Saturday, October 31, 2009

Because Tasteless, Mean-spirited Halfwits Need a Voice Too

By Brian Polk

Yesterday I had the unfortunate experience of stumbling upon the worst fucking website I've ever seen in my life. The e-tripe that this site peddles is beyond reproach. It's an insult to every intelligent, open-minded, unique-culture-appreciator that values the appropriate capitalization of words.

It all started when I wanted to see what was going on at Denver's Hi-Dive on a Friday evening. So I googled "Hi-Dive Denver" and sure enough, the South Broadway venue's site came up. However, what appeared just below the website I intentionally googled was this piece of shit I couldn't believe existed: Yelp.com.

For those web surfers fortunate enough to have never e-stumbled upon the pettiness and downright bullshit that pervades every virtual inch of the site, Yelp.com commissions curmudgeonly simpletons to write half-formed, utterly shitty reviews for free. The result is what you might expect from such a venture: Trashy crap that a third-grader could write. I'm not sure whose idea it was to give a voice to semi-literates with the absolute worst taste in culture, but it has to be among the worst ideas in the history of the internet. Yelp.com reviewers can't spell. They've never been taught punctuation (talk about a haunting indication that our under-funded public schools are failing our kids). They use their silly little text acronyms to talk shit about Denver's most integral mom-and-pop venues.

For example, a reviewer known as "Cory B" wrote the following about the Hi-Dive:

"love hi-dive but that dj jason heller needs to leave the attitude and billy joel at the door. i dont really care that you write for the onion, that may have been cool about ten years ago. i have to question mr heller's musical integrity since he prefers billy joel to siouxsie and the banshees, i mean really? do i need to be writing about this? unbelievable."

I didn't dip-shit up this review to make the writer look stupid. These are her unedited, small-minded thoughts about the Hi-Dive and my friend, Jason Heller. Yes, Yelp.com really is this bad. As much as I tried to ignore this piece of shit review, I couldn't let it go: First of all, this personal attack on Jason is totally unwarranted, inaccurate, and mean-spirited. He was playing Billy Joel because it was an 80s-themed dance night. Second, I wouldn't question his musical integrity until you listen to all the bands he has played in. And third, why would you insult his choice of careers? That's some personal shit the reviewer should have left at the door.

But it gets worse. My favorite store in the history of stores, Wax Trax Records, doesn't escape the wrath of Yelp.com half-wits either. Here's how one reviewer "Daniel A" puts it:

"Overrated. Dirty. Disorganized...Yeah, wow, they have independent music. Too bad you feel gritty when you leave. When you're done looking bored and ironic maybe you could think about putting the CDs in a discernible order...I just hurt my eyes rolling them so hard."

This review sounds like it came from someone's cantankerous grandpa. It reminds me of that customer from the movie/book High Fidelity who walks into the store and asks for "I Just Called to Say I Love You." And I have the same response for this straight-laced CD shopper: Go to the mall. Aren't you supposed to feel gritty when you leave a record store? Isn't it an integral part of the whole experience of buying music? If it's not, it should be.

I could scan the e-pages of Yelp.com for hundreds more unimaginative, simple-minded reviews, but I'm not a masochist. I just hope that the site's readership is limited to all the cretins that write for it. If anyone ever began taking that shit seriously, the best, quirky, weirdly-inspiring vestiges of our culture would be snubbed for DJs that play nothing but snob rock and record shops that look like Starbucks. And they would be reviewed by semi-literates that butcher the English language with self-congratulating, snarky write-ups that appeal to the dumbest among us.

I guess for all the internet's greatest advancements in the areas of porn and communication, it's going to have its warts. And Yelp.com is a wart the size of Jupiter.

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