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October 15, 2010 2:03 PM   Subscribe

How to pander to social media sites with bland shitty "comics" as pioneered by The Oatmeal.
posted by buriednexttoyou (73 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Someone has traffic-jealousy issues.
posted by schleppo at 2:07 PM on October 15, 2010 [15 favorites]


Well, that's a lot of hate. Jealousy? Because, you know what, I've enjoyed several of the Oatmeal strips. I've forwarded some on to people, which I don't do often. And I guess he probably does market his product well - shoot me if that doesn't seem to be crime to me.

Unless...

This post is essentially an Oatmeal strip itself. A-ha! Is it in fact by the Oatmeal guy? Is it a brilliant parody-within-a-parody? Because I did actually like the post. For the same reasons I like The Oatmeal, in fact. Maybe a simple brightly-colored comic strip is just a good way to communicate on the Internet?
posted by alasdair at 2:10 PM on October 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


just awful, just... just. man. You can not like the oatmeal, yes, fine, they're tedious and bland, great, but when you spend the time to ape its style and conjecture about how the comic's made, you're obsessing a little bit and it speaks unwell of your character.
posted by boo_radley at 2:12 PM on October 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


three in a row, tic tac toe.
posted by boo_radley at 2:12 PM on October 15, 2010


Tedious and bland maybe, but the plagiarized jokes and scummy SEO tactics are even more irritating.
posted by magnificent frigatebird at 2:12 PM on October 15, 2010 [6 favorites]


The guy that runs the oatmeal really is a scummy SEO-guy, though.
posted by empath at 2:13 PM on October 15, 2010 [10 favorites]


(not that i laughed at this thing either, but i can at least sympathize with the creator's annoyance)
posted by magnificent frigatebird at 2:13 PM on October 15, 2010


Where has all the funny gone, anyway...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 2:18 PM on October 15, 2010


It's funny, so is the oatmeal, SEO scum or not, what can I say.
posted by blucevalo at 2:20 PM on October 15, 2010


The Oatmeal is most definitely hit-or-miss, and it's miss most of the time. Once in a while, I get a chuckle, but not often.
posted by PuppyCat at 2:22 PM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I now expect MeFi to explode in a fit of rage as someone has the affrontery to diss a website that it's MeFi's job to disses.
posted by Artw at 2:25 PM on October 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's not that The Oatmeal is or isn't funny, it's that it's always pandering. Even Dane Cook is funny once in a while. THat doesn't make him a good comedian.
posted by GuyZero at 2:26 PM on October 15, 2010 [17 favorites]


I didn't find the Oatmeal from SEO. Neither did you. Since when do you search for comedy?

"Gee, I wonder if anyone's made a list about the 15 greatest things I can do with pancakes? Hmm, maybe I should Google that."

No, you found out about the Oatmeal in the same damn way you hear about everything else -- from your friends. And from other blogs. That you heard about from your friends.

SEO had nothing whatsoever to do with it.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:26 PM on October 15, 2010 [10 favorites]


So the Oatmeal guy self-promotes both in his own space and in spaces which are okay with self-promotion? And I'm supposed to be shocked or angry or something?

I mean, he's not very funny, but I can't see any reason to actively dislike him.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:27 PM on October 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


GuyZero: "It's not that The Oatmeal is or isn't funny, it's that it's always pandering. Even Dane Cook is funny once in a while. THat doesn't make him a good comedian."

Can you put this in an infographic/ lulzy mspaint picture? I have a cunning plan.

posted by boo_radley at 2:29 PM on October 15, 2010


I'm more puzzled at all the fuss the CAKE post caused the other day. I mean, that was genuinely funny (and so naturally deleted).
posted by Artw at 2:30 PM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's my dream to one day be so internet-famous that some strangers make a tumblr post about how overrated and unfunny I am. I guess I gotta make with the Reddit buttons.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:32 PM on October 15, 2010 [6 favorites]


I was a fan of The Oatmeal for a while, but it just got to me after a while. The nonstop scolding tone -- bitching about the kinds of photos people take...really? -- and rants against easy, hackneyed targets are just wearying after a while. It's like that one guy in every office who never has anything positive to say about anything...if you're in the right mood, he can be funny, but most of the time you're just relieved when he's not there.
posted by Pants McCracky at 2:33 PM on October 15, 2010 [13 favorites]


So it's like McSweeney's for the social media generation?
posted by Justinian at 2:41 PM on October 15, 2010


McSweeneys has it's moments.
posted by Artw at 2:52 PM on October 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Motherfucker ripped off my lolaliens!
posted by Eideteker at 2:55 PM on October 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Cool Papa Bell, "SEO" means less about the original "Search Engine Optimization" that it literally stands for, and is more broadly used to describe practices of link farming, memability/viralability, and The Oatmeal's holy grail, link throughs. It's designed to get you there with one link (probably from a friend or newsgroup/newsfeed) and keep you there, bouncing around the site, wondering how many midgets you could take in a fight or why to not eat shark poop or whatever.

