Recently I was privileged to have a piece of mine published in the Huffington Post in that section they have that's dedicated to people 50 and over. I use the word "privileged" a bit facetiously in that almost anyone who submits an article can be published in the HuffPost unless the article takes the position that Ariana Huffington ought to break down and pay her writers.
The trick to success in the Huffington Post is to have your piece featured as one of the major posts of the day. That way it shows prominently on the HuffPost web page where you garner the greatest number of readers and almost as many likes potentially as there were paparazzi at George Clooney's wedding. If your article is not featured, it will reside in the HuffPost bargain basement where the only way you'll get more than a handful of likes is if your accompanying picture looks exceptionally woebegone.
So --- to backtrack here --- recently I was privileged to have a piece of mine published and featured in the Huffington Post in that section they have that's dedicated to people 50 and over. As a result I received about 2,100 likes, a record for me which exceeded my previous high by about 2,100 likes. This was extremely gratifying for someone who usually sat alone at lunch in seventh grade.
There was just one problem, something I had not anticipated. Along with all the likes, I was also besieged by one of the most potent, pernicious, and dangerous scourges of the 21th Century:
HUFF POST HATERS!
The post was 60 Reasons that 60 is Not the New 40, a hopefully humorous bullet point exploration of the different social frames of reference of the two generations. It was not intended to be a sociological analysis as to whether people 60 years today really are the same as people 40 years old in 1950 or a critique of the Baby Boomer generation of which I am so proudly a part.
It was jokes 'n stuff.
But the HuffPost Haters thought otherwise.
"This was a complete waste of time to read and write ..."
Sorry you thought it was a waste of time to read, but shouldn't I be the judge of whether it was a waste of time to write?
"This piece was insulting ..."
" ...what is wrong with you? ..."
Lots of things, but if you were really perceptive, you wouldn't have to ask.
" I'm 60 years old and I knew all the 40 year old references!"
Great! Could you help me with the next one of these?
"I'm 40 years old and I knew all the 60 year old references!"
Great! Could you help me with the next "60 Reasons Why 40 Is Not The New 60?"
"This was unfunny and unproductive!"
Not so! By being unfunny, countless productive hours were saved by people not reading it."
Now in fairness, everyone is entitled to express his or her point of view and some who had issues with the post expressed them in a highly considerate matter. But the HuffPost Haters seem to delight in a rudeness that is wholly uncalled for, especially when we're talking about a post whose purpose isn't exactly to chart out the definitive route for the future of Western democracy.
I'm proud to say that in responding to the negative commenters, I took the high ground. I did not answer in the manner above. I responded politely to their concerns and expressed regret that they may have been offended. I showed class. I showed sophistication. I accepted constructive criticism.
I'd like to thank all of those who wrote nice comments in HuffPost who enjoyed the piece and those who defended me against the nay-sayers. Hell, I'd even like to thank the nay-sayers; I'm always willing to listen to another point of view if I can learn something.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to count my wickedly excessive profusion of likes.
See ya in the bargain basement!