how to deal with an asshat


So this week I received the ultimate compliment: I got put on blast by some other blogger.

This could not have made me happier.

In addition to skyrocketing page views, I was also really flattered to have gotten this dude’s panties in such a bunch, he felt compelled to take time out of his busy schedule to write a post about it:

For it was that morning that I found the perfect grammar rant, and it was hard to keep quiet with the confounding mixture of disgust and glee it created within me.

Basically, he called me a hypocrite for ranting about grammatical errors in a post peppered with grammatical errors.

I know. Groundbreaking. I just wish I’d known beforehand. I could have saved him the time.

Of course, when I good-naturedly tried to defend myself, I was lambasted by his readers with a bunch of hipster douchebag “THOSE PEOPLE ALWAYS SAY THAT” and “ZOMG SO TYPICAL” types of responses. And he himself did not even deign to reply.

Being that I am so typical (and really didn’t have anything else to write about today anyway), I cannot be expected to take the high road here. (I was however, nice enough not to point out the errors I found in his post, although someone on Twitter did, and he quickly corrected them.)

This person, we’ll call him “Gabe Doyle” (since that is his name), apparently subscribes to the philosophy that prescriptivism (assigning rules to grammar, spelling, etc) IS THE DEVIL.

And he writes this whole big fancy blog on the topic.

Apparently what he does (while he’s not taking important graduate classes in computational psycholinguistics and other things that are probably too obscure for you to understand) is troll the internet for people who write grammar blogs and then clown on them.

I imagine it goes something like this:

Step 1: Troll the internet

Step 2: Write scathing blog post about scathing blog post, unironically. Bask in your superiority.

Step 3: Watch the comments roll in, BUT DON’T RESPOND TO ANY OF THEM.

(Step 4: Profit?)

Instead of making any effort to further defend myself from this person and his army of loyal anti-prescriptivists (which you don’t care about) or continue to mock him (which he doesn’t care about), I will just say thank you.

Gabe Doyle, I salute you. You all like, totally made my week.


78 thoughts on “how to deal with an asshat

  1. I didn’t even read his post about you yet, but I am about to. I just needed to it out there that “I am the smartest man alive” and “Fap fap fap” just made me happier than you can ever imagine on this Thursday not-yet-Friday.

  2. I love the Internet, because I can always find people who exhibit the same prickly qualities I do, but much more flagrantly. I’m an editor and a writer by trade, and I’m all for busting on people’s Internet output as long as I am familiar with them and have a preexisting reason for giving them shit. But your interlocutor here admittedly trawls the Web looking for random rants about grammar that he can smugly take apart. Something tells me that his innuendo about scoring with a stranger at the beginning of his post is a case of protesting too much, too soon, because — and I don’t use trite admonishments such as “get a life!” or “he needs to get laid in the worst way” lightly — there is every indication that neither this guy nor his coterie of robotically douchelike commenters have ever achieved orgasm in the presence of other human beings, if at all.

    For all of Gabe’s multidisciplinary sound and fury, he loses all credibility, such as it is, when he claims that you take the stance that “[a]ny error is indicative of a moral failing.” I don’t know of any circles in which criticism of grammar or a similarly benign solecism, however strident, is assumed to be tantamount to a sweeping character judgment (certain sects of conservative Christianity excluded). There are other examples of undiluted hypocrisy in his post and it’s unfortunate you felt compelled to even respond, given that trolls like Gabe — who combine undeniable intelligence with excess free time with logorrhea to produce an unholy miasma of online suck — only become all the more galvanized by attention afforded them by their targets.

    On a final note, while he’s technically correct that “alright” and “anyways” are acceptable in the sense that they violate no fixed usage rules, there is not a credible style manual out there that fails to advocate changing these as you did, and the same goes for the “construct like this”. Gabe’s mission is not to promote his ideas about language, it’s to do precisely what he accuses his trollees of doing — bashing for the sheer sake of it. That he does so in purple and (almost) unimpeachable prose doesn’t make him anything more than a rake.

    • It was definitely the random trawling (or trolling!) that I found so grating. If he’d even just emailed me and said “hey, word of warning: I wrote this blog post…”, I would have been like, “respeck.” That just seems like the obvious courtesy.

      And you’re absolutely right that I shouldn’t have responded, but man, I just had so much fun doing it!

      Last, I majored in AP Style (aka journalism) which is why I tend to harp on those not-so-hard-and-fast-rules, but the style guidelines that personally piss me off. And maybe I should have explained for his sake that the post was inspired not by my holier-than-thou, self-righteous attitude toward grammar, but by the sheer number of PAID, PROFESSIONAL writers I encounter who cannot even put together a coherent sentence. There’s a big difference between the occasional typo and being chronically careless, sloppy and borderline retarded. (But codicils are no fun!)

      Thanks – I really enjoyed reading your comment.

  3. The seriousness that “Gabe’s multidisciplinary sound and fury” (I love that!) lends to your grammar post makes me think that he believes grammar is as important as say…overnight oats.

    And I personally prefer “asstard.”

