Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Responding to Criticism

I love Alice Hoffman's writing. Even when it concerns sentimental matters, she resists (for the most part) my gag reflex - the one that acts up when I'm reading something that is cliche or ridiculously implausible. She writes about magical things, and in turn, her writing is magical.

But I've got to say, after her reaction to a critical review of her latest book The Story Sisters, I respect her a bit less.

I will admit, I am biased because I myself occasionally write reviews of the works which I read, but this incident is disheartening.

When a person is a writer, and she gets her work published, or puts it on the internet where everyone can see it, there is going to be criticism, whether good or bad, and probably both. The nice comments are uplifting to the heart and soul. The bad comments hurt. But both of them have to be taken with a grain of salt.

I don't think that literary critics tend to want to hurt the feelings of authors. However, in order to do the task which they intend to do effectively, these critics need to be honest. If they didn't like the book, they can point out its merits, but ultimately, must admit that that book was not for them.

Yet they shouldn't be attacked. It might be cliche, but two wrongs do not make a right, and hurting the feelings of the literary critic will, in turn, just result in more bruised hearts. And if the critic is not strong enough to turn the other cheek, then a circular pattern of abusive comments can begin, in which neither party gets anything good out of the interaction.

We all have our asshole moments, so I'm going to pass this off as one of Hoffman's, which was  unfortunately made public. And I'm still going to read her work. But it's been a disheartening moment in time, nonetheless.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fond Recollection of a Reputed Pedophile

Unfortunately, the only people who will ever know the truth regarding my title are the boys who accused him of inappropriate behavior, and Mr. Jackson himself. There is no winning answer to the question of "did he really?" - if he didn't, then the boys who accused him have sick parents who were willing to traumatize their children and hurt a man's reputation for money; if he did, then Mr. Jackson himself was mentally ill in a manner that hurt other people, and those boys' parents are still dicks because they took a settlement rather than persecute the man who hurt their sons.

Since I can't know, for certain, what Mr. Jackson's status was, I prefer to dismiss the issue from hereon out, and think of a simpler time. A time when the brat pack dominated the teen movie market, the yuppie society which American Psycho would later satirize was in full force, and Vincent Price did some voice over work on what would become one of the best selling music records of all time.

I was born in '85, and I adored "Michael Jacks," as I called him. Most likely, because he habitually grabbed his groin for his adoring public, thereby giving me something else with which to horrify my parents by imitating.

Michael Jacks, despite his emotional problems, which would become well known later on, was a great performer. He sang, he danced, he smiled, he wore jackets with huge shoulder pads. He gave us music that is still worth listening to, twenty years later.

I really hope that more people are stunned, and remembering the good things that Michael Jackson did, rather than judging him for being screwed up (as a lot of us are, in our own way).

Now that Michael Jacks is dead, "Darkness falls across the land..."

Rest in peace, Michael Jacks.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Admitting to an Inadequate Amount of Blog Posting Recently

I am sorry. I always mean to blog more frequently, and then I always allow the world to overwhelm me so that my body craves sleep to obliterate my need for work and money. I recently twittered a request for money, addressed to all billionaires. Sadly, I received no response.

Anyway, I will amend my shortcoming slightly by posting today.

I have lately been rather infatuated with YouTube. Particularly make-up tutorials and reviews. Partly because I wear make-up, when I'm not too lazy to apply it, and I learn nifty little tips and tricks. Partly because I marvel at the amount of money a lot of "make-up gurus" spend each month on new make-up. Partly because a lot of the gurus aforementioned are really enthusiastic about what they do, and have a nice voice to provide background noise as I work on my writing, and ramble in an adorable manner.

Yet I found myself unsubscribing from one of these gurus recently, because of her stance on words, and the manner in which she sometimes spoke to her viewers.

I'm not going to mention this person's username - I do not want to be petty and mean, and for the sake of this blog entry, it's not really necessary for anyone to know it.

This person was one of the cute ramblers, and frequently posted reviews. Recently, however, she made a video putting some restrictions on what she would review (mostly having to do with monetary limitations, which I completely understand), and regarding the disclaimer she inserted in the beginning of every video.

A lot of make-up gurus have disclaimers in the side bar, or in little yellow pop-up balloons, or on their profile, etc. This user had it in the beginning of her videos, and apparently people had been complaining about it.

Some of this complaining was the usual bitch and moan because it "annoys" a person, rather than because it has no merit. (Which it did (have merit); I understood why the disclaimer was there, and personally had no qualms with it.) Some of this complaining had to do with the manner in which the YouTube user had phrased the disclaimer, however; some people thought that it was a bit mean. (And I could understand how it could be construed that way.)

To the latter people, the YT user replied that words do not "emote," and that they should stop complaining, and if they had a problem with it, that was their problem, and things along that line. In the comments, someone wrote what part of the disclaimer could be seen as a bit rude and off-putting, to which the YT user wrote a text comment along the same lines as what she had said.

Now, technically, this YT user was correct. Words do not emote. Not being living beings, words are incapable of actually emoting.

I think, however, the YT user was a bit too dismissive of the complaint. If the YTU didn't mean any offense, she could have simply said so, and possibly that people were reading things into her words that weren't intended to be in those words.

I am a living being, however, and I suspect you are, too. People are capable of emoting, and people read words with emotion. People are supposed to read words with emotion. When a person writes a poem, that person intends for his or her reader to feel something as a result.

Words have connotations to them. Words have emotions associated with them.

If they didn't, there would be no fun in writing. There would be no fun in doing a vlog. It is through words that a person tends to express emotion. So please, do not sit in your chair before your camera, using words to tell me that words are much more sparse things than they really are. It is narrow minded and ignorant to think that people should not, sometimes, be offended by words.

Don't you agree?