Hit by a Pitch

Zen and the Art of Insulting People on the Internet

without comments

So I made fun of a bunch of people on the internet and then those people gave my site more hits than it has ever had. That’s kind of, to use ESPN-speak, jacked up!!! I’m not going to lie. I’m happy people noticed my site. At the same time, I’m kind of bummed that this is what it took. Oh well. I’ve been toiling away in obscurity for a long time now, so it’s nice to get noticed.

This is probably the longest and definitely the most serious post I’ve ever written here. It’s probably tl;dr for most people, but I feel like everybody who offered serious feedback to my post here and on Deadspin deserves a thoughtful, serious response. So here it is. And because somebody said it was really cool to do this, it’s behind the jump.

To everyone who came over here and posted serious comments, whether agreeing with me or disagreeing with me, you’re pretty awesome. I respect the hell out of anyone who responded to my post in a thoughtful manner — it’s pretty cool to do anything but get defensive when somebody comes out with guns blazing like I did.

Part of what I did wrong in my post was taking Deadspin comments as a whole and holding that against the commenters. That wasn’t fair of me. If, as a whole, the comments on Deadspin are sexist or lame, that’s the fault of Deadspin. I was overly harsh on some individual commenters and, not knowing them, took what they said out of context. And that wasn’t cool of me. I’m glad my post sparked discussion, but I’m really, really sorry that I was overbroad and mean in my critique.

My complaint isn’t with guys saying that a woman is hot or that he’d hit it or whatever. If I’m honest, I’ll admit that I do the same thing. The only reason I watched Wimbledon is because I think Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal are both smokin’ hot. I kind of have a girl crush on Erin Andrews. I tune into Angels games because I like to see my boyfriend Jon Garland, the hottest man in baseball.

What put me over the edge with Deadspin is that so often, there’s a constant barrage of comments that reduce women to nothing but their appearance, good or bad. And I’ve noticed it going on over there for a long time. I’m not going to hate on one guy for thinking a particular cheerleader is fug. But it gets a little old when you have 20 or 50 or however many people (note: gender neutral; I was wrong to blame only men for the comments) reciting the same, tired, unfunny insults every time a picture of a female graces the site.

I’m not even above making fun of people’s looks. As an astute observer pointed out, one time I made fun of Manu Ginobili’s bald spot (and seriously, that’s nothing compared to what I said about Fabricio Oberto and his hair). So I’m a crappy hypocrite because I made fun of someone’s appearance and I called out people who did the exact same thing. Well, you’re right. I am a crappy hypocrite. But shit, nobody is perfect all the time. And at least I made an effort to be funny, instead of just calling Oberto the male equivalent of “Butter Face.” My attempt at humor may have failed, but at least I tried.

Anyway, I don’t think you have to be completely without fault to point out fault when you see it. If we have to wait for somebody who has never, ever made fun of somebody’s appearance to call out large-scale looks-hate on the internet, we’re going to be waiting a long fucking time. And that person is probably too busy snorting rainbows and frolicking with unicorns to bother having a blog, and what a boring-ass blog that would be, anyway.

So I guess my main problem with Deadspin isn’t just sexism. It’s that, as more than one person pointed out here, so many of the comments just aren’t funny. Maybe a little bit offensive is okay sometimes if you’re putting out something of decent quality. I just realized that I am willing to let some stuff pass in the right situation. For example, the guys over at the Dugout have posted plenty of shit that isn’t PC or that is disrespectful or whatever, and I don’t care because they’re fucking hilarious.

I guess this means that, like everything, it’s complicated.

So what now? Well, I’ve learned that nice little inoffensive posts about being a sports fan in Denver don’t get much attention. Drama does. I kind of like attention. That doesn’t mean I’m going to turn this site into a drama factory that does nothing but trainwreck shit I find on the internet.

I’ve always intended to do to things with this site. First, I want to provide information about a few obscure things or people I’m interested in and that other people aren’t covering. Second, I want to write about how I experience sports as a fan (or, to sound kind of girly about it, my relationship with sports). There are thousands of people out there writing about Manny’s debut with the Dodgers or which running back to draft first in your fantasy league (and call me crazy, but I think taking LaDanian Tomlinson is a mistake — he’s going to break down this year). I’m not knocking any of that. It’s just not my thing and anyway, I’m not going to write the first or the best blog post about your fantasy football draft.

So instead of that stuff, I’ll tell you about how having ADD and liking to drink beer results in a terrible fantasy draft more often than not (I drafted Garrett Wolfe last year — I love that little guy, but WTF). I’ll tell you about Julius Hodge playing for a team in Australia; six-fingered MLB relief pitchers; and why Jose Mesa helped me become a Rockies fan even though, as a beer-drinking heathen, I didn’t really relate to the team known for being squeaky-clean Christians. I’ll tell you about, well, sexist and unfunny Deadspin commenters. It looks like I was the first one to do that (really, I googled it before I wrote that post, and was kind of surprised I didn’t find anything).

