Dumb as a Post

My point is, you should stay away from those restaurants. Especially the ones with the monkeys.

Eric D. Snider can be reached at 344-2560 or dhfamily@heraldextra.com.

Post your comments here:

Anonymous: not funny, snyder. your never funny.
Anonymous: you’re an idiot, because you said “your” instead of “you’re.”
Anonymous: you’re the idiot. who care’s about grammer?
Loozer: why does the hearld keep paying snyder to rite this drivel? it’s always unfunny, offensive and juvenile, and i read it every time, just to make sure.
Buttercup: This was OK, but Snyder is no Robert Kirby! He is also no Mahatma Gandhi, Elvis Presley, Susan B. Anthony or Charles Nelson Reilly. The list of people Snyder is not is nearly endless.
Anonymous: Only BYU student’s like Eric.
Anonymous: Eric had to quit writing at BYU because no one there liked him.
Anonymous: Snider, you must have went to UVSC.
DumbGuy: Another Dave Barry wannabe. I happen to know that Dave Barry invented humor; therefore, anyone else who trie’s to be funny is merely copying Dave Barry.
Stupid Internet Nickname: You’re an idiot!
Anonymous: No, YOU’RE an idiot!
Anonymous: No, YOU’RE an idiot!
Mr. Cornweenious: I know everything. Everything, that is, except how to find something to do with my time other than post 500 comment’s a day on a newspaper Web site.
Toolie O’Toole: why do you people keep reading the column if it’s so bad?
Anonymous: eric is funny!
JudyDesdemona: the only people who like Eric are his roommate’s.
Anonymous: his name is snider, not snyder. your all idiot’s!
Anonymous: No, YOU’RE an idiot!
Anonymous: No, YOU’RE an idiot!
Anonymous: why should we listen to you when you wont even sign your name after your comment’s?????????
Anonymous: I am a 2-year-old who is just whacking randomly at a computer keyboard. Snider suck’s!
Anonymous: ur a teribul riter and once u gaiv a bad revue to a play i wuz in so u suk and ur muther’s a hore
Anonymous: The reason eric is such a terrible columnist is because the mormon church isn’t true.
Anonymous: No, YOU aren’t true!
Anonymous: No, YOU aren’t true!
PiousZealot: A newspaper should treasure it’s reader’s. Mr. Snider, you need to realize that some things are held sacred by people of good taste. Monkey’s are one of those things. You should be ashamed of yourself, making fun of monkey’s as you did. The joke about the flatulent pope was funny, though.
Anonymous: Snider must be gay, or else he would be funnier.
Anonymous: No, YOU’RE an idiot!

In January 2001, the Daily Herald revamped its Web site and introduced a new feature: the ability to post comments after every article. The Herald was one of very few papers to do this.

The reason it was not widely practiced soon became clear: People are morons. While some intelligent discussion resulted, mostly it was name-calling, flaming and ignorance. Nothing was spelled correctly, and since the Herald didn't require users to register, people tended to hide behind anonymity and say whatever outrageous things popped into their heads.

The concept for this column was suggested by my brother Jeff. He recalled how, when we were kids, we would sometimes turn the tables and use our parents' common nags ("Have you done your homework yet?" etc.) on them. This would get a laugh, and it would turn the nag into a joke -- which meant they couldn't use it on us anymore and expect a serious response from us.

So he suggested this column as a parody of the people who post comments on the Daily Herald Web site. Ideally, this would be a means of preventing people from using the old "You're no Dave Barry" line, for example. Once we've demonstrated the absurdity of that statement, you can't use it as a serious argument anymore, right?

I think I covered most of the major arguments and characteristics of Herald Web-posters. Notice that every word even close to being a plural has a stray apostrophe, notice how my name is usually misspelled, notice the contradictory theories held about my education, notice how everyone's an idiot.

This came at an appropriate time. The previous column, about Victoria's Secret, had become far and away the most-commented "Snide Remarks" in the history of the Herald site, and one of the top 10 most-commented stories of any kind. So more people than usual had recently become familiar with how things were over there.

I was concerned about the limited appeal of this column, though. Even the most-read and most-commented stories amounted to a number of readers that was about one-seventh the number of Daily Herald subscribers. In other words, for as big a deal as we sometimes made it out to be when a story got a lot of Web hits, it was really a small number of readers, comparatively speaking. Many Herald readers -- perhaps even most -- were not terribly familiar with the Web site or the people who posted comments there. But I thought it would be funny, and I took a gamble.

The beginning of the column no doubt flummoxed a few people. What I was going for was the idea that we're catching only the tail end of a column, followed by its aftermath. The italicized tag with my phone number and e-mail address is what appeared after each column both online and in the paper.

thought for a while about how I should "end" (i.e., begin) the column. I talk about restaurants a lot, so that seemed like a fitting thing for the column to have been about. And monkeys are inherently funny.

In the paper, I wasn't allowed to say, "Your mother's a whore," or even "ur muther's a hore." I argued that if we let people say things as vile as that on our Web site, we should be allowed to say them, too. But I was shouted down. So the Herald version just ended with "so u suk."

This column referred to "Mr. Cornweenious," a variation of "Mr. Cornelius," which was the fake name of a guy who thought he was funny and who used to post about 500 comments a day on the Herald site.

When the Herald revamped its site a couple years later, all those old comments people posted were lost.