Nik Richie, the founder of internet gossip site TheDirty.com was on Dr. Phil today. As I mentioned previously, I used to read The Dirty pretty regularly when it was still Dirty Scottsdale, and along into its early expansion. The focus of the site is non-celebrity gossip; photos are submitted of people (generally tacky, over-the-top wannabe types) then commentary is added by Richie and readers. The commentary is often very, very brutal. I quit reading it a couple of years back, because I got tired of seeing normal, attractive looking people get caught in the same blast as roid ragin’, hair gellin’, porn star boob implantin’, camera hungry freakshows. Life is too short for petty cruelty, and I stopped reading The Dirty for the same reason that I cut pretty much all celebrity news and the like out of my life.
Here are some thoughts on the show today, in point form ‘cause I can’t be bothered to form a cohesive essay out of them.
- People on the internet are mean, that much is true. But the internet should be read as though it’s one giant human mind… ‘cause if we could read minds, we’d hear a generous helping of “she’s fat”, “he’s got bad skin”, “man, she got old”, “you’re stupid”, and so on, and so forth, peppered among more positive sentiments. That’s reality, and it’s not pretty. Wanna wallow in it? Read The Dirty. Troll on the internet. Hell, read the comments on pretty much any news story ever. Humans are harsh, and what lies beneath is ugly.
- If you go looking for attention in this world, you will get it, and not all of it will be positive. If you don’t want to be judged, don’t enter the contest. If you don’t want strangers to comment on your photos, don’t post them anywhere they can be seen. If you don’t want your thoughts mocked, eviscerated, fact checked, don’t post ‘em. Being human, particularly in this day and age, entails a significant amount of public risk. The simple act of being puts you at the mercy of others. You might not like it, but it’ll never change.
- The chick that was on the show as the “victim” does not understand the above point at all. She is not a model. She is not attractive enough to be a model, and that’s not just my personal opinion, it is a professional reality. The fact that the mean (and unnecessary, and hurtful, and false) comments posted below her first modeling shots deterred her from pursuing modeling probably did help her in the long run, since her self delusion would have cost her hundreds in photographer fees, only to be laughed away from any agency. She is the product of a world in which every kid gets the gold star, and everyone’s a special snowflake and everyone’s able to achieve anything… only they aren’t. I am too fat and uncoordinated and old to be a ballerina, and too stupid and lazy to be a theoretical physicist. That’s real talk, and you don’t see me crying on Dr. Phil about it.
- We live in a superficial world, full of superficial people who all believe that they’re entitled to fame and fortune for just showing up. It’s very telling that MANY of the people who are featured on The Dirty end up milking their “fame”, no matter how ridiculous or unattractive they are… they WANT it, so when they get it, no matter how negative, they wallow in the attention. A couple of them were even on the show today with Nik, and I’ll bet you 20$ right now that on their self-edited IMDB entries they’ll be adding their appearances as fast as their implants and gelled hair will let ‘em.
- Nik Richie was pilloried on the show for giving the people what they want. Is his website distasteful? Unnecessary? A waste of time and mental energy? Definitely. Is he worthy of respect because he turned people’s inner cattiness and abundance of free time into a lucrative business? Nope, not in my world. Getting rich off human misery and stupidity is still just that. But is it fair to turn on the man holding the mirror up to the ugly face of the consumers of what passes for entertainment and newsworthiness today? Tough call. Notice that not all of the audience was howling for blood, and I’d wager further that many of the people tsk-tsking have at the very least consumed cheap celebrity gossip themselves.
- You gotta rise above the stupid shit people post on the internet if you want to survive. A long time ago I posted a screengrab from my email inbox. A year later, someone posted it on Digg. It hit the front page really fast, and the comments came spilling in. The gist of them? The person who received the email (i.e. me) SHOULD kill themselves because they’re a) a Hotmail user, b) Canadian, c) on Myspace, etc. People tracked me down on the internet and messaged me personally. Did I lose any sleep over it? Not a wink. I still think it’s funny as hell, and I never cease to be amused at the volume of rage and bitchiness that permeates the internet. Haters be hatin’, and wastin’ their time doing so.
Bottom line, I’ve said it many times before, the only way to make change in this world is to vote with your dollar. If you think that reading and writing hurtful things about other human beings isn’t admirable, don’t do it, don’t read it, don’t buy it.