What Internet Commenters Would Say About Famous Writers

Sometimes I think what a shame it is that comment sections didn’t exist back when classic authors were writing their masterpieces. What a wealth of hilarious and insightful critiques we’re missing out on. As an editor, I sometimes like to play the little game of “Would this work have been published today if it was submitted blind?” or as an avid Internet-y person, “What would the comments look like on a piece like this nowadays?” Here’s how the Internet would react to these famous authors.

Jack Kerouac

What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? — it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.

On the Road

Internet: “At least you have a car you white, upper-middle class, male, privileged whiner!”


Virginia Woolf

Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.

A Room of One’s Own

Internet: “This is just typical feminazi BS. ‘Feminism’ needs to die.”


William Shakespeare

Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Macbeth (Act V, Scene V).

Internet: “wut?”


David Foster Wallace

Am I a good person? Deep down, do I even really want to be a good person, or do I only want to seem like a good person so that people (including myself) will approve of me? Is there a difference? How do I ever actually know whether I’m bullshitting myself, morally speaking?

Consider the Lobster and Other Essays

Internet: “Just another navel-gazing oversharing douchebag. Please kill yourself.”


Haruki Murakami

Holding this soft, small living creature in my lap this way, though, and seeing how it slept with complete trust in me, I felt a warm rush in my chest. I put my hand on the cat’s chest and felt his heart beating. The pulse was faint and fast, but his heart, like mine, was ticking off the time allotted to his small body with all the restless earnestness of my own.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Internet: “It seems like you like cats a lot, bro.”


Jane Austen

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

Pride and Prejudice

Internet: “#whitegirlproblems”


J.D. Salinger

I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It’s awful. If I’m on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I’m going, I’m liable to say I’m going to the opera. It’s terrible.

The Catcher in the Rye

Internet: “You seem like a self-obsessed idiot and a bad person. Also, why aren’t there any black people in this?”


Ernest Hemingway

So, Robert Wilson thought to himself, she is giving him a ride, isn’t she? Or do you suppose that’s her idea of putting up a good show? How should a woman act when she discovers her husband is a bloody coward? She’s damn cruel but they’re all cruel. They govern, of course, and to govern one has to be cruel sometimes. Still, I’ve seen enough of their damn terrorism.

The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber

Internet: “This is blatant misogyny! I can’t believe a clearly sexist toolbag like you was ever published.”


Hunter S. Thompson

We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers… and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Internet: “This is advocating drug use. Are we supposed to think you’re cool because you brag and boast about all the drugs you do? Get a life.”


Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta. She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita. Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did. In point of fact, there might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, an initial girl-child.


Internet: “Dude, that’s messed up. What happened to keeping some thoughts to yourself? This generation just wants to share every thought they have. You’re definitely going to regret writing this.”


Jonathan Safran Foer

…it wasn’t the bombs and burning buildings, it was me, my thinking, the cancer of never letting go, is ignorance bliss, I don’t know, but it’s so painful to think, and tell me, what did thinking ever do for me, to what great place did thinking ever bring me? I think and think and think, I’ve thought myself out of happiness one million times, but never once into it.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Internet: “9-11 was an inside job.”


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Then my friend’s wiry arms were round me, and he was leading me to a chair. “You’re not hurt, Watson? For God’s sake, say that you are not hurt!” It was worth a wound – it was worth many wounds – to know the depth of loyalty and love which lay behind that cold mask. The clear, hard eyes were dimmed for a moment, and the firm lips were shaking. For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain. All my years of humble but single-minded service culminated in that moment of revelation.

— Sherlock Holmes, The Three Garridebs

Internet: “Gay.” TC mark


More From Thought Catalog

  • http://twitter.com/emilcDC Emil Caillaux

    I have definitely seen every single one of those comments, or a variation thereof, on TC.

    (Also, Gaby Dunn is my muse now.)

    • Guest

      man, get off her dick.

      • http://twitter.com/emilcDC Emil Caillaux

        Exhibit A.

      • Guest

        im just sayin. everytime i read a gaby dunn article, i can always expect you to come thru to gush over how brilliant and wonderful she is. i agree she’s great but you gots to chill, she’s not gonna fuck you bro.

      • http://twitter.com/emilcDC Emil Caillaux

        I like to balance out the negative, brah.

  • Faust

    can I cum on your face, Anne Sexton?

  • Brittany

    Gaby Dunn rocks. 

  • Michaelwg

    Love it!

  • Cafe.au.Lait

    This is a really good idea for an article, but a lot of the “Internet” comments lacked punch. The last one was perfect, though :P

    • woo

      Agreed. I liked the premise but the internet I’m sure is a lot funnier than that!

      • Anonymous

        “great idea, but poor execution. title felt particularly misleading.” – internet commenter re: dave eggers’ “a heartbreaking work of staggering genius”

  • Oliver Miller

    We need a Marcel Proust “tl;dr” one.  :)

    • Zachary Corsa

      or james joyce. or leo tolstoy. 

  • Guest

    Ugh. I found the David Foster Wallace comment to be in very poor taste… You know he actually hung himself not too long ago, right? Why not throw in some 9/11 jokes about Foer’s excerpt while you’re at it?

    • Oliver Miller

      “Knock knock.”

      “Who’s there?”


      “9/11 who?”

      “…You said you’d never forget!”

    • Anonymous

      I do know that and that was the point. People really do cavalierly tell others to “kill yourself” on the Internet. I thought maybe that comment for DFW was too
      much, but then I thought, “No, you know what? Maybe someone will think
      twice before throwing that around if I put it in the context of someone
      who actually killed himself.” This wasn’t under “Humor.” Some were funny, but I hope it really makes people think about their words.

      • Guest

        If that was your true intent, I stand corrected and your
        DFW comment was very effective.

      • Anonymous

        No worries, Guesty!

  • http://twitter.com/alalalex alex

    9/10, would read again.

  • http://mason-jar-memories.blogspot.com/ Grace Elizabeth

    Oh my gosh, this is scarily and hilariously and painfully accurate.

    The immense loathing I feel for negative, nit-picking internet commentators is riveled only by the immense love I have for classic authors. What an awesome combination this article is ^___^

  • asdf

    “The Holy Bible”

    “tl dr”

  • Mila Jaroniec

    Oh my god, perfect. 

  • Anonymous

    Dead on! Amazing.

  • guest

    This was actually worth the read, sometimes I cant make it to the end of these articles because I often fall asleep from complete and utter boredom. All the “how to live” your life articles and lists are over kill, but this was actually THOUGHTFUL. Cheers. 

  • http://underwaterbreedingapparatus.blogspot.com/ MAX K

    From the opposite end of the spectrum, if Neil deGrasse Tyson just kind of silently farts a little, 11 internet shrines are erected in his honor.
    (^ Mostly relevant comment with both the words “fart” and “erect” included. My work here is done.)

    • Jake

      Neil deGrasse Tyson is kind of a douchebag.

      • mj1176

         How so?

  • Mom

    Only you. What a brain!

  • http://robvincent.net Rob T Firefly

    Holden Caulfield does seem like a self-obsessed idiot and a bad person.

    • alia

      why are you even on thought catalog

      • http://robvincent.net Rob T Firefly

        To impress you and only you.

  • Ted Pillow

    So awesome.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/juwug JWG

    shit this is how people react to these authors now, it’s not even hypothetical.

  • Emily Anne

    Congrats on the HuffPostHill shout-out – they linked to this in today’s newsletter in the comfort food section!

  • Nishant

    Holymoly, this was brilliant!!

  • guest

    Murakami IS obsessed with cats… 

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