« Civics Lesson | Main | Bringing a Knife to a Knife Fight »

October 21, 2005

101 Ways to Alienate Your Readers

Sorry to those who feel unfairly maligned here, but Hannah Selinger's point in this column is both right and overwhelmingly, unquestionably, important. No one should ever date another human being who uses "lol". They must be weeded out of the gene pool. Sorry folks, I know you're all good people, but you simply can't be allowed to reproduce. A society of raving lol'ers is just too horrible to contemplate.

October 21, 2005 | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference 101 Ways to Alienate Your Readers:



1337 ru13z, d00d!!

Posted by: Brad DeLong | Oct 21, 2005 5:39:52 PM

Wait, can I still date people who laugh out loud? What if it is my jokes they are laughing at?

Posted by: Andrew Cory | Oct 21, 2005 5:44:19 PM

What about people who say "LOL" out loud in place of laughter? Should I take that as ironic self-deprecation or a genuine sign of mania that should send me screaming for the hills?

Posted by: Iron Lungfish | Oct 21, 2005 5:47:27 PM

Doubleyoo tee eff, Ezra?

Posted by: ryan | Oct 21, 2005 6:33:34 PM

my ironic uses of 'lol' have been losing the ironic aspect recnetly, and i hear myself saying 'lol' in my head now. i really need to quit the internet before i start syaing it outloud.

Posted by: yoyo | Oct 21, 2005 7:20:52 PM

Mr. DeLong, 1337 was the year that saw the beginning of the Hundred Years War and did not, in fact, rule. I think you owe everyone here an apology. I am certainly not laughing out loud.

Posted by: justinian | Oct 21, 2005 8:10:23 PM

Get used to it. Language evolves. Within a decade, "lol" will be an acceptable synonym for audible laughter. Just like "OK" -- which may or may not have originated with the 1830s slang spelling "oll korrect."

We don't have to aid in this evolution by allowing lol-speakers to reproduce. But it will happen inevitably, I fear.

Posted by: Grumpy | Oct 21, 2005 8:44:43 PM

I suddenly learned one very important lesson: Posting a nearly nude picture of oneself on the Internet is not really a great idea.

You didn't know that before...?

Posted by: Thlayli | Oct 21, 2005 11:02:59 PM

What about "LOOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!111oneone" in place of a long drawn-out laughter?

Posted by: ItAintEazy | Oct 21, 2005 11:22:06 PM


Posted by: envogue | Oct 21, 2005 11:25:13 PM

What about people who use ROTFLOL? I'm thinking they should be outright shot.

Posted by: Dadahead | Oct 22, 2005 12:04:49 AM

Language evolves through speech almost entirely. It takes a shakespeare to change the language appreciably with the written word.

I'm not seeing the people running around yelling "el oh el," so I think it's safe to say that this is just a degredation of writing literacy, and not bona fide language evolution.

That said, "lol" and its like are the order of the day in world of warcraft, so I'm sort of desensitized.

Posted by: Fnor | Oct 22, 2005 12:24:37 AM

Wait a chat room minute! In text chat room discussions, without lol, np, k, emoticons, the senders intent isn't always received. :-)

Now however, anyone who said face to face 'lol' to me would be consigned to both my ignore bin (iggy bin) and would surely not get a 'woot' in reply.

Posted by: JimPortandOR | Oct 22, 2005 1:39:24 AM

Until we get a proper font system in place (Times New Sarcasm, etc.), these kinds of expressions shall unfortunately have to be perpetuated. IM-speak is not conducive to sarcasm; one must remove all doubt with flagrant emoticon usage.

Only by both narrating one's reaction to the conversation, as well as engaging in the conversation itself, is one able to appreciate the full complexity of online communication.

Posted by: Matt F | Oct 22, 2005 2:00:46 AM

Just kidding.

Posted by: Dick Durata | Oct 22, 2005 2:34:41 AM

I find "lol" to be a pretty useful term. For me, it rarely means that i've actually laughed. It usually means that I'm making a polite acknowledging that someone made the attempt to be funny, so could we please move on now?

Posted by: Royko | Oct 22, 2005 4:04:09 AM

I would add the caveat "No one should ever date another human being who uses 'lol' in a non-ironic fashion".

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | Oct 22, 2005 8:44:47 AM

I think the real prohibition should be on anyone who uses 'lol' to indicate that they themselves are trying to be funny. Using it to denote amusement at someone else's joke is perfectly acceptable.

Posted by: Tom Hilton | Oct 22, 2005 10:28:53 AM

She teases with the mention of the bikini photo but doesn't provide a link to her profile! What's a typical male to do?

Just kidding, if there's one thing the net doesn't need is Yet Another Photo of a Woman in a Bikini. I mean, come on, they're everywhere.

Posted by: Andrew | Oct 22, 2005 2:41:18 PM

So if I'm going to say lol out loud (I'm not, of course, but bear with me) would I say lol, phonetically, or "el-o-el"?

Either way, the first time I hear it, someone's getting hit.

Posted by: djw | Oct 22, 2005 5:18:53 PM

Can we use smileys?

Posted by: Unstable Isotope | Oct 22, 2005 7:46:17 PM

The English major is going to have to step in and say that I find the opposite behavior, which is writing in chat with a formality that you don't exhibit in conversation, to be truly insufferable. "LOL" is acknowledgement that we laugh in no small part to communicate joy to others. I don't see why you shouldn't include non-verbal communication in a medium that exists to mimic real conversations.

Posted by: Amanda Marcotte | Oct 23, 2005 2:00:53 AM

"Using LOL is apparently wrong because the people who use it are the same as the people who write mysoginistic, offensive, and horribly written emails to people they've never met based on explicit pictures." Was what I got from the article.

Can anyone make an argument for why LOL is itself bad without referring to broad generalizations about what else the people who use it might do?

Posted by: Tony Vila | Oct 24, 2005 11:44:57 AM

I'm sorry Ezra Klein, but who are you, and what right have you to criticize the relevance of my column? Apparently, as a "blogger," you see fit to make snotty comments about my work. For your information, that column has incited a lot of praise and very little else, which leads me to believe that I did not, in fact, alienate my readers in writing and posting it.

I wasn't making any political statement about "lol"; that bit was tongue-in-cheek. I was, however, making a comment about all of the idiots who surf myspace for underclothed women--and, worse, who think we'll respond to their virtual catcalls.

But mostly, the article was intended as humor. Your sarcasm, on the other hand, was not at all funny. But thanks for provoking more people to read my work.


Hannah Selinger

Posted by: Hannah Selinger | Nov 2, 2005 11:32:45 PM


gold chain

box links


buy white gold chain cheap

Posted by: Gold Chain | Nov 11, 2005 4:33:27 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.