The number one rule of Spite Club is: You do not have to talk about Spite Club. All you have to do is accomplish or achieve something notable in the public eye. The rest happens naturally.
I’m omitting the names, gender, race/ethnicity, age, careers, and all distinguishing characteristics of the friends in question because those details will only jaundice the opinions of many readers. Not because any of those things are “positive” or “negative”; because some readers will simply make up their mind against my case if I did, based upon their own personal prejudices.
You and I both know this: some readers are stupider than shit. We see the proof every day, in the lies they’re willing to believe. They hate someone or something so intensely and irrationally, they’ll believe anything.
Anyway- back to the story. My friend created an item that, like many items in our consumer culture, costs money and thus can be used to “make a living”. Many people like this item and my friend, and spend money.
Some don’t like either. And so a handful of them form a little “Spite Club”.
- One Spite Club member is always a bitter “former friend” of my friend(s), and because they never have a proper job, they spend all their time spreading hearsay and personal information on social media and web forums.
- People who dislike my friend(s) or their creation(s) volunteer as Spite Club members, enticed and emboldened by the open validation of their hatred.
- Now that Spite Club has more than 3 members, they gather on a forum and gossip about my friend(s) under colorful screen names, or they get together on Google Hangouts and talk shit behind cartoon avatars of themselves. If they do bother to show their face, they wear sunglasses. Indoors.
- The founder of the Spite Club becomes even more energized. They begin to openly taunt my friend(s), calling them cowardly for not participating in a debate that they probably never knew existed in the first place.
- The biggest loser in the Spite Club unearths some unflattering confession my friend(s) made years/decades prior, and misquotes it into a makeshift cudgel.
- When my friend(s) finally debates the Spite Club, its members turn into junior-high dropouts, repeatedly screaming a mendacious exaggeration of the unflattering confession like bull-baiting Scientologists.
And that’s why you don’t have to talk about Spite Club. You don’t have to. They will. It’s all they can do.
It’s all they’ll ever accomplish.
I’ve been an independent comic creator since the late 1980s. As a cartoonist, I firmly believe that committing to one political side or the other is professional suicide. Early in my career, I had a few cartoons rejected by publishers because I was leaning too heavily on one side of an issue, which is otherwise known as propaganda. I’ve received angry mail from readers who disagreed with my views. Some of it I have saved in a scrapbook. It goes all the way back to when I started out, in high school.
I began drawing when I was 2. I don’t really know how to do anything else besides draw cartoons. Replying to my haters as though they deserve respect would be a tacit admission that I am a failure, and that I’ve wasted my life. So I do what I’ve done since I was in kindergarten: Oh, they don’t like my little cartoons? Fuck ’em.
Often I wake up in the morning ready to leap from a second-story window because I can’t make my rent. Oh, if only I’d swallowed my pride and blown so-and-so, I’d be living large off fat checks from [glossy magazine/network/website/IP royalties]. If only I could sublimate my harsher ideas, and play ball with Nickelodeon or some such.
You know how I make my rent? Drawing cartoons. Doing commissions. Writing. Sometimes I take odd jobs to better make ends meet, but the rest is all me at my desk. In 2019, a year when almost nobody is able to survive working as a writer, artist or cartoonist. I’ve been writing the titular strip for the past 21 years. If I don’t sell art or books, I don’t eat. And yet, here I still am. Here you are reading this. Alongside people all over the world.
I hate begging for money online, because I’ve seen other creators, ones a thousand times more “famous” than myself, with no choice but to do the same. People who created comics that shaped who I am as a person. People who built their lives on those comics. People who built families.
The Spite Club takes that sort of thing as hard evidence that the creator is a laughable failure. That their life was a waste, and they deserve the misfortune that they clearly brought upon themselves by being who they are. If the creator is a conservative, a Trump supporter, or (HEAVEN FORFEND) a stated Christian, the Spite Club smells blood, and practically dislocates their arms waving that smell over to anyone who diametrically opposes those things. It’s easy; each of them has their own Spite Club franchise already open for action.
Most commonly, the Spite Club resorts to their typical method; smearing the target as (specifically) a Nazi, white supremacist, racist, or bigot. Always those words. Always. Never with any evidence. Why bother? Thanks to Spite Club, every one of those words is meaningless. Someone they disagreed with over nothing is tantamount to a Jew-murdering fascist or a Klansman with a noose and blazing cross.
Members of Spite Club never care. If you call out their hypocrisy, they call you a Nazi white supremacist racist bigot. Outsiders to the situation never investigate, they simply join the Spite Club dogpile and holler “hey, free punchable Nazi!”
PROTIP: The ones who go on the most about “punching Nazis” have never punched anybody. They would piss their Underoos at the sight of an authentic swastika; in fact, they often do. And you can bet your bottom deutschmark they’re big fans of “Antifa”, aka the ones who look and act like Nazis.
Few things in our world are as disingenuous as “social justice warriors” who act like noble super-sleuths, sniffing out the Nazis hidden in all walks of life. They act like there haven’t been righteously angry people in the last 70 years who risked life and career exposing actual war criminals in hiding. They despise a particular race of people so deeply, that they have to invent Nazi connections to smear them.
That isn’t justice. That’s bullshit. That’s how innocent people lose their jobs and die in the fucking street. This is a triumph in the eyes of Spite Club. They’ll crow in imagined victory long after the target of their scorn is dead.
Because God forbid their lies die too. Then they’d truly be faced with the depth of their failure, and the futility of their very existence. That’s why their narrative never changes; if it did, they’d forget the details. They scream and hurl invective because they’re up against truth. Truth will always out.
I’ve had “friends” who were my most ardent defenders, until the point where they found it socially convenient to turn against me, so they could “look good” for doing so. It’s never worked out for them. Not one of them ever became anything, or even surpassed me. It was all high-school shit, which I learned to ignore in high school. Envy and jealousy can turn even your best friends into shitting monsters.
The best way to recognize who envies you is to look to the ones who sacrifice all integrity to spread lies about you. The ones who claim you’re “obsessed” with them, when in fact it’s the opposite, and they’ve all but forced you to acknowledge them. Since they could never physically fight you, that’s the best they can do. They know it, too. That’s why they wear sunglasses. They can’t risk exposing their lyin’ eyes.
Producing creative work regularly and dependably requires a purity of spirit the Spite Club will never know. They have MS-Painted themselves into a corner, and will remain there, ever more sullen and aggrieved, while the world rolls on unaware of them. They will never create great work because deep down they fear the repercussions they have earned through their actions. They’ll never create anything because they’re terrified the Spite Club will come for them. It always will.
My advice: if you find yourself acting out of spite on the Internet, at least be honest with yourself about what it is and why you’re doing it. There are plenty of lolcows out there that you can safely milk to sate your emotional starvation. Just remember that it holds no value, will bring no value, and odds are good that you’ll become a lolcow yourself if you’re found out. If it all goes south, you can always learn to code. What did you think I originally wrote websites in, a diary?
The first rule of Spite Club is: you don’t talk about Spite Club. They’ve proven that no reason exists to do so. No reason ever will. Bank on it.