Hollywood Gothique
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Ghost Ship and the Internet Troll Phenomenon: My Final Word (I hope)

I thought I had said everything I had to say about Ghost Ship, the new Halloween attraction in Newport Beach that completed its final voyage of the season last night, but I stumbled upon something in an apparently irrelevant article that seemed worth noting. In a Salon.com review of “Lulu,” the new album collaboration between Lou Reed and Metallica, Steven Hyden makes this observation about the extremely negative reaction from critics and fans:

If this record tells us anything about our culture, it’s something we already know but still sometimes like to forget when we’re gossiping online: Internet conversations are inherently transient and constantly hungry for something to love like it’s the best that ever was, or revile like nothing has been reviled before. “Lulu” filled that need, but only for a while. Which means this is not an all-time boondoggle; it is “Internet Troll: The Album.”

I’m tempted to say that the reaction to Ghost Ship could be called “Internet Troll: The Halloween Haunt,” but that would not be quite fair. The reaction to “Lulu” is based on the album; the reaction to Ghost Ship concerns not only the attraction itself but also how Ten Thirty One Productions handled customer complaints (banning from their Facebook page those who had written negative comments and accusing them of being aligned with a competitor).

Nevertheless, I think Hyden’s remark is worth keeping in mind when judging the the hyberbolic criticisms of Ghost Ship. I can understand why some people’s expectations were not met (especially after paying $59 plus parking), but I find the virulent negativity out of proportion to the event itself. I guess, on the Internet, it’s sometimes not enough to say, “I was disappointed.” You have to say, “It was the worst ever.”