they make comments

My friend Mikey is a brilliant writer, one of the kindest humans I’ve ever known, the Lord of Chili, the voice of Scooter, and just an amazing person. My life is better because he is in it, and I want teleporters right now so I can see him every day, since we live in different states.

Mikey also has MS, which is a real bitch of a thing to have. He never complains about it, and doesn’t even talk about it unless I bring it up, but it’s something he deals with.

Yesterday, Mikey made the mistake of looking at some YouTube comments, and got to feel the full-throated cruelty of the Internet Dickwagon Society. Some of these really brave and clever individuals attacked Mikey for having MS, and were just completely horrible human beings. I sincerely hope that they’re just clueless teenagers who haven’t fully developed their empathy yet, and don’t fully understand how cruel and hurtful they were. I hope that, someday, they will grow up and realize how cruel and hurtful they were, and make an effort to apologize and make amends.

So yesterday, when Mikey was getting attacked and hurt by strangers who would, in all likelihood never speak out loud the words they typed on their keyboards, a bunch of us who love him rallied to his side, and supported him. People like Felicia Day, Veronica Belmont, Max Temkin, Anthony Carboni and I reminded Mikey how much we love him, how incredible he is, and how worthless the Internet Hate Machine actually is.

But it was our friend Joel Watson who put into a few simple words the very best way to consider the value of Internet Dickwagons who are shitty to creative people online:

For those of you who can’t see the embed above:

you make games and comics and books. they make comments.This is an important thing to keep in mind, for all creative people in the universe: the very act of creating is courageous. Making art requires empathy and a willingness to be vulnerable and naked before the world. Doing these things on the Internet means you’re exposing yourself to the very best and the very worst our species has to offer. Just remember, when someone is being a terrible monstrous awful cruel human being: you made a thing, and they made a comment.

I know you’ll end up reading this, Mikey: I love you. Team Wheaton loves you. You’re amazing, and since I’m cooler than those Internet Dickwagons, you have to listen to me and not them.

50 thoughts on “they make comments”

  1. That hurts my heart. I find it ironic that we all rail about bullies and how no one should bully yet there they are all over the internets. Hypocrites. Mike, dont you give it another thought.

  2. Thank you for these kind words. I was following on Twitter and it was really tough to see. I don’t really know where this hatred is coming from and I really hope it is only a temporary phase until everybody gets used to the seemingly anonymity of the internet. I don’t want to believe that this is what people really are and feel. Let this be a call for everyone out there to speak up against this hate and let these dicks know that it is neither cool nor acceptable. Will it change something? I don’t know. But it certainly will not hurt.

  3. I believe Penny Arcade put it best that a normal person granted a little anonymity and an audience becomes a total jerk (their language is worse than mine). It is not young people that do this, but emotionally immature individuals. Emotional maturity has nothing to do with age and a lot to do with lack of introspection and personal growth. These are people who never stopped to think about others or how their actions affect others. They are typically shallow and self absorbed and as such should just be ignored. It is too bad that people don’t have metacritic ratings that allow us to immediately discount these idiots at a glance as being undeserving of our attention. They are 10/100 human beings.

  4. I hope Mikey will read this comment too:

    Mikey, I too love you buddy. I have a story to tell you, though I think you know it a bit, since I talked to you on your blog a while ago.

    In December of 2011, I began getting checked for a lump in my neck. About the same time, I began to read Mikey’s blog about his own health battles. It made me laugh, because Mikey is an entertaining, witty guy. The following March, after having half of my thyroid removed, I was diagnosed with Stage One Follucular Thyroid Cancer. At age 26, I had to deal with a chronic illness that I never expected to have.

    Because of Mikey’s blog, I wrote about my own experiences. This was the first time that I had to deal with a major illness, the first time I had to have surgery, and the first time I was actually scared I might die. I went to PAX East that year before I got my results back, and I got the chance to go to the Post PAX game night hosted by Mikey and Gearbox with my friends. We had a great time, especially with my first major groan-inducing win at CAH (“Lifetime presents: {Jerking off into a pool of children’s tears}, The Story of {Michael Jackson}” pretty much stopped the game for a few minutes while everyone regained their composure.) But one thing I didn’t do is actually go up to Mikey and one on one tell him how I appreciated his blog and his wit, and I regret that. I think it was the thought of coming across as a creepy fanboy or something that stopped me. So I still have a hug for Mikey in reserve for when our paths do cross again.

    In closing, I want to say thank you to both Mikey and Wil. You two are amazing stand up guys, and I hope that at age 28 I can be even a quarter as awesome as you.

    1. Wow. I am so sorry to hear about what you’re going through. I wish you had come up to talk to me and that we have an opportunity to sit down in the future. I’d love to meet you and swap gross hospital stories.

      Thank you so much for posting this. Even though this ENTIRE ORDEAL has made me avoid comments like the plague, I’m glad I decided to throw caution to the wind and look.

      If you’re going to PAX Prime, I’d love to meet you.


      1. Sadly, I don’t have the money to go to PAX Prime. PAX East next year might be possible, as long as tickets don’t sell out before I can get them. I got lucky with my medical situation, in that insurance covered most of it, but this year, the store I worked at closed and finding a job is really hard right now. But either way, we will meet at some point. I mean this is my twitter handle too.

      2. Mikey!

        I also am in the MS Club. It’s like the Mickey Mouse Club except you feel like you’ve been hit… with the Club. Well some days I don’t feel it at all and sometimes it’s a number of days in a row and then I start thinking , “OMG! Am I imagining it?” And then… I walk all day on concrete floors at Comic Con in Ottawa a few days ago and… wham! Next morning, barely able budge out of bed, reach for the cane for the first time in a little while and I thought somebody sneaked in and beat me to a pulp in the night. Just want you to know you’re definitely not alone. It’s real. Punks who would trash you for it are more ‘disabled’ than we are. I can still write and sing and create. They… well I guess they can say bad words on the internet. Yeah. That’ll be remembered for years to come… er… NO.

        Having MS (or any illness) doesn’t define you or me. Our value has nothing to do with that. I’m speaking to myself as much as you. It’s so easy to tell somebody else. I could tell you all day about it and then have a day where I feel like I’m a schmuck for having MS!

        I’m glad you have great friends to shout louder than the voices of a few emotionally crippled people who will get a big shock when they get older and troubles come. It’s maddening when people say these things, but it’s also sad. You can get away from it by clicking off the page. They can’t escape their own selves and it can’t be fun living in such a hateful space.

        Please don’t ever listen to that. You do art and create. You bring your friends happiness just by being you. Now I have read what I wrote and it sounds like sappy Oprah crap. Sorry. I don’t even watch Oprah. I just know what it feels like to be discouraged by this stupid beast called MS. I wish you all the success in the world and just wanted to add an encouraging voice in there… without sounding fake and sugary… oh God… did it sound fake and sugary? D’oh!

    2. We’ve not really moved on since alt.wesley.crusher.die.die.die, have we?

      The YouTube Derp plugin has really improved my internets experience.

  5. “Internet Dickwagon Society”! Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    By law of opposites, does that make us good people part of the Internet Vaginawagon Society? So be it.

    1. Hey, from what I hear the vagina is a vastly more resilient organ than its opposite number.

      But maybe, just maybe… we should consider being the Cuntwagon Society. Has a nice ring to it, and also seems more comparable to Dickwagon. We may also discuss optioning “Clamwagon” or “Ladybitswagon” (too wordy?), and of course “Mingewagon” for our European chapter.

  6. This reminds me of why I get pissed off at people who rag on Shatner (beyond a certain good-natured point), for things they perceive as cheesy or terrible, including: his work on Trek, his spoken-word singing, and participating in the first full-length feature film in Esperanto.

    (Ragging on him for his alleged behavior towards fans or peers at certain points in his personal development… that’s another matter. That’s not what I’m talking about right now.)

    Here’s the thing: whether he ever succeeded or not, he took risks for art.

    First on-screen interracial kiss? Risk. “The Transformed Man”? Risk. Incubus? Risk.

    Did they all pay off? Did they all work out? Hell no, they did not.

    If you only ever do things that pay off, you are not taking risks.

    The world is better when people are encouraged to take risks for art (and for science, and for justice, and for freedom, but right now I’m talking about art). It’s a good thing. It takes courage, and should be cultivated.

    Just, please people, think about that before you rag on someone for doing something that you judge as terrible. Do you really want to discourage the attempt? Really?

  7. I’m sorry that Mikey has to deal with douchenozzle comments. The anonymity of the Internet brings out both the best and worst in people. I recently went through a bout of cancer, and as a self-employed (and uninsured) artist, being laid up meant no income. I wrote openly about this—and a bunch of my readers sent money. Some of them send me actual cash through the mail, anonymously. And one complete asshole sent me an email calling me ugly names, and telling me to get over myself.

