I’m not considered the most sympathetic person in the world. I’m narcissistic, egotistical, sarcastic, and otherwise a pretty selfish guy. I’ve always prided myself, though, on being brutally honest, and in the last couple of years, I have taken that to a new level, blogging with a transparency that I’d never done before. It’s been refreshing, freeing and, apparently, inspiring and motivational. I say “apparently” because I didn’t realize how inspiring and motivational I was until I got this email from a man who simply called himself “Dan Pearce, that blogger who showed up out of nowhere with a million manufactured visits from China and India and who writes with the sincerity of a bad Lifetime movie.” And this response was so powerful, I couldn’t not share it with you all.
My name is Dan Pearce and you may not know who I am, since you’re not a parent blogger and you don’t have the traffic nor influence to benefit me in any way. I’m not the type to talk about myself (okay, I totally am), but I get thousands of visits and likes on Facebook anytime I write anything, and tens of them are from genuine readers who are real people.
Occasionally, my US-based traffic drops below a thousand visits a month, and by occasionally, I mean monthly, so I decide that I need to motivate people. I do in-depth keyword analysis to find terms and phrases that result in high Google traffic, and then I create a superficial motivational message to surround the SEO framework. My inspiration comes from a variety of sources, like Oprah, high school creative writing papers, and from reading bloggers who tell genuine stories that actually come from the heart.
Back in November, I wrote a post that set the Internet on fire called “I’m Christian, Unless You’re Gay”. It was a completely fabricated post that had a wholesome message about tolerance. And I’m aware that my experience with people who are gay is limited to that special episode of “Full House”, and I know that the fictional characters in my blog posts all talk, use colloquialisms, and sound like they were written by remedial high school students writing a PSA for the school’s TV channel, but isn’t it the message that counts? People were moved to tears by my story of my fake friend who was gay. Every time he told someone he was gay, they unfriended him on Facebook and stopped talking to him. Every single time! That happens!
Anyway, it’s been five months and people have finally stopped congratulating me for being a tolerable Christian and for not hating my fake gay friend. I’m glad they stopped, too, because I’m not a hero. Well, I am, but I’m just trying to set an example for the rest of the world. After the hooplah died down, I had a talk with God about how He could help me get more traffic and boy, did He give me an earful. I realized that it wasn’t enough to demonstrate how to be a tolerant hero. I needed to motivate and inspire people to change, as well.
That night, I laid in bed watching “The Return of the Jedi” and thinking. I needed to write something that would spark and encourage poignant discussion, but more importantly, more traffic to my site. What I needed was a villain. Who is redeemed at the end. And lightsabers!
I decided to craft a treacly-worded letter that was sent “anonymously” to me by a conservative homophobic mother whose son was asked to write about my fake gay friend in school. Over the course of the letter, she would find out that her son was gay, and it would affect her to such a degree that she would change her entire perspective on homosexuality and acceptance, and even her small town of Endor would be changed as a result. It would be inspirational. It would be amazing. It would be heartbreaking. It would be . . . shared on Facebook.
The post got the response I had carefully calculated it would. But then something happened. One of my detractors – someone who treats me much like the Jews treated Jesus – mentioned a post by a gay dad blogger, who had just come out to his daughter and wrote about it. I read the post and was floored. My vision dimmed and the world appeared in front of me as if diminishing down a blackened tunnel. This is how people really act and speak? This is what genuine emotion and substance is like?
I shared this post with countless people. I made my publicist read it. I made the 100 Chinese laborers who I pay to click on links and like posts read it. I made my fake gay friend read it. And finally, I saw the light. It’s not about the message. It’s about genuine human stories. It’s about the fact that my cliched statements and trite storytelling techniques actually detract from the people who are actually going through these issues.
Mr. Avitable, I don’t know what to do. For the first time in my life, I’m unmotivated to write fake stories as if they’re real and appeal to the heartstrings of morons and gullible fools for traffic and income. I’m at a loss. The only solution, as I can see it, is for you to write a fake letter from me that points out all of the reasons that I’m a colossal hack and an utterly useless and worthless blogger. Please. For me. For my fake gay friend. For all of my fake stories.
Sincerely yours, Dan Pearce
I don’t know if this was a prank fake letter I received or a real one. I don’t know if Dan Pearce has the self-awareness to understand how obnoxious and terrible he really and truly is. I just know that if one person can make a difference, it should be someone genuine, with real problems and real issues, who writes transparently and honestly, like in this post. These are the posts to be celebrated and shared and enjoyed. Not another word of the shit that passes for content on Single Dad Laughing.
For more details, I’d also suggest checking out my friend Beta Dad’s post about Dan Pearce.