February 21, 2013

Please Stop Bullying Me, By Charlie Morrigan

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Please Stop Bullying Me, By Charlie Morrigan

As you may or may not know, I am not Charlie Morrigan. No one is. Charlie Morrigan is just a pseudonym.

Charlie Morrigan writes a lot of posts every day as part of a new beat mainly focused around viral things on the internet. Many sites have viral beat writers — in fact, some sites have dozens of people on this beat. I’ve been noticing, though, that people don’t like someone doing this beat at Thought Catalog. Many commenters have been complaining and singling me out as a bad new presence on Thought Catalog, a foul presence writing unwanted posts, a harbinger of a new Thought Catalog, one we simply don’t want. Charlie Morrigan, commenters say, is ruining Thought Catalog.

Here are some of my favorite anti-Charlie Morrigan comments so far:

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Please Stop Bullying Me, By Charlie Morrigan

Please Stop Bullying Me, By Charlie Morrigan

As is common knowledge, people vent their frustrations and exploit their anonymity in comments sections, to the fullest — it’s a cesspool of id. It’s part of what makes the internet great and what inspires people to blame the internet for making people stupider. The very things people hate about the internet — the omnipresence of irony, irreverence, and so many other tones as to create a confusing, unpredictable morass — is exactly what I value about the internet. Here’s why: it challenges the widespread notion that there are correct ways to do, think, and act.

An example: YouTube videos, especially YouTube videos whose primary aim is humor or diversion, are, from a certain perspective, wastes of time. But the internet says (so to speak): what is a waste of time? Is a thoughtful essay — which to some people is de facto an essay which rhymes with what they already think and flatters their sense of intelligence, emotional depth, and refined culture — is that inherently a good way to spend time? Are there good and bad ways to spend time as one waits to die?

Lest I sound preachy, I should say that I don’t see a viral beat — I don’t see viral videos — as my favorite thing, my favorite way to spend time. I like to hear people in writing, their voices and thoughts, to get a sense of their personalities. My favorite posts at Thought Catalog do this. My favorite books, movies, shows, music, and visual art do this. But everywhere there is space and want for diversity and for trying things. This is true too at Thought Catalog.

One last thing. Consider that when you try to shut up, to get rid of, to control anything — especially the content of an independent, for-profit website — you are operating from a place of bad feelings about yourself. This post is not what I would have written, and the attention or simply the space on Thought Catalog you’re getting makes me feel bad about myself. Don’t feel bad, commenters. Remember, you have a good idea of what a given post is from the headline. You don’t have to click on anything that is unappealing to you. It’s just me, Charlie Morrigan, doing some things, which you can look at or not. TC mark

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