Monday, February 21, 2011

You Can't Judge A Painting By It's Shit-Smear

Since I’ve started the Manbbatical, I’ve written 105 posts. I get many comments & emails. When they’re nice, curious or constructive, I really appreciate them. When they’re shitty- it obviously cuts me deep (see: Usually when I meet people who’ve read my blog, they’re laudatory & courteous. I met a man (BIG CUPID) who had read a post, & was outspoken about his dislike for it. It kind of blew my mind.
We met at a rehearsal last night. We had actually met years ago, because he was dating my good friend’s current fiancé. We got talking & went outside for a cigarette. He admitted to me that he had read a post of mine (months ago) because we have the same agent, & she had encouraged him to read it. In a confusingly charming and asshole way, he went on to tell me how surprised he was at how much he liked me- because he absolutely HATED my blog, & was sure that I was a complete idiot. In fact- he had maligned me to another mutual friend of ours (CELESTIE) to the point of argument between them (she asked him to stop shit-talking me, & he continued to insult me). He went on announcing how poor the writing was, how callow the subject matter, how narcissistic I am, & how much of a waste of time the project is on every level. He tried to sugarcoat the bitterness by concluding it made no sense that someone so “cool”, “interesting” “smart” & “funny” as I could spew such futile trash. Though I’m a big fan of honesty, I sometimes wonder why people (especially MEN) think that they can say SUCH cruel things to me, & assume it doesn’t deeply hurt my feelings. (Male counterparts of mine have often been the 1st to point out when I gain weight, have a bad show; my hair looks bad, etc…) I’m not sure if everyone has this problem, or if people/MEN think that’s it’s okay to say things like that to me. Maybe it’s because I have a good sense of humor, or because I poke fun at myself on a regular basis.
The point is I was shocked at BIG CUPID’s candid negativity regarding my blog. He even came clean about having written a really shitty comment on the post. (I asked him if he was the infamous “VICTORIA SECRET” who posted he was glad I got raped, & he looked horrified. I believe him that he’s not THAT mush of a fucking shithead.) It just reminded me that 1. Everybody’s entitled to their opinion and B) People often comment or form opinions about things they know nothing about. It reminds me of when I lived in New York City, & the art exhibition “Sensation” came to The Brooklyn Museum Of Art. At the time, Rudolph Giuliani was the mayor. The show was met with serious protests & complaints because of how controversial the material/pieces. Giuliani decided to ban the exhibit before he had even seen it. With the threat of a lawsuit for a breach of the 1st amendment & activism from the likes of Hillary Clinton, Norman Mailer, & Arthur Miller (to name a few) he let the art remain to be seen by the public. The main piece of controversy was called, “The Holy Virgin Mary” by Chris Ofili because it was smeared with elephant dung, & was considered a desecration to the Catholic religion. I was lucky enough to visit the museum & see the piece. It was one of the most beautiful studies of art I have ever seen. It infuriated me that Giuliani could be so ignorant in despising something he had never laid eyes on. I shouldn’t have been surprised- it is GIULIANI, after all.
I’m not saying that my writing is as controversial or as moving as Ofili’s art, but it does upset me when people make public broadcasts slandering things they know nothing about. BIG CUPID read 1 post out of 105. He didn’t know the history, the reason, or the objective behind the project. Something about me as a woman, who is expressive about her sexuality, her problems, her fears, her hopes & her dreams really put him off. He denigrated me to people & potential readers that didn’t know me.
I know to expect that by now. I know putting myself out there for the world to see invites all kinds of creeps, pervs & jerks to judge me. Fortunately, it also welcomes articulate kind words from people who care.
I’m not saying everyone has to love me or what I do, but I do wish that people (not only with me or my work) knew what they were talking about before they slam what is meant to inspire people.
That said, BIG CUPID turned out to be lovely & profusely apologized. Not for his opinion, but for being ignorant. He won me over. Now we’re friends. Hmm. Who I thought was an asshole is actually a nice(ish) dude. See? You never know.


Anonymous said...

Sometimes the offhand remarks, or what seems to not be serious, is what hurts the most. When I was 19 or 20 I told a friend how I thought it would be awesome to go teach English abroad, and she replied "That's SO cliched." And she meant "cliched" in a terrible way, as if it was everything that was bad in the world to her. We had a huge fight about it and to this day I still sort of want to go, but always remember this and shy away.


Brian Hope said...

Obviously men are the first to point out the bad show and bad hair day...your colleagues are mostly men so you would be around them the most.

And try and grow some thicker skin if you're a huge fan of honesty. Take a page out of McGee's book - tons of cruel things were said about her today. Okay - I said it aloud to myself but I'm sure I will get around to tell her.

Brian Hope

JH5 said...

I don't agree at all with Brian that you should get a thicker skin. You are a wonderful passionate woman who is exposing herself on this forum which people enjoy and like. If blogging is "narcissistic" then there are a whole shitload of people out there who are narcissistic.

And I can't believe someone pointed out that rape was funny, or that they were glad you were raped. Some people are just asses, but that doesn't mean that you should grow a thicker skin, that's just nonsense.

As for men being around you so they will be the first to point out flaws, that is nonsense. I work with many women, and not one person would come up and say anything negative.

Keep doing what you are doing, and fuck the rest!

Brian hope said...

Thicker skin if she wants an honest opinion every time...think about it.

If someone didn't do well on a show - would you rather hear a comic say "great job!" or to get honest feedback on what might have gone wrong.

Brian hope said...

Oh - and I'd feel sorry for you JH5 if you had spinach stuck in your teeth at work.

Luc said...

I for one care about you drama mama I only wish the best for you!

robert ariss hills said...

thick skin is like acetaminophen.

being a fan of truth is only useful when you're deeply affected by it.

you can deaden the pain of a toothache, but it will still be there when the pills wear off.

Anonymous said...

This is very honest writing. I can really identify with it- feeling guilty for letting people get to you, and I'm sure many other people can too.

And isn't that what great art is all about? Striking a chord with the observer because of the honesty and openness of your work?

JH5 said...

Brian :)

There is honesty and there is malicious intent, and sometimes they cross over. When wanting to give someone feedback that may not be asked for you must think "why am i telling them"? What you may be saying is only your opinion....

So yes tell people about spinach, but leave the hair alone!

Anonymous said...

What I find really interesting from reading some of the comments (not those above specifically, I mean more generally) is that people seem to come to your blog with the expectation that this is going to be a linear journey. That you should learn things, only once, and be perfect at them by the next blog post. But I don't believe that this kind of work (the kind where you face your self) is linear at all. You circle and double back. You meet the same theme in different areas of your life, sometimes over and over again. You might *get it* in your head one way but then have to circle back around to *get it* in your heart another. Jesus - you're human! That's what I find so interesting about your blog. Yes, it's messy and sometimes narcissistic (it HAS to be) but it's also perfect. You are sharing your experiment as it happens - not the glossed-up edited version from after the fact. That in my books is pretty freakin' brave.
I will say, that I do hope you keep writing after the year is over. I think it will be in the looking back on it that things will get really good...

Anonymous said...

"B) People often comment or form opinions about things they know nothing about."

It's stunning how true this is. I was once planning a major career change in my life, and after hearing the exact same comment about it for the 99th time, I realized that every one of those 99 people was just repeating "received opinion" that they were taking for truth or wisdom, and that these none of these people had actually THOUGHT about what they were saying, much less about my particular situation.

Also, if a guy or anyone (and I am a guy) says something hurtful, you don't have to grow a thick skin or sit there and take it--you can tell him or her to fuck off and that your purpose in life is not to fulfill their expectations. Sometimes people, including guys, need to have their asses handed back to them in order for them to wake up and realize how hurtful they are being. It doesn't mean you should lash back, but you can stick up for yourself, which it sounds like you did. All that to say, you're not at their mercy. Their opinions have no power over you. Whatever their reaction, it's their problem, not yours. And you can tell them to go piss their approval/disapproval into their cornflakes.

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