The Feeling You're Entitled To Free Things Actually Entitles You To An Eye Ball Punch

Matthew Inman (aka the Oatmeal) posted a recent and rather agonizing Facebook conversation on his site. There was a few things in the dialogue that made the poster Tim come off as an oblivious, raging, flame turd. There was one specific thing that he mentioned that really rubbed me the wrong way. "And of course it's free." Essentially stating that there is absolutely no way that the Oatmeal should even contemplate charging for the comics that have entertained him for hours and hours.

The issue was that the enthusiastic fan was whining and moaning (like a baby -- male or female version) over the fact there wasn't a new comic produced by the Oatmeal. Matthew then responded by letting him know that it actually takes hours upon hours to actually produce the quality content he provides, and he also gently reminded the complainer that it was being given at absolutely no charge. Tim then decided it was best to throw out a bunch of lame insults from that point forth (because that is always what inspires creative types to produce more free content) and completely miss the entire point of Matthew's argument. Which was that it was not quick and easy work, and it was also entirely free.

Let's run with this for a moment here. Lets say there was a guy named Gussy McGusserton. Ol' Gussy was a hell of a mechanic and could fix almost any problem there was with a car. Yeah, it took him a bit of time, because you see he wasn't an owner of the proverbial magic wand. He actually had to put his sweat and tears into it. But he did his job and he worked really hard. Now, lets just pretend that you are Gussy McGusserton, the amazing car mechanic. You know you do a great job and that anyone who comes in to have his car repaired will most likely be satisfied with your work. This work really is what you're best at, and almost something you may say is your calling.

Now, what is the likelihood that you're going to repair complete strangers' cars for free? What are the chances that you would be totally willing to have people come to your house day and night with their broken down cars and expect you to immediately get to work? Every single day people drop by and expect ol' Gussy to fix up their car with absolutely no compensation.

Yeah, that is silly, right?

Yet the internet seems to be a place where it has created a whole bunch of entitled jerkbags that feel they deserve free, high quality content. They expect great comics or video games or stories or news reports or dancing pandas or movies or music completely for free. So, essentially what they are saying, is that they expect a news reporter to spend hours of research or a musician to spend days and days of composing or a storyteller grind away at creating a compelling tale or video game developer to spend countless sleepless nights crafting a game all for absolutely no compensation. Often when the creatives do have the gall to ask for money, the entitled walking turds cry to the heavens about the injustice of it all.

Why should a musician or video game developer or movie director or novelist or artist or journalist be expected to work for free? And lets not be naive here, if you refuse to give out the money for their products then they are doing this very closely to free (there isn't just a magical agency that gives out free money because someone makes great content).

Maybe some musicians or writers or artists are fine with giving out their products for free. If they want to do that, then that is their right. But they still likely have things like bills and mortgages and groceries -- which the banks and stores probably aren't willing to go away for free. This means they have other jobs on top of creating their albums or comics strips or games or movies. There is also a chance they probably have friends and families that like to spend time with them too. This all means that they are incredibly busy. Which means that if you're getting free quality content, then you also better be damn patient for it to come out. If it is free, then you have absolutely no right whatsoever to kvetch and grumble about its tardiness. Because the content is costing you absolutely nothing, while it is costing the creator time, money, and countless other possible things.

You know what, not every creator wants to work for free. If they are working hard and creating a quality product then they damn well do have a right to charge and expect compensation. If you don't want to provide that compensation, then you really don't deserve it. You can go wander off and try to find something free.

Now, in the case of The Oatmeal, he does provide his web comics for free, but he makes a living by selling posters and merchandise about his comics on his site. You can choose to purchase that or ignore it, that is your right also. Though part of me thinks that if he has provided you with hours of enjoyment, that at some point you should make a purchase as a thank you (though of course, you aren't obliged at all).

For the love of skittle coated badgers, don't be whining about free content being posted late. Or even more so, don't be upset that an artist actually decides to charge for their music or story or whatever. They worked hard to produce this, just like you work hard at your job. They do deserve compensation. Besides, if you really like a musician or writer or whoever, the best way to ensure that they keep producing great stuff is to support them and make sure it is a viable enterprise for them. The best way to make an artist believe that the hours and hours of work and sacrifice is worth it, is to realize it is helping to pay for their mortgage and bills.

I love the internet and I love the mass amount of media and information and content on it. I am saddened by the entitlement it has created for many who feel they deserve free stuff. Because you don't deserve it. Though depending how much you rage and whine about it, you definitely are entitled to a free delicious eye ball punch.


  1. That was a fantastic, well written, completely inspiring rant! It's been a while since I've read one of those. Thank you! I have to pay you for it though? Or can I just wait until you finally write a book and buy that instead? ;)

  2. My goal is to eventually have a few things that you can drop your money on and show some of your love for me. But for now, you can enjoy all my content at no charge. Unless of course, you want to demonstrate your appreciation by passing the word about this little blog.


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