blog news, musings

What the bloody hell is the point of this?

I’ve been doing some thinking about this blogging business lately. I wonder why I bother writing it. Sure, I tell myself I write it for me, and I do… but it’s not like I have any descendants who are going to care about it when I’m dead. Besides, since I’m posting this on WordPress, someone has to pay for it to exist. Once I’m dead, no one will be around to do that.

I think Bill likes the blog, but he’s about eight years older than I am and he’s a guy. So chances are, I’m gonna outlive him. I actually kind of hope I don’t, and given my aversion to medical people, there’s a good chance I won’t. But I do expect to outlive him, because I have a lot of relatives who continue to live for a long time. My mom, for instance, turned 85 yesterday. Even my dad, who was an incorrigible alcoholic, lived to be 81 years old. His mother died at almost 101; my father spent just seven years without his mother in his life, and for most of those seven years, he wasn’t in his right mind, anyway.

Some of my posts are popular, but they tend to be about true crime or celebrities. The deep thinking posts usually go largely unread. At least I know, though, that sometimes even really talented, popular people go through the same thing. Check out this song by Tim Minchin, who is just amazing…

He pours his heart and soul into his music… but people just want to watch kitten videos.

Not that I would ever compare what I do to what Tim Minchin does… he is genuinely and insanely talented on so many levels. He’s a great singer, songwriter, keyboard player, beatboxer, entertainer… I could go on and on. I write silly blog posts that are sometimes serious or helpful. Sometimes, I get paid. Like, I just got a $102 payment from WordPress for ad revenue. That was cool. It took a long while, though.

I guess I write this shit because it’s my way of making a mark on the world. And it’s better to write about it in my blog than on social media, because if I write about it on Facebook, it’s more likely to offend or annoy. I know a lot of people don’t like it when folks get on a soapbox, even when they do it on their own Facebook pages. So, I put this stuff in a blog, where a person has to make a conscious decision to visit. But not that many people do visit most of my posts. The ones that get traffic tend to be about specific subjects, some of which are pretty creepy.

For instance, when I first started writing this version of my blog, I wrote a post about wife spanking. That post gets a ton of hits. I could write more about that to generate more hits, but the types of people who go looking for those kinds of posts are probably not the audience I’d want on this blog. Still, it was an interesting topic to write about once or twice. I was a little creeped out, though, when I noticed people looking at my “about” page after spending several minutes on that post. Yikes!

I also get lots of hits on certain opinion posts, especially if they’re about true crime cases. A few of my book reviews are good performers, although most barely get noticed. It occurred to me the other day that my YouTube channel now tends to get more views than the blog does… I mean, it’s not more popular on a daily basis, because I don’t post videos every day. But individual posts get more views than most of my blog posts do. I expect that if I keep posting videos, my channel– which doesn’t even have a compelling name– will outperform my blogs. Most of my newest videos have well over 100 views, which is a lot more than most of my blog posts have. Because I post more often on the blog, my overall hits are higher here.

I hate to even think about the travel blog, which was legitimately popular for awhile. Yesterday’s post currently has two hits. Why bother with it? I know that there will be a day when I don’t travel so much anymore… at least in Europe. The blog will be a reminder in the future– of the good times and the bad times. But won’t it also be depressing? Isn’t this just a waste of time? Wouldn’t it be better if I did something more constructive?

And then there are the occasional rude, nasty, hateful comments I get… although I will admit that turning on comment moderation helps a lot with that. When I was still using Blogspot, I didn’t really moderate comments. Consequently, I got some feedback that was downright vile. I usually turn nasty comments into blog posts. Sometimes, I even get really creative and turn them into songs! I haven’t done that in awhile, though.

I did recently write about this phenomenon, how failure is a part of trying, and sometimes failure is necessary for success. But hell, I’m getting to be an old lady. Maybe it’s time I took up bowling or something.

I guess it’s a typical Monday, isn’t it? Poor Bill is getting the week off to an unpleasant start. He’s currently at the dentist’s office… not our usual place, but a local one in Wiesbaden. He broke a molar last week and has to have it extracted so he can eventually get an implant. Come to think of it… we were talking about this last night. Bill was irritated because he called our dental insurance carrier and was told implants aren’t covered. I told him to look up the benefits and, sure enough, they ARE covered at 50 percent. But then Bill said, “Hell… it doesn’t matter. I have enough money to pay for the implant outright.”

“But we pay for dental insurance, so they need to pay their part.” I said.

It occurs to me that when we first got married, this situation would be extremely stressful. We didn’t have the money for expensive dental procedures. Bill was climbing out of financial hell, thanks to his marriage to Ex and their subsequent divorce. I was trying to get a job. Now, we have a pretty comfortable lifestyle. So, maybe we’ve done some things right, even though I spend my time writing blogs that people either don’t care about or want to blast me for writing. 😀

Maybe I’ll make a song today, although Mr. Bill will soon be home from his dental visit and will probably want to rest… So, I think I’ll end this post and play with my guitar… or just keep adding new songs to my “funny ditties” playlist while I wait for the laundry to finish drying. And I’ll probably be back tomorrow, even though there’s no bloody point to any of this. 😉

ETA: I haven’t hit publish yet, and Bill is already home… they had to cut his tooth into three pieces because it was below the gum line. Ughhh!!! But he’s okay.

art, communication, dogs

German choreographer takes a big dump on his own reputation…

The day is still somewhat young, and I’ve already been engaged in an online debate with someone. This person saw an article I shared on Facebook about a German choreographer named Marco Goecke who was in the news because he smeared dog shit on Wiebke Hüster, a German dance critic. Ms. Hüster had been watching a ballet on Saturday night, and was taking a break from the performance, when Mr. Goecke suddenly appeared in front of her and did the disgusting deed.

Just that morning, Ms. Hüster’s negative review of Goecke’s latest dance, “In the Dutch Mountains”, was published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Mr. Goecke, who is the ballet director of the Hanover State Opera, is 50 years old and has a pet dachshund named Gustav. He confronted the dance critic, asking her why she had written such a negative review of his work. Then he pulled out a bag of excrement– presumably from Gustav– and smeared some of it on Hüster’s face.

Ms. Hüster, naturally, was shocked and started to scream. She has reported the incident to the police, and said that although she will still be a dance critic, her days of watching and reviewing Marco Goecke’s dances are over. Many people in the German dance world are left bewildered. From the article:

…much of Germany’s dance world is trying to understand why a respected choreographer would attack a critic, and whether it represented a sign of a damaging shift in how artists view criticism.

Prior to this incident, Goecke was a very highly respected choreographer. According to the article:

Manuel Brug, a critic for the German newspaper Die Welt, said in an interview that Mr. Goecke was “the most important ballet choreographer in Germany.” His signature style, Mr. Brug added, involving rapid arm movements, makes dancers look “like flying birds.”

I suspect Mr. Goecke will face some shitty consequences for his stunt. He has already been suspended from his job with the Hanover State Opera. In addition, Mr. Goecke is the associate choreographer at the Nederlands Dans Theater. Representatives from the Nederlands Dans Theater have stated that Goecke’s actions are contrary to their values. They have not yet decided what repercussions, if any, he will face for his antics. I doubt he will go to prison for smearing shit on a critic, but he’ll probably face fines and other unpleasant sanctions. We’ll see.

My position is that Mr. Goecke was absolutely wrong to physically attack Ms. Hüster over her review of his work. My friend’s position is that Ms. Hüster “had it coming”. So we had a bit of a back and forth about that. My friend’s take is that critics make a living “tearing down other people’s work.” My friend wondered how critics can sleep at night, earning money expressing negative views of people’s art.

I vehemently disagree that all critics make a living tearing down people’s work. In fact, given that critics are usually writers, I would say that what they do is also artistic. It takes talent and skill to write well constructed and reasoned opinions that interest other people. Moreover, no one is forced to read or heed the critic’s opinions. I have read plenty of opinions with which I disagreed. I have never felt it would be appropriate to physically attack the person with whom I disagreed, even if I was extremely opposed their views.

I used to write a lot of product reviews. I tried hard to be fair and balanced when I shared my opinions. It was very rare occasion that I couldn’t find something positive to include in my reviews, even if I really didn’t like something. I knew that my reviews helped people make buying decisions, but it certainly wasn’t the deciding factor. I’ve enjoyed entertainment that a whole lot of critics didn’t like. Their opinions didn’t stop me from enjoying things. They just offered a perspective. I am very opposed to the idea of squelching opinions, even if they’re negative.

My friend doesn’t like James Taylor’s music. I have never known this person to hold back opinions, so they were very comfortable letting me know that James Taylor isn’t their cup of tea. A few months ago, this friend also stated that they thought the beautifully prepared trout I was enjoying for lunch looked like someone had vomited on the plate. Personally, I disagreed with both of those opinions and actually felt a little hurt regarding the trout. It was delicious and beautifully presented, in my view. It’s not nice to yuck on other people’s yum, you know. But the idea that expressing negative opinions might be hurtful to me didn’t stop my friend from commenting.

What’s the difference? A talented newspaper journalist makes a living writing reviews. Some people care about their opinions, but a lot of people don’t. It’s a living. What they do is also creative.

As someone who makes his living in the arts, it should have been very obvious to him that alienating critics is not the best move for a choreographer. At the very least, it was completely unprofessional and embarrassing for the dance company, which is competing for audiences against a lot of other companies. At the worst, it was psychologically damaging and humiliating for Ms. Hüster, not to mention unsanitary and potentially unsafe.

It’s been said that all publicity is positive publicity. One might not like reading a negative review about one’s own work, but I think when it comes to the arts, a negative review is better than being ignored. Ms. Hüster is a respected dance critic who works for a major newspaper. She has said she won’t give Marco Goecke another chance. That means less publicity for Goecke AND the dancers, who are already in a tough business. Less publicity means less money. We all know that money is very important. Indeed, it makes the world go around. 😉

What Marco Goecke did may also have a “chilling effect” on other critics, which isn’t a good thing. It’s never a good thing to make people afraid to share their opinions. Sometimes, someone’s well-considered and constructive opinion leads to better and nicer things for everyone. In a free society, people should be free to express themselves and share ideas and opinions. If the opinion is that poorly considered, I would expect that Ms. Hüster would face consequences in the form of a demotion or job loss. She shouldn’t have to worry about her physical safety for practicing her craft as a journalist.

I would have been much more impressed by Marco Goecke if his response to Ms. Hüster’s criticism of his dance had been more like Tim Minchin’s. Tim once got a bad review by a journalist at The Guardian named Phil Daoust. Did Tim smear shit on Mr. Daoust for sharing his views? No… Instead, he used that review as fuel for another project. Behold:

Tim Minchin channeled his anger at Phil Daoust’s review into creating a new song… no shit involved, unless you count where he refers to Daoust as a “fucking poo face.” We all had a good laugh out of that, and Tim Minchin made some more money and fame.

You see, I think the sign of a true artist is channeling what they feel into something else. There’s nothing creative or artistic about Marco Goecke smearing shit on a woman’s face while she’s in public. There is no excuse for that conduct, even if some people think it was a funny thing to do (and it really isn’t– people laughing at this would NOT be laughing if it happened to them).

Marco Goecke should use his considerable artistic abilities to be constructive, stop dumping on his own reputation, and save the dog shit for the gray bin. That’s my critical opinion. 😉