    • I think we should make his name into a verb, a la Roy Munson in Kingpin. For instance: “I’d really like to do a blog post about such and such but I’m afraid of getting Doyled.”

  4. OMG! this assclown MUST have be same dude who recently emailed me telling me my blog was “specious” and “pedestrian.” I told him the same thing I’ll tell douchebag Doyle – get out of your mom’s basement, turn off the Star Wars soundtrack and close your god-damned thesaurus!

  5. Congrats on the hate mail. The d-bag in question sounds a lot like Ignatius Riley: too embroiled in hypocritical bitterness to see the plank in his own eye.
    To devote a rant, perhaps his entire blog (I bored quickly), on the issue of grammar elitists and grammar. Pompous & childlike grad-student hoping for a PhD acceptance letter that just didn’t come. I’m going to guess the guy is incredibly socially awkward, has found a niche attacking people with a reverence for grammar rules, and then attacking them for it, for violating grammar rules. Well done, sir. When there’s a contest for the smallest cock-off, we’ll give you a call. What hours are you not playing Warcraft? And I hope your mom enjoyed her fish dinner.

  6. As I’m sure he’ll delete it, and as much as I despise d-bags more than commenting, the B&B response:Offensive errors? Come on man. Poverty is offensive. Words are words, unless you are overly sensitive. Which might be the case. What Bob Vila is to “This Old House,” what Babe Ruth is to the “Baby Ruth” candy bar, you are Tim Allen to homecare and Sloth from The Goonies to Baby Ruth. Tell your mom thanks for the fish dinner. You’ll have the leftovers tomorrow.

  7. wow, you’re awful. you’re not funny nor are you qualified to be preaching about grammar. i just read the other blog. it was educated criticism, which the dude executed respectfully. good job responding rudely and without any educated insight. it’s pretty obvious whose panties are in a bunch, and they’re not gabe’s. cheers to you, never reading this blog again.

    • Oh fuck, “cringing” pulled out the heavy artillery — he’s “never reading this blog again.” Do you grasp the fullness of that, Marie? He is never. Going. To visit. This blog. AGAIN.

      Fuck. Even after years of dealing with this very declaration from others myself, I still haven’t figured out how to counter it. I mean, when a completely irrelevant commenter announces that he’s never coming back, how are people supposed to change their minds?


      • Yo, Marie! Where did you find this guy kemibe? He’s pretty fucking awesome! He can talk smack with gigantic words and crazy academic nerdy arguments all while being totally cool.

        BTW. Did you stop drinking beer?

  8. 1st, I love that you started this post with a cheery “hi!” — I mean, how else do you begin?

    2nd, maybe I’m an idiot but I really don’t get what Gabe’s beef is about. I really enjoyed that post when you wrote it.

    3rd, I loved reading this rant and the accompanying troll pictures. Good day

  9. I just sspent the last 2 hours or so going thru his blog and reading his other posts and yeah he totally sounds like one of those guys who always prefers to sit next to the window when he travels on an amtrak train

  10. watch out, 20 comments. from like 12 people since some were repeats. your reputation = ruined.

    maybe you should start putting a sarcasm/dry humor disclaimer in all of your blog posts just in case people still don’t get it.

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  14. As a loyal anti-prescriptivist you and your loyal followers only discredit yourselves by misrepresenting descriptivism.

    I think you know damn well that modern linguistics takes a descriptivist approach and that descriptivists are not opposed to grammar and rules. Descriptivists like Gabe spend all their lives studying the rules of grammar and most of the recent books on grammar are written by descriptivists.

    Prescriptivists get their rules from books and what they have been taught, while descriptivists get it from the language itself. There is not problem with prescribing in itself; it is necessary in teaching, but the rules taught should be the rules of English as they are now, not bogus rules that were an attempt to impose the rules of Latin on English 100s of years ago.

    Gabe is not attacking people with a reverence for grammar rules. He’s attacking people who don’t know what the rules are.

    There is no official grammar of English and what grammar books there are disagree. What Gabe attacks is those who make up rules and who pretend their own preferences are “rules of grammar”. Linguistics takes a scientific approach to the study of language (descriptivism) and if you are going to claim something is a rule of English you need to offer evidence for that being so. You just state opinions without backing them up, and you focus on matters that are most of the time not grammar at all and matters that are in the main linguistically, logically, and semantically trivial.

    Gabe’s views are those of modern linguistics, not of some freakish individual.

      • No problem. It might help others who also mistakenly take you seriously. 😉 Apart from that it is good practice for me at polite ranting. I often look for obscure blogs no one I know reads to practice my deathless prose on. Once I have managed to hone it to a decent standard I can post it on the serious and intelligent blogs.

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  16. AWESOME! I think, perhaps, I have met a kindred spirit. I googled “how do I deal with an asshat,” and Voila! I almost lost my lunch laughing! The memes were a super-awesome bonus! AWWWWW YEAHHH!!!!!!!!

  17. Haha! I came across this post because I Googled Gabe’s name. He was a prick in high school, and apparently continued to run with that torch. People found him charmingly quirky, but I always thought he was just a jerk. Knowing his history, I’m surprised he didn’t have his mommy come to your blog and defend his honor!

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