It’s been a fun and interesting week, both at the Something Else! Headquarters and on the greater Interweb thingie at large. One of our main sources of entertainment (aside from the truckloads of cool music, cigars, and bottles of scotch that arrive each week) are the spittle-flecked comments we occasionally receive. It’s great fun to see just how angry people can get when they read opinions that don’t support their world view. You can almost sense the pulse of their throbbing forehead veins coming through the Ethernet cables.
The freshest example of this came just yesterday with the publication of Gimme Five: Songs where Bob Dylan, well, sucked. In amongst the honest discussion came the pissed off reader cliché — the worth of the critic is called into doubt, “two-bit” being an absolute favorite bit of clever flair. It’s got to be one of the most boring, predictable, and seriously lame responses in the history of, uhm…lame responses.
It seems to never be enough to point out that these are opinions. The reader has managed to be offended and no amount of reasoning can get him back to the adults table. So be it.
The second most popular alley of attempted critic throwdown is the AreYouAMusician Gambit™ “Are you a musician? Because if you had any formal musical training you’d know that…” No, you wouldn’t. I have plenty of musical training. I’ve played violin, saxophone, and guitar. I know all of that music theory stuff, you know? Key centers and diatonic scales. Circle of fifths and chord substitutions. This gives me a platform for the better appreciation of, say, Steve Vai? Don’t think so. I think he’s boring. Almost nothing he’s done has resonated with me. All of those dots on the page? Meaningless.
None of this is to say that a critic can never be wrong. Sure they can, though in those cases it’s always in matters of fact: who was the original guitarist for a band, why so & so left the group, did Frank Zappa really eat shit onstage, etc. Hey, you don’t get your facts right, you deserve at least a little scorn.
So readers, stow your anger. The opinions aren’t being directed at you, so relax. If you don’t agree, come up with a counter-argument. That’d be way more interesting. Otherwise, we’re just gonna make fun of you behind your back…because you’d deserve it.
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