Thursday, April 1, 2004

The feedback from louder than words has been great. Much of it overwhelmingly positive, and where there was critique, it was generally offered honestly and clearly. Eric, Helen, Diane and I met Tuesday night to digest it all and tweak the format in a way that puts more emphasis on - and sets aside more time for - the debate.

One of the comments we received - or, more correctly, I received as it was all directed at me - took issue with some of the things I said in my introduction, challenging me on both facts and opinion. The factual side of things was especially entertaining as the person offered this little gem:

If you're going to accuse folks of addressing issues in their poems without real investigation, make sure yr shit is supah-tight... eg. you called John Kerry a 'silver-spooner'. he isn't really. he was largely regarded as one of the poorest senators in government. he MARRIED into money.
Anyone that knows me over the past six months or so - and this person does, though obviously not as well as he once did - knows how closely I've been following the Democratic primaries and the candidates. I even specified that fact at the beginning of the intro he's referring to! To come at me half-assed on that subject, and on a factual level at that, is just stupid.

So, of course, I ripped him for it:

FYI: When it comes to debating politics with me, please come prepared with facts. While Kerry's wife is unquestionably loaded, Mr. JFK was doing just fine before her. Five seconds on Google would have kept you from embarassing yourself on that point:

"Kerry's father, a diplomat in the Foreign Service, and his mother, Rosemary, was a member of the Boston Brahmin Forbes family, whose wealth is drawn primarily from its land holdings on Cape Cod, made certain that Kerry received the best education that their positions could afford him. Kerry was educated at Swiss boarding schools and attended an elite private school in New Hampshire, before enrolling in Yale University."

Sounds pretty "silver-spooner" to me.

As for his being one of the poorest senators, I don't know where the hell you got that one from! Again, five seconds on Google:

"The top three wealthiest senators are Democrats: John Kerry of Massachusetts, with a net worth of at least $164 million; Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, with a net worth of at least $111 million, and John "Jay" Rockefeller of West Virginia, with an estimated net worth of at least $82 million...

Not all senators are millionaires. At least 10 senators reported net worths of less than $100,000."

Let me know if you need an explanation of Net Worth, or a breakdown of Theresa's money from his own. Or just Google it yourself.
It's one thing to get something wrong in the heat of a face-to-face debate - I've certainly done it quite often - but when you're sitting at home writing an email, TAKE A MINUTE TO GET YOUR SHIT RIGHT!

I love Google, by the way. I'm not nearly as smart as some people think I am, I just know how to do research. And more importantly, I like to do research. It's called intellectual curiousity, something too many people lack; poets, in particular.

My boss is lacking in that department, too. As a result, she's now on probation and has been told the situation is basically "irreparable." In other words, she's got about 60 days to find herself a new job! Sad situation as she's not a bad person. Just out of her league when it comes to marketing.

"Transferable skills" is one of the most underrated of business-world cliches. Despite her 20 years of publishing experience, mostly in ad sales, she brought nothing to the table from a marketing perspective. Or from a leadership perspective.

It's not unlike an amazing writer that is a bore onstage. Or the talented performer with the dry offstage personality. It's why so few poets make good organizers. Or, I suspect, good candidates for louder than words.

You may write amazing poems but can you back them up? Can you defend your choices as an artist? Can you speak intelligently outside of your personal frame of reference? Can you do these things in the spotlight and willingly take the risk of offending someone or embarassing yourself?

If so, drop me a note. We should talk.

No comments: