Frank J Oteri recently suggested to me that blogging was like a newspaper and my penchant for criticizing my peers reflected poorly on me, burned bridges and made all composers seem stereotypical cranks etc. It stung. So perhaps it is time for me to reassess my activities. The comments below are my first thoughts on the matter--more coming. PF
One problem with blogging is that no matter how hard the blogger tries there is always an element of avatar, a created or distorted persona, in the post. This distortion ranges from small to large scale. So, it is unlike a newspaper because a paper not only projects a unified outlook but only publishes articles edited to reflect that outlook. Blogs do not.
Blogs can be an equalizer for the powerless, but the reverse is also true. Powerful folks can pretend, and that bugs me.
As for criticism of my peers, many times I try humor to get to the heart some misrepresentations. What I discovered is this:
The field of music composition has absolutely no sense of humor about itself.* Many of my humorous posts were misinterpreted and even complained about by folks trying to sell us the Brooklyn bridge. Well perhaps just lease it. Several of my readers told me some folks just don't get it.
So I say this: of the thousands of people who blog, few, if any, really converse. The conversation in blogging is pretend; the distances between us are not closer but farther apart.
In one case I think I did fine service for our profession.
This was when I took exception to a troll (a person, anonymous of course, who posts only to be mean) while another blogger tried to dance around them. I came to the point!
Troll: "None of you have what it takes to compose a Rachmaninoff 2nd"
Phil: "Commission me and find out."
* My first professional work was a satire on composers and performers "Meditations and Satires" a Fromm Commission. It went over all right and off a cliff. Oddly a few years later it was performed at the behest of choral festival at Tanglewood and was a big success. Have you heard of that?