JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Jonathan Vining and Meanness

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The above Twitter exchange happened yesterday, on my birthday. And it truly confused me.

I don’t know if I look older than 43 or younger than 43. Neither answer would bother me, because—factually—it’s my age. I also happen to have two awesome kids, a breathtaking wife and a career I love. So … physical appearance? Not something I spend much time thinking about.

So why am I writing about the Tweet, fired off by a guy named Jonathan Vining? Because it was mean for the sake of being mean. No other purpose, no other reason. Just to make a stranger feel bad. And, in a way, it worked. I read it and felt bad. Again, not about my looks. But about who we are, and how we now treat one another with increased frequency.

I have no problem (obviously) using Twitter to complain, and even rip. A movie or book sucks—state your take. Skip Bayless’ words pissed you off—write about it. But why, oh why, are people so into personal jabs and digs, just because there’s a chance to take personal jabs and digs? I mean, I’m a nobody; a non-celebrity fortunate enough to live my professional dream.

I can’t even imagine how the famous among us deal with this stuff.