Yes, my post was over the top. And yes, I made fun of people while complaining that they were making fun of people. I’m the first to admit the assholery inherent in my post, and the hypocrisy. But tell me this — if I wrote a post about the Deadspin comments on the cheerleader thread like so:

It is unkind and demeaning to women to refer to this young lady as “butter face.” She should be valued for more than her appearance and people should be more considerate of what they post on the internet.

Would Deadspin have linked to it? Would anybody have read it? I wouldn’t even read that kind of boring-ass shit. Aside from that — and I’m not claiming that it’s a strength or a good thing — I’m just not that serious on the internet. I’m also very sarcastic (all the time, even in real life) and a little quirky and silly (Gilbert Arenas is my idol). That’s just how I am and nine times out of 10, that’s how I’m going to make my point. It’s totally cool if some people don’t like it, and it’s totally cool if my site isn’t for you.

My intentions for this site aren’t going to change as a result of the tiny spark of fleeting internet fame that post bestowed on me. I don’t want to be a remora on the shark that is Deadspin. So I’ll probably go back to writing about Manny Corpas, Brian Fuentes’s emo music taste, and getting drunk at Coors Field. In the fall, I’ll complain about the Broncos, cheer for Devin Hester every time he touches the ball, fight fight fight for Iowa, and start gearing up for a season of shredding Carmelo Anthony for his lazy refusal to play any defense ever.

If you like my site and you stick around to read more, that’s cool. I’m happy to have you here and look forward to getting to know you. I’ll always let you speak your mind in the comments. And trust me, I only act like an enraged harpy about 1% of the time. I’m usually too busy working, going to the gym, drinking beer, and yelling at the TV. Hell, I’ll bake you a pie if you get me a beer. Let’s watch some baseball.

Written by Tracy

August 2nd, 2008 at 8:36 pm

No Responses to 'Zen and the Art of Insulting People on the Internet'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'Zen and the Art of Insulting People on the Internet'.

  1. FIRST!

    (ha ha ha you know I HAD to do that, right?)

  2. LOL you so silly. :)


    2 Aug 08 at 8:55 pm

  3. You forgot about hoping that Sakic stays one more year. ;)

    (And you know, the whole Favre thing has to have him thinking twice about retiring…)


    2 Aug 08 at 9:40 pm

  4. I hope he stays another year. He can still play and I like going to that bash he throws for the food bank.


    2 Aug 08 at 9:53 pm

  5. Hey Tracy: Shoot me an email when you can please. Wanted to talk to you about all this. I didn’t see it on the site. If I missed it, my apologies for invading your comments section.


    3 Aug 08 at 1:42 pm

  6. It’s that, as more than one person pointed out here, so many of the comments just aren’t funny.

    Amen sister. It’s nothing we haven’t talked about amongst ourselves.

    Oh, and…

    …is probably too busy snorting rainbows and frolicking with unicorns…

    Outstanding! I’ll try my damnedest not to swipe that, but I can’t make any promises.

  7. Tracy,
    The deadspin mentality is based on a clientele that uniformly has been approved to comment based on auditioning with racist and sexist remarks. My only problem with them is their cockroach in a light denial when someone calls them out. Yeah Rob, I’d like another commenting ID, but you wouldn’t like what I’d say. (Not yes,no,no,/shits pants)

    Reformed Deadspinner

    3 Aug 08 at 6:33 pm

  8. Of course I am a common laborer. Doubt that I’ll hear from those legal scholars and lawyers over there. You would think “marine bioligist” would be used, given their unemployment and constant Seinfeld watching

    Reformed Deadspinner

    3 Aug 08 at 6:52 pm

  9. Well I was out of town last week (and I am a Deadspin Commenter) so I missed all of this, but I’d like to add my 2¢.

    I think you make some valid points that many of the comments can be misogynistic, and frankly very unfunny. But I think you miss the mark in some of you’re criticism. Some of the comments you cited in your original post are, as one commenter pointed out, pseudo-misogynistic. They aren’t really being hateful but saying something over-the-top for comedic effect. Comedy has always lived by a double-standard, and in evaluating sexism in comedy it’s hard to be able to tell if someone said something truly out of sexism, or for comedic effect.

    But the bigger question I have for you, is are you an Avs fan or not. You have Denver stuff all over (very cool) and talk about Sakic above, but have no posts about them.


    3 Aug 08 at 11:40 pm

  10. The notion of Brian Fuentes’ emo-music-love is intriguing…
    Does he have an affinity for the original legit first wave type of stuff (Rites of Spring, Dag Nasty, Jawbreaker)? Or can his tastes be easily encapsulated in his horrid choice of walk-up music…Staind? I’m thinking quite obviously the latter. Funny though to imagine Tito having an amazing collection of early Dischord Records pressings.

    BTW, nice to see blogging happening in the Mountain Time Zone…enjoyed your site.

    Sonic Tooth

    4 Aug 08 at 9:03 am

  11. I’m waiting for the post about how the Sox lost their grip (both on their tempers and on first place in the AL Central) yesterday. Who would have dreamed that the Twins would be in first place in August? No one, that’s who. Some people picked them to finish behind the Royals, for God’s sake.

    And to give credit to the sportswriters in the Minneapolis, none of them are claiming that they saw this coming one bit. And everyone is still waiting for the other shoe to drop. 5 starters with less than 200 total starts between them. Finger injuries galore! Something’s got to give. Doesn’t it?

    Dave MN

    4 Aug 08 at 9:50 am

  12. There’s a guy in my office who was super bad breath, but he’s really interesting and always has great stories. At first I kind of avoided him cause of the breath, but after awhile it just didn’t matter and the conversations were worth it.

    Saying a site is crap because of its comments is the same thing as me ignoring that dude with the breath. I mean, sure there’s a little stink, but the overall quality of the delivery makes it palatable.

    If you don’t like the comments, don’t read them, it’s not the point of the site. And if you think that people on the internet are sexist, what you are not realizing is that anonimity gives people to the power to say ridiculous stuff they would never, ever have the courage to say in real life. I mean, internet 101, mmmk ? Get over it and stop taking it personally. Don’t show up to a party and demand everything change just because you walked in the door. It makes you sound petty, which feeds RIGHT into all the comments you hate so much.


    4 Aug 08 at 2:05 pm

  13. As a female and fellow sports-blogger, I totally understand the idea behind your original post, but I feel like you got lost on the way and this second post comes off as a little “well, so what” to me.

    I think that while there were some idiots that commented on your original post, there were plenty that pointed out how you basically did the same thing to the commentors that you were complaining about.

    And while you admitted to doing so in the post, you basically said “yeah, I was hypocritical, but it got me lots of attention, so it was totally ok.”

    I guess my point is that you have a valid hypothesis going here. You could really have made a statement and had you done it well, I’d be willing to contend that it would have gotten you as much attention – and a lot less negative attention. If you truly feel that strongly about the situation I wish you’d write the well-researched and reasoned column that lurks underneath all the anger and spread it around. Guaranteed some MSM would pick up on it. You’re shining a light on a valid problem in today’s society and I think you did it a disservice by handling it this way.

    Just my 2 cents.


    4 Aug 08 at 3:00 pm

  14. Senators Lost Cojones, if you change it to snorting unicorns and frolicking with rainbows, I won’t complain.

    Reformed Deadspinner, haha do people still watch Seinfeld?

    HockeyMountain, I’m but an infant Avs fan. I started getting into hockey when we got a decent TV last year (seriously, without HD I couldn’t see shit). I haven’t written about it yet because I don’t know enough. Hopefully that’ll change in the coming season.

    Sonic Tooth, thanks! I am just making fun of his entrance music. I don’t even know if Staind counts as emo. Isn’t Death Cab for Cutie emo? I like them. But whatever, I usually listen to hip hop and crazy electro shit, so I don’t really know. He seems very angsty. That said, it’s fun to sing along when you’re at Coors Field and he walks out — TO MY MOTHERRRR TO MY FATHERRRRR!

    Dave, let us never speak of the Meltdown in Minnesota again. That was terrible. I hope Ozzie’s latest tirade helps turn things around for the guys.

    NOWAI, I didn’t say that Deadspin is crap; if I thought it was, I wouldn’t have bothered writing about it at all. I don’t take it personally and I don’t expect them to change.

    Nicole, your comments are appreciated. You’re right about it being a good idea to write a well-researched and reasoned column on the subject. If I have time and somebody doesn’t beat me to it, I might work on that.


    4 Aug 08 at 10:09 pm

  15. Yep, Staind as “emo” is probably a bit of a stretch even by today’s lax labeling standards. Death Cab fits the lighter end of the emo sound spectrum fairly well, but I think may not shoot for the moon as far as looks and fashion.
    Agreed, the entrance/walk-up music makes for great times and banter at Coors. Speaking of banter:
    I miss KazMat’s RunDMC. And am probably in the minority when I say I preferred Spilly’s rookie season choice of White Stripes, “Seven Nation Army” over his rousing current G. Stefani tune.
    Might be time to do an updated 2008 roster/song list that incorporates all the new guys (Stewart, Smith) ?

    Sonic Tooth

    5 Aug 08 at 8:57 am

  16. I miss Tricky more than anything. But! What is awesome! Spilly has been using Thriller. For real.

    I really do need to post an updated list — I’ll plan on doing that later this week. Yorvit’s latest song is the shit (I think someone mentioned it in the comments on my old post).


    5 Aug 08 at 9:17 am

  17. Here’s hoping that we will be seeing some Spilly and hearing some Thriller sooner than later!

    Sonic Tooth

    5 Aug 08 at 10:29 am

  18. As a sports-loving female who’s read Deadspin for years, I’m somewhat sorry I missed most of this sordid affair. Sadly, any time you have anonymous commenting forums, you run into idiots who think posting the same tired stuff is funny. Most of the regulars at Deadspin are funny most of the time, but everyone has the occasional misfire. What I never understood is how so many of them seem to have found jobs where they can read and comment on sports articles all day. Seriously, how can I get myself one of those jobs?!?

    I wanted to commend you on the site, and on keeping up even the juvenile and defensive comments posted here. For what it’s worth, you’ve gained a regular reader.


    5 Aug 08 at 3:00 pm

Leave a Reply