zen (n) - 1. A state of enlightenment and inner peace, achieved though meditation and self-contemplation.
2. A state in which, upon reading something on the internet, a person completely ignores the associated "comments" thread.
I can't say that I'm there yet. I mean I can pass over the comments on youtube, which are well known to be the swill of humanity's worst aspects, but on average, I just can't keep myself from reading at least the first few posts on any given page.
The worst part is that I'll even read reviews on products that I'm shopping for. Understand that this means that I am choosing to subject myself to opinions that I know aren't valuable.* And I'm someone who regards the idea of professional reviews as a dubious concept, but at least those are mostly written by knowledgeable individuals. So then why do I keep finding myself reading the flimsy run-on sentences of some guy who thought "Astro-smurf" was a clever handle for his Amazon account? What great meaning are his 3 out of 5 stars going to convey to me?
"I don't know, seems like a nice product, but if it's not good enough for 'Techie-hedron13" then it's not good enough for me."
The worst part of it all are the "Hemingways," the people who feel the need to write me a excruciatingly detailed short story about their experiences with electronics.
"My new mp3 player arrived on a Friday afternoon in a typical Amazon cardboard box. I pulled the tape off and removed the plastic retail shell. After a few minutes with a pair of scissors, I had the player, instruction manual, warranty, and headphones all laid out on my carpet. I read the included "Quick Start" guide, I plugged the player up to charge and went to the kitchen for a snack . . .
As I removed the loaf of bread from the cabinet I wondered whether I wanted chunky or smooth peanut butter . . ."
And they usually go on like that for at least another thousand words.
Then there are the people who assume that a problem they've had with a product is not the result of a simple defect, but rather a reflection of the company's corrupted moral state and, indeed, the failing of human society as a whole.
"I had this product for TWO WEEKS and now it doesn't work! What a waste of money! This company should be ashamed of themselves, how can they sell something that they know is going to break TWO WEEKS later! I'm so disgusted that I'm throwing this device, the box it came in, the usb cable, and the one-year warranty in the GARBAGE!"
*Today's post brought to you by my ever-increasing desire for an HDTV.