
That’s ten minutes of my lifetime
That I’ll never, now, get back,
Spent deciphering the writing
Of a clueless, brainless hack!
All this focusing on nothing
When there’s suffering and pain—
What’s the point in what you’ve written?
How does anybody gain?
You should give your unearned paycheck
To a charity, this week,
So someone else can benefit
From something, when you speak.
Editorial discretion
Means the choice was yours to make
But your choices are deplorable
This time, for goodness’ sake!
You must have though it worthy—
I, of course, must disagree
And even brain-dead idiots
Would surely side with me!

My time is very valuable;
You’ve wasted it, you know.
Without a trace of irony
I write to tell you so.

NPR can't win. At least, it seems so in their comments. As I've written before, I like it when NPR airs something I dislike; if I only listened to stuff I already know, or already agree with, I might as well not listen at all. But there are those in the comment threads--for nearly every story, it seems--who have taken it upon themselves to act as the arbiters of what is and is not worthwhile. In the midst of dozens of supportive comments, someone will show up, complaining that no one wants or needs to hear anything about [whatever the story was about]. If it's a "human interest" story (or, frankly, a story about any issue but the commenter's pet issue) it is a waste of time, and evidence that NPR is out of touch, a waste of taxpayers' money, and clearly biased toward/away from any given political view.

Today's example brought out the "this is news?" crew, the "this is art?" crew, and even the "this is vandalism?" crew. The topic? People who knit or crochet stuff and put it on public statues. I saw some of this in Austin a few months ago, but apparently it is world-wide. I'm all for it--which means I clearly don't care about the homeless, or about what is news, or what is art, or what is graffiti, or... and I clearly have too much time on my hands, if I am reading comments on such a story. Or writing, well, everything I write.

It's not limited to NPR, of course, but I find it most amusing there. There are even regular commenters, who post several times a day, simply to complain that NPR is a waste of their time.

And they say irony is dead.


Melissa said...

I understand the fine art of bitching, but sometimes people just need to get over it.

I don't always agree with NPR, but they always give me something to ponder. Even the cute little human interest stories. It's nice to have those mixed in with all the "everything sucks" stories that are usually in the news.

entropy said...

FTW. I'll be sorely tempted to Q this FT occasionally in comments/forum sections at some sites.

I just read an article this week where every single comment had its own unique whine along these lines. Even better is that some people will go through the trouble of registration in order to leave one stupid comment on how the article wasn't what they expected, or that it was a waste of time, or the subject was wrong to write about somehow.

jdstackpo said...

Oh, I dunno. As a writer of occasional articles (very specialized, not for NPR) I am delighted when ANY evidence shows up that someone actually read the article, whether they though it was a waste of their time or not.

"Any publicity is good publicity"

eddie said...

It's good to know the DoD is spending taxpayers money so wisely...