I used to post quite often to a Facebook page called GIN AND TACOS. I like the writing of the pundit who owns and operates the page (Ed Burmila) and generally find I agree with his opinions.
Mr. Burmila has a job as an assistant professor at some university in Indiana, I believe, and while he doesn't seem to enjoy his job much, he is indisputably more of a success at life so far than I am, as being an assistant professor while you're still in your 30s is way better by any standard (including mine) than being an IT help desk tech when you're in your 50s. Mr. Burmila has also been achieving some moderate amounts of success placing political commentary articles with some decent markets lately. In another ten years, he may be writing for Rolling Stone or Mother Jones as a celebrity columnist like Matt Taibbi or David Corn. And I say, more power to him.
But here's the interesting thing that happens when I comment in Mr. Burmila's threads - people get mad at me. They call me names. And one word they use a lot is 'bloviating'.
gerund or present participle:
talk at length, especially in an inflated or empty way.
What I find interesting about this is that Mr. Burmila is by no means short of textual wind in his own posts. In fact, he frequently posts essays that run to thousands of words. Nobody in the hundreds of comments he gets on each post accuses him of 'bloviating'.
So what's the difference? Why do my lengthy posts in Mr. Burmila's comment threads offend people, when Mr. Burmila's own lengthy posts do not?
It's not that I'm snarkier than Mr. Burmila -- Christ, if you'd ever read anything he's posted, you'd know what a laugh that thought is. And as I've said, our opinions usually align, so it's not that, either. And while I would never want to say that Mr. Burmila isn't a better writer than I am, I will say that if he is it's a matter of increments. I'm a pretty good writer. I have talent and I have skill and I have experience and I'm pretty funny. Mr. Burmila is too, and, again, he might be more of those things than I am, but honestly, the people who are bitching at me over the length of my comments on his page simply don't strike me as being smart enough or analytical enough to make that kind of judgment call. Well. Not in any way that I'd call reliable.
But Mr. Burmila is the star of the show over there. More importantly, Mr. Burmila is achieving some level of success. And
when a person is achieving some level of success in our culture, people
tend to be attracted to that person. They want things from that person,
and because we tend to like people we want things from, many of the
people who are attracted by Mr. Burmila's success, and want things from
him, are trying to be his friend. They hope he will like them, find
them interesting, and then, he will do nice things for them. Like,
maybe, hook them up with an editor or an agent. Or, whatever.
I have to assume that the people who are so bitterly resentful of the length of my own comments find the demands posed on then by the length of Mr. Burmila's posts to be just as tedious. But they suppress that with him. I would also assume that they are probably just as threatened by Mr. Burmila's intelligence and lucidity as they clearly are by mine. But, again, Mr. Burmila is more successful than I am and they want things from him. So they're nice to him. They do not perceive me as being successful at all, and therefore there is nothing I can do for them, so they don't want anything from me, and therefore, they can allow their annoyance and resentment do show much more fully. The very length of my comments imposes stress on their microscopic media-child attention spans, my obvious intelligence and capacity for analytical thought also makes them feel rather dim in comparison, and since sucking up to me won't get them anything, well. I'm bloviating, and Ed Burmila isn't doing any such thing.
I don't think I could ever handle even Mr. Burmila's level of success very well. Because if I ever get to a point where I've got hundreds of strangers commenting on my views on the internet in a laudatory manner that nonetheless indicates they've never had an original thought in their lives, I'm probably going to find them tedious and say so.
Or maybe not. After all, when you insult the people who are your potential readers, your sales are probably going to drop.
I'm a poor businessman, I'm afraid.
Thanks for reading me while I bloviate.