It's such a disappointing reality. The need to stay away (or lurk only) on artists' message boards. It's been my Lesson Of 2007. There are certainly clever, devoted fans who understand the artists they are exalting, but mixed in is a bunch of thick little Hitlers who have a false sense of superiority and zero social skills. This week I was called a cunt and an idiot on a board. Now, I'm pretty controlled in my comments, so I don't think what I said warranted that. My feathers were up in the post that led to the comment toward me, but I had my reasons. It's all so Heathers / Mean Girls.
It may literally be a high school scene. I suspect this board is filled with teenagers, bless them, which means a certain ratio of immaturity mixed in with the sharp kids. Krissy and I were talking about how the problem with the Internet is not really about predators - it's about bad behavior with no consequences. People behaving toward each other in a way that they should/could not in real life. Doing it because they can or because bullying makes them feel better. Have you noticed that meanest commenters are sometimes the most frequent? The "person" who called me a cunt has posted 3,656 times since August 2006. ???!
What's more interesting are people who follow suit. I ignored the offending post and answered one I felt was a bit more fair and that was the last of my comments. Still, there was a comment after mine that was sort of like beating a dead horse. I suppose this person thought I was already metaphorically slaughtered, so why not lay it on further? It's one thing to say something stupid. It's another thing to be transparent in your ass-kissing/ need to conform. I'm sure I've done it, but I never want to be so craven.
I write this not for sympathy or lectures about how I should know better about fan boards. Of course I should! That doesn't mean I am not intrigued by that culture or not interested in artist minutiae. What it does mean is I need to remove all emotion and sort of dumb it down if I post on those boards, lest the greasers get their tire irons. If I am going to be upset, let it be by someone that is standing in front of me - not a bunch of wires and light.