Its like how you say to your self "I'll just watch one episode of this TV show then go do something else" then BAM before you know it you've spent your whole afternoon watching some shitty TV show you don't even care about anymore because they start the next episode during the credits of the last one.

Not to say this is an unethical practice, its just kinda junky and trashy. Search engines have very little to do with what "SEO" means in parlance. It's all about keeping bounce rates down, and clicks per visit up.
posted by fontophilic at 3:01 PM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


So his site has... internal navigarion?

Don't look down.
posted by Artw at 3:03 PM on October 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oatmeal is occasionally funny. Still, calling out your critics by their real, full names is kind of shitty.
posted by waraw at 3:04 PM on October 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not a huge fan of The Oatmeal. In fact I ranted against one of their recent pieces in a thread from a week ago on here. But I am going to address a growing and, to my mind, idiotic trend I have seen gaining steam online of late.

Here it is.

Dissecting a thing that is funny down to its clockwork elements and then pointing out those elements and how/why they work together doesnt make the thing not funny.

That is all.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 3:09 PM on October 15, 2010 [7 favorites]


Not to say this is an unethical practice, its just kinda junky and trashy.

I guess I don't see how it's that either. The problem is that he highlights other content on his site? Seems like a perfectly normal, reasonable thing to do.
posted by brundlefly at 3:15 PM on October 15, 2010


Cool Papa Bell, "SEO" means less about the original "Search Engine Optimization" that it literally stands for, and is more broadly used to describe practices of link farming, memability/viralability, and The Oatmeal's holy grail, link throughs.

/me waves hand and goes pfft.

So, it's bad to create things that people enjoy and remember and want to tell their friends about. Got it.

Quick, someone tell every artist that worked in any medium that ever lived.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:17 PM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I still love what Allie Brosh does. And she does not rip off The Oatmeal as she is much more squiggly, raw and funny. So fucking there.
posted by maudlin at 3:19 PM on October 15, 2010 [18 favorites]


Artw: "I'm more puzzled at all the fuss the CAKE post caused the other day. I mean, that was genuinely funny (and so naturally deleted)"

"Meh, we've seen this quite a lot already" = fuss?
posted by pineapple at 3:24 PM on October 15, 2010


I used to love all the Oatmeal links that showed up here on MeFi but I had the exact same thoughts as the comic linked in the post when I visited the Oatmeal site the other day for the first time in months.

I'd only see the crazy popular viral posts, on the order of maybe one a month. But the other day I went to the site thinking I wouldn't see any comics newer than the last one that showed up here and I was surprised to find the guy is posting a few a week, like a dozen I'd never seen before. I came away from the site being surprised the guy does way more comics than I see show up here and twitter and elsewhere and also that the "filler" strips that don't get linked everywhere are terribly unfunny. The oatmeal site feels like the guy is forcing himself to write a couple comics per week whether or not he has a funny idea at the core. A lot of them are bland and unfunny. Some don't even make sense.

That said, the few breakout "hits" (like the truth about printer ink one) are really hilarious. I guess I wish the author didn't try and force the unfunny things into comics, be more patient, and wait for real inspiration to hit before publishing new stuff.
posted by mathowie at 3:26 PM on October 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hey guys, did you know that the Oatmeal guy wants you to click on other links on his site? And that he creates visually appealing pictures with which to persuade you to do so? How terrible he is!
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:35 PM on October 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


schleppo: “Someone has traffic-jealousy issues.”

alasdair: “Well, that's a lot of hate. Jealousy? Because, you know what, I've enjoyed several of the Oatmeal strips. I've forwarded some on to people, which I don't do often. And I guess he probably does market his product well - shoot me if that doesn't seem to be crime to me.”

boo_radley: “just awful, just... just. man. You can not like the oatmeal, yes, fine, they're tedious and bland, great, but when you spend the time to ape its style and conjecture about how the comic's made, you're obsessing a little bit and it speaks unwell of your character.”