    Listen to the best. F*ck the worst. And don’t be a dick.

  8. This has me thinking not of internet bullies and cowards, or of Mikey and what a legitimately shitty night he must have had (and, yes, MS is a bitch of a thing to have). I find myself thinking of all the kids and other people out there who don’t have circles of friends to rally around them, defend them, send them encouragement to help drown out the mean-ness. In that sense, Mikey is a really lucky guy, not just for having friends to support him, but for having the life experience and sense of self to be able to put such internet bullies in perspective, and not let them inside his head, or take over his life.

    Makes me want to join a roving internet posse of people who trawl the internet, looking for kids who are being bullied, and leave them nice, supportive messages, and tell them they’re okay.

  9. Thanks to everyone who puts themselves out there. Sorry so many turds try and ruin it. Every time I take a group of students to a school play or art show I remind them how much courage it takes to make art, and if they can’t keep ignorant or rude comments to themselves they will suffer dearly for it. Keep up the awesome content. I’d be bored without ya’ll.

  10. The anonymity of the internet can bring out the worst in people :( This is totally going to make me sound like a marketer, but I found this awesome extension for Chrome called “Herp derp for YouTube.” It turns all YouTube comments into “herp derp derp herp derp…” and it has totally made my life better.

    I posted on the Steam forums last week and was totally flamed because I had one little complaint about a game. That is the first and last time I’ll be posting there. It’s really lame how mean people can be.

  11. Since I’m sure your friend is reading this, those people suck. Any chronic disease is definitely not an easy thing to live with. I’m sure some day those people will find out for themselves just what it’s like. MS has been a part of my life since 1988. That’s when my dad was diagnosed and I was diagnosed myself in 2006. So I wish you well in your fight.

  12. Anton Ego: “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.

  13. IT’s the same reason why so many people disable Comments altogether on YouTube: because the Internet is filled with a bunch of anonymous, petulant, immature trolling dickbags who don’t deserve your respect. Anyone coward slander a person anonymously, and any child can mock someone for having a physical ailment. Let the mature adults provide the real input and feedback.

  14. I have similar feelings about a trend I noticed lately. Being the multifaceted individual that I am (/sarcasm), I follow lots of musicians who range from rock to pop to whatthefrakever. One of those is Drake Bell, who has been taking some casual potshots at Justin Bieber lately. Preface: 1) I don’t really care about Justin Bieber but neither do I know any of his apparently-mediocre music, so my feelings are pretty casual also. 2) While I don’t really support Drake’s continual chiding of The Bieber, I don’t see it as especially hateful, either; they’re pretty tame comments, such as “What’s up with that hat?” and “Oh, another original song from JB.” Not saintly, but not the opposite end of the spectrum, either.
    What gets my goats is some of the comments the “Beliebers” (no seriously, that’s a thing now) direct at Mr. Bell in misguided retaliation. This culminated with one girl telling him to “get cancur [sic]”. Get CANCER? I cannot see this as anything that would ever be found funny by someone who is in the remotest hemisphere of sanity. It’s never, ever, EV-ER okay to belittle a debilitating disease or anyone who suffers from it. Even more than this, it baffled me when I went to her profile and saw this:
    “Respect everyone and treat people how you wish to be treated.”
    …I, uh… so she wants people to… wish cancer upon her, I guess? Even if we truly believe that (doubtful) statement, the “respect everyone” part has not been accomplished.

    To Mikey I say that I don’t even know who in the hell you are, but if you’re a creative person it’s all I need to know to salute you. Keep doing what you’re doing and let the trolls stay under the bridge.

  15. My wife has had a MS diagnosis since 1986, the idea of her being attacked for no other real reason that the MS…You are really a standup guy.

  16. Like Angela, this hurts my heart. I have a good friend with MS, and it makes me sad and furious to think of someone being a giant douchecanoe just because he/she can and wants to get some attention.

    Look, all artists, no matter what they make or how they choose to express their art, are more than the sum of their comments, good and bad. Somewhere, someone saw, read, heard, tasted, touched, smelled, *participated in* something that an artist did, and it changed that person’s life forever. That’s pretty awesome.

  17. I hope Mikey sees this.

    I live with chronic pain and chronic illness. I’m sure Mikey has zero idea how much his blog makes me laugh, how much of my own experiences I see in his, how many things we have in common because of our respective battles. I don’t know him, but he makes it easier to handle all the crap going on. Multiple surgeries, painful recoveries, horrible days where nothing relieves the pain, when the discomfort is there even under a well medicated haze. The humor and grace he battles with inspires me to find the humor and grace needed to fight my own.

    Laughter is the key to winning these battles – both the physical, and against the cruelty of others.

  18. I’m sorry that I’ve been so busy this week that I wasn’t aware that Operation Buck Up Little Soldier was in effect. I think Mikey knows that I think he’s hella awesome — Hella. Awesome. — but it’s worth saying publicly, because everyone ELSE should know it, too.

    Having had my own recent go-round with the less attractive side of YouTube commentry, I totally grok whence Mikey cometh. He’s strong, and he’ll bounce back, and he’ll achieve amazing things that make these YouTube comment cowards duck back under their rocks for fear that his success might burn their souls. AND THEY ARE RIGHT.

  19. Mikey,
    Forgive me. We haven’t met. Before now, I didn’t even know you existed. But Wil spoke highly of you, and considering that he turned me into a Molly Lewis fan, I’ve already looked over your stuff.
    You, sir, are damn good at what you do.
    And what Internet buttpirates say about you won’t change that a whit. Considering that Wil’s blog here has countless positive comments about you, written by people who know how to use complete sentences filled with properly spelled words, well, that speaks volumes. Buttpirates, on the other hand… how to say this… you have to understand that Twitter is their perfect mechanism for stupid. The messages have to be short (which also means less chance their lips get tired), it means they can show their flair for single syllable words, and they don’t have to express complete, nuanced thoughts. As I said, perfect. For them.
    So you keep on doing The Awesome. Leave the assmonkeys to us. We got this.

  20. “…since I’m cooler than those Internet Dickwagons, you have to listen to me and not them.”

    QFT. I’ve used that arguement before, and it’s always valid.

  21. I just have to echo what everyone has said. They are just jealous children who feel they aren’t capable of contributing anything positive to the world so must tear down others so they don’t feel so small.
    My mother was diagnosed with MS back in 1999. her chiropractor figured out what was wrong with her and made our GP do the tests.. and when she went in for her first MRI, the tech was shocked she had walked in on her own (and is still walking!) because f all the lesions.. It has been hard for her, but she keeps doing what she can and gets on with things. Things got harder after my father passed away in 2003 and then the meds her doctors had her on caused glaucoma and she had to have surgery to keep from going blind. She is slowly getting worse and starting to have problems with her balance, of course she never wants to use the walker she should be using so once in a while she falls. My sister is living with her right now, so that helps.
    And in the last few years I’ve discovered my issues with gluten and all the attendant medical issues that have plagued me horribly for years, to the point that there were days I could barely function.. because of that are finally starting to improve.
    I know how every day can be a struggle and having idiots hound you to try to make you feel worse never helps. But the problem is theirs, not yours. And please, everyone with kids, make sure they learn young that this sort of behavior, online or off, is never acceptable.
    Meanwhile, Mikey, I hope your meds and any other treatments you are using keep working for you and can hold things off for as long as possible, and here’s hoping they soon find better treatments

  22. I’ll admit, I don’t know who Mikey is, but I already know he’s at least ten thousand times more amazing than these people. Why?

    Because they attacked him for having MS.

    I hope one day someone reads this post, Wil, and realises that they’re not going to do that kind of thing anymore.

  23. “This is an important thing to keep in mind, for all creative people in the universe: the very act of creating is courageous. Making art requires empathy and a willingness to be vulnerable and naked before the world… Just remember, when someone is being a terrible monstrous awful cruel human being: you made a thing, and they made a comment.” – Wil Wheaton, Famous Actor and all around Creative Awesome Guy

    Is it ok if I post this in my classroom? I’m an English / Dance / Drama, etc teacher and some of my students are brilliant and are so afraid of what their classmates will say that they hide their awesomeness and it’s heartbreaking.

  24. Thank you for clearly being a great friend to Mikey (and I’m sure others), and for this blog – always a great reminder of the goodness of geekdom.

  25. One of my favorite quotes of all times seems apropos: “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” – Teddy Fucking Roosevelt

  26. Mikey, I don’t know you, but I send you the best life has to offer, and I know it’s easy to say and not so easy to feel, but don’t listen to the haters, man. Wil nailed it. You put something out there into the world. Something that was not there before and that touches the lives of others. You took nothing, and made something. That’s a lot more powerful an act that simply making a comment. Stay strong, sir. We of the Anti-Internet Dickwagon Society are with you all the way.

