I get a lot of whiny complaints constructive, well phrased criticism about the lengthy and often unfocused nature of these posts, and I want to take a moment here to acknowledge it. I understand why. I understand the shit out of why. It’s been neither my expectation nor my intention that every individual who chooses to read my work is destined to fall hopelessly in love with it, and by extension, me. I’ve accepted that, and I’m okay with it.
I‘ve had to be the person that I am for the last 25 years and have learned long ago that not everybody I encounter is going to relate to or be willing to tolerate my perpetually running mouth. That’s fine with me. To be honest, the negative feedback left in the comment sections of previous Trendshredders has been largely well founded, and frankly, difficult to refute.
So for the most part I’ve chosen not to refute them, and as such have left a great deal of them unanswered. Not for fear of confrontation or lack of amusing avenues for retaliatory mockery, but because I’m self-aware enough to accept the sometimes harsh truths found in unfiltered criticism, and actually appreciate them.
Here’s the thing though, critics. What would it say about my commitment to my craft if I were to take your advice and stop writing these articles? It would be nothing less than a showing of weakness, an act of unconditional submission to opposing forces, the ramifications of which would no doubt come to burden my sleepless nights.
Moreover, what fun would it be if every reader agreed wholeheartedly with every word I wrote? I always appreciate it when someone has something positive to say, but I for one dread the prospect of a world without eloquent discourse and spirited debate.
Also, if nobody ever told me I was terrible my ego would spiral out of control so fantastically that it would register on the Richter scale, which in essence makes anyone who tells me I’m shitty a hero.
So here’s one for the heroes.
To prove that these articles are written with a light heart and served with a grain of salt, and that nobody is safe from my wrath, I’ve decided to aim this week’s blade at myself, and let the grisly results serve as an offering of good humour and joviality to those who have spoken out against me.
I might be an idiot.
The Trendshredder: How to write a Trendshredder
Now that you’ve finished with your narcissistic, self-aggrandizing prologue, make a superficial observation loosely relating to the subject you’ve chosen to write about. Make sure to be as blatantly opinionated and callously aloof as possible, to lend to the illusion of detached coolness.
Start in with some quick, punchy insults right from the top, as it is important to set an aggressive, righteously indignant tone, even if your gripe is pathetic and inconsequential. Don’t worry too much about being clever, either. Focus on volume, and don’t be afraid to pick those low hanging fruits.
Use italics excessively, whether it’s appropriate to do so or not. They make what you’re saying seem super important, and might even distract your readers from the fact that your directionless ranting could be summarized into two paragraphs of succinct text. At no point should you consider revisions or cuts to anything you’ve written, no matter how long-winded or worded awkwardly you made it be.
Here’s where you make a dated pop-culture reference that applies to the topic tenuously at best. Try as hard as you can to make it funny, regardless of how irrelevant or out of context it might be. Now it’s time to throw in a picture to space things out and keep people interested.
Move into a more detailed exposition of your target subject here. Outline your reasons for being angry about it, and do your best not to think about how insignificant your qualms look when typed out in front of you. Rally the people to your cause by awkwardly blending social commentary with sophomoric satire, while making sure not to delve too far into either one.
This is the part of the article that drags a little. It falls after you’ve made your modestly funny opening jokes, and before you try to get all subversive and clever for the big finish. It’s essentially filler content, and should consist of either accusatory ire toward the topic’s antagonist, or sympathetic reassurance towards an imagined manifestation of the perceived victim. Basically you’re playing good cop/bad cop with an imaginary suspect who isn’t there to defend himself, meaning you can, and should, say whatever the hell you want about him.
I cannot stress to you enough how crucial it is to the success of your Trendshredder article to communicate exclusively through run-on sentences and sparsely punctuated streams of unrefined thought. Also sentence fragments. Also also, address the reader directly as if in conversation whenever the opportunity presents itself, doing this is completely original and will literally, never get old. As a general rule, try to make everything you say as convoluted and hard to follow as possible. The more disorganized and cluttered your text, the funnier it will become, somehow.
Now it’s time to get really emphatic about whatever point you’re making. Don’t forget to overstate the importance of trivial things and exaggerate shamelessly to make your assertions seems more valid and interesting. Avoid hyperbole, but never rule it out completely.
Remember, tangents and personal anecdotes are your best fucking friends. Relate everything, no matter how broad or intangible, to your own life. Write as though you are the single most important being to ever have graced the planet, and deliver your opinions with a snobby, pretentious air of superiority.
Now poke a hole in your own logic by directly contradicting something you’ve said earlier. This makes you look fair and endearingly fallible, which will make your points seem more thought out and well-reasoned. Use this time tested strategy to deflate your previously established egotistical persona, making you seem more relatable to the reader, and less like a deluded, condescending douche.
Immediately resume blathering about the thing you just admitted was bullshit. Reach for any joke, no matter how obvious or tasteless, to pad out the space between your initial point and its climactic resolution. Never stop to wonder why you do this.
If there’s a viral video pertaining to the thing you’re complaining about, put it here. We’re past the midway point now and even the strongest of attention spans will probably be running a little thin.
This is called ‘piggybacking on someone else’s popularity’.
Use obscure references to film and television whenever you get bored of trying to make an actual point. This is another tactic to draw attention away from the shamelessly self-indulgent length of your bleating, bloated blurbs of bilious blog. Make no considerations for those who may not have wasted as much of their lives memorizing pop culture quotes as you have.
In fact, aggressively attack anyone who isn’t exactly like you, because this is your weekly over-worded proclamation of superiority over those whom you perceive to be inferior, which is apparently everyone but you, you dickish, judgemental fuck.
At this point you’ll have grown tired of the concept it took you an entire week to settle on, and start picking apart your previous paragraphs and dancing around the issue of the big finale. You’ll struggle to focus and fall prey to distractions such as Facebook and video games to avoid finishing. This is called ‘the wall’, and it occurs during the latter paragraphs of every Trendshredder, forcing you to push yourself to the brink of spasm in order to conjure even a mediocre closing section.
So here’s where you make a few concessions and admit that you’re blowing the issue out of proportion for dramatic effect, which may do something to soothe some offended readers, but more importantly will clear you of any culpability of wrongdoing, essentially sidestepping the inconvenience of accountability by backing down from the statement you’re in the middle of making while decidedly refusing to stop making it.
This is the paragraph in which you’ll find your breath and get a second wind. Reinvigorated, you should proceed to repeat the themes established in the beginning, but with more fervor. Outdo what’s already been done with sharper wording, vivid visual metaphors and the occasional deft simile. Begin building up steam for the final flourish by amalgamating the previously established points into a smoldering smorgasbord of smarmy self-satisfied smugness.
This is where you should once again acknowledge and highlight the blatant flaws in your logic, under the misguided notion that doing so will obviate the need for commenters to do the same.
Now you need to kill even more time by emptying the last of your childish joke tank. Work in all the puns, insults, digs and jabs that you scrapped earlier on simply for the sake of rounding out your word count, while continuing to beat the dead horse of a one line joke that you’ve foolishly decided to stretch into an essay.
Once you feel as though you’ve been mean enough, proceed to subvert every word you’ve said so far by offering a pseudo-insightful alternative to the established points, one that is so basely sympathetic that it makes your humanity seem irrefutable, thus bolstering your self-appointed pedestal of judgement and validating the careless disregard with which you’ve admonished and disparaged your fellow man.
Lo, we have made it to the end at last. The ending is arguably the most important part of the Trendshredder, and certainly the favourite of its critics, har har. This is the bit where you assemble the thoughts you’ve arranged above into some semblance of order, putting a final touch on the body of the piece and attempting to validate the time and effort you’ve spent milking your exhausted, withered creative glands for every precious dollop.
Hold fast to your hastily formed and unabashedly partisan opinions, and stand tall knowing that anyone who is upset or offended by your words has clearly failed to see the humour in your endeavors. Continue barking at pedestrians, secure in the knowledge that you’re just another monkey with a typewriter, and anyone who treats your work as if it is of any serious validity or consequence is sorely mistaken, as this this the internet, where nothing is important and everyone’s wrong about everything.
Most importantly, never shy away from saying exactly what it is you want to say, whether it’s a joke or otherwise, regardless of how much criticism it receives. Because for every critic out there who speaks ill of what you’ve written, there are a million more within your head waiting to tear you to shreds for not having the nerve to write it.
Close with a powerful one liner. Fuck.