Some Internet existentialism- Internet passion

Warning: the following is an analogy:

In sound recording, both softwares and hardwares, there is a device called a limiter which compresses sound that goes over a certain frequency and volume.  It distorts the quality of the sound a bit but also makes sure it doesn’t peak.  I think the human brain has something similar in regard to one’s own ability to understand their own scope; how else could celebrities function? Known and adored by millions?  There is something you just kinda have to tune out about ideas like that; even when I first got a facebook group with some 200 photos of screencaps in it, carefully and lovingly selected. My friends took on the emotional burden of being freaked out; I just ignored it.

I am amazed at the response of support in the last few days for financial help to get our film out to festivals; what it was like is a different blog post altogether, but the fact that so many people displayed their generosity, both here and before I was filming, kinda puts my brain-limiter to the maximum to the point where my brain shorts out and starts looking at shiney fun things, like puppy, or Hyperbole and a Half. There is something in my deeply insecure brain that tells me, “the work I do online does not warrant this show of support. I do not deserve this.” Granted, I was very good at getting DVDs out in a timely fashion (albeit I did run out of covers for some, so some were just DVD-in-envelope which I found out after the fact might break in transit… sheeeyit) but when I have to print out shipping labels and see the reach I have, even for my extremely modest little Internet cewebrity, it is a bit overwhelming, just a touch.  Today I mailed to Austrailia, Japan, Singapore, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and all over the US, just to name a few.  Despite the creation of the Facebook Page a few weeks ago I still have almost 700 un-responded-to friend requests, by this point out of sheer laziness and a little bit of guilt.  I think that little bit of guilt is what tinges everything I do when something positive or supportive comes my way as a result of my presence on the Internet; this little voice that says “I do not warrant this.”

In the negativity, the opposite is true.  I stopped reading the comments on the TGWTG site a long time ago because of the negativity. Idiot boys making comments on my appearance is one thing, but when people passionately pronounce their disdain for me; I don’t understand that either. I never meant to invoke passion in people, not by way of Internet review, anyway.  I don’t understand why it would come up; it’s just a little review of The Fifth Element, or My Little Pony, or whatever, for fucks sake.  Mild disinterest or dislike, sure, but passionate hatred? I feel like I’m failing a little bit if that continues to be the case with some viewers.  I’ve tried very hard to distance myself from the stylings of some of my colleagues, who seem to get off on the passion they invoke in others, hatred, support, or otherwise.

Dislike or disinterest is one thing; I’d say hatred makes up a small minority, as does obsessive stalker (which, let’s face it, I’d be even more uncomfortable with).  The majority of what I’ve seen is pleasant, sane, good-natured, level-headed and supportive.  I suppose what I’m trying to say is that, even though I asked for it, I’m still a bit shocked at the support I’ve gotten and the interest in the film, especially given the uncomfortable nature of the film that I made, but I’m not ungrateful.  One of the biggest hurdles I still have is learning to accept compliments and support when they’re given to me.

If I mailed you a DVD, I hope I don’t disappoint you; I had a very talented crew working for me. If you want one, check out this entry. If you do have one, feel free to show it to your friends, family, organizations that might be interested, but DO NOT post it online, as not only is that a copyright violation, it could screw over our chances of getting into the higher-up festivals. But using footage for fair use purposes i.e. criticism is obviously fine, as is writing up reviews (in fact, please do!)  I’m trying to be better about interacting with people I meet through the Internet and responding to them in kind; it’s all been a process of upping the threshold on that limiter.

But to anyone who has shown support for this, thank you.

  • Bernardo

    i really don’t like the distresed watcher, there’s something not healthy about the ways he does things, like trailer failure, it’s hard to find things to bitch about trailers and when he does it’s not funny. People seem to get the wrong idea that complain about anything will make you cool and popular like the angry nerd, i kinda have a friend like that.

    people tend get very pasionate about silly things, this guy is a good example, he seems to think there’s something noble in been a fanatic of a 80’s cartoon made to sell toys.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/cumonass

  • SamBamKablaam

    I wish I had some money to donate, but alas, I am a poor starving college student lol.
    I think it’s good that you don’t let all the attention go to your head, but I think you definitely deserve to pat yourself on the back for your work. Your reviews on TGWTG are always entertaining, and I’m sure your film is wonderful. You’re a very intelligent woman and it shines through in all you do 🙂

    And on the subject of the passionate hatred aimed at you- I don’t think it has so much to do with you as them. To become THAT emotionally involved in what a stranger doing a humorous internet review has said about a movie you like reflects a personal problem they need to deal with themselves. I’m sure I speak for many when I say that I usually enjoy what you have to say, but good or bad my feelings are, well, as much as they can be for someone I don’t actually know who has her own opinions. Not everyone is crazy, I promise, haha.