I'm guessing some of you don't know much about The Oatmeal. The guy that runs that site is a douchebag who takes every opportunity to crap on people and be an evil little fuck.

Of course, if you want, you can be featured on one of his sites. That is, if you're a CHICK WITH A MOUSTACHE! (LOL!!!) or a DUDE WITH MAN-BOOBS! (HILARIOUS!) HA HA! UGLY PEOPLE ARE SO FUNNY! Or you can even get featured if you happen to piss him off enough for him to unleash his fury by linking your criminal record.

What a great guy!
posted by koeselitz at 3:50 PM on October 15, 2010 [14 favorites]


Also, he's ripped off stuff from Metafilter at least once, so I can see why there's a lot of The Oatmeal hate around here.
posted by koeselitz at 3:52 PM on October 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


A bear with chainsaw arms. Funny.
posted by stargell at 4:02 PM on October 15, 2010


There are a lot of reasons to dislike The Oatmeal.

"Unapologetically engages in self-promotion on platforms where it is acceptable" and "creates meaningless yet entertaining fluff pieces that people enjoy and forward to their friends" are not two of them.
posted by ErikaB at 4:03 PM on October 15, 2010


Is the author of "Unfunny Things" auditioning for Charlie Brooker's job at the Guardian? Because he's taking Brooker's schtick of attacking the somewhat-bad with vastly inflated hyperbole and taking it a step further, by applying it to things that are somewhat-good (HE HATES 30ROCK!). Fortunately, he's only posting a couple times a year, so we will only be occasionally subjected to posts from his site from Mefites who mistake it for humor.

Still, it's good to know that there is a bunch of content on The Oatmeal's site that is not as good as what gets posted on Metafilter because that shows that THIS site is doing what it is supposed to... Filter.

And I would never tell him not to throw everything that comes to mind at the Web; we are in a very different medium than, for example, the old 70s-80s stand-up comics, who would perform everything in venues with tiny audiences, sort out the top 2% until they had 10 minutes to take to the Comedy Store, graduate to a Johnny Carson appearance with the best 5 of the 10 minutes, then acquire an Agent, a Manager, a Mentor or two and some Ghost Writers to help ensure that the next 5 minutes on Carson would not bomb. It's just different now with the editor-free Web.

Of course, there is a point of balance, like the reason xkcd only publishes three times a week. I'm sure an xkcd every day would somewhat diminish the effect that the one-every-three-or-four-weeks excellent contribution has, but then, who's to say that some of the ideas he tosses wouldn't be better than some of the ones he uses?

And if I removed from my entertainment menu everything created by douchebags, I'd have nothing much to entertain myself with. And better the sometimes-douchebaggy Oatmeal (especially when Mefi filters out the douchebaggery) than the "douchebag is all he does" Unfunny Things.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:04 PM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah that unfunnythings tumblr is lame. It reeks of sour grapes and jealousy; it's also full of half-cocked "takedowns" of things the writer hasn't taken the time to "get", ie 30 Rock.

Assumptions abound!


But, yeah, The Oatmeal is boring and you should be reading Hyperbole and a Half instead.
posted by defenestration at 4:09 PM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


He co-founded SEOmoz.org.
posted by Rhomboid at 4:10 PM on October 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've laughed at some of the strips. I've laughed hard at The Motherfucking Pterodactyl. (Some of the jokes in it are not great, but the motherfucking pterodactyl himself is a joy to behold.) But on the other hand, this strip does a masterful job of reducing The Oatmeal to its base elements, and while I think his conclusion w/r/t The Oatmeal isn't really fair, I am impressed by a pitch-perfect deconstruction.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:16 PM on October 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


That's a great impersonation of a bland shitty comic.
posted by acheekymonkey at 5:12 PM on October 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Huh, so unicorns have their tits between their front legs. I guess they're more closely related to elephants than to horses, then.
posted by porpoise at 5:13 PM on October 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


I still love what Allie Brosh does. And she does not rip off The Oatmeal as she is much more squiggly, raw and funny. So fucking there.

Everyone likes her. She is one of the few popular bloggers I have never heard anyone say even one negative word about. But we still don't need a new post every time she posts to her blog.
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:06 PM on October 15, 2010


Dissecting a thing that is funny down to its clockwork elements and then pointing out those elements and how/why they work together doesnt make the thing not funny.

