A communication website I read every morning publishes an article. I glance at it and say to myself, "That's not as funny as the writer thinks it is," I casually chuckle that the same could probably be said about a lot of my stuff. Ah, ya can't it it out of the park every day.
By midday, an argument has erupted among the website's readers, in the article's comments section:
"You were right on with these tips," the first reader opines.
"Talk about a new low!" the next guy says, even though no one was talking about new lows. "This is horrible writing."
"I love sarcasm as much as anyone," the next reader piled on, "but this article is neither helpful nor humorous."
Reader number four to the rescue! "Folks, let's not be so hard on [the writer]."
"Excellent article! Wonderful wit!" came the next commenter, anonymous and sounding suspciously like the writer's mother.
"The expectations set by the subject headline in the e-mail sent out I think is the problem," hypothesized another anonymous commentator.
"Since when are metaphors and puns 'horrible writing'?" asked another self-appointed pun-dit.
And on like that.
If these people feel this deeply the responsibility to get to the bottom of whether a throw-away column on a communication-trade website is (or is not!) up to the publisher's usual standards, we wonder what other momentous matters they tackle every day.
When it says "two for one," what do you mean by "one," exactly? Let me speak to your manager!
But the thing is, it's this sad shut-in demographic—once described by my radio-deejay nephew as "old people who are in too much pain to sleep"—that dominates the comments sections of most news sites.
Which sucks, because these people don't have much insight because they don't get out much. And people in chronic pain aren't very good company, are they?