Wednesday linkfest

Here are this week’s links:

9 Responses to “Wednesday linkfest”

  1. Drew @ Cook Like Your Grandmother

    He’s not a jackass. *Simon Cowell* is a jackass, because he goes for the clever put-down, he does it in front of a national audience, and he seems to enjoy it. But when he tells someone, “You can’t sing, go do something else with your life,” he’s telling them what they need to hear. Most of them won’t listen, but that’s a whole different problem.

  2. Scott Berkun

    There are several levels of jackassery. To be indignant and angry at people’s interest in what you do has to be at level one. It’s not far from celebrities complaining about attention – buy the ticket take the ride.

    He’s right about some things in here – the cluelessness and self-righteousness of people who feel they are wrongfully undiscovered. And how trying to do the right thing can blow up in your face.

    But every doctor, lawyer, and geek in the world gets asked by people they don’t know for advice on their professional stuff all the time. It just goes with the territory, and to be all pissy about it scores jackass points.

    Of course I understand how he feels as most people have these experiences now and then, but this guy, or at least the way he wrote this essay, comes off like a jerk. I mean, if you really don’t want attention for what you do, don’t put your name in the credits of your films. If you do want credit, then expect some attention that’s repetitive and annoying.

  3. Mike Nitabach

    The “I will not read your fucking script” dude is 100% correct about the fact that it is a huge effort to provide valuable feedback on a piece of writing. I get asked all the time to read people’s grant applications and manuscripts and give them feedback. And to do so takes a fuckton of time of effort, if one wants the feedback to be of any value.

    However, I think he is incorrect in a few ways.

    First, I suspect that when he was starting out, he received input on his writing from more experienced writers. I sure as shit did with my grant and manuscript writing. If so, it is the decent thing to “pay forward” by helping other aspiring writers.

    Second, there are ways of politely declining to help someone out with their writing that doesn’t make you seem like an asshole. For example, you can simply say, “I would really like to help you, but I am really overextended right now, and there is no way I could do it in a timely and useful way while still meeting all of my existing responsibilities.” If anyone thinks you are an asshole for saying that, then fuck ’em.

    I suspect that more of his distaste for being asked to do this kind of shit is that the request–when it comes from someone who has absolutely no training or experience with writing whatsoever–comes bound with the implicit judgment that being a successful writer is easy peasy and any schmuck can do it. It is not surprising that hearing this kind of implicit insult over and over and over and over begins to wear thin.

  4. Mike Nitabach

    The important message of the literacy piece, which I agree with 100%, is that the only way to get good at writing is to write a lot. And in the case of people who are spending a lot of time on the Internet, they are surely writing a lot more than they would otherwise.

  5. Scott Berkun

    Mike: Very well said on the script guy. You wrote what I was too lazy to think through. I still think there’s a gracious way, but the way this essay is written implies he doesn’t care anymore.

  6. Scott Berkun

    Mike: The audience thing was the big insight for me. Never before have so many young people written so much that was read by their friends/peers/etc. There is feedback on this kind of writing, which there isn’t/wasn’t for diary and journal writing.

    Of course the lack of a private place to write creates problems too, but in terms of discourse and communication, you’re right.

  7. Stephen Lead

    I’m gonna say he’s a dick.

    He’d have a point if he was Francis Ford Copolla, but he’s basically a nobody himself, and he’s trying to inflate himself by putting down the next guy.

    By the way, I’ve read One Shot, and it’s nothing to boast about being the screenwriter for that particular project.

  8. Jamie

    I enjoyed the links, thanks!

  9. Sean Crawford

    The definition of anger is that it makes you unreasonable. I thought the swearing guy was illustrating his angry state of mind, not the words he would say in real life.

    I once asked a former physician, (from mainland China) now a radiology technician, a medical question, regarding my health, at my toastmaster club, but ONLY after I informed him that I had already asked my real doctor. He answered fine. Then someone that was listening to us “didn’t get it” as to why it was normally wrong to ask. The doctor explained that you can’t do a case history to a hallway/party question.

    Before I evaluate a toastmaster’s speech I first evaluate the total person, not just his objective speaking skills but his emotional skills, where he is coming and where he is headed. Call it a case history. I couldn’t do this with a stranger in a second.

    Blue collar work is largely performance based, but professional work is complex knowledge based, with the human factor being the most complex of all.

    A lawyer friend I know well enough to vacation with will not answer any lawyer/legal questions. A funny thing: He cut off my lawyer question once to say so, and then I continued, saying I wanted to know why the lawyers on Ally Mcbeal always buttoned their jackets as they were standing up in court. (he said suits are not made for sitting)

    Therefore I believe it is wrong to ask a professional a question, such as “evaluate my script.” I realize that there are new babies being born every year that do not know this simple fact, but it is still wrong to ask. I would try to say so, rather than claim I was busy.


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