This is absolutely absolutely correct. It can sometimes be a way to point out that something isn't all that original, but basically it's just meaningless pseudo-analysis.
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:08 PM on October 15, 2010


I just liked a thing that wasn't really funny because it pandered to my preconceived notions and validated my opinions. Now I know how you xkcd fans feel!
posted by codacorolla at 6:14 PM on October 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow, whoever runs this Tumblr must be a terribly unhappy person.
posted by reductiondesign at 6:22 PM on October 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Probably like that dude who runs The Oatmeal. So at least it's fitting.
posted by koeselitz at 8:12 PM on October 15, 2010


That tumblr is just nothing but shitting on people for the sake of shitting on people.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:45 PM on October 15, 2010


That is, if you're a CHICK WITH A MOUSTACHE! (LOL!!!) or a DUDE WITH MAN-BOOBS! (HILARIOUS!) HA HA! UGLY PEOPLE ARE SO FUNNY!

Let's just pause it right there, Mr White Knight koeselitz.

I think the comic is saying "CHICKS WITH MOUSTACHES" are funny. You're saying they are UGLY as well? That's not very nice of you. Some – nay, most – of the girls on the front page of that site seemed quite comfortable with their mos. And you want to judge them and call them ugly as well.

Funny how you're also being a douchebag by loudly railing against a supposed douchebag... and you don't even realise.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:39 PM on October 15, 2010


Who says they're ugly? I was being ironical. [A sad mistake on the internet, I know.]

I have a hard time seeing how you can respect people and find their appearance hilarious. That's all I'm saying. And sites based entirely on the "ha ha, these people look funny" premise are a mistake.
posted by koeselitz at 9:53 PM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


[It's obvious that he's fetishizing the ugliness of people, I think, from his response to arguments that he was being a dick: he started a site where he made fun of man-boobs. 'You think I'm being sexist? Ha ha - I can be a dick to men, too! Look at me!' That doesn't exactly make it okay. Sorry.]
posted by koeselitz at 9:55 PM on October 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Rhomboid > He co-founded SEOMoz.

Oh, man, I'd always found something sleazy about the Oatmeal whenever I clicked on a link to it from Reddit or something. That kinda explains it.
posted by egypturnash at 10:22 PM on October 15, 2010


First of all, people, the Oatmeal is not funny. If you think the Oatmeal is funny, there's something wrong with you, that's just a fact.

Second of all, the last time the Oatmeal was discussed here (or at least the last time I saw it discussed here) it was a hate fest. What happened? The guy is a douchebag.

Thirdly:
but when you spend the time to ape its style and conjecture about how the comic's made, you're obsessing a little bit
The whole point is "The Oatmeal"'s style requires zero effort, aping the style doesn't take much work at all. That comic probably took 20 minutes
I didn't find the Oatmeal from SEO. Neither did you. Since when do you search for comedy?
No, you probably found it from a link he spammed on some social site (like reddit, digg, etc)
posted by delmoi at 10:45 PM on October 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


never has anything positive to say about anything...if you're in the right mood, he can be funny, but most of the time you're just relieved when he's not there.
If you want nihilism in comic form, Pictures for sad children is fantastic. (I linked to the first one, read a few strips to get the initial characters. I think the start of the strip works well as a long sequence, rather then one-off jokes. Later on, there are more one-off jokes that are pretty funny once you're used to it. It's kind of an acquired taste is what I'm saying, but good.
posted by delmoi at 10:53 PM on October 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think the comic is saying "CHICKS WITH MOUSTACHES" are funny. You're saying they are UGLY as well? ... Funny how you're also being a douchebag by loudly railing against a supposed douchebag... and you don't even realise.
They are ugly. And everyone knows it. Pretending everyone doesn't? That's the douchey move.
posted by delmoi at 11:34 PM on October 15, 2010


[Chick's with moustaches] are ugly. And everyone knows it. Pretending everyone doesn't? That's the douchey move.

What's your opinion of grossly overweight people, delmoi? Do tell.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:48 PM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


no one saw that apostrophe

got it?

posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:50 PM on October 15, 2010


Wow, whoever runs this Tumblr must be a terribly unhappy person.

Terribly unhappy? This person doesn't like "30 Rock" or "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me." This person is clearly a soulless husk.
posted by brundlefly at 12:10 AM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pictures for sad children is fantastic

I'm pretty sure that disqualifies you from pronouncing upon what is and is not funny for the rest of forever.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:39 AM on October 16, 2010


We all know that Metafilter makes it's money basically via "SEO"? Right? By having optimised titles , plenty of backlinks and getting tonnes of semi-relevant traffic from google? That semi-relevant traffic doesn't find what they're looking for on the page, and clicks an ad.

