Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 18, 2011
A couple of nights ago I watched a documentary called Heckler, which was put together by Jamie Kennedy of The Kennedy Experiment fame. It was all about criticism and heckling of entertainers and how they deal with it mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Yeah, I know, you’re thinking mentally and emotionally are the same thing but they’re not in my context. Mentally is when you’re thinking about it later on and how it affects you in the long run. Emotionally is how you deal with it then and there, in the heat of the moment. Michael Richards is a perfect example of a guy who one bad night let his emotions get to him in a bad way, and look at how he’s had to deal with it mentally ever since.
There were some interesting things he did with this documentary. He talked to a lot of entertainers, mainly comedians, on the subject of heckling. He had lots of clips showing how some of these people reacted in public. Only one guy hit someone, but one guy got pelted with lots of garbage and another guy told the story of being cold cocked by a guy who heckled him and got insulted from the stage right back. Barbra Streisand’s in it yelling something back at a heckler, and some movie director named Uwe Boll actually dared some critics to fight him in a boxing match; he beat every single one of them up, one guy so bad he was vomiting for a long time afterwards. I don’t know why, but I actually enjoyed that.
But the most interesting thing he did was take many of the bad reviews he received for the movie Son of Mask (didn’t see it) to the people who wrote them, read the reviews in front of them, and asked them why they were so cruel.
His point was that as critics, none of them offered anything constructive, and in almost every case they made personal statements about him in general. A few backed down, a couple said it wasn’t personal (please) and a few were actually happy they’d gotten a rise out of him. One guy in particular said it was his goal to get known by any means possible, and the ruder he could be to someone the better he liked it. Yeah, I thought that guy was a punk.
It make me go back through some of my review posts on this blog to see just how bad I might have been here and there. I noticed that for the most part I’ve been really easy on things I didn’t like. Lucky for me, I like a lot more things than I don’t like; that’s a pretty nice life to have, right?
The only times when I’ve been a bit more brusque than other times is when it was personal. For instance, my last review of Demand Studios wasn’t one of the nicest things I’ve ever said here, yet in comparison to reviews by other people it was fairly sedate. I also believe my responses to the couple of people who wrote in support of them was fair and measured as well.
When I wrote my review of the movie Skyline, a movie that greatly disappointed me, I didn’t go after any of the actors in the movie, but rather the breakdown on the script of the movie itself. There wasn’t anything I thought was overly mean or malicious, just truthful.
I think the only time I got really mean was when I was having a fight with the people from some place that I’m not going to name, but it was all about Akismet and involved some other folks as well. To date it’s the only post of mine where I actually deleted comments because some were threatening, and I did a test and found that the email addresses used were all fake; wasn’t having that either.
Goodness, I was even relatively nice (relatively that is) when I wrote a post supporting our friend Sire when he was having a debate with someone over something that, in the long run, was not only stupid, but proved to be accurate regarding commenting. It was a little bit snarky at the time, but even the guy I wrote about stopped by and understood my point, which shows it couldn’t have been all that bad.
Here’s the thing. There are people we don’t like for whatever reason, but there’s no reason to be over the top or mean about it. For instance, there’s a lot of hate I see being directed at this kid Justin Bieber. The thing is he’s only 16 years old; any adult saying nasty things about a 16 year old should be ashamed of themselves. Saying you don’t get his music is one thing; after all, we’re older and it’s not for us. Saying things about his appearance or anything else should be off limit.
I hated when professionals were piling on this young lady below, Janet Evancho, when she was doing opera on one of those TV talent shows. They were saying she didn’t have the chops and wasn’t fully trained as an opera singer. Folks, she’s 10 Years Old! I thought she was fabulous, and in this day and age when many types of classical music aren’t as popular as they once were because more kids want to listen to newer music, one would think these folks would be encouraging her instead of bashing her. So she has an album and you don’t tough!
I guess here’s my main point. Saying “you stink” doesn’t help anyone. Saying “I didn’t like it and here’s why”, then actually telling why, does help to a degree. I’ve had my critics. I wrote in my business newsletter days ago a story on when I wrote my first newsletter I sent it out to a lot of people to get their opinion on it, and anyone who actually made a comment commented on the look and format of the newsletter and not one person commented at all on what I’d written. In that instance I wasn’t helped at all since that’s what I was interested in hearing about.
I’m not saying don’t criticize things when you get irked. I certainly did when I had issues with a plugin that it seems a lot of people liked. But if you’re going to write some type of criticism, either temper yourself a little bit of make sure you do something like this. Now there’s a review! 😉