Friday, September 25, 2009

Criticism

I'm done with the first draft of my article, and am headed out of town tomorrow for a big family event back in New York City, so I thought I would take this opportunity to write a mini-post about a dream I had last night: I dreamt that I went to Rod Dreher's office, on a mission to ask him to tone down the vitriol on his blog (in all fairness, I believe most of the vitriol there lately has arisen out of the comboxes), but couldn't get the words out and simply put my head in my lap and burst into tears. Dale Harris, the late music critic who wrote for the Wall Street Journal, who was working in a neighboring cubicle, was appalled, and ordered me out. I was secretly flattered, however, because he scolded me by name. I think I'm feeling a bit guilty because my article, a review of a documentary film, was a touch hard on the film's director.

9 comments:

Betty Duffy said...

I've gotten lost in his comboxes before. Have had to make a resolution never to read them again. My life is too emotional as it is.

Melanie B said...

I swore off Rod's comboxes a long time ago. In fact I go to his bog ery seldom these days. Rod's a nice guy but both the pessimism and the vitriol do get to me.

Pentimento said...

These are exactly the ressons I took him off my blogroll. I always seem to leave his blog either scared out of my wits or in a state of complete emotional prostration.

Dave said...

Yep, I like Rod's writing even if he is a bit volatile, but the comboxes are rife with angry people.

Pentimento said...

Dave, the funny thing is that I decided just minutes ago not to ever read his blog again. I made the mistake of browsing to his screed against the family of the "balloon boy" in Colorado. Not only are his personal attacks against the targets of his blog mean-spirited, but when a commenter called him on it, Rod responded in the combox by saying,

"it touches me, Deb, that you care so much about my welfare. Perhaps you could find it in your heart to send me a photograph of yourself, so that I could post it on my desk and gaze into the face of charity. With your prayers and good example ever before me, I might be moved to repent. Along those lines, please make sure to tell your priest next time you see him in the confessional that you've been reading this awful blog."

This sort of thing is where I draw the line.

Dave said...

Ouch Pentimento, that is truly awful, and sad. I wouldn't be surprised if Rod ends up apologizing for that, but still... Probably wise to stay away.

I swore off Mark Shea for similar reasons some time ago. Mark wasn't directly mean spirited so much, but he is a provacateur and his style ends up feuling similarly terrible things in his comboxes.

Anyway, I hope you keep up the great work here Pentimento. Though the fine arts mostly elude me, your blog is a beautiful thing.

Dave said...

I meant to add that I got a good laugh from that dream.

Pentimento said...

Dave, thank you so much for your kind words!

I think that people like Shea and to a lesser extent Rod Dreher serve an important purpose, in that they challenge us to reconsider our ideologies in the light of our professed Christianity. But people go crazy in their ocmboxes, and it's not pretty, and if anyone's heart is being changed by what they write, there's little evidence of it. Probably best to stay away, at least for me, for now.

Pentimento said...

ocmboxes = comboxes!