    Keep up being you and good luck!

  • Izzy

    The TGWTG fanbois don’t hate you; they hate themselves and desperately want attention. Being little dickwads on the internet is the only way they know how to do that. It’s sad. Ignoring them is the only solution.

  • Steve Dice

    I think you are cute as can be, anyone that says otherwise is blind and stupid… … That is all…

  • A bunch of my favourite internet-people have been talking about their insecurities recently and it makes me like y’all all the more.

    Hey, here’s a question – where’s the best place to put non-gross, non-scary comments about your NChick stuff, or should I/we just take it as read that the viewcounts let you know you’re appreciated?

  • JamesSeals

    We got our DVD in the mail today; thank you. I was so excited that I called up Melissa and read her the note attached. (She’ll probably see it tomorrow in person when she comes over.)

    That and I would respectfully disagree: There’s nothing unfair w/ supporting such a worthy project as yours. Your film was quite moving, and if a little monetary donation is all that’s needed to get it out wider audiences, then I can’t think of a more worthy goal. After all, it is only money.

    Keep up the good work.

    -J.

  • Dylan

    You’re my personal favourite part of TGWTG. I get really annoyed and upset when I read the comments you get on your videos, so I’ve stopped reading them too.

    I hope you know that you have way more fans than detractors! : D

  • Jason Crutchfield

    What’s the real source of their anger? Certainly not your review of ‘The Fifth Element’ (not your best review). The real source of anger is different depending on the individual. The point is that they’re angry about something, and they need to vent their anger.

    The internet allows these angry people to have a public forum, and, more importantly, anonymity. You can’t just walk up to random people irl and release your rage on them. There are consequences for acting like a jerk toward friends/family/the public. So the internet acts as a sponge to soak up all the anger and frustration of just about everyone with internet access.

    When you make a vlog, it’s personal to you. It’s your face, your body, your voice, and your opinions. You’re the one who is vulnerable to attack. But keep this in mind, the true source of their anger, their passion, is not you, or your ideas and opinions. You are simply an outlet for their anger, a tackling dummy, a whipping post. It’s personal to you, but it’s certainly not personal to them. They don’t hate you, they hate some aspect of their own lives. You’re not the source of their anger. How could you be? You would need god-like powers to inspire that level of anger over something as silly as ‘My Little Pony’.

    To prove my point, go to youtube.com. Pick any video you want, and go to the comments section. Read 10 comments. How many of the comments were filled with anger and hatred?

  • I guess reaching out to people, with as many people as there are reachable through the internet, gets you positive as well as negative reactions. though this a pretty shallow observation, it is true. you can reach people around the globe on an emotional level, beyond cultural or state borders. but you can also be reached by idiots who themselves have no borders set upon their stupidity.

    I enjoy your work very much, it’s a lot smarter than the videos of the nostalgia critic, which are funny as well, but sometimes rely too much on shouting.

    please continue with your work and also please continue to ignore the comments on the TGWTG sites 🙂

  • Jeff G.

    I’m kinda puzzled why anybody would say such harsh things about you. You’ve never struck me as the kind of TGWTG personality to let their ego get the best of them and deliberately troll online to get a rise out of people. That’s my problem with the Distressed Watcher and sadly, Spoony seems to be moving in that direction as well.

    I sometimes wonder why people on the internet feel the need to be so nasty and negative all the time. Especially towards people they don’t know, have never met in person and haven’t really done anything to warrant that kind of reaction. The best hypothesis I can come up with is that they’re so miserable with themselves and their own lives and feel that inflicting their own misery on either will somehow justify their existence. It’s pretty much the reason I don’t look at any comments following a YouTube video or online article. it’s also the reason I no longer frequent internet forums.

    If there’s one downside to the internet, it’s that it’s given a voice to a lot of people who probably shouldn’t have one.

