On Being A “Vile, Loathsome, Despicable Pig”


Via Verge‘s best-of-2012 list, here’s an essay by Meghan Daum about the lakes of vitriol that make up so many online comments sections.

She compares the unfavorable reaction to a somewhat naïve piece she wrote about safe sex in the ’90s to the daily attacks she now receives on her “looks, marital or reproductive status, and standing on the bitch-o-meter”—and then considers the verbal skirmishes of the Founding Fathers.

If even Benjamin Franklin created proto–sockpuppet accounts like Poor Richard and Silence Dogood, is modern commenting culture really so bad? (Yes. Yes, it is.)

Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →