Best Of The Worst

Note: Because of the formatting used in this article, it likely won’t look quite right in an RSS reader. I suggest reading the entry in your web browser.

When I first invited psu to be a co-blogger, the thing he was most leery of was the fact that Tea Leaves had support for comments. His previous blog didn’t. Pete claimed that he didn’t like comments because he didn’t want to read what people had to say, because most people on the internet were crazy anyway.

But really, the true reason that psu’s old blog didn’t have comments is that he is a gay lamer who doesn’t know how to program and is stupid and gay and lame and probably uses a Mac.

Oops, sorry – I was channelling some of our more crude visitors there. It happens. In any event, psu is not alone in his opinion. I showed my sister what I think is one of my better pieces, and when she read the comments she asked, “Why are you letting these people put their words in a space meant for your work? What do you get out of it?”

That’s a good question, and I am deeply ambivalent about the value of comments. On the one hand, we have a number of regular visitors who regularly contribute thoughtful commentary. For example, Green LA Girl manages to point out where I’m being a closed- minded snob about fair trade issues. Chris from Only a Game often points out some of the deeper reasons behind the videogame mechanics we complain about. There are too many to name here, really, but when I see that there are new comments by Adam Rixey, or Christina, or Brian Hook, or Zarf, or any of the ex-CMU Zephyr crew, I’m always confident that I’ll read something intelligent, something thoughtful, something that brings a new perspective to the issue. Even when I disagree with them.

On the other hand – well, the other hand makes up the rest of this article. It turns out that the more you write, especially if you are an opinionated asshole ardent critic, the more you find people willing to hate you. Here are some of our “favorites.”

People Who Love P.F. Chang’s

Read the original article: PF Chang’s: Why It’s Evil

psu doesn’t like the chain faux-Chinese restaurant P.F. Chang’s. This is because he is a gay hippie intellectual loser.

umm yea .. iw ork at PF changs and i duna what PF changs u went to but to make a website up about how evil it is. thats pretty gay. u fucking loser

and…

Compare this to the hole in the wall places you seem to enjoy, usuually a 1 in 3 chance of diarrea 30 minutes later. U sound like one of the faggot hippie wanna-be intellectuals found in the Pitt/CMU area who think they appear more intellegent by the simple act of going against anything mainsteam. Or maybe you have some boring computer related job. And your probably ugly too. You should buy some stock in one of these national food chains, and then you’ll appeciate the marketing tactics they use to feed unsofisticated diners, but that would probably violate some lame ethical priniple you made up.

People aren’t shy about getting personal:

Reading the initial post reminds me of somone who really doesn’t understand taste and/or class, and probably doesn’t have a girlfriend because how would your girl feel if your idea of having a special night out included your traditional “hole-in-the-wall” special chinese hut instead of a respectable, clean, and wine and dine offering night at a P.F. Chang’s? Of course you wouldn’t really know, would you?

People From Iceland

Read the original article: Björky Had A Little Lamb

I wrote an article urging people to buy local produce instead of meat shipped in from another country. In return, the descendants of Erik the Red came for me. Most of them were polite in their disagreement, but one guy in particular took it very personally:

But hey, you are indeed a part of the American population and my experience is that the american mind has not been taught to critizise, or analyze.

No nation in the world kills as many whales as you Americans do, you can look for the facts yourself.

We did. It turns out Americans don’t kill the most whales, and if you exclude the aboriginal catch, we don’t kill any. Frailty, thy name is Guðmundsdöttir.

People Who Have Sex With Their Cousins

Read the original articles: O Cousin! My Cousin! and Cousin-Lovin’ Haiku

We were mean to people who have sex with their cousins. They fought back!

I just wanted to say that your comments on cousin couples was very wrong! I am in a relationship with my 1st cousin, we are getting married in August. We live in England where it is not so taboo to have a relationship with your cousin. I just wish people like yourself would educate yourselves in the facts and not the myths. Maybe if you had spent a litte more time at the cousin couples web site you may have found the facts. I just hope that one day you can look back on your stupid comments and think how wrong you are.

And…

Peter peter peter, your cousin banter stinks ive been married to my 1st cousin for over a year and you have been here with you poems your facts and your tea. Its about time you and your crooners finished ya’ tea washed ya cups out and excepted that cousin love is here to stay. All the tea in china will never make a blind diffrence to you your opinion. So im happy here with my cousin and you keep there with your empty tea pot of facts.

This thread took a turn for the seriously weird when some people read the article and apparently didn’t understand that we were mocking them cruelly, and began actually asking us for advice:

im 19 from england and im in love with my 1st cousin i need to no is it ok for us to get married iv tryed to look everywer but no wer helps me plz someone email me with information on this subject also what about if we have a baby can there be any problems i want facts plz someone

Snow White and Other Fictional Characters

Read the original article: Idlewild

I wrote what I thought was a thoughtful reverie about childhood, growing up, and the nature of perspective. A bunch of people who worked at “Storybook Forest” decided I was a hateful bastard who hated all children. I can joke about it now, but I was truly scarred by this – for literally weeks I was saying, in wonderment, “Jesus! Snow White is yelling at me.”

To Snow White’s credit, she wasn’t actually yelling all that much – in retrospect, she was quite polite – and she didn’t call me a gay lamer who probably uses a Mac. Her manager (Cinderella!) was a little harder on me:

I am the current manager of Storybook Forest and am too in love with the place. I do not appreciate the view that you have of it at all. I could not stand reading this article because you know not what you speak of. So many people have fallen in love with Story Book Forest, I being one of them. I don’t like the fact that you have such a horrible opinion of what our forest is like.

Others agreed with the manager:

Obviously you always thought that everything in storybook forest was a big joke, and never looked at the Forest through a child’s eyes.. or even with a heart of a child. I know that your article wasn’t intended to make fun of Idlewild, but it did offend us, especially us who work in Storybook Forest.

Vegans Who Feed Their Cats Vegan Diets

Read the original article: Vegan Cats

We’re often a little bit mean to vegans, in a sort of offhand Tony Bourdain way, but frankly we’re not that brutal; having to eat what they do is punishment enough. But an article I wrote pointing out that feeding a cat a vegan diet was immoral and unethical apparently touched a nerve. Like Snow White, the vegans were reasonably polite. The one comment that stands out is that of the person declaring that by recommending that cats be well-fed and healthy, I was simply projecting my bourgeois morals on to the poor carnivorous creatures:

A PS about the “torturing the cat” argument, the idea that vegans are forcing their ideals onto the cat without permission. I don’t know of any cat that ever willingly ate the food put in front of them if they didn’t agree with it. The food may or may not be healthy, but the cat has to find it acceptable or they won’t eat it without a fuss. It’s our human requirement that the food be longevity promoting. The cat kingdom has its own set of ethics. If the vegan cats have any objections to their tofu taurine kibble I’m sure they’re yowling night and day for something different–subjecting their owners to a torture no human can withstand for long.

People Who Like (or Hate) Some Game We Said Bad (Or Good) Things About

Original articles: too numerous to list, but some of the better examples are Gran Turismo 4, Metal Gear Stupid, God Of Bore, and the sine qua non that inspired this article, Dumb and Dumber

It turns out that in certain circles, it is safer to call someone’s mother a crack addict than it is to say that you disliked their favorite videogame. For instance, these fans of Gran Turismo 4, a game I panned, were quite clear about what they wanted to see happen to me:

Peterb - grow up. You bought the game - if you dont like it - deal with it and go and sit in the toilet and cut your wrists quietly and leave the rest of us in peace!

I think you hate this game because you like to perform angsty angry rants. I think you should take up crying in a corner as a hobby instead of taking large, steamy dumps on video games.

I think you’ve written so badly of it for one of two reasons;

1. You aren’t very good at the game.

2. You haven’t put enough effort into playing it.

Idiot Reviewer,

Lol really, u suck ^^ and Stop review great game. hehe Practice Practice ^_- one day, u will master car with traction control

Bugs Bunny?

peterb, you are a total idiot. I presume your favourite game is Bugs Bunny, no?

Maybe you should come visit one of the biggest GT sites on the net (87 thousand members, 13,000 threads about GT4, 400,000 posts about GT4)(click my name)(the Interceptor hails from there too) so we can bite your little obnoxious head off… we’ll enjoy it, I’m sure…

“Go kill yourself” is one of the more popular sentiments.

If you hate this game so much, why dont you just go kill yourself, because there are sooo many other games that are nothing in comparison to GT4, and if you think there is a better simulator out there, then tell me so i can look for the fake game you told me.

I actually liked this one:

Geez, do you dislike everything this much, what did you want this game to do, wipe your ass too.

Metal Gear Solid fans are quite eloquent:

OMG!! u r like an idiottttt!! lololololooz.zz… just becux u dont lie the game doesn’t mnea that it sucks u pissypoo. rmemeber to not be dumb anymore fooobutt munch.

Wow you are wrong son, you don’t have any tatse son, your a moron son, your a fool son, lay off it son.

God of War:

The guy proves he’s a genre snob, he told us like three times he loves driving games, well dont play other games if you know you’d rather be driving.

Usually people are offended when you say a game sucks. Recently we discovered that people can get incoherent and screechy when you say a game is good, too:

Mate, that article is about the most pretentious, inaccurate pile of crap I have ever had the misfortune of reading, bolstered only by your own belief that you a lot more about RPGs than you actually do.

I guess you’re fairly young and have no clue whatsoever how limited those computers that ran arena were. if I recall corectly I played it on a 486 with 4 meg ram. quite pitifull. and limited. my current computer got 1GB ram PLUS 256 MB ram for the video crad. you obviously got no clue how to programm and about the space required for data structures, do you ? … but I don’t expect you to know any of that since playing extensively in your mouth is probably as deep as your article is. a couple hours is my uess. no one your age could stand those old graphics any longer than that.

The Punchline

Well, if you’re still reading after all of that, I am impressed. You are truly hardcore. I think, on balance, the interesting people and their positive contributions to the comments threads here matter. I don’t plan on shutting down the comments any time soon, for that reason. Rather than letting the bad chase away the good, it’s important to find a way to let the good rise to the top.

To that end, we are, as of right now, adopting a rule from one of our favorite web sites, Gamers With Jobs. To wit:

“4) You Must Attempt to Follow English Standard - This is not a rule meant to squelch the voices of those who do not use English as a first language, but to remove those for whom English is their primary language but can not be bothered to form coherent sentences. We won’t ban you if you choose to haphazardly split infinitives, but the basic conventions of the language are a requirement, I think, for intelligent discussion. That means employing punctuation, capitalization, sentences, paragraphs, subjects/verbs, and the recognized and proper use of alpha/numeric characters (meaning W is not \/\/).”

In other words: you may disagree with us. You may disagree strenuously with us. You may even make ad hominem arguments, up to a point, and call us gay lamers who probably use Macs.

But while doing all that, you have to spell correctly.

This post violates several of the meta-rules I have for the site: it is, quintessentially, “blogging about blogging.” But sometimes it’s important to take a break and review what you’ve done. If the quality of one’s writing can be judged by the number of people it offends, then psu and I are kicking ass and taking names. We’ve been at this for a few years now, and it’s still fun. Thanks to all of you who have come along for the ride.