Douche he may be, but criticising the oatmeal for doing a fine job of advertising his business rings hollow to me.
posted by generichuman at 1:19 AM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


> The whole point is "The Oatmeal"'s style requires zero effort, aping the style doesn't take much work at all. That comic probably took 20 minutes.

What's your opinion on XKCD?
posted by davelog at 4:43 AM on October 16, 2010


fucking lol i'm buying the poster of the Robot dinosaur!
posted by kirkaracha at 9:40 AM on October 16, 2010


delmoi: "First of all, people, the Oatmeal is not funny. If you think the Oatmeal is funny, there's something wrong with you, that's just a fact.

Er, no, it's not a 'fact', it's your rather silly and odd opinion.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:54 AM on October 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Never realized The Oatmeal was supposed to be funny as in comedy funny (light-hearted was what I thought) and have found it amazingly useful for co-workers who are not clear on the concept of how to use our fancier punctuation marks.

How my original take on the funniness of The Oatmeal fits into delmoi’s view is a matter for better minds than mine.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 10:58 AM on October 16, 2010


We all know that Metafilter makes it's money basically via "SEO"? Right?

SEO practices fall on a wide spectrum of good and evil. It's commonly understood that when referring to a SEO douchebag, we're talking about someone who favors the more disreputable behaviors. Nobody gets called a SEO douchebag for simply publishing a site with good content, it's the endless self-promotion through social media, buying paid links, signing up to forums to plug your site in unrelated threads, using bots to comment-spam popular blogs, using bots to auto-upvote your submissions on social media sites, selling useless "search engine submission" software, telling clients they can pay to get traffic, and so on. I don't think anyone is accusing the Oatmeal guy of any of those things except for self-promotion through social media, but it's a pattern that overlaps with what SEO douchebags do and he has a prior history in the SEO business.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:12 AM on October 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't think I've ever seen a webcomic that was funny, unless it was made by a genuinely delusional outsider freak pushing so many buttons......but no, that's just amusing. People will defend these piece of shit comics for the saddest reason of all: because it's about me and my world of screen and keyboard and losing my social skills. Wow. How. Intensely. Boring.

I know way too may people in my real life who have decided they've got 'social anxiety' or some shit and it always comes down to too much time online. And they always have a pathetic sense of humor that gets off on very extremely obviously pandering comedy.

But that's okay, it's a consumer world where lifestyle shoppers have a right to no taste, no style, no palate.....I mean, people were defending chicken nuggets on this blog just the other day. Good grief. What a waste of life.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 7:31 PM on October 16, 2010


generichuman: “We all know that Metafilter makes it's money basically via "SEO"? Right? By having optimised titles , plenty of backlinks and getting tonnes of semi-relevant traffic from google? That semi-relevant traffic doesn't find what they're looking for on the page, and clicks an ad.”

You don't know what SEO is, then. That's not it. Just a hint. Head over to SEOMoz and give a gander - I guarantee you they're not selling a "just add a few ads, just like metafilter!" package.

“Douche he may be, but criticising the oatmeal for doing a fine job of advertising his business rings hollow to me.”

'Hitler may have been a soulless bastard, but criticizing him for being a bad military commander during the invasion of Poland rings hollow to me.' Well, yeah. That's why we weren't criticizing The Oatmeal for advertising. We were criticizing that bastard Matt Inman for being a douchebag. Which is a hell of a lot more important than whether or not he runs a successful advertising scheme, hey?

This is a sign that capitalism is a mistake, people: when folks say things like this. 'Well, yeah, he's a total jerk, but look at his advertising scheme – pretty good, right?' No. He's a jerk. That overrides it. Being a good person is more important than marketing yourself well. Don't people just understand that?
posted by koeselitz at 10:35 PM on October 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


Koeslitz: Seriously, what's your problem with the fella then? Did he run over your dog or beat up your sister? You shit all over Inman for taking cracks at people, but all you seem to be doing here is taking cracks at him - just as gutless, frankly.

Generichuman has made a valid point - he runs a tight business by presenting an interested public with comics that enough people seem to find funny. If that in and of itself is of poor taste in your opinion, so be it. It doesn't necessarily speak to his character any further than his willingness to do certain things for money. Inman can be one of a large population of successful individuals making a living doing things others consider dubious. You however have not left one concrete example of the guy actually causing harm, but remain content to attack Inman himself (instead of just his work). If you feel so strongly about "being a good person", perhaps the first stop on your bus ride to kindnesstown would be practicing what you preach, and taking a nice big step back from sanctimony.
posted by SweetP at 3:58 PM on October 17, 2010


It doesn't necessarily speak to his character any further than his willingness to do certain things for money. Inman can be one of a large population of successful individuals making a living doing things others consider dubious.

