A BRITISH WOMAN named Jacqueline Howett wrote a book and published it herself on the Internet.
Astonishingly, a book critic actually took the trouble to review it. Big Al gave it a thumbs up, saying that although the spelling was bad, the story was “compelling”.
The thin-skinned Ms Howett was furious, posting a response describing him as “discusting” [sic], and saying:
“Your [sic] the target not me! Not get this review off here!”
As the fight continued, Ms Howett, from the UK, added:
“You are a big rat and a snake with poisenous [sic] venom.”
An observer gently pointed out that Ms Howett, by misspelling all her remarks, was merely “proving Al’s point for him”.
Ms Howett replied with a two-word phrase: “**** off!”
(She managed to spell that term correctly, no doubt after a quick flick through a dictionary.)
This recent skirmish (which has grown to more than 300 comments on Big Al’s book blog) caused much amusement among REAL writers last week.
You see, the lives of full-time workers in the creative industries are filled with such VAST amounts of rejection and criticism that we have skins thicker than ancient carnivorous dinosaurs such as the megalosaurus, the oviraptor, Rupert Murdoch, etc.
For example, two years ago, this columnist wrote a song with Katy Oh, a singer from Singapore.
So far our YouTube video has received 637 comments, almost all negative.
The “dislike” button (see red line in image above) has been pressed way more than the like button.
But we are so pathetically desperate for feedback that we’re thrilled by all of them.
They range from “This is horrible” to “This is ***ing horrible.”
We write back:
“Thanks for your kind comment! You made our day!”
For decades, the governments of Singapore and China proudly held the crown of World’s Thinnest-Skinned Groups, with epidermises a single atom thick.
But this year that crown was stolen by celebrities at the Golden Globes awards.
Host Ricky Gervais simply told the truth. For example, he looked at the “mature” women who starred in Sex & the City 2 and said: “I was sure the Golden Globe for special effects would go to the team that airbrushed the poster.”
He continued: “Girls, we know how old you are. I saw one of you in Bonanza.”
The celebrities were outraged. The world’s viewers were delighted. Well done, Ricky. (Here’s the rest of his spiel:)
But staying on the topic of YouTube: surely the motherlode of thin-skinned people is the strange community of people who add comments to that site?
For example, under one video, a girl named Lily “Tinkerbell” wrote a one-word abusive comment: “stuped”.
Lily, dear, if you can’t spell “stupid”, you probably are not cut for the life of a critic.
This is an example of what Shakespeare called “being hoist with your own petard” (“hanging yourself up by your genitalia”).
Bad spelling is everywhere these days.
A woman posted a question on a parenting website:
“Why does my brian hurt?”
I posted an answer:
“He hurt his stomach laughing at his mother’s spelling.”
It occurs to me that if Jacqueline Howett wants a writing partner, she could team up with Ms Tinkerbell to create books together.
Every time someone criticizes them, they can reply:
“How dair you say we kant spel. Your discusting and stuped.”
And if they post that remark on this website, I’ll reply like a true creative professional:
“Thanks for your kind comment! You really made my day!”
Now I need to finish this post. As a professional writer, I have a big pile of rejection slips to open.
(Illustration at the top by Lara604 posed by a model and used under a creative commons 2.0 licence, source here.)