Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

Ant estate agents

Sunday, 26 April 2009

That is what I have written about for the Observer this week. Ant estate agents. I thought it would make a change from writing stern serious things about adoption laws and anti-feminist historians. What I find amazing is that even when I write about ANT ESTATE AGENTS, people on the Guardian website find reasons to write nasty comments underneath it. I swear, there is a weird agenda on that website. I grip on to my increasingly tenuous confidence that readers of the actual folding-papery Observer are broadly nicer / smarter / more liberal than readers of some other papers, which is why I want to write for them. (And also because I think their opinions will be, broadly, more like mine than those of other papers’ readers.) But some of those who post on the website can do bad things to your faith in human nature. They’ll find the tiniest, most irrelevant reasons to be nasty. I mean, ANT ESTATE AGENTS, for crying out loud.

Facebook Google Digg Reddit Yahoo! StembleUpon Newsbine LiveJournal BlinkList

Add Comment


Paul Russell at 2:21 pm on April 26th, 2009

People who leave comments on newspaper websites are an odd bunch, and not entirely representative of the readership of the print version. The most depressing bunch are those that leave comments on local paper websites.

Of course,  people who leave comments on blogs are the worst…

David R at 3:42 pm on April 26th, 2009

A few years ago, some ants moved in next door. As soon as they moved in there was this constant noise from a drum kit they were playing all the time. Luckily, the situation became resolved as they bought drum pads instead, and played using headphones.

Then they became obsessed with the tv show Hawaii Five-O. They bought all the series on DVD, and they would all suddenly start singing the Hawaii Five-O theme tune at any time of the day or night. It would last for about 10-15 minutes and then it would be quiet.

That was 2 years ago. Since then we’ve had no problems with them whatsoever.

brec at 5:16 pm on April 26th, 2009

As it happens, today’s New York TImes Magazine has a piece by Virginia Heffernan on online comments to newspaper columns.  My pull quote: “[O]nline commentary is a bête noire for journalists and readers alike.”
(Free subscription perhaps required)

Alan Glaum at 8:28 pm on April 26th, 2009

yes those of us who pay our £2 for the Observer are more likely to have similar views and I suspect the on-line responses contain a lot of people who want to undermine the paper because it is liberal etc.

Bur I do make a point of reading newspapers/magazines I do not agree with entirely (e.g the Telegraph on a Saturday and New Internationalist), precisely because it makes me think and occasionally change my ideas.
And that’s why you might want to reach people who do not agree with you,  wouldn’t you like to change some people to your point of view?

spanther22 at 9:03 pm on April 26th, 2009

John Gabriel’s theory nailed this phenomenon in his cartoon
The most important thing regarding any criticism or comments is to consider the source - how important are the views of an anonymous webmong?  Does kittyfartpants69_4U telling you “your stupid” matter?  The only opinions that matter are those of people you know and trust (and i guess your boss)

Oh and whatever you do, don’t start writing your column with one eye on pleasing the commentators - do you really want their praise/approval ?

If the comments do get too tedious rather than replying in a reasonable manner id love it if you just told someone “if you dont like it, fuck off!”.  But then i have a mental age of 11 which is why i love commentating on the internet.

Phil at 3:02 am on April 27th, 2009

The fact that you care enough to let their opinions shake your faith in human nature might be one of the reasons why you are a professional writer and they are most certainly not.

Sam at 8:23 am on April 27th, 2009

VIcky, if you think that you’ve got it bad just look at the mauling that Tom Meltzer got today.

I mean, ouch.  I think there’s probably a hint of jealousy in half of the comments there, due to not being an aspiring 21 year old writer, but then again the prose itself is hardly proust.

AndytheDealer at 7:49 pm on April 27th, 2009

DON’T read them.

You do not need to be weighed down by the inadequacies and insecurities of ignoramuses.

David R at 10:55 pm on April 27th, 2009

Oh, I forgot to mention that there was also one occasion when the youngest ant in the family broke into our house and stole a granule of sugar. The police were called but no charges were made, and he received a caution from the Ant Liaison Officer of our local constabulary.

He was basically a good ant. It’s just that he had fallen in with the wrong crowd of arthropods.

joeking at 8:31 am on April 28th, 2009

Poker porno princess precipitates peculiar platitudes

Chacidy at 6:29 pm on October 25th, 2011

That’s way the bestest answer so far!

Victoria Coren

News: September 2017

September 7th is a big day!

Click here to read more »

Switch Theme

Click here to change colour scheme

RSS Feed

Subscribe to the RSS feed here