Every two years or so, something (or a series of somethings) makes me question whether it's worth the time and effort to keep this place afloat. Early on, it was what I perceived as a lack of interest that made me take an unplanned vacation. But during my time off, I realized that I was doing this as much for myself as I was for the entertainment of others. It suddenly no longer mattered if a post got two or twenty two comments, as long as I enjoyed creating the piece.
During the T***P years, a few too many anonymous trolls took offense to my lefty leanings and I received a few shocking messages, including a death threat or two. That may sound easy to ignore, but I wonder how you would handle it if it was you receiving the threats.
Recently, a new phenomenon has reared its ugly head. Long time readers, friends real and virtual, began commenting in ways I hadn't been used to before. It was no longer a difference of opinion. It was brash, almost as if some were losing patience with what I had to offer.
In 14 years, I've tried to moderate and reply to comments respectfully. While I am sure everyone has something better to do with their time than to fact-check me, I challenge anyone to find any sort of rude or offensive reply from me, even when the music I love passionately gets crapped on repeatedly, in both subtle and not so subtle ways. Even through passive-aggressive accusations and false claims--you know, some people like to comment before reading or listening--, I've done my best to keep a cool head, because once you say "Fuck You," you have already lost.
Even those T***P trolls who flung shit so aggressively were met with what I had hoped were polite, albeit snark-filled retorts. I've rarely lost my head, and man, I want to lose my head every time Neil Young releases a record and the congregation all simultaneously shout "Not bad. A few good songs."
About this new Bruce Springsteen record...it's not that I don't mind it. Or that I actually really dig some of it. It's the vitriol with which the detractors have condemned it. People have trashed it without listening to it, just because it's a record full of covers. Critics seem angered by it, a fucking innocuous covers record!
I have a friend, someone I have known for some time and who has supported my writing like no other, who keeps sending me bad reviews from the internet, as if to say "See?" This is worse trolling than the T***P trolling. This is a friend. What's his point other than to wind me up? He sealed the deal with a live audio clip of Bruce performing "Lonely Teardrops." Yeah? So? That was 1988. He is 73 now. I will continue to make my argument about any record I feel is worth the time. That is not personal, nor it is me saying, "I'm right and you are wrong!" It's why I created this damn blog!
If you want to discuss music, I'll do it all day long. We don't have to agree. But I find it somewhat insulting that after 14 years of sharing thoughts and music covering just about every genre that exists, that someone would imply that I don't know what I am talking about. This is all I know! It's almost 60 years of constant reading and listening and selling and listening and reading and selling and playing and recording, and still I have a lot to learn.
I don't know everything, but I know something, including the difference between a comment based on fact and one that is full of shit.
For the record, I have an iPhone, and I know how to work my way around a Mac pretty well. I read Brooklyn Vegan. I will occasionally have a smoothie. I love Wet Leg! And The Beths. I don't "live in the past" because I get more pleasure out of a Thin Lizzy record than I do out of an Olivia Rodrigo record. Fair enough?
I almost shut down last night. A few too many comments rubbed me the wrong way. But, I love this too much, and the best way I know how to handle it, is to talk about it. And I'll tell you one more thing, if you only want to discuss the positive without ever addressing the negative, that is not a relationship. It's a fucking sham. I'm all about the hippy-dippy, love one another way of living. But removing yourself from the field of play because friends disagree with you is amateur. No one has ever died from a disagreement, or constructive criticism. I admit, I don't always accept it like a man. But I am always willing to listen and talk.
The easiest and best way to move forward is to simply stop reading what I write if you find nothing here for you. If you want to read about the Top New Emo Records, I am sure there are many other places to go. I am here to talk about what I love and occasionally what I don't. And I welcome everyone to participate for better or worse. I just ask that if you'd like me to be a bit more self-aware of my shortcomings, then I expect the same from you, otherwise, you keep a daily blog for 14 years. See how quickly you snap.
Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you.
I mean that.