  • dm

    Possibilities:

    1. The “passionate hatred” aspect might have to do with the blurred line between Lindsay and “The Nostalgia Chick.” I wouldn’t say that you’re my favorite reviewer, but I do enjoy watching your material, and I find your work probably the most interesting. With certain reviewers, one can easily tell they’re playing a part (e.g., Doug, Cinema Snob, etc.), and for others we know it’s just them being who they are (like Spoony and Marzgurl). I think, for whatever reason, it’s very easy to assume that you are the Nostalgia Chick. And Nostalgia Chick, as a character, comes off as – and hopefully I can say this without getting flamed – kind of preachy, as well as a bit aloof, and you get the feeling you’re being lectured to (mentioning prestigious degrees tends to solidify that impression). That’s not to say that other TGWTG members don’t often display the same kind of disdain for underwhelming source material. Spoony, for example, will absolutely destroy the subject matter he reviews if it deserves that. But, at the end of the day, he and others are mostly criticizing the execution of the concept. He isn’t so much saying what I believe the Nostalgia Chick character is a vehicle for saying: this material relies on socially irresponsible assumptions about groups in general and usually a misrepresented segment of society in particular. And, neither are any of the other reviewers I’ve seen, although admittedly, I haven’t seen them all. On the one hand, that allows for a unique perspective. On the other, after awhile it can become tiring. Think Bill Maher 12-and-a-half minutes into his “religion” routine.

    I also think a lot of it has to do with aspects like delivery and how you work yourself into the reviews. Reviewers like Doug and Spoony provide deliveries which often have pretty exaggerated cartoonish elements to them. You get the sense that there are obviously aspects of their personalities in there. Yet, their reviews seem to have more levity due to those exaggerations. Your reviews are delivered in a matter-of-fact, relaxed tone that’s harder to see through. There’s also the issue of the self-referential nature of your reviews. Other reviewers work more in the vein of simply pointing out flaws in the logic of the material. You tend to relate the material more to you personally and your own life. We probably know more about you than we do the other reviewers; so disentangling the character from the person is more challenging. I think a lot of this is the reason why people would tend to see The Dudette/Nostalgia Chick as being you and might respond to you negatively on a personal level.

    Sure, there’s always the backlash to the fanboy crowd, and part of it definitely is because you’re, as you often say, a girl on the internet. Still, I don’t really buy into the whole “they’re just angry people, and they lash out at you because they hate themselves” argument. On the surface, it does seem silly to despise an internet personality, or even a full-blown celebrity, you’ve never met. But, I just find that argument overly simplistic. Truthfully, I think people wonder whether the Nostalgia Chick is really just a parody about the self-absorbed (e.g., treatment of Nella), dismissive and preachy or whether you actually might be that way and simply hide behind the character to get away with it. Let’s face it, the message of many of your reviews is moralistic. I realize that you’ll probably dismiss this notion. But, to me that’s sort of like Jon Stewart going out of his way to suggest he’s just a comedian doing a routine. Sure, when you think about it, it’s just a small-time review site for making fun of video games and such. But, your reviews aren’t solely observational or about criticizing weak plots. There’s a definite normative critique aspect to them, even if the springboard for that is just “My Little Pony.” And I think that makes your reviews, in some ways, actually pretty relevant. People likely wonder whether you truly care about the message you’re delivering or whether you just like the importance that comes with being the messenger. I’m not saying the latter is necessarily true, but I can see how some might reasonably think it is. All that being said, I agree it’s admirable of you to keep reviewing given some of the hurtful things which have been said about you. And, considering the way many view the subject matter of your film, it’s likewise admirable for you to be willing to openly and honestly discuss the topic.

    2. It’s just the internet, and this is all drastically overblown and largely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

    • adventure ho

      Did you seriously write a novel just to accuse this woman of being self-absorbed and preachy, because wow.

      • dm

        I didn’t accuse anyone of anything. I explicitly noted the difference between the character and the individual portraying the character. If you don’t see the way in which the self-absorbed (e.g., relationship with Nella) and preachy (e.g., Doug referring to her as “a self righteous activist for anything”) aspects of The Nostalgia Chick are parodied, I don’t know what to tell you. You don’t mention any of the other reasons I said might play a role. Nor do you mention any of the compliments that I gave Lindsay and her work. If you disagree that the Nostalgia Chick at times, as a character, comes off in the ways I’ve described, that’s perfectly fine. But, I don’t think I’m the first one to suggest so. How strange that you criticize me for writing a “novel” and yet completely misinterpret the one thing you actually took away from what I wrote.

