One of the drawbacks of maintaining a public website as anyone who has done this will tell you is that the longer you keep writing online the more people you are likely to piss off. At the same time you are also likely to touch more people’s lives and make more connections, more friends, and that is definitely the most rewarding thing about it all, but it’s that increasing amount of people who scorn you that teach you the most about yourself. How thick is your skin? How much can you take? How do you find a way to continue writing in a way that isn’t affected by what those certain people have to say? And most importantly, how do you find the strength to resist submitting their email addresses to the QueerWorld.com mailing list, IT WOULD FEEL OH SO TINGLY IN ALL THE RIGHT PLACES.
In the last year it has become almost impossible for me to sit down to write something without wondering what person I am going to offend this time. It’s an involuntary response, automatic, because I’ve learned that there is nothing too small that an opinion can’t be formed about it, like whether or not I use blue in a masthead, or the fact that I have chosen a sans-serif font for body copy, really small things that I wrongly assumed wouldn’t end the world but are in fact so important that because I chose blue and not green I might as well have just peed in someone’s Cheerios.
Because the bad email makes up such a small part of the feedback to this website, though, I feel like it’s part of my job to get over it already. Even though I can’t help flinching once I click “publish” I have to realize that a lot of what people send me is only a projection of themselves, a projection of what they want to see in themselves or their own value system and it really has nothing to do with me personally. It also helps to think of it in terms of someone having a really bad day, that their bad email is just a window into the hard time they are having. It also doesn’t hurt if I just assume that some people are mad crazy psycho.
I tell you this because it’s a question I get a lot, how do I deal with the mean email or the mean comments. To be honest, it’s an ongoing process. One way is to go back and read the supportive email because that’s what it’s there for, and I don’t ever take it for granted. Another way is to laugh about it because some of the stuff that shows up in my inbox is blow-your-mind genius, and after reading a few that I received this week I thought it would be mean of me not to share some of the best here with you.
Email addresses have been removed because otherwise that would be mean, and although you can accuse me of being a bitch I am not a mean bitch. I am the Good Bitch of the North! Also, the text in italics represents my initial reaction to the email with a little bit of Jon’s commentary thrown in.
It vexes me slightly that you are starting to become lazy and self-absorbed – what was once a deeply appreciated view in to a like mind, is becoming a boring look at your to-do list filled with fun, next-step activities in your wow-look-at-me life… please heather – take a step back, reclaim the original you-ness that created this treat i give myself everyday called dooce.com – and stop acting so average like some lotto ticket winner…
[You know what other treat you should give yourself everyday? An enema.]
you have a good blog. please put your sexual picture in your weblog.
[Hey, Mahir, is that you?]
Oh, dear dooce, I haven’t the slightest problem with you publicly humiliating your dog but this time you’ve gone too far. Those christmas lights merrily draped around the poor pooch contain high levels of lead. Do you not read the warnings? Lead, dooce, lead.
[Deep breaths, Mindy, deep breaths.]
i used to find your writing clever….but lately, it stinks. switch meds. your grammar is terrible. when you land a book deal the editor will commit suicide before your hardback hits the shelf. (and depression is a disorder, not a disease….although the scary things you do to your kid’s hair might change the order of things)
[Need we talk about the non-capitalized sentences? Need we talk about meds?]
Your site has gotten pathetic since either Jon came home and your mind turned to mush or when you became too mesmerized by your own ads to actually type anything interesting anymore! help!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If this continues I wont be reading anymore.
[Can't talk, looking at ads.]
Sweaty goat balls = Dooce’s new look
[Dude, that's totally going to be my next tagline: NOW WITH SWEATY GOAT BALLS!]
are you mocking syphilis??? when did this start, you bigot!
i remember when i used to think you where cool. what happened?
[I don't hate the disease, I just disagree with the lifestyle of the disease.]
some kids may get cuter as they get older if you are lucky.
[And some cranky men obviously haven't been laid recently. It'll happen if you are lucky!]
Blurbomat all of a sudden puts liberal/democrat party type propaganda on his site. I know we have the 1st amedment but when you turn your personal little blog into a launching pad of political diatribe, I cannot support that – esp when you’re planning on schillling your goods.
