50 Tirades of Dismay

Dear Internet:

It has to stop.

You know what I’m talking about.

First of all, it was all hearts and flowers; in fact there were kittens.  You know I can’t resist kittens, so you gave me kittens.  You gave me Icanhascheezburger and cute overload and daily squee.

You knew I needed to find out about the publishing industry, and wanted to talk to other writers so you introduced me to absolutewrite  and Chuck Wendig and John Scalzi and Making Light; and they were sharp and funny and full of useful information.

You knew I liked LARP and fantasy and tough women and a sense of humour so you gave me Goblins and The Challenges of Zona and The Order of the Stick and yes, all right, I admit it, I ate it up.

And sometimes I needed to know stuff like how to get somewhere or the address of a restaurant and there you were, giving me the information almost before I had time to ask for it.  It was so easy.  I didn’t know it could be like this.

It was all going so well.  I began to wonder how I’d ever managed without you.

All right,  I wasn’t spending so much time with my other friends.   That reading pile by the side of the bed wasn’t getting any smaller.  And I was beginning to spend time with you when I should have been working.  But it was all vanilla stuff, just harmless fun.  I was happy, wasn’t I?

Then the other things started to creep in.  You started to make suggestions.  And I – well – I went along with it.

At first, I enjoyed it.   I was ashamed of myself, yes, but watching people act like idiots – especially in a publishing context – it did something to me.  Gave me some kind of sick thrill.  But I should have known – once you get that first taste of schadenfreude pie, you need a bigger and bigger slice every time.  Soon I couldn’t get enough of the comments.  I was reading late into the night, watching people get angrier and whinier and make bigger and bigger fools of themselves.

And then – there was the real hard stuff.  The other comments columns.  The articles.  The ones full of rage and misogyny and homophobia and threats and hate.  There were the links to terrible things that people had done and said; things that filled me with fear and despair.

But I kept clicking, didn’t I?  I kept clicking.

I was doing it every day, every chance I got.  I was getting paranoid and red-eyed and losing sleep.  People began to ask if I was OK.

Well, I’m not.  I’ve realised I’m not.  I can’t do this any more.

So stop it, Internet.  It’s no longer fun.  It just leaves me feeling soiled, and ashamed of myself for belonging to the human race.

I think you need help, Internet.  We can keep seeing each other, but no more of that stuff.   If you can’t give it up, you’re going to have to do it without me.

I’m going to be over here, looking at kittens.

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