  • Received my copy today. Wrote up a quick review right after finishing viewing. Hope you find it helpful or at least interesting.

    http://www.facebook.com/note.php?saved&&note_id=10150089497044870#!/notes/andrew-christianson/the-a-word-a-review/10150089497044870

  • Joe C

    A meditation from the incomparable Wisława Szymborska on the eternal gap between what you are and what you feel like you ought to be:

    Beneath One Little Star

    My apologies to the accidental for calling it necessary.
    However apologies to necessity if I happen to be wrong.
    Hope happiness won’t be angry if I claim it as my own.
    May the dead forget they barely smoulder in my remembrance.
    Apologies to time for the abundance of the world missed every second.
    Apologies to my old love for treating the new as the first.
    Forgive me, distant wounds, for bringing flowers home.
    Forgive me, open wounds, that I prick my finger.
    Apologies to those calling from the abyss for a record of a minuet.
    Apologies to people catching trains for sleeping at dawn.
    Pardon me, baited hope, for my sporadic laugh.
    Pardon me, deserts, for not rushing with a spoonful of water;
    And you too, hawk, unchanged in years, in that self-same cage,
    Staring motionless, always at the self-same spot –
    Forgive me, even if you are stuffed.
    Apologies for the hewn tree for four table legs.
    Apologies to the big questions for small replies.
    Truth, don’t pay me too much attention.
    Seriousness – be magnanimous.
    Mystery of Being – suffer me to pluck threads from your train.
    Soul – don’t blame me for having you but rarely.
    Apologies to everyone for failing to be every him or her.
    I know that while I live nothing can excuse me,
    since I am my own impediment.
    Speech – don’t blame me for borrowing big words and then struggling to make them light.

  • Got my screener today! Can’t wait to watch.

  • If I wasn’t broke at this moment in time, I’d be happy to review your short film for 411mania.com to get it more exposure with our readers. Unfortunately, I am, so I can’t. However, I might suggest contacting Ashish (he’s the main person in charge) or any of the other writers in the Movies/TV section there to see if any of them have any interest. It couldn’t hurt.

    As far as the negative comments go, you’re right in ignoring them. People on the internet are fickle, whether it’s bigger net celebs like yourself or small-time column writers like me. You can’t please all of them, so there’s no point in letting what they say get to you.

  • Lizz

    I finally found time to watch the screener copy I got and I have to say that you are highly deserving of the support you and the people who helped you are receiving. I don’t even know how to put into words how your documentary made me feel and what it meant to me. What you did was important for you but in turn it has had a huge impact. And I’m %100 positive I’m not the only one who had this reaction.

    I’m really excited to see more from you in the future.

    The only cons: I wish it was longer! I wanted to hear more from the people you talked to and more about your story. I also wanted to hear more from some of the people that were in the trailer but not in the actual film (especially the girl you were talking to in the trailer who had written the letter on the subway). But I suppose the length of the film was limited by USC.

    And I can’t watch it again in the presence of anyone else because heaven forbid they see me cry.

    I’m not a rich woman but I can forfeit a few worthless eBay purchases to further support this documentary. I will be making more donations if they are needed.

  • Joe

    I am the opposite of disappointed. *The A-Word* was insightful, honest, challenging, and emotionally powerful. It struck a personal note for me in a way I was not expecting, and I’ll be thinking about it next week, month, year.

    Good luck with film festivals, Lindsay – I hope I get a chance to see it on a big screen in Madison.

  • Macavity

    Hey, on the topic of celebrity, and the value of your contributions to anything, the truth is that you don’t get to decide what it is worth. Frequently the things we are best at, we are somewhat gifted in. Since that gift may make it feel like what we do takes little effort, we ascribe it little value. In fact, it may be something most of the population could never do, and will happily pay for. Let them.

  • Ciera

    Lindsey,

    I wish I could donate. I admire you so much. You’re brave; you speak your mind about anything, and I think that’s awesome. First chance I get, I’m donating money.
    I hope you get into as many festivals as is feasibly possible, because your film is worthy of note if only because of the subject matter.

    I doubt you invoke passionate hatred, I think if anything, you just make people jealous. And you’re a bit of a rarity. Not many people have the nerve or the will to speak their mind, but they wish they did. And that makes them jealous.

    I just admire you, and wish you the best of luck!

    ~CTD

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