My pal, Ho Lee Zhit, recently groaned while reading a blog post somewhere, "Oh, no. Another 400-pound diva has entered the room!" When I asked for an explanation, Ho Lee remarked that people seem to take themselves (and their pursuits, which they consider an integral part of themselves) very seriously these days, and there's increasing evidence of this on blogs.
So I did a little investigating. Sure enough, I found a plethora of long rants, sniperish bursts, skirmishes, excruciating examinations, analyses, and justifications, and just generally enough hot-air huffing and puffing to contribute to global warming -- if, that is, it were coming out of mouths instead of fingertips.
Umbrage, umbrage everywhere.
Posters, I realized, could easily and effectively make their points with far less expenditure of energy. In the interest of lower blood pressure and unstressed attention spans, I compiled a list of succinct replies to Internet statements that people -- and authors, in particular -- seem to find irritating.
* "Your book sucks."
* "Take it up with God. S/he dictated it; I'm just a stenographer trying to get by on a lousy $125.44 a week."
* "Your book's title sucks."
* "If all you can manage to get through is a book's title, you might consider enrolling in a remedial reading course."
* "Your book's cover sucks."
* "If all you can manage to do is look at pictures, you might consider giving up reading as a hobby."
* "All romance novels are crap."
* "Of course they are. That's why people read them. Life is so unrelentingly fine, we must escape its cloying clutches now and then lest we get spoiled."
* "You're not gay."
* "Yes, I am. And proud of it. If you don't believe me, go fuck yourself. Or Ted Haggard."
* "You're not straight."
* "Yes, I am. I just wish I were gay."
* "You're not bi."
* "Well . . . sometimes I am and sometimes I'm not. It depends on who's sitting next to me at bar close."
* "What you said is offensive."
* "It offends me that you called my statement offensive. I refuse to type another word until you apologize."
Ho Lee Zhit approved of these, saying, "Yep. A hint of diva is better than the whole smelly, vermin-picking gorilla."