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"Gee, Thanks!"

First of all, Happy Father's Day, Fred. You're there when I need you, like when I needed that slant for my medieval history paper (wow, I never thought of Dante as a tie-in to Hohenstaufen Italy!), and you've been very helpful with me in setting up my nearing vacation. Dads should mainly be there to answer questions. And you do that, even if we're not always at the same location.

Hey, I got reviewed in The Net, an Internet magazine. You'd think I'd be utterly happy, and my site would be clogged with more hits than I'm used to (let's see, the usual 20 visitors times 2...), but read the review first!

under the category "vanity" , page 76

content: half empty
Aesthetic merit: not half bad
Techno smartness: Aglow

At benturner.com, you can sense the conflict. Ben is utterly self-absorbed, yet he likes to share. Ben knows he is talented, yet he wants your approval. Ben frequently explains that he might seem arrogant and boastful, yet....I don't want to seem patronizing, but it wasn't hard to guess that Ben is a 19-year-old college freshman. Still, benturner.com offers more than your typical vanity site. In addition to reading about what Ben is thinking and doing, you can access a page devoted to the Robin Hood legend, a primer for new fans of "The X-Files," downloadable programs culled from the Internet, an online gaming reference, and MUD help for newbies. The design is more sophisticated than most, too. -SS

Before I start my critique of this review and of general opinion, I will admit that I am not sure what the reviewer's intent was. All I have to go on is this review. So that forces me to keep my tone to somewhat lesser of a degree than usual, in my doubt. Should be interesting to see if I can still write without digressing into a rant. ;)

What can I say? My first review in an Internet mag. Certainly not my first review by someone else. Why is it always me who receives the different review? I read some of the reviews posted about other sites on The Net's site and none of them were as opinionated as mine was. For those of you who know even a shred of me, is it obvious that this woman didn't like me and didn't read the Soapbox at all? It would have answered so many questions for her, and I wouldn't be writing this.

It's entirely possible that I misinterpreted the review and it's supposed to sound more complimenting to me than it did. But I don't know -- you just don't see this sort of thing in a review. It seems like the reviewer misinterpreted my stands on things, particularly my so-called "arrogance." I addressed this issue in an earlier Soapbox somewhere, and it also ties in strongly with my personality, which I refer back to frequently.

Why does it continue to surprise people that this site is about me? You don't know how many times I've heard people say, "Have you seen his site? It's just a big ego boost to himself!" No, you missed the point entirely. This is a personal site, a "vanity" site (ugh), as the reviewer called it. I do what I feel every personal site's author should do -- create the site around the personality of the bloody author! When I look at personal sites, I look to see if the person was honest enough to drop all politeness and manners in favor of getting to the meat of their personality. If someone is caught up in being nice, then I guarantee you their content and writing won't be anywhere near as fascinating. Hey folks, I'm far more reserved in real life and in conversation. But I also admit to being self-absorbed here, as this site allows me to speak my mind. I'm making the best of this medium. Others are merely wasting theirs, in favor of kissing the asses of their favorite (read, influential) friends. Personal sites should be personal!

You could tell I'm a nineteen-year-old freshman, could you? I don't understand this. Was it because I throw in plenty of details concerning my age, or is it my tone, or outlook? Now people should understand why I was hesitant long ago to reveal my age -- it opens me up to generalizations and stereotypes, including this, which someone actually said to me: "You get out of those locked-in literature classes of high school and into the real meat of college lit, out of reading abridged versions of the classics and into reading the nasty little bits where they talk about sex and say 'Damn!' and something in you snaps." I admit I've recently gone through a period of literary discovery, but there's nothing wrong with that. What can I do about it? I'm young, and I make a big deal about it on my site (again, I don't talk about my age in real life or in conversation both online and off), but I still get people using my age against me in an argument. It's really a shame, too. What are you going to do when I get older? Will you just think of me as a college freshman, as I'm still fascinated with literature, learning, society, and individuals?

Please, give me a chance before you generalize. I am a man of subtlety. It's easy to classify me as just another teenage punk who thinks he's the center of the universe. But in actuality, I have a very deep philosophy which goes down into the marrow of my soul and will never change. I am very motivated to do well and to gain power, and these are feelings which have recently been cultivated in me. It's natural for me to express my interests on this site. I am profoundly different than most people. Remember that. Hell, I fielded such an abnormal review that I must be different. The problem with these people who take it upon themselves to comment on me is that they're so cynical they don't know what feeling for something other than an actual person is. They can't take the fact that I'm not generic.

It's somewhat of an honor to be recognized in a magazine, but I don't intend to make a reputation out of notoriety and out of being young. All that has developed because of other people, and I have in turn criticized them. I never intended to be the hidden badboy who has a fun site to look at and see how much he loves himself. Such nonsense is created by people who barely scratched the surface of the site and weren't interested in exploring my personality and catching the nuances.

I'd rather not be reviewed at all than be reviewed by people who didn't take the time to get to know me. Do you understand now why I'm not so eager about becoming exposed to the Web community?

Reading the front page of the newspaper doesn't make you knowledgeable of current events, dears. I can't believe people get paid to review so poorly. I create content for people. All you can do is comment on it, for the almighty dollar. Like a vulture as it devours, yet never gives life to anything except more scavengers. And I'm not sure you even like me (I admit I'm hard to like, from just reading my site), or your review would have been quite different and more complimenting.

What was most odd was the reviewer's comment on the content of my site. "Half empty?" From checking the logs, it seems she visited maybe 20-30% of my site, and I don't think she even hit the 'Box, the area which pretty much defines my whole site. She neglected to point out all the strengths of the site, and chose to talk about my personality instead (which she got wrong as well, of course). I have little respect for those who are willing to talk about something so surely without researching it sufficiently.

Thanks to Rain for telling me about this. As an added poke in the ribs, the reviewer didn't even tell me I would be reviewed in the latest issue. That's okay -- I know we people on the Web are mere stepping stones for both reviewers and the reviewing magazines.

So welcome to the paper magazine world, Ben Turner. I thank the reviewer for the kind things she did say, and I appreciate the attention, but I think it was a poor introduction to most people for my site. But there it is -- hopefully new visitors will get the right impression when they see the real thing for themselves.

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