    Oh, and Wil? That penultimate paragraph? Thanks for that.

  27. Since I apparently live on the other side of the internet (with the unicorns), I hadn’t heard of Mikey until this post. I think this situation illustrates again it’s high time someone ought to write that computer virus that reads comments aloud to people before posting them. Until then I’ll keep on fighting the douchecanoes of the internet the only way I know: by actually posting positive comments instead of just thinking them and moving on.

    So here it goes. Mikey: my left pinkie tells me you are awesome and she is never wrong (except that one time with the ravioli but we never mention that) and I’ve added The Returners to my reading list (take that YouTube douchenozzles!). Wil: thank you for sticking up for your friend and writing about it here, you are not only an awesome creator but a good person.

  28. See, I think we should all be free to offer an honest appraisal of someone’s work, but there is never an excuse for getting personal, let alone being a total dick such as to use someone’s actual suffering as a stick with which to beat them, or wishing ‘cancur’ (sic) on someone. Just respect the creator, even if you do not appreciate the creation, I suppose, and make all criticism constructive criticism. Speaking personally, I am never afraid of constructive criticism, and am open-minded enough to take it on board, if I feel it would make something better. Negative criticism helps nobody.

  29. Mikey, I don’t know you either, but it is not your fault that douchenuggets like the ones attacking you have nothing better to do than wave their relatively tiny little captains out in public and show us their shortcomings. You are a wonderful human being.

    As for the douchenuggets — they learn this crap from people like Rush Limbaugh, who thought it was funny to rag on Michael J. Fox for having parkson’s disease. These little flatulent asses are nothing more than children spooging in public, messing up public places for the rest of us. Ignore them. Their true worth has been demonstrated.

    Wil, thank you for bringing this online asshattery to light. We really need to shine a light on the abuse culture here online.

  30. YouTube is widely regarded to have the worst commenters on the Internet. They’re barely considered human, and will basically attack anyone who posts anything on there, so try hard not to take it personally.

  31. While normally a lurker, this pushed a major button for me. Mikey, I admit like many who commented I did not know of you before Wil posted. Living with MS is tough enough, let along being in the public eye and having idiots make fun of you because of it. While I do not have MS, I have several close friends who do. One of those friends was diagnosed nearly 20 years ago, and while she is having difficulty walking now, she never gives up. For the last 18 years I have supported my friends by doing the BikeMS ride, so this cause is near and dear to my heart. As everyone else has said, don’t let the idiots bring you down.

    Wil, thanks for highlighting this. Just another reason I’ve been a fan of yours for many years.

  32. Wil, we need more people like you in the world. Mikey, I am so sorry you are having to deal with all of this. I don’t know you, but if Wil likes you, you must be a pretty awesome person. Forget those fools, and remember how many people love you. I wish you many blessings.

  33. Josh, Will and Mikey, I so adore and respect you! I love that comment Josh made. Bullies make ignorant hurtful comments that’s all. No contribution to art, just to the decline of intelligence and empathy in our society. So glad the dumbasses will probably come across this thread….

  34. I’m sorry to hear your friend has MS. I saw a TEDx talk about a doctor who was able to cure herself of MS by her diet. Here is the link to the talk:

    After watching this I assumed MS was cured but I haven’t heard anything else about it. Either it only worked on her or people don’t want word out that MS could be cured without expensive drugs. Either way it was interesting to watch.

  35. What is it about the relative anonymity of a screen and a keyboard that sucks the humanity out of some folks, but brings out the best in others?

    1. A great deal of it (for some people like me) is the ability to think through what you’re about to say. Publicly, it’s out of your mouth and gone, so if you’re not sure what you say is what you mean you tend to shut up. Allowing a moment to reflect, you can more accurately convey your thoughts.

      Of course, this does not apply to Dickwagons; they just say whatever they think might get a reaction.

  36. I hate to be another “me too” voice, but I guess my “voice” need to say something rather than silently agree.

    To quote The Duke, “Don’t let the bastards get you down”

  37. So after reading comments I gotta say we nerds are the funniest when it comes to making up names like dickwagon and crapweasel and Mingewagon or whatever, Im inspired by the compassion here and the hilarity in our vocabulary. Thanks everyone!

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