Why leave a comment no one will ever read? I do this regularly at washingtonpost.com. My go-to news source offers readers an opportunity to comment on their articles. I did this today. Alexandra Petri, a Washington Post opinion columnist, knocked out a mildly amusing five-hundred words on her dislike of San Francisco’s killer robot plan. No, don’t read her article, it’s not that funny. It relies heavily on repeating the phrase ‘killer robots’ for humor. On the unlikely chance she ever reads this: sorry Alexandra, we can’t nail it every time.
As a piece of opinion, it lacks any punch. It makes no point whatsoever except that even in fiction, we can’t find a single example of killer robots benefiting society. This is where my comment that will never be read comes into the game. “The terminator in Terminator 2 – Judgement Day is pretty helpful. Just sayin’.”
Have you watched the Terminator movie franchise? In the original movie, the bad guys from the future, actual killer robots, send a killer robot back in time to kill the twenty-year-old future mother of John Conner, the man who will ultimately lead the revolution against the killer robots. In the sequel, Terminator 2, the bad guys from the future send another killer robot, this time to kill John himself, but John from the future sends a killer robot to protect his younger self. John’s killer robot saved humanity.
Whoa, lots of killer robots in that last paragraph. Rereading it, it doesn’t seem that funny to me. Maybe there was no humor at all in Alexandra’s column. It was tagged as satire. Isn’t satire supposed to be funny? The Terminator storyline is exciting stuff, alternate timelines coupled with action, violence and humor, it appealed to a younger me. Maybe I should send a robot back in time to suggest I read a book instead.
When I left my comment, the Post already had over one thousand comments on Alexandra’s article. I plunked mine into the mix without reading any others. I must do this every week. I’ve never received a notice that someone read, replied or even liked my comment. I don’t know if washingtonpost.com would even send me a notification. There are too many comments being submitted to ever go back and try to find the comment I left to see if anyone replied. It’s like bottling up a message and tossing it into the sea. I’ll never see it again. I can only hope that someone else does.
Now that I think about it, someone does see my comment. The Post employs a human to moderate the discussion. If I ignore the article topic and just write something insulting about snowflakes or Nancy Pelosi, the comment will never appear. These comments show up invariably on the news-site Newser. Browse the comments on any article, quickly, the discussion devolves into partisan hate. Even the article about ‘Noodle, the beloved pug of TikTok’ only made it to the third comment before someone started in on the Democrats. I hope the Washington Post moderator liked my comment.
Once, after I read an article about the giant sequoias in California, I submitted a comment that included a link to my blog post titled The Big Trees. For the next two weeks I was blocked from reading or writing any comments at all. Moderators!
I don’t know why I leave these comments. There is zero chance of getting a reply setting off a WordPress-like exchange. If no one reads it, does it even exist? Maybe it’s like my message in the bottle. It quickly springs a leak, fills with water, and sinks to the bottom of the ocean. Just one more piece of garbage in an already polluted world.