Monday, March 8, 2010

Matt, Nicholas, and The Great Misunderstanding.

Gather round, children, gather round.  I have a little story that just might brighten your day. I call it: should know what I've called it based on my headline. It's a bit of what some might call, a farce.

This morning, Matt, an apparently overly-sensitive young man, set out to write about The Oscar ceremony that took place the night before. Before he did so, however, he decided to check his blog e-mail to see if anything important had been sent to him.  It was at that time that he saw an e-mail containing the following quote:

"If you want to be taken seriously as a person, you should contemplate exhibiting some human characteristics, such as tact, respect, or offering the world something other than your utterly useless criticisms.

Matt sat at his desk, utterly dumbfounded. 

In early February, a dashing young man named Nicholas decided to check out his good friend Matt's blog.  While reading a short, an ultimately, poorly written review of Stephen King's "Under The Dome", he noticed that someone felt the need to leave a comment.  That comment said:

"If you want to be taken seriously as a writer, don't make errors such as the one in this phrase: "...a thrill ride from it's start."

Now, Nicholas decided that he didn't like that comment, and that he had to stand up for his friend Matt.  So he made, what he felt, was a very good rebuttal. However, he decided that maybe it wasn't the best idea to post he deleted it, with no way of knowing that Blogger sent his friend Matt an e-mail notification, anyway.

So here we are, about a month later, and we see Matt sitting at his desk very confused as to why he received the abuse that he did. He decided: "Maybe I had it coming. But for that?  Why, golly gee, I don't think anything in that little post of mine could possibly be offensive!" And so he began to write a very long and drawn-out, almost stream-of-consciousness essay, all the while thinking that maybe he was wrong, perhaps he was just not meant for the blogging universe. But he couldn't go out without first attempting to speak his mind to that dastardly offensive Nicholas. "I mean...inhuman?" Matt thought, "I think that's just a bit too far!" And Matt felt bad, because he was worried that one of his very good friends, Nick, would think that he was talking about him.

Well, as it turns out...Matt was talking about him.  Not thirty minutes went by before Matt's good friend Nick saw that Matt had posted a new blog post on his Facebook wall.  It even said 'Possibly final post'. This, of course, intrigued young Nicholas, and he immediately started to read his friend's post.  However, the innocent young Nick discovered, that somehow a terrible mistake had been made!  Matthew was upset by his almost-commented-comment! Nicholas thought he should call his friend right away, and explain himself.

Now, when Mr. Matthew saw Mr. Nicholas' name appear on his phone, he felt bad.  Nick had, unfortunately, taken Matt's blog post the wrong way. Matt picked up and immediately said: "Don't worry, my most darling Nick!  I couldn't even imagine a world in which you were the one who said such things about me!"

"Oh, but my handsome and charming and intelligent friend," said Nicholas,  "I am, in fact, the critic of which you have described!  However, i was not criticizing you, but rather that ratcatcher that had the audacity to point out that you used such a silly a-phrase in your post!"

"Well, damn damn damn!" Matt said. "i sure did make this my own little pitty-party, now didn't I?"

"You sure did, you insecure little buffoon!" Nicholas said, "But I will make up for the confusion I caused by posting several ridiculous and overly-complimentary comments on this little dissertation of yours!"

And that, my friends, is how Matt learned that he needed to slow down and analyze certain situations a bit better, and that there is never a need to write a blog denigrating yourself just because some little coward wrote a bad comment about it. And so Mr. Shea would continue to write on, and continue to say things, but maybe...just maybe, he'd let his guns cool a bit before he fired them off online.

Then again, that's what Christian Bale said about confrontation.

The End.

A Response to Oscars, and to Criticism

Well, I'm surprised, but not entirely unhappy.

