I actually care what people think about me. It's part of being a human being. However, I've learned not to engage sincerely with people who just drop rhetorical grenades because they have more time than I do. So instead, I try to smother haters with love. Here's the email I got November 20, 2013 through my web form:
Email Address: REDACTED@gmail.com
Subject: you're a douchbag
Message: Just felt the need to let you know you need to tone down your douchebag elitist attitude. I will not watch any twit episode that has you on it.
I had just left a very productive and fun meeting. I was in a good mood. I decided to share this mood with my writer:
REDACTED thank you so much for your thoughtful, articulate, and considerate response to my TWIT appearance. It's people like you and comments like these that motivate me to strive for excellence and resonance in my work. I look forward to a future in which you and I can develop our relationship even further and maintain, nay EXPAND, the respectful tone you've established here. Thanks for setting the bar so high. Stay wonderful, my friend and may God or the Higher Consciousness or Science bless you.
With utmost sincerity
Baratunde The Elitist Douchebag Thurston
Sent from your mom's Sky Pager
Twelve minutes later, I got this response:
hahaha alright man, you're cool... thank you for the well crafted response.
I apologize for sounding like such a troll... I actually like what you do, and consider myself a fan, even more so now.
Keep it real,
If you have hate mail you'd like me to respond to, post it in the comments. Let's make a game of it. Meanwhile, if you're a fan of someone's work, there are many items on the list of Ways To Express Your Fandom that come long before "Email the person you respect, and tell that person he or she is a douchebag. The threaten to boycott any appearance that person makes in an outlet you also respect."
Maybe send flowers or whiskey or just think positive thoughts to yourself.
Update 30 November 2013.
My friend Kate Darling recently posted a video related to this post. She's a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. She also works at the MIT Media Lab. So basically, she's super uninteresting and not smart at all ;)
In this video, she explains how should-be reasonable people (including tenured professors) react with irrational hate at her decision to study the economics of online adult entertainment. Money quote: "If you try to please everyone around you you’ll never do anything meaningful."