1) They’re jealous.
If someone takes offense to Cheese’s aggressively arrogant self-presentation and unfounded snobbery, the most common response seen in the Cracked forums and elsewhere is that the critic must simply be a “troll” who doesn’t like the fact that he or she isn’t getting similar levels of attention. This argument immediately falls apart when you consider that Cracked (which I generally like) writes many articles about celebrities being pretentious or otherwise offensive and silly. Off the top of my head, I remember articles about Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith being pretentious and not receptive to criticism or, perhaps most appropriately, an article about Eminem’s album Recovery and how a rapper who simply stops abusing drugs does not automatically ascend to the rank of a noble redeemer extolling followers to “take my hand” and come along to heal. To Cheese’s credit, he has freely admitted that he is a “giant hypocritical douche” because he loves trolling celebrities on Twitter. He tried to take credit for making Chris Brown “rage quit” Twitter without so much as mentioning the person with whom Chris Brown was actually arguing back and forth when this happened. Are these Cracked authors simply jealous of the celebrities whose fame they dissect so assiduously?
2) They’re all horrible, mentally diseased, degraded examples of humanity.
If someone criticizes Cheese, he lambasts them as “dumb cunts,” “dipshits,” “retards,” and “cocksuckers,” and at least once, “child fuckers” (which he apparently thinks is an appropriate casual insult). He then acts as though he has thoroughly trounced his adversary, warning them not to “match wits with a comedian.” He recently gave this treatment to a 17 year old girl (the aforementioned “dumb cunt”) who said something like “Hey little guy, heard your seventh birthday was coming up. I’ll talk it over with your parents and get you something special.” Wow, unforgivable, right? Look, no one likes to be trolled, but really? A 17 year old? He also posted her message on his blog, including her picture (which he ridiculed) and her username.
Let me say that I do understand that Internet writers with literally millions of readers are bound to encounter some legitimately awful situations. David Wong has detailed incidents in which Gladstone’s kids were threatened, and Cheese apparently received some death threats after a recent article criticizing what he deems stupid jokes. This is absolutely awful and unacceptable. No one should be killed or even have to put up with hollow threats from anonymous cowards, just because he’s a pretentious douche. Nor do I want Cheese to start drinking again, get divorced, or come to financial ruin. That said, I think even Cheese and Wong would have to admit to themselves that these assholes are a tiny minority of his critics, but they try to sweep everyone who says anything negative into the same dustbin. Wong says they’re “messed up” and maybe “got some bad news recently.” You can argue that Internet trolls are immature, but diagnosing them with a mental illness or adopting a siege mentality and acting as though vocal critics are all foot soldiers in the same potentially violent criminal gang is just silly. After all, Cheese trolls people himself.
3) They’re all basement-dwelling losers who obsess over Cheese’s articles, revealing that they actually like him.
“Don’t like it, don’t read it.” A familiar refrain. Let’s compare Cheese’s critics with, say, Rush Limbaugh’s. If you don’t like Limbaugh and yet pay passing attention to what he says, do you secretly like him? That’s pretty obviously untrue. We all have people we enjoy criticizing and deflating. Spending some time critiquing what we don’t like is perfectly healthy and good mental exercise. Nothing good will come of reading only news or books with which you always agree. It takes about three minutes to read your average Cracked article, and no, I don’t care that I’ve contributed a page view to something that I didn’t especially care for. Pull that traffic, Cheese! I’ve spent about twenty minutes writing this post. It’s still early in the morning, and now I’ll head out for a nice coffee in the park before reading, writing something else, playing with my pets, then heading downtown to wait for my wife to get off work.
Cheese once said that the negative comments he received were outnumbered “100 to 1, and I’m not even exaggerating.” He’d also said that he had to ban 50 Twitter accounts in one day. Assuming that Twitter was the only venue through which he was receiving criticism (unlikely), he’s claiming to have received, in one day, 5,000 messages telling him to “keep writing!” Okay, Cheese. He will one day have to accept that the disdain that much of his audience feels for him comes from perfectly nice, rational people who simply don’t like being lectured by a barely functional recovering alcoholic who begs for handouts and then goes out of his way to denigrate everyone who doesn’t bow before him and his modest accomplishments.
No one is trying to “put a big, ugly scratch” in what he’s created. The scratch has been there all along, and Cheese is like a used car salesman feigning offense that you would insult his merchandise by pointing it out.