As I said, i did not care for 'The Hurt Locker'. I think that it's a very well-made movie, it just is not a good movie.  Although I'm very disappointed Quentin was denied yet again, I don't think that Kathryn Bigelow didn't deserve to win, and I'm happy that a woman has taken home a Best Director. I was actually totally unaware that a woman had not won the illustrious prize. I've already said it, I don't think "The Hurt Locker" was a good movie. Do I need to give it a second look? Maybe, but I was paying attention the first time. I think that it is a well written, well acted, well directed, and all around well-made just wasn't that great. Does that make sense?

Regardless, what really matters is that "Avatar" did not win, and I can go back to my original feelings of the movie: that it was an entertaining movie. A film? I don't think so.  I can only hope people will stop pretending that it is a gift from God.

But what's more important to me than "Avatar" not winning, is that James Cameron not only didn't win, but was given some knocks that he deserves. I'm sorry, but when you use an acceptance speech to basically say: "Well, DUH. Why wouldn't I win?" I have to get a chuckle out of almost everyone on stage taking a jab at you.

I'm very pleased that Bridges won, and at the tributes that were given. I think that Alec and Steve did a wonderful job co-hosting, and that Neil Patrick Harris gave them one hell of an introduction.

I intended to talk more about The Oscars...but I have been stopped in my tracks by something that does not usually bother me: a comment made about a blog. And now, something that shouldn't bother me, has made me consider whether or not it is time to say goodbye to 'That's What Shea Said' for good.

I've never taken Blogs all that seriously. I never really thought I'd be a blogger.  But I found that I enjoyed writing columns, and since I tossed that option away in December, that this was the next best thing.

A lot of my friends have referred to me as a writer, or even a good writer. I'm not saying this to brag...because I don't think it's true. I write stories. I've written a play, a screenplay, and in middle school I wrote three books, all three are terrible and have some of the worst grammar I have ever seen. I abuse commas, I use too many...ellipses. I don't always proofread my blogs.  Why?  Because they are blogs, The word itself isn't very serious. (Not too mention that I rarely update this thing.)

I've never written news stories, I've never pretended to be a 'journalist'. I don't like writing that way, I can't write that way. What I can do is write about what I know: my opinions, and I place those opinions where they belong: on things that I have knowledge about: Movies, TV shows, books, video games...that sort of thing. Occasionally when a news story really sparks and emotional reaction from me, I write a little rant about it. If I don't know what I'm talking about, I try not to let myself talk about it. Every now and then, I fail and stick my foot in my mouth, but I usually apologize. For example: last year I wrote a column for The Towerlight in which I referred to Brian Regan as a singing-comedian. He is not! I was thinking about someone else and I didn't check my facts and I made a mistake. I made a comment on my own article stating that I would do my best to not let this happen again.

I'm saying all of this because of an issue that I thought I had dropped for good. Turns out, i've been forced to respond.

I'm an asshole. I know that! Of course I know that!  All the best entertainment critics are assholes! My first journalism teacher, really my only journalism teacher, taught me that good columnists know how to piss 3/4 of their audience off. This, obviously, was not always my goal. I just wrote what i felt...and I tried to put some passion behind it. Why? To make it entertaining, or at least interesting to read. To make you want to fight for the movie you loved and I hated, or whatever the situation might have been.

I've almost never responded to a comment I've received on my commentary. But now...I'm making an exception. Two posts ago, i wrote a short review of Stephen King's 'Under the Dome'. I love Stephen King, as I said. Some of his books suck...that one did not. I was actually, quite tame, i think. I also did another fun activity: making a dream cast for a book. I didn't think I'd written anything offensive at all!  I did receive a comment on the post, from an anonymous source that said: "If you want to be taken seriously as a writer, don't make errors such as the one in this phrase: "...a thrill ride from it's start."

Well, when you're right you're right. one stupid fucking phrase. And I said it. And guess what, if I really wanted to be taken seriously as a writer...I wouldn't use words like 'fucking', despite how much fun it is. I also said "it's". Once again, big deal...IT'S a blog. What's next, attacking the grammar of a facebook post!

Also in that article, I used 'two' instead of 'too'. I got a chuckle out of that.  Could I have a edited these things out?  Of course!  But I already published it, and I should have proofread. So these mistakes remain, and I understand why someone made that comment.  What I don't understand, is why I almost received this comment:

"If you want to be taken seriously as a person, you should contemplate exhibiting some human characteristics, such as tact, respect, or offering the world something other than your utterly useless criticisms.

Don't bother checking the comments, it isn't there. Not because I deleted it, but because they did...probably because they thought: 'Maybe that's a bit much', at least, i hope so.  But I am not making this up. I promise.  Here, i'll prove it:

There. Proven.

Now, here I am. In a pretty decent mood, and I decide to check my blog's find this. Someone calling me, well, basically inhuman, because of a review all honesty, barely reviewed the book, let alone say anything offensive!  Do you just hate Stephen King?  or do you just hate me, Nicholas?

Now...I know one or two Nicholas-es (and I don't even care how to make that grammatically correct). Most of them...I have no problem with. If this comment came from the one I'm fearing IT'S from, i'm very confused.  I never had a problem with you. I still don't! I've even done what you asked of me when you sent me a group Facebook request!! You were always my favorite of the people I knew from that certain organization.

Now...if this is not you, than we still should have no problem...because I have no problem with you whatsoever. I like you, i think you're a good guy, and for what it's worth, a far better writer than myself.

But I can't fathom what other Nick would write this about me. I only know one person who actually goes by Nicholas, and he likes me just fine... I think. I'm really hoping it is someone that I have never met.  Because... at the very least...someone is reading my blog, which is quite surprising indeed.

I'm just confused as to why? I mean, can someone can tell me what, in that post, is so horribly offensive, that I deserve to be called inhuman, tactless, and disrespectful. I won't be mad, i really just want to know.

Opinionated is a word I've never liked, because I think it applies to everyone who has conscious thought. But, as far as the popular usage of the word goes...I certainly am opinionated. i've been called it many times. it used to offend me. No more!  I accept it. i am opinionated.

Now then, had this been a comment to one of the many times I have said that i hate my own generation, with modern day music being a large factor, then I could understand some harsh criticism.

Me writing my opinions down on the web for no real reason?  Well, yeah...I guess that is pretty useless. i guess you've got me there.But I do it because I enjoy it...or at least I used to. But this comment has left me with one thought, that honestly cannot be expressed in better words: "What the fuck?"

So I've written this...obscenely long post...well, i guess I don't really know why I wrote it. Because I'm confused.  Perhaps to state that this may be my last one.  i mean...I don't need to be called inhuman because I like to review movies, and i like to put some passion behind my opinions. I don't need to be called tactless because I know how to structure a sentence in a way that will piss off who i want it to piss off. I have a enough stress in my life, i don't need to go making more.

So...although it's a long shot, Nicholas...whoever you are, I ask you to identify yourself. Preferably in person. If we have never met...i'd like to know what i said or did that pissed you off so royally, that you needed to take it out on a...pretty innocent post. The article on Leno...yeah, I was pretty harsh on him. And I still will be, but I have re-read the King Post three times and I'm still dumbfounded.

I know nobody gives a shit what Shea Said.  it's a funny title, that's all that is supposed to imply. It's a joke. (See That's What She Said)  And guess what, i didn't even come up with it...Nathan Biemiller did, he's happy to remind me regularly. I just like to write. And I like movies. Thought this whole...blogging thing would be a good idea. Guess I was wrong.

Thank you, Nicholas, for making me feel...wonderful. Perhaps I had it coming. I know I wont be a professional columnist...that would be why i write a blog, you idiot. There.  You want to call me tactless. You got it. But please...say it to my face. Prove how tactful you are.

And in the words of Forrest Gump: "That's all i have to say about that." That should make you happy...Nicholas.