Is It Too Late Now To Say Sorry?

Is It Too Late Now To Say Sorry?

I’ve only deleted one other thing I’ve written here since I started a year ago. It was called “My Application To Al-Qaeda” and it’s probably the funniest thing I’ve written since being here. The reason I took it down was simply because I had just begun my tenure as a writer at Grandex and I didn’t think it would be a good look to offend anyone when I had so little skin in the game. It was blatantly satirical and was going to be released the same day Al-Qaeda’s confidential documents were released, complete with their bizarre “application” to join them.

But today, I deleted a column about breastfeeding about an hour after it was originally posted. No one forced me to delete it. No one made me delete the tweet or remove it from our Facebook page. No one asked me to apologize. There was a definitive split amongst the public eye — one contingent urged deletion while the other smiled and found entertainment in it. I, myself, was right in the middle.

When you post something, you immediately know whether or not it will “do well.” And by “do well,” I mean traffic well. Unfortunately, “trafficking well” doesn’t always mean what you posted is well executed, which is what I learned today.

The internet is a bizarre place. When you post something deemed “offensive” by one contingent of people, it doesn’t take long for hate-speech directed your way to come out of the woodwork. Did I deserve some today? Yeah, sure, one of my takes in particular probably needed to be omitted in the first place. Do I regret posting a piece that wasn’t nearly as well executed and satirical as I wish it would’ve been? Yeah, of course. But the direct intention wasn’t to offend, start a conversation, or impose my political views on anyone. It was to entertain. Unfortunately, it didn’t.

The last piece I wrote that was met with such immediate controversy wasn’t controversial at all (well, in my opinion, at least). It was read by over 1 million people, shared over 3,600 times, received over 400 comments, and was both praised and skewered from all angles. In fact, the top comment on it called me bitter, jealous, pathetic, sad, envious, and a hell of a lot more. But when I step back and re-read that column, I can at least say I crushed it. Because I did. And it was about people taking fucking engagement photos which is about as la-di-da as it gets.

But not every swing is a home run and not every joke lands. Fortunately for me, most of my jokes have landed here. I rarely venture from the middle of the road when it comes to my writing. I’m not sexist. I’m not homophobic. I don’t have drunken dinner party opinions that will cause the host to ask me to leave. I don’t stick around and prod for the shock value. If you look at the over 500 things I’ve written since being here, you know shock value isn’t my thing. You know I’m not anti-woman. You know I don’t actually think anyone should be forced to eat while sitting on the toilet.

When I first began writing publicly, I did it under a different name out of fear. When you write daily and post your opinions online, you have to have a thick skin. That’s just how the internet works. I’m not the first person to write about breastfeeding in public and I won’t be the last, I know that for sure. But something else I know for sure is that with any piece of writing that’s intended to be humorous or satirical, you have to make sure those two aspects actually come across and are validated by their entertainment value before you can put your name behind it.

The last 600-or-so words I’ve written? Yeah, they’re overwrought. It’s giving the deleted column more attention, time, and emotional investment than it ever deserved. But when something you write is met with so much hatred and trash talk, sometimes you have to justify it to yourself by explaining your position from every angle. I’m not educated in writing about breastfeeding, so yes, that was poor form. Unfortunately, it’s no better than the people who comment from the polar opposite side without consequence because they don’t have a large audience clicking anything to see what they have to say.

But hey, that’s the internet for you. Now if you’d excuse me, I’ve got Things Girls Do After Graduation to write for tomorrow. Hopefully no one finds a story about a girl moving in with her boyfriend sexist.

Image via Shutterstock

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Will deFries (Twitter / Instagram) is a Senior Editor at Grandex and the world's foremost authority on Sunday Scaries (Twitter / Instagram).

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