Well, there's this.

He's just a jackass, juvenile to the point of being belligerent. The comics I have admired over the years have been created by people who were interested in their craft and not so much in the business. It's not a rule, but it reflects in his work nonetheless, and his personality is odious.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:47 PM on October 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


BTW, if you scroll down there is an email conversation with him posted in the comments.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:52 PM on October 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, he's ripped off stuff from Metafilter at least once, so I can see why there's a lot of The Oatmeal hate around here.

When, exactly?

If you think the Oatmeal is funny, there's something wrong with you, that's just a fact.

I laughed at something The Oatmeal did once, some comic about the phone I am sure of it. I can live with you thinking there's something wrong with me.
posted by jessamyn at 8:29 PM on October 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oatmeal posters are used in at least one English teacher's classroom I know of in San Jose. They make me smile and they make my daughter smile. Moving on now.
posted by mdoar at 10:42 AM on October 18, 2010


Bah, well I dropped that comment while heading out the door on Friday night, (when I probably should have hit cancel instead of post) and come Monday morning I see a nice crop of ruffled feathers. Sigh. To clarify, my tone here is dry and matter of fact, not angry or bitter. I know it could read either way in text. Brand strategy and management is part of my job and I don't think its (too) evil.

Let me try to say what I was getting at in a better way. The Oatmeal is not about creating gifts-of-comedic-genius comics in precious thoughtful packages. It's a factory farm all about churning out mass content. It is what it is. I'm sure he's making tons of money, and good for him.

I'm not saying every artist needs to be starving to be "real", but who are we kidding here, this guy isn't an artist. He doesn't care about his craft. He'll put out 50 pieces of content, and maybe 1 or 2 will be funny/popular. The rest of his site is comprised of junky filler— tits on a unicorn, if you will— and you keep clicking thinking "I'm sure theres got to be a funny one just around the corner!". It is the same impulse that'll keep you feeding coins into a slot machine. Its a "psychology exploit" and it is dependent on having a nearly limitless volume of content.

Thats what I'm calling trashy not "internal navigation" for crying out loud. Its trashy in the same way that putting boobs by some Miller Lite to sell more beer is trashy. Both work and neither are exactly appeals to the noble capitalist consumers we like to think we are. Which brings me to my next point:

This is a practice that will (and has) earned his website a trashy reputation— whats known as "brand dilution". If 2-4% of his product is good, that means he's 96-98% tits on a unicorn. Thats a brand that'll crumble soon if he keeps going like he is.*

Feel free to paint this as "Bah, contrarians just hate it when people get successful!" if you'd like to buy into that brand story, and I mean that in the least conspiracy-nut way possible. We each have stories to buy into— personal narratives and reputations to shore up. In society at large, we do that with the purchases we make, and online it's with the content we consume. I prefer my poorly drawn web comics to be artisanally crafted on a rustic family farm in Italy's verdant countryside with a recipe handed down from generation to generation where the secret ingredient is grandma smiles. This choice doesn't mean I'm better than you. It just means I'm better than you and I love grandmas.

*Unicorn tits are a notoriously unstable building material after all.
posted by fontophilic at 2:25 PM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


SweetP: “Koeslitz: Seriously, what's your problem with the fella then? Did he run over your dog or beat up your sister? You shit all over Inman for taking cracks at people, but all you seem to be doing here is taking cracks at him - just as gutless, frankly.”

I didn't post news stories about people laughing about them because I think they're stupid. I don't make whole blogs the point of which are to laugh at women with moustaches or guys with breasts – I'm sorry, that's really the bit that pisses me off the most. We live in a society (by which I mean the internet) which spends 99% of its time shaming people and making them feel like shit. That's Matt Inman's path to gold and glory. I don't like it. That's all. He's mean-spirited. He doesn't "take cracks at people" – he runs several sites the whole purpose of which is to point and laugh. That's what bothers me.

me: “Also, he's ripped off stuff from Metafilter at least once, so I can see why there's a lot of The Oatmeal hate around here.”

jessamyn: “When, exactly?”

Hmm. So I was misremembering this as an ask post – apparently that wasn't us that he used for material.
posted by koeselitz at 2:52 PM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


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