I received an email this morning criticizing both me and my blog and so I did what I usually do when this happens... lock myself in my bathroom and cry for five hours.
Well, not really, because when you put yourself out on the internet like this, you learn very quickly to ignore the dumbasses and morons that feel the need rain shit on your day. I gave up caring what people think about me decades ago, so criticism from faceless idiots on the internet mean about as much to me as navel lint.
But now I've found an even better way of dealing with such nonsense than simply ignoring it:
Oddly enough, it was watching an episode of Little House on the Prairie that brought about this revelation*.
When I heard Pa Ingalls say something like "that's a fine-looking boy you've got there," I assumed it to be an innocent compliment because of time-sensitive context. Back in pioneer days you could say stuff like this and not be pegged as a freaky child molester. Today if a guy were to say this about a little boy, people would call for the police.
And it works the other way too. A long time ago you could see a painting, say it was "awful," and the artist would thank you for the compliment since the time-sensitive context of "awful" meant "full of awe" back then. Today if you say a painting is "awful" the artist will lock himself in the bathroom and cry for five hours because it meant you didn't like it.
Just five years ago if somebody wrote to me and said "DUDE, YOU ARE TOTALLY SICK!! YOUR BLOG IS WICKED SICK TOO!" it would mean that they thought both me and my blog were perverted and grotesque. But if somebody wrote that to me NOW, the time-sensitive context has shifted and it means that they think both me and my blog are insanely cool.
And since this trend shows no sign of stopping, I figure why wait? I am going to start applying FUTURE-SENSITIVE CONTEXT to any criticism or negativity that comes my way from now on.
Somebody calls me an "asshole"? I choose to believe that in the future "asshole" will come to mean "kind and generous."
Somebody says my blog is "f#@%ing stupid"? I choose to believe that in the future "f#@%ing stupid" will come to mean "amazing and brilliant."
With this in mind, here is the email I received with future-sensitive context applied...
Hey you kind and generous person!
I just ran across your amazing and brilliant blog and think you are a down-to-earth and observant individual who should be showered with praise and worship! If you think you are so humble and respectful then why don't you go buy a treat for yourself! You deserve what you get!!!!
People like you are creating a better world for all of us and make me feel insanely cool!!
I hope you have a long and happy life!!
See?? By using the magic of future-sensitive context, even horrible hate-mail can be made into a wonderful and life-afirming statement of love and support! Sometimes it's not how the world looks at you, but how you look at the world.
* Don't ask me why I was watching Little House on the Prairie. In my defense, I was waiting for my clothes to get out of the dryer and it happened to be on the television when I turned it on.