Friday, April 8, 2011
Your Thoughts Please
A reader sent this photo to me with this thought bubble:
"I'm a long time admirer of Bunny Williams and John Roselli, but in photos, that green wallpaper in the Bee Line showroom looks like something curdled and nasty at the bottom of a fridge."
This post is not about the photo or Mrs. Williams or Mr. Roselli. Their work is great and they are tried and true and proven icons I respect. At this point in their careers, and I think it's great that they try new ideas that are edgy. And the gentle reader does give the benefit of the doubt that perhaps in person this looks awesome.
And I am not faulting the reader who sent me the photo or the thought bubble. He was a major design influence himself and he is entitled to his opinion, which I respect and value.
The point of this post is how do we critique the work of professionals (and God forbid, even each other!) without being bitchy, envious, or snarky? There are quite a few blogs that regularly feature posts, being cranky Debbie Downers about another person's achievements. None of these bloggers are published (except by themselves, or by each other, or on other blogs), or really working in the design field as a bona fide professional. Their witty blogs are their claim to fame, which they earn, and I respect their hard work and dedication, and even have a good laugh sometimes.
Are successful people and celebs fair game to say just anything about? Including just heaping on praise because they are successful and known, something most of us want to be? How do we critique something with honor, have an opposing opinion on taste, and do it with decency, and respect, as adults keeping it relevant?
I reckon if the pithy blogger naysayers were included in the very books or mags they bash, or got free product from the companies they ridicule, they might be writing those blog posts with the dulcet tones of decor blog baby talk in the form of praise.
I have been a smart ass on my blog too, and I have made mistakes with stupid immature posts. And I do leave a smart ass comment or two on other blogs. But I have tried to learn from my mistakes, and change, to grow and find a better way to express an honest opinion about something. I don't want to go all Mary Sunshine and just j'dore everything darlings, but I don't want to bash something I don't care for just for the sake of sounding all fresh mouth and cute, and be the blogger seeking popularity for misguided reasons.
Of course there is an unspoken rule that we shalt not critique other bloggers, because after all we are sensitive and get our feelings hurt easily, though you would never know it by the way it gets dished out, and after all it's "just blogging" for your fun and our enjoyment. But Oy vey! The private e-mails among us bloggers talking about each other are priceless in candor and snark!
Perhaps if the smarty pants ones had to come up with a book, get someone to publish it, and then try to sell it, or perhaps if their work or homes were published and up for praise and/or damnation, or perhaps if they invested hard earned money and ideas in a company that made and sold a product, or had someone pay them thousands of dollars and trust them to decorate a home, they might see what it's like on the other side of their funny critical posts.
Another thing is that you may not think anyone "famous" is reading our little blogs from bum fuck nowhere. But they are. The first week I blogged, I made some snippy "funny" remarks in a post about a well known designer on TV. And guess what? He wrote to me personally after he saw the post, and was fucking gracious! Famous people have feelings too, and our comments and our blogs do affect them. Our words have consequence, something I learned the hard way from my own blog mistakes. I am a smart ass, but I am not a hater, or a "hurter".
Stay with me here (this is convoluted): I just had an email from a well known "decor personality" who was disappointed by a silly snarky comment of a blogger on another blog about that "personality", because the famous one always thought that the blogger who left the comment was "friendly" towards them in the past, and was bothered by less than friendly comment. This blogger might have gotten something from the already successful and famous "personality", maybe a chance to be published, but now I doubt that that blogger would be the first to come to mind for any professional courtesy that might be extended. The consequence of our words indeed! There are lots of talented "nice" and non trouble makers out there for the powers that be to give opportunities to.
I was watching Top Model the other night. The girls are so young. One poor girl really just didn't dig another one, and it escalated into a nasty verbal exchange in front of the client. Tyra was livid and wanted to eliminate the one who misspoke in front of the client. Her thoughts are that if you don't like something, you shut up (shut your lips were her words) publicly and be professional in front of your peers and your clients. In private you can say what you want. The judges voted to keep the girl in the competition. They said everyone deserves a second chance.
Though my blog is personal. I do write it in public, and in many ways I consider my readers my peers, and many of you are professionals, even if blogging is your profession so to speak. I really have tried to be a better person and a better blogger, and I do appreciate your giving me a second chance. It is a learned skill to offer a difference of opinion with tact, and constructive criticism, and humor. And I am still learning. And I do slip sometimes when my nerves finally get worked, and my comment can get snippy. And I have always apologized, and offered to take down any comment, if the blogger wrote to me and expressed distress.
I would love your thoughts, but please this is not an invitation for the anon hate comments to commence in a free-for-all hate party. I will turn on moderation for this post if it gets out of hand. If a civil and pertinent anon comment comes in, I will publish it. And remember if you have something personally to say to me because you dislike me, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy too discuss it with you.