I didn’t like the latest picture of Jon flipping off the camera , as my son was with me.. Daddy, what does that mean.. It’s enough to be bombard in the news, tv, but you’d think dooce.com woulnd’t have crap like that.
[Blink... blink, blink... you'd think someone had never read my website before.]
Anyways, I no longer view your work as cute and insightful into being a mother in Utah, but now I think you’ve just gotten way too big for your britches now that you’re getting paid.
You’ve sold out in the worst way. I used to care for you and your family, now I just pity you.
[Would it have changed your mind if I had sold out in the best way?]
You’ve sold out and lost a reader. You should change your header to “Dooce-Viva la mighty DOLLAR!”
[Thanks for the suggestion, but it just doesn't have that sweaty goat ball ring to it.]
your website sux. I loved reading your daily posts and now I can’t even wade through all the bullshit ads. Why on earth would you do this ? Couldn’t you just pick ONE endorsement ? ARE YOU THAT GREEDY ?????
[Yes. And no. But kind of, yeah.]
I do have to admit, you are funny when you write about some things and I wish I could just enjoy your website’s funny stories without stumbling across random swear words and false doctrine about my church, but I can’t. It’s everywhere! Talk about a chip on your shoulder! I know there is such a thing as free speech so no one can tell you what to not write. But some of the things you write…I don’t know. Let’s just say I don’t want to be standing next to you on judgement day. The trap door to hell will open and I might fall in with you. (Sorry, I guess that wasn’t very Christian of me.)
[Technically, your church doesn't believe in trapdoors or hell.]
I can’t stand you.
and your webpage looks cluttered and sloppy and so full of CRAP. it looks like shit.
your writing is shit.
i’ve deleted you from my bookmarks.
i’m starting an “I Hate Dooce” club.
I’ll send you the link.
[Look who it is again! Keri R! Not surprisingly, this is only the second of several hateful emails she has sent me, but I didn't include the others here because they were disappointingly mediocre in their display of hatefulness. Yawn. I like haters who excel!]
You just blather on about your precocious child, your depression, and your family. What are you trying to say and why should I visit? You seem to be a bright person but totally devoid of insight. All is vanity…
[Vanity. Like sending condescending emails to strangers?]
Everything that you gained will be taken away from you. You are simply a Man-Hating Psycho Lesbian Jealous Feminist! I predict bannishment to the Island of FagLesbian or a re-adjustment camp for you and your ilk!
[The Island of FagLesbian? That only sounds like ONE BIG PARTY. Send me now!]
I am getting the distinct impression that you despise motherhood, and hate your life in Utah. Am I correct in this perception? If so, Leta is going to grow up thinking her mother hated her and hated taking care of her. That can’t be a good thing….for Leta.
[Mary B, let me introduce you to someone. Jeff S, this is Mary B. Mary B, meet Jeff S.]
you know, i was gonna just send an email to say that you’re the offspring of people having sex with animals..but that really is digressive isn’t it. my goodness, this is really immature, no?
all in all, women like you seriously have no business having kids at this juncture. i’m sure you love your girl, but kids need more than love. they need happy, mature parents.
[I didn't have a response to this email because I was too high from the cocaine I just snorted off Leta's bare tummy.]
My girlfriend pointed me toward your site. I have never read such self indulgent shit in all my life. I now know why she was laughing so hard. You are so pathetic. Get a life. How can anyone talk about their dog, baby shit, etc ad nauseum. Do something. Work in a charity. Get a job. Loser.
[Wait, you have a girlfriend? Still?]
You have really crossed the line now!!!!!!! I was shocked and very unhappy to see the cover of the book that my uncle worte on the front page of your blog. I always knew that you would mock anything that had to do with the curch, but this really hit home. My uncle worked really hard on putting this book together. A ton of time and effort went into it, and here you are mocking it. This book has helped people, and here you are mocking it.
When I see people mocking all this in someone that I love I STAND UP FOR IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I can’t believe that you have stooped so low!
[I got this email yesterday and read it aloud to Jon and GEORGE! Each time she used an exclamation point I said it out loud, "Exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point." After I was done the room just sat there silent until GEORGE! said, "Ask her if she's hot." It may just turn out that my hatemail is the perfect place for GEORGE! to meet Mormon women.]