So, I often get, like, seven Likes on my blog. Sometimes I get a few more. Occasionally I get a lot more. Once I got 73. I was dead chuffed about that. You can imagine.
So, then last week, at night, my mate phoned me up and said: "They're gonna put my rant up on the Exberliner website."
"Oh, brilliant," I said. "That's great. You'll get loads of Likes. You'll get at least a hundred."
"You reckon?" she replied.
"Oh, yeah," I said. "At least a hundred. Maybe even more. It's a really good rant."
So, anyways, the next day they put it up and the Likes kept on going up and up and up and up – 200, 300, 400. I was fairly jealous. Actually, fairly jealous isn't a very accurate description of my emotions. I was fairly puking with jealousy. I seriously thought I might literally end up puking out my own intestines.
Something weird happened once the article hit 1000 Likes though. I didn't feel jealous anymore. Not even remotely. I felt just, like, serenely proud to know someone who had written something that fucking popular. I felt like Philippa Gordon felt about Anne Shirley in Anne of the Island: I was "not the rose, but near the rose".
So, that night, my friend phoned me up again.
"Jacinta," she said, her voice sounding slightly outraged. "I got a death threat. Because of the rant."
"Well," I said, reasonably. "It was a very controversial point. You did say all the expats should learn German."
"And someone called me a cunt."
"Oh, dear," I said.
"Has anyone ever called you a cunt?"
"No," I said. "But then again, I never got 2500 Likes, did I?"
"And have you ever had a death threat?"
"No," I said. "Though there was that thing from that person who said they thought I should have a gun inserted into my vagina and a spastic with epilepsy pull the trigger."
"Jacinta, what is wrong with people?"
"Oh, you know what I reckon? You haven't really lived if you haven't written something that's inspired a death threat at least once."
"It's the internet, that's what it is."
"It's three important factors," I said. "Three important factors are important when considering the vitriol with which people responded to your article. Factor Number One: the internet and anonymous commenting. Right?"
"And then the second factor is just misogyny. People hate women who have something to say. Men hate us and women hate us, so everybody hates us. It's a bit depressing."
"And what's the third factor?"
"Oh," I said. "The third factor is that people really, really, really don't want to learn German*."
"Yeah," said my mate. "You're right there."
*So, here comes my official opinion on Rantgate: For what it's worth, I think Julie Colthorpe is totally right, and you lazy expats should learn German, you lazy bums - on the other hand, I really hate all those smug German comments about "respect" and courtesy. For fuck's sake. German is a very difficult language. There are, as everyone who's ever learned it will know, 2756 words for "the”. Nobody's ever gonna learn such a difficult language out of such negative emotions as respect and courtesy and obedience and gratitude and pukey gehorsame emotions like that...when you learn a language you have to open your mind up – mainly to let all the "thes" in, but also you know, just generally, you have to be OPEN. You have to learn it out of all these lovely, positive emotions, ones like love and desire and curiosity and passion, stuff like that. Not respect. Go fuck yourselves in your Knien, ey. Also, I really like a lot of people who can't speak a word of German. I have a friend who can't order orange juice. I think there's something really glorious about it. Breathtakingly audacious. I quite like it. I just hate it, though, when people start justifying not being able to speak Krautspeak because English is the "world language", that really annoys me... it's really colonial. Also another point is: I kind of blame you Germans for our German being so shitty anyway. Well, I blame you guys for my German being so shitty, anyways. Well, I blame you Germans living in Berlin. I got an Israeli mate who's been living in Dresden for three years and he speaks such perfect Hochdeutsch – you get vertigo just listening to him. You have to speak to us in German more! Okay? We'll never learn otherwise. Plus, finally, I feel really sorry for the Portuguese boy in the comments who got thrown out of bar for not speaking fluent German. Should we ever meet, I will "invite" you for a drink, honey. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my official opinion on the matter.