Good morning, children. Today we're going to review my application to the_reviewers.
It started out simply enough. In the two review communities I observe, the_reviewers and youcantwrite, I noticed a new face, a fellow going by the name of guysterrules.
He had a really good LJ, something with narrative and dialogue and an
eye toward intrinsic literary value, something more than the stock
cookie-cutter neuroticism that usually gets praised as quality in the
review comms. And his reviews were totally hilarious, like ghostlight
might be if Mike weren't so standoffish and manic-depressive. Before
long I had a big sloppy platonic e-crush on him. And rather than simply
friend him, I decided to play the coquette.
I figured that,
while I was at it, I may as well kill two birds with one stone and take
a shot at getting into the_reviewers. Not because I have any interest
in reviewing journals, mind you, but because I want to be able to add
my two cents to the hilarity that occasionally erupts there. I could care less about getting into ljreviewz, since, thanks to cyns'
troll-friendly policy, I can comment in there all I want already. But
in the_reviewers I've always been a second-class citizen, able to read
but forbidden to ever hit the reply button.
I knew that I was looking at an instant F from inawhile, who's been consumed with a burning need to destroy me ever since I totally owned her six months ago.
So I preempted that strike by calling her out right in my post,
ensuring that she would have have to suppress her knee-jerk reaction to
me, or look like a complete chump in front of all her internet friends.
Sure enough, she got her hackles up and lobbed a few half-hearted
insults, but in her actual review she played it fairly straight, praising me for treating my girlfriend like crap (?) and giving me an actual grade. Kagetoh 2, inawhile 0.
Next up was someone named wiki_rad. This person seemed a little confused:
I'd come asking for a review, and she started dispensing personal
advice! Hey! Dr. Phil! Save the life-coaching for someone who needs it.
I want an opinion of my journal, not 12 steps to a thinner me.
was just as well Dr. Lindseybot didn't attempt a review, because she
didn't seem to have the reading comprehension to properly form one. She
accused me of having a journal wherein my "only schtick" was "dribbles
about girls," a clear sign of either selective perception or, more
likely, not reading back more than two entries. Upon seeing this I did
a quick tally, and found that out of my last 40 visible entries, 28 did
not concern girls at all. That's 70%. Using that logic, I could write
off her LJ's "only schtick" as being "Maddox lite."
But I'm not that shallow.
also got upset that she couldn't immediately grasp what the whole
"Meesh" thing was about; I guess in her mind a good journal is one
that's so banal and so formulaic that you can drop in on any given
entry and immediately know what's going on and what everything refers
to. I imagine that in her time away from LJ she writes hostile letters
to J.K. Rowling complaining about this "Muggles" business.
Next we had shamroq, who was quite pleasant.
He complimented my journal and complimented me personally on rocking a
claddagh. He then went on to accuse me of being a stalker and looking
in mirrors a lot, based on the fact that I have a few entries talking
about girls and exercise, respectively. He conjectured I would make a
good reviewer, and expressed the force of this conviction by giving me
a failing grade.
He was still really nice about it, though.
Next was a fellow by the name of ... valency?
Is that right? A guy going by "valency"? Yikes. That's on the same
level of creepiness with those internet guys who have women as their
avatars. Anyway. As I was saying, valency, who seemed to have some
trouble activating his shift key, among other things. He complained
that my posts were too long and that he found them too hard to get
into. "my [sic] general malaise and disinterest [sic] is [sic] not a
good sign," he wrote. I know what he means. I have that same reaction
to things that are out of my intellectual depth too.
His closing paragraph did have some entertainment value, however inadvertant:
i don't write any of this thinking that you'd be even remotely
interested in what i have to write in my blog, but... you asked for an
opinion. i gave ya one. i'd just try to... find that little current of
hunger and dis-ease, that spark from a flinty heart, or a calcified
brain, or the stones in your eyesockets. or something.
Whatever, Nancy. Come back when you pass the TOEFL.
Then we have someone called ninjalicious. I have no idea how this person got into the_reviewers in the first place, but I suspect it involved the phrase, "Pass with one journal--get the second journal accepted free!" If that was the case, then ninjalicious' was definitely the journal "of equal or lesser value." S/he dropped a "/rofl," a D-bomb, and then said s/he would reconsider the grade if it turned out this was just a "mock journal."
Mock journal. Right. Which raises the question: what does "ninjalicious" consider entries (whole entries, mind you, not just excerpts) in a real, actual, non-mock journal? Let's take a look:
Jesus! This is better than Proust!
ninjalicious, consider my mind officially blown. I had no idea that a
mere weblog could so extend the limits of human expression. D+
gratefully accepted, Master Scribe.
After that there was a lull in the reviews, but my Yahoo inbox kept blowing up as inawhile and vengeance_is_me waged what had to be the most timid flamewar in the history of the internet.
If a good flamewar is the equivalent of a professional boxing match,
then what inawhile and vengeance_is_me were doing was the equivalent of
two cataclysmically arthritic retirees wrestling each other in those
inflatable sumo suits. I kept waiting for someone to get vicious, or at
least funny. But every time things seemed on the verge of getting off
the hook, Elina would lose her nerve and start meekly trying to entice vengeance_is_me into holding her e-hand again. Which he would then proceed to do. Puke.
was hoping that by the time I got home, I would have finally started
getting some grades from people I could actually take kind of
seriously. But no such luck--when I opened my inbox again there was
just a reply from calamityjake.
This young man began his review by helpfully informing me that I seem
like an "asshole," then said he wasn't happy with me being
"antagonistic" toward Elina in my application. Uh-huh. First of all,
kiddo, if you're so tragically thin-skinned that you get a lump in your
throat when you see someone on the internet poke fun at a troll--a
troll who isn't even you--then your parents or the state or
whoever it is who's responsible for your care really shouldn't be
letting you within a 20-foot radius of an open internet connection in
the first place. But since you obviously do have an internet
connection, maybe you should take advantage of it, and read the line
where it says, "Remember, we aren't very nice"-- RIGHT IN THE GODDAMN
COMMUNITY USER INFO. Capice, Jake-o? You don't cultivate a
rough-and-tumble image for your community and then burst into high,
keening sobs every time an applicant starts swinging his e-nuts.
About that time aniccata, uberdionysus, and my e-homies chemchick, mengus, vagynafondue, and enprise
piled in with a series of A's and a B+, and it was looking like I was
going to scrape in after all. But then inawhile suddenly got her
panties in a wad (possibly, on some deep, primitive level of her
consciousness, she was finally coming to realize that she'd been had) and changed her grade to an F. Even then, I probably would have made the cut. But ashcanprobably, apparently out on parole, suddenly appeared like Reginald VelJohnson at the end of Die Hard
and busted a cap in my ass. No explanation or anything. (Luis telling
you that your journal doesn't deserve to be in the_reviewers is a bit
like Judas Iscariot telling you you don't deserve to go to heaven. But
I digress.) At that point my application was teetering on the edge of a
cliff. Then ooner walked up, planted one foot on the bumper, complained about my journal's lack of bright shiny objects, then kicked it over the edge, where it tumbled to crash and explode in the rocks below.
Speaking of flames, inawhile, apparently unsatisfied by my lack of reaction to her F (to say the least), was going off the like the Fourth of July: stalking me in other communities, trolling my journal, baiting me with an entirely new post in the_reviewers, insulting my appearance,
and double-commenting on everything I'd posted in LJ, ever. I've seen
people put less time and energy into writing their doctoral
dissertations than inawhile was devoting to expressing her sheer hatred
for me. Which is a real head-scratcher, because as I know (from
inawhile telling me every other reply, that is), inawhile doesn't take
anything that happens on the internet seriously, and doesn't get angry
or hold grudges, because "that's not what adults do." Yet by this point
she was as revenge-crazed as if I'd wooed away that rhinophile
boyfriend of hers.
And after all that ... guysterrules never showed. Because his father died or some shit. WTF.
* * *
realize that applying to a review community, getting rejected, and then
publicly bitching about it is about as old meme as LJ gets. But I'm not
here to say that the_reviewers sucks, or that the people in it suck, or
that the people who gave me bad grades suck (I'll cheerfully accept
pans from bloggers the caliber of ooner, shamroq, and ashcan, and if I
have less respect for inawhile's literary abilities, well, girl's been
OTI longer than Al Gore, and I wouldn't expect the_reviewers to go into
action without her, any more than I would expect the Superfriends to
fight the Legion of Doom without Gleek); or that I'm some weblog
genius, or that they're fools for not accepting me, or that they're
mean, or flawed, or insecure, or that I just write my LJ for myself and
they should've understood that and given me straight A's because of it
(or wherever the fuck people are going when they make that excuse). The
only thing that needles me is that my original plan to win
guysterrules' attention failed, and there's nothing I can do or say
here that will salve my bitter, bitter e-tears over that.
my view, no misadventure is wasted if one learns a lesson. And the
lesson I learned, the lesson I bring you here today, is this: what the
fuck, 'reviewers. Time was, the_reviewers was LJ's gold standard. Time
was, the_reviewers was LJ's honors class. If you wanted your blog
reviewed by exceptional bloggers, and only by exceptional
bloggers, the_reviewers was where you went. Because if you sucked, they
didn't let you in. There was no affirmative action for suck.
get me wrong, the vast majority of the_reviewers' 90-some-odd accepted
members list is still quality. But there's suck in it now. In fact, if
you confine your scope strictly to the few active reviewers, there's a
big fat percentage of suck. To the point where I was expecting to
refresh my inbox at any moment and find a grade from korczyk.
I walked into the honors room last Monday, expecting to find the honors
class. And instead I was beseiged by special ed kids, drooling and
farting and reaching out to touch me with their sticky, clammy little
fingers. My question is, where did these misbegotten little freaks come
from? How did they get in? And why isn't the school administration
doing anything to get them out?
(Oh yeah, one other thing that irked me: I didn't get one of pugofwar's
reviews. You know, the ones where he does all the fancy HTML, and
pretends to be that little dog in the icon, and talks about Hot
Pockets? I love those little guys.)