Destinations by Tim Wyatt / The Dallas Morning News
Friday, July 21st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
It only takes a few minutes skulking about online to notice just how many angry, bitter people have found the Web to be the perfect platform for the sport of spleen-venting. The hosts of these types of pages are typically angry, bitter and sarcastic. Generally, their postings degenerate into base, foulmouthed screeds that we don't dare mention in a family newspaper. But under a flimsy premise that anger can be a healthy release of emotion, we went out in search of a sampling of the disgruntled, the disenfranchised, the put-upon and the down-and-dirty carpers of the Internet. Keep in mind, we're just skimming the surface here.
There are those who would complain that teenaged cranks don't get their fair share of space in the newspaper. Well, step up on the soapbox, kids, and let it rip. This start-up Webzine targets the 14-plus age group and is looking for contributors.
We liked the idea of this page, and some of the writers showed great promise in becoming card-carrying curmudgeons. But it needs more up-and-coming cranks to survive. As is always the danger with apprentice cranks, careless complaints can go into a tail-spin of insufferable whining and the comments section here tends to do just that. Overall, Crankymag has made an admirable effort, though.
We couldn't resist looking into a site with this name. After all, anger usually ends up being fired, point-blank, at an unsuspecting - and usually, undeserving - target. With the Internet, that means a sarcastic phrase can be aimed at just about anyone in the click of the mouse.
Losers targets 16 groups of Netizens on a regular basis, such as trekkies, rednecks, dorks, freaks, hobbyists and ... uh, journalists. The couples section mocks lovebirds who can't resist posting their lifelong devotion to each other on elaborate, interactive home pages. The site includes a graduating scale of 1-5 L's and short, venomous cracks about each page link. Unfortunately, this page just spirals into downright meanness. Losers!
Sure, host Gramps has a lot to carp about and, in character, appears to be annoyed by a lot of things in the modern world. But the retiree from Gnarly Pines, Fla., has done a wonderful job of turning into a Web-based crank who's not afraid to poke fun at himself now and then. His writing style is pretty good for a retired banker - if that's what he really used to do for a living - and he focuses his homespun criticism on the quirks of the Internet that, frankly, irritate a great many of us. We left this page yearning for more, to which Gramps responded: "I start to work on new articles every Sunday after church and then throw them up here when I'm good and ready. Now keep your shirt on and come back in about a week!"
This popular movie review site is based on the predictable venom of the purple icon who appears to be gagging on some stale popcorn. Still, research has shown that criticizing Hollywood is not only fair game but may surpass baseball as this nation's favorite pastime.
The rating scale here centers on a 1-4 bomb system, with a bundle of dynamite for his meanest remarks: "So godawful that it ruptured the very fabric of space and time with the sheer overpowering force of its mediocrity." Mr. Cranky's best recommendation comes with a one-bomb symbol, signifying the flick is "almost tolerable." This guy even takes the time to savage parts of Casablanca, proving absolutely nothing on film is sacred here.
The Book of Bitterness
Again, our short attention spans were hijacked by the mere title of a Web page. The host's introduction, however, claims that bitter people have been maligned for seeing the world as it really is. Well, of course he's going to say that. We have to admit, however, for those who want to wallow in talk about how unfair life can be, this is as good a place as any to wade in. Almost 40 people from all ages and backgrounds have submitted stunningly bitter accounts of unspoken love, betrayal and fallen heroes - to name just a few subjects where misery loves company. And for being so embittered, they are surprisingly good at putting it all down in words.
The host of Angryman has obviously put his anger to work in designing a very slick site with strong content that proves anger can be as funny as it can be annoying. For those would prefer to vent frustrations on inanimate objects, the site includes a collection of interactive games where visitors can shoot, smash or destroy a variety of nonhuman items.
But the real anger is saved for articles that, for starters, decry bad relationships, working oneself to death, dying broke and that all-time favorite to elicit angry arguments: religion. Each section invites readers to participate in a nonsci-entific poll that attempts to measure angry feelings and help release pent-up irritations without resorting to automatic weapons in public venues. Oh, right. Like that's going to help.