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Mediaite column on "Hellbook"


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The Hater’s Haven: Let’s Start A New Website Called “Hellbook”
by Bob Franken | 7:52 am, October 15th, 2010

Enough with Facebook and Twitter. I admit that I use them; they’re good business billboards. But people, I just don’t care if you got a tatt, or how proud you are that your kid won the spelling bee, or even if your kid got a tatt. I really don’t. Let’s face it: Social media are quickly becoming passe, sort of like anything “green” or “organic.”

The time has come for anti-social media. It’s time for ” Hellbook.”

This is where we can go when we want to tell others where to go. It’s the best hope for the misanthrope. Kinda brings tears to you eyes, doesn’t it? That’s the idea.

This is where we fend off all the irritating people in our lives. Here, we can “Fend” everyone we simply want to leave us alone and place them on our very own Diss List. There are so many possibilities.

Maybe we could have a special place in Hellbook for the sadists who bombard us with robocalls and distorted campaign ads that play at much higher volume than the TV program we’re trying to watch. How about a secret section for this country’s shady oligarchs, who brought down the economy and are now making huge campaign contributions so they can buy more of the government?

They would rate a special place that would really light up with each disclosure about how these very same culprits faked the documents needed to throw unfortunate homeowners and their families out on the street. Maybe we can include these supreme scoundrels’ names and addresses, with maps to their gated communities.

We could send messages that would be far shorter than Twitter’s 140 characters. Rahm Emmanuel would have a field day. Of course, he also might be on quite a few of the lists. So would all the pipsqueak political demagogues on both sides of the fence, the ones that pollute the waters with their simple-minded fearmongering and bigotry. Without a doubt, politicians would be among the most popular of the unpopular.

Special dishonors could go to the officeholders and wannabes who have staffers ghostwrite posts on Facebook and Twitter in an effort to look hip and trendy.

How dumb is that? It defies logic. If they were hip and trendy they wouldn’t be politicians, now would they?

That site could be divided in half. On the right, imagine all the Fends a Sarah Palin (she would call them “Haters”–accurately), Newt Gingrich or Glenn Beck would have. I’d probably want to stay away from Christine O’Donnell, though. (Do we really know for sure that she only dabbled in witchcraft?)


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Keith Olbermann would be way high on the left, no doubt about it. Personally, my site would be crammed with those from fringe to slimy fringe. It would be a dumping ground for those who come up with relentless, cheap shot political arguments: The author of “Do you want a bureaucrat between you and your doctor” would get high dishonors. Same for the one responsible for “Change you can believe in.” The beauty of this is that those who simply get on our nerves would have a place on this hit parade.

I’ve given a lot of thought to this. The racists, homophobes, and the GOP candidate for New York Governor would not be welcome as members. Nor would those religious intolerants that babble inanities about Sharia law in the United States and other spittle. They can only be targets, not members. This was a genuinely tough decision, because there’s a huge amount of money to be made from Tea Party members alone.

Obviously, there would need to be an App, which means someone will have to come up with a graphic. I can think of one—but this should probably be a family site. Imagine how much fun you and the children can have as you teach them the pure joy of trashing other people. Come to think of it, with what goes on in their schools, maybe they could teach us a thing or two.

For those who suffer from self doubt, you could list yourself to put down along with those Fends who should lack self esteem.

The idea would spread like wildfire. In fact, “May You Burn in Hellbook” could be the slogan. Wouldn’t this make a wonderful movie? We could call it The Hate Locker. Actually, scratch that. A movie about a website is an absurd idea.

Even so, the time is definitely right for Hellbook. It would be a natural winner—a loser’s winner. After all, everybody would be a villain.

Finally, a website that reflects real life. If you like the idea, let me know. Just send me a response, two words or more. You can reach me at Facebook or Twitter.

(Bob Franken is a syndicated columnist for King Features and Hearst. Formerly with CNN he now appears on several networks)

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