Thanks for your feedback…I couldn’t agree more about the thick-skinned comment. It’s tough because I really do try to practice a type of music writing that I feel has been lost…one that can somewhat wreckless and ill-considered at times, but also one open to adapting those opinions as one learns more about a subject. I can’t stand the way that music journalism has been compromised by corporations nor do I dig how identity politics are often underwritten by capital.
I don’t know if you saw the original draft, but re-reading it, I found myself feeling uncomfortable and for me, that’s the litmus test by which I revise or not. I can’t share many of the facts as it would betray certain confidences, so all I can say is that this particular situation merited (in my mind) the response I took. And the fact of the matter is, I realized it was communicating a certain ideology (albeit not consciously) that I don’t wish to be associated with. It’s also an opinion that stemmed from a broader feeling that goes beyond gender, but which I would rather not get into in a public forum…which is frustrating, but also not worth the headache of engaging in endless online bickering (not that it would happen here, it’s just a can of worms I don’t wish to open…apologies for the vagaries, happy to discuss more privately).
Really, I’m glad you critiqued what I wrote as more than anything, I do feel this provides an interesting case study to learn from (and I’m not saying there’s one lesson to be gleaned. As your comments show, it’s something very open to different readings.) As someone who deeply believes in free speech and is opposed to censorship at the cellular level, this has been a tough one and I really hesitated even sharing it as it’s something I kinda just want to move past. At the same time, I fear I would be squandering an opportunity for a wider understanding of writing criticism in the age of social media (and the behavior it tends to foster). The pile-on aspect of social media discourse is very disconcerting to me, as it reflects a certain unthinking mob mentality I’ve always avoided IRL (like, I don’t go to festivals because being around that large of a crowd makes me deeply uneasy). It also, as you can see, can cause one to swing a bit reactively in the other direction, especially when it touches a nerve (ie my own mental health issues and not wanting to cause someone else that distress as well as being cognizant of certain gendered double standards…I make no bones about my desire to smash the patriarchy;)
As the same time, it’s a slippery slope as while one wants to treat all artists simply as artists, others do not always see it that way and thus your writing is always open to a certain reading that might be antithetical to what you believe, but I don’t think that makes the reading any less valid (though that again presents a slippery slope…) I do think one should be mindful about one says but also, yes, being offensive is something having an opinion always carries with it. And believe me, I’ve really tired of toothless, fawning music journalism. But in this case, and again I don’t feel it’s my place to share all the details, I found myself agreeing that if I was in Hodge’s position, I would have done the same thing. I understand if that doesn’t make sense, but this was a case where I couldn’t stand by my words. And if I can’t do that, then I’m just being a stubborn dick.
I do believe musicians and those in the industry should not exist in the glass palace they currently do. One of my motivating energies in my writing is that I grew so tired of hearing horrible things about certain musicians and then watching a room of people who had said those things all fawning. I also never wished to put myself in a position where I say “great work!” to someone whose work I don’t think is great. I really don’t disagree with much if anything you just said, but I also have to say that in this particular circumstance, my response came from the heart, as did the initial criticism. But I also learned something from what I wrote that I do feel is important to keep in mind.