Opinions are like certain holes – everybody’s got one. Especially on the internet. Every time you say something online, you know that there will always be someone who will disagree. Some spend their entire lives disagreeing, just for the sake of it (i.e Blabbermouth-trolls who seem to have crawled back to their caves since the commenting-system changed a few months ago…).
I pissed off a few people lately – but… they got a few things wrong in the first place. So I thought I should clear up a few details. :)
When it comes to music journalism, here’s a short Cheat Sheet:
Pretty much another word for OPINION. Period. That’s all it is. It’s NOT supposed to be objective – quite the opposite. A review can never be anything but subjective because it’s simply a description of something based on somebody’s personal taste. It’s not a scientific dissertation which many seem to think. :)
The definition of a blog: “a Web site containing the writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other Web sites.”
Before the term even existed, I used to write what I called a “diary” online, in the mid- and late 90’s. So, it’s basically a public type of diary. NOT to be confused with an ARTICLE.
Definition: “a piece of writing included with others in a newspaper, magazine, or other publication”.
That also includes publication online, of course. It’s not written in diary form (it can be, but normally isn’t), and is what I would call the more “serious” type of text where you, as a reader, should expect the information to be correct and objective.
A more in-depth article, usually longer than a regular article on a specific topic. The writer has spent a lot of time digging up information, checking and double-checking facts, interviewing people and everything else that comes with the territory. Rolling Stone is well known for their stories.
The least important of them all. It’s just a no rules-apply type of text, long or short, about absolutely anything and everything based on “whatever comes to mind“. We all know it – we all write those every day. Sometimes they engage others, sometimes they’re just annoying. We’re all guilty as charged. :)
So, what am I getting at with this? Well, a few weeks ago a lady posted on my Facebook-page, very upset about what she felt was an incorrect description of her husband. She felt that as a journalist, I should get my “story” straight and get “both sides” before voicing my opinion.
I never wrote a STORY about her husband. I don’t know who the guy is, I don’t know his background. That wasn’t the point. I simply had an opinion about ONE thing this man had done, which I mentioned in a Facebook status update, basically to start a discussion and hear other people’s thoughts on the matter.
He was so provoked by this that he started looking for someone to take his side, and managed to get some online-publication to write what he wanted them to write.
That’s cool – once again – there are many opinions out there and we’re all entitled to have them, but the funny part was that his wife proceeded to explain to me what real journalism was (yeah, I totally missed all that in the 25 years that I’ve been doing this, thanks for the crash-course… ;P ).
It was important to hear both sides of a story first. And THEN she posts a link to an article that only had THEIR side of the story, nobody else’s.
If those two had presented an article written by someone who had actually taken time to speak to all THREE parties involved in the issue, I would have been all ears, and if I was wrong, I’d suck it up and admit I was wrong. Instead, they sent me that bullshit article. Oh, please. NEXT……!
The blog I wrote for Metalpaths last week, about the Firewind-trip to Australia, also managed to piss off a few people in Brisbane. As it turned out, they were either in – or friends of – one of the opening acts that I had decided not to see (I could hear them out on the street). I avoided it, because it was a type of music I dislike. It wouldn’t just start sounding like angel-choirs because I heard it from up close.
I was informed by an annoyed guy that I wasn’t being “open-minded“. Since when is that synonymous with torturing yourself through something you already know that you don’t appreciate?
It’s like the first time I tried broccoli. I had to be open-minded and at least try it once. Well, my mother probably made me eat the freakin’ broccoli by the way…
Then AFTER I had tried it the first time, and maybe a few times after that, I concluded that I just didn’t like broccoli. So – I don’t eat broccoli just to “support” the broccoli-industry. Okay?
Apparently I was narrow-minded cause I wasn’t “supporting the local scene” and blah blah…. Well, I wasn’t there to support “the local scene”. I was there because I like Firewind. Plain and simple. I did check out the OTHER non-growling bands, some of them I appreciated for their skills, but I simply didn’t think they were as good as the main act.
I went to my very first concert back in 1982. Since then, I’ve seