Monday, May 24, 2010
I have a vague memory of seeing George Burns on television, possibly on Johnny Carson, or maybe it was David Susskind. He was explaining how just one word can be funny. "Lettuce is funny," he deadpanned, "Wednesday is not." I still find that funny. Some of you may not.
Many things upset me, but there is little that offends me. There is a difference. My friend Charlie, at various times, has poked fun at my musical tastes, my Jazz Fest hat, my use of the word "albeit," my height and lack thereof, and my occasional habit of overreacting. I don't ever remember not laughing or being offended. He's even apologized, mid-punchline, anticipating a bad reaction from me. But there has never been. I think the key here is that Charlie is never mean-spirited. There is thought, (some) intelligence, and a giant sense of humor behind Charlie's ribbing.
I don't see how it is helpful to anyone reading Burning Wood, for me to like everything and everyone. And moreover, it couldn't possibly be entertaining to read commentary that isn't peppered with sarcasm, humor, and straightforwardness. You can buy an issue of Billboard if you're looking for some industry ass-kissing. If I get a bit mean-spirited towards Vampire Weekend or The Hold Steady, I don't think either band would mind so much. They still get paid, you know? I do it partially to vent my frustration over the hype, which seems to have finally overpowered talent. And of course, to hopefully get a laugh. I guess that type of writing is "lettuce" to some, and "Wednesday" to others. (Though, if anyone wants to pay me to hurl hurtful comments my way, I can certainly use the money. I think there's a $200 "Emotional Rescue" box on the horizon.)
It is rare when I don't post comments. It's not like I get hundreds. (I'd like to, but I don't.) Even the mean-spirited comments get air time on Burning Wood. You have something to say, however insulting or mean-spirited, I'll post it. In most cases, I post those comments in the hopes of seeing some friendly sparring between readers, or, to get more personal, some back-up from those who appreciate what I do here. Props feel good. I won't apologize for my intensity. And anyone who says, "Calm down" or "Relax," can suck on it.
Recent comments on these pages seemed intentionally designed to push my buttons. Easy to do, I guess, when my heart is perched so comfortably on my sleeve in my reviews and opinions. Those comments, almost all of which I posted, were mean-spirited, misguided, and monumentally out of line. Those comments weren't written to enlighten. They were written to enrage. They were completely void of humor, unlike the comment, my comment, which started it all. And with each attempt to ameliorate the situation, I seem to have been trumped with more vitriol. I don't often take the high road, so when I do and it leads to a dead end, I implode. Only I, and now you, know how many "Go fuck yourselves" I suppressed. 39, easily! In retrospect, it would have been better handled with complete lack of acknowledgement. Instead, it turned ugly and it became a distraction for all of us. Bad judgement on my part. (I believe the terrorists may have won.)
I will continue to do what I do here. If you think it's easy, you try it. But considering it generates about $3.26 a year, you need to understand, it's a labor of love. So if you're going to be asshole, go be an asshole somewhere else. There's only room for one asshole here.
"Todd Rundgren Mondays" will resume in June.