The Best Comments on the Internet

by Patrick on March 13, 2009

Yesterday I provided a short reading list for anyone interested in learning more about how the internet is helping people spread their work and what that might mean for those of us who like to read, create and/or sell that work.  A co-worker of mine noted that she liked that I encouraged people to read the comments on some of the blog posts I linked to.  It seemed strange to me that anybody wouldn’t be reading the comments, as there’s much good stuff to be found there, but I suppose that’s the case.  This got me thinking about some of the more notable comments not only from my own posts, but also from other blogs I like.

With that in mind, I give you a selection of fine, interesting and downright weird comments from blogs across the world wide interwebs!

  • I think the best comment I’ve ever received on this blog is one from John Freeman, former president of the National Book Critics Circle and current Granta editor.  In response to a post I wrote criticizing the way the NBCC selected its “Good Reads” list of recommended titles, John wrote a long comment that was more reasoned and better written than the original post:  “I’m not terribly worried, though, about giving very good books another shot at reaching readers. I’m more worried about the speed with which we’re supposed to metabolize books now. Johnson’s novel [Tree of Smoke] was out in September, won an award in November, and I feel by December we’re all supposed to have moved on because it’s had ’success.’” I encourage everyone to read the rest of the comment, as it is equally insightful.
  • Just this past week, The Millions posted a selection of recommended reads in one of its “Staff Picks” posts.  It elicited a long, possibly insane comment from “Anonymous.”  (That Anonymous, he’s everywhere on the web these days.)  Among the highlights:  “But I’ll read James Franco’s book if I have to, if that’s the human thing to do, because I want to be a fucking human being. I have two daughters at home, both of them under the age of 2, and I don’t think that either of them should be raised by someone who is not a fucking human being. So I’m going to really try and be compassionate and open hearted and I’m going to start with James Franco.” Okay.  Incidentally, James Franco was mentioned nowhere in the original post.  Fascinating.  I would almost think it was Sam Lipsyte, master of the rant-as-literature genre, but then he mentions looking forward to Sam Lipsyte’s new book, so…maybe it was Sam.
  • This isn’t the first time a post at the Millions has elicited some interesting comments.  In fact, this post is somewhat infamous for the lit blog pissing contest that ensued between Mark Sarvas and some of the folks from the literary journal n+1.
  • Sometimes controversy will erupt over what makes a comment legitimate.  Boing Boing has a policy of censoring comments by “disemvoweling” them – removing all the vowels in the comment.  You can see examples of this here and here.  As you might expect, this policy is somewhat controversial, and those who are pissed about it have taken their grievances where all nutjob ax grinders go – Amazon.
  • Not all comment threads need to be controversial to be entertaining or informative.  A prime example of this is Rich Rennick’s recent post about e-books on his blog The Word Hoarder.  The thread is full of really interesting, imaginative ideas about not only e-books but also the role of bookstores in general.
  • And finally, I enjoyed the comments on a recent Boing Boing post about Twitter sensation The Mime.  Some very funny stuff there.  My favorite was posted by Guffy:  “What if TheMime is actually a snake that has learned Morse Code? Then what the hell would we do?”

Have some favorite comments of your own?  Leave them in the, um, comments.