Guest Blogger Dan: On Blog Commenters
If a blog is a house, a blog with comments is a home. ...A home full of strangers, whom you may or may not want to murder, in the kitchen, with the candlestick.
As the host of StandUp and Win would say, "Who are these people?"
I decided to research these curious beings -- and what better place than the blog of Anderson Cooper 360?
Anderson is the coolest (he listens to Arcade Fire!), purest ("Be honest about what you see, get out of the way and let the story reveal itself!"), hottest (he doesn't look like Wolf Blitzer!) journalist in the whole world!
He interviewed Angelina Jolie about her efforts with refugees, which was sure to provoke a firestorm of comments. Let's rock, Esposito!
Commenter Type: The Debater
You know the saying, "Arguing on the internet is like competing in the Special Olympics -- even if you win, you're still retarded."? Well, Debaters are very competitive retards; they spend a lot of time poking holes in nutjobs' arguments. While they often win said arguments, The Debater will never change anyone's opinion, thereby ensuring their future activities.
No matter what cause she represents, an interview with Angelina Jolie has the appearance of show biz. Anderson, you have a reputation of no non-sense subject reporting, this does not add to that reputation. You have dropped a notch in my respect for you. Remember the line"....nor the appearance of". You standing in a 50 mph wind reporting a hurricane when you could have done the same report from inside a studio was "hokey" but at least it was a real 50 mph wind. Movie stars indulgences are not real news except to readers of People Magazine.
--Posted By Walt Partin, Chico, TX : 3:38 PM ET
Commenter Type: The Righteous
Not only does this commenter feel compelled to whine about whatever you may be discussing but she (generally) also likes to list why she is better...as if anyone cared.
I would much rather see an interview with "common" people who may not have millions of dollars to donate but who use their time and energy to help others in need.
I have volunteered 2-3 days a week at a homeless shelter in Baltimore County for 6 years. I hand out utensils and napkins, take down and put up chairs, serve food, pass out toiletries, and get everyone ready for bed. I have also helped Habitat for Humanity
over a dozen times in the past three years.
I am not rich, I am not famous, and I am not the most beautiful woman in the world. But I like to think that I do my part.
Have fun with Angelina, but don't forget that generosity is not limited to the very wealthy or the very gorgeous. --Posted By Sarah, Baltimore, MD : 3:54 PM ET
[Oh, and as an aside to Sarah from Baltimore: I know you're "not famous", and "not the most beautiful woman in the world". I kinda just figured all that out on my own, without your input. Thanks anyway.]
Commenter Type: The Stalker
Hi Anderson, I am a big fan of yours. I will be honest I am not a fan of Angelina's, but I am interested in why she has put so much time and energy into traveling to see and to help refugees, she is an intriguing person and since you will be conducting the interview, I certainly will be watching. I will also be buying your book! Have a wonderful day.
Sincerely, Lauren M.
--Posted By Lauren Mocarski, Fort Myers, FL : 12:32 PM ET
I'll translate: I think Angelina is a worthless whore, but I'd watch you interview a wet box of Kleenex, because I'm completely infatuated with you. I'm off to buy your book... but I probably won't read it. I'll probably just light some candles, hop into a warm bath, and look at your dust jacket photo while I stir the soup.
Commenter Type: The Centrist
This type of individual posts comments only when he/she has something to add about him/herself. We all do this, in a completely appropriate way, but a Centrist turns it up a notch.
Let's say a blogger orders a pepperoni pizza. And let's say, at the suggestion of the busty Jessica Simpson or the even bustier Queen Latifa, the blogger places the order with Pizza Hut. Let's say the pizza was late, and it didn't even taste that good, because it had those cheesy bites instead of crust, and those cheesy bites suck it hard. [NOTE: I've never tried the cheesy bites pizza, but I can assume, judging by the photographs I've seen and previous gastronomic experience, that it's awful, awful stuff.]
In our scenario, reasonable blog readers might make some comments. "I ordered from Pizza Hut yesterday, and the kind Indian gentlemen took my order correctly, emailed it to the local Hut promptly, and the delivery boy arrived in the specified time period," one might say. Another might add, "I disagree about those cheesy bites. I think they're delicious – much tastier than the pizzas I usually eat, which are topped with Ragu, velveeta, and smallish chunks of a fisherman's boot." These comments are self-involved, but not Centrist. A Centrist's comment would read something like, "My boyfriend hates pepperoni."
Commenter Type: The Riff-Raff
It is great to know that our celebs are making the difference that we would like to see from our world leaders. I am greatful that Bono and others can see and think out of the box and do more than their part.
--Posted By Chris, Chicago, IL : 1:23 PM ET
Two of the most impressive - and, in my opinion, inspirational - people in media today in the same place at the same time? I will definitely be going out of my way to watch. I'm sure the conversation will be interesting.
--Posted By A. Akeju, Bronx, NY : 1:57 PM ET
It's so refreshing to see a journalist who is focused on the real stories; not just the celebrity gossip. It is also so wonderful to see a celebrity using their status, such as Angelina Jolie, to help others who are in such great need. My hats off to you both..
--Posted By Todd, Fredericksburg VA : 1:33 PM ET
The three comments above are worthless. Chris from Chicago is "greatful" for people that help people. A New Yorker is excited to watch the interview. Todd from Fredericksburg tips his hat to Angelina for her humanitarian efforts, and to Mr. Cooper for his heroic efforts to interview an actress. These well-meaning folks are like the comments they write: nice, but worthless. They add nothing to the dialogue. They bring nothing to the table. They watch "Two and a Half Men". They applaud at the end of a movie.
So, what have we learned about commenters, the lifeblood of the blog? And what can we do about them? Probably not much. But whatever. A house is not a home.
[V Note: Sorry if you read the jacked up version of this post that blogger for some reason decided to publish yesterday. Twice. Awesome. And, for those who had comments on the post, yes, I was drunk last night, but not while working on this.]