A couple weeks ago, a young woman named Taylor Cotter wrote a pretty benign blog post on the Huffington Post entitled “A Struggle of Not Struggling” in which she kind of lamented that she’s been relatively successful since she left college. She hasn’t experienced the Bohemian struggles her friends have - the “New York Dream” of a shitty apartment, a shitty job, and shitty pay. Where’s the adventure, she mused? If you’re a bulimic and you’re having trouble purging then give it a read. I read this Tuesday and since then, I haven’t been able to hold food down. The article did the impossible - it made me hate white people. White people love themselves. I love myself (definitely too much) and right now I’d rather be Mexican. Not one person has written, “I’d rather be Mexican.” EVER. Thank you Taylor. You’ve achieved the impossible, you’ve written a piece so nauseating that white people don’t want to be white. And that’s not even the worst part. Once I was done, all I wanted to do was write a comment. I had the urge to become the lowest common denominator of human waste - a negative Internet commenter. Taylor’s column made me go through a change worse than menopause.
Once I took a couple of deep breaths I realized, though her point is dumb, it’s still harmless. But a large number of people didn’t take their time. The Internet went berserk. The comments section alone - not to mention Twitter, Facebook, and FriendSpace - is about the length of Anna Karenina, all just complete vitriol spewed at this little “successful” girl from outside Boston. Here, I’ll just pick out a comment so you get the idea:
Whoa, Wisco to DisCo, is everything alright? Good Lord. Maybe stop commenting so wildly on HuffPo during work hours and you might not fear for your job so much. Also, who the hell wants to hire an attitude like that? How much Xanax have you had today? Have some more. Anyway, nearly ALL of the comments echo this sentiment. “Woe is me”, “In this economy!?”, “I struggle every day”, and “It’s hard out here for a shrimp.” And sure, no one wants their troubles and struggles trivialized, but think about it; you’re commenting on a Huffington Post article. So unless you’re in Syria and just took a break from your war and famine to post your opinion, maybe you should relax - because the simple act of you feeling sorry for yourself in the comments section makes you just as guilty as she is.
And if you read her article and put an iota of thought or reflection into it, you probably would have realized that she doesn’t feel like she’s missing out on the low quality of life. Rather, she’s missing out on what that low quality of life brings with it (for me it means tons of fat chicks). But these people were too busy trying to find an angle on how this applies to them, how this offends them. I remember going to the theatre when I was a kid to see Aladdin; and when I wasn’t sitting there having my mind blown, I don’t remember anyone walking out in anger because Jasmine wanted to get off the palace grounds. Dreaming of another life is a basic human longing, even if that life seems great; because with security comes rigidity. With contentment comes boredom. I don’t think that’s too offensive to wonder about a different life. I think about being a wise cracking butler living in Bel Air working for a kooky family pretty much every day.
People wonder what direction the country is going in. When will the economy come back? When will the ship be righted? When these questions come up I always think of the negative internet commenter. What is he or she doing? What’s their real attitude towards life? What does their boss think of them? I spent fifteen minutes reading this article, 20 minutes puking, then a couple of hours reading comments. That’s a full day and I was yet to write this column where I complain about all of the complaining. Newspapers are dead and with that so died the gatekeepers. Places like Yelp, The Huffington Post, and any place with a comments section gave way to the loud minority. A virus has been created and now we all can’t do our job for more than 5 minutes without yelling from the treetops about Tosh, or Adam Carolla, or the next person we couldn’t really care less about but want to act offended by, just so that we can be heard. I’m infected, we are all infected.
Where are we headed? I see myself 10 years from now, jobless, in a coffee shop, and sitting next to Taylor Cotter. We aren’t speaking to one another, just typing out complaint after complaint about some guy who wants to be Mexican because they are the only ones with jobs. This is the future. Thank you Internet. You gave us the pulpit to complain and now we can’t step down. God Bless America.
Jared Freid is a New York City-based comedian. You can follow him on Twitter @jtrain56 for videos, columns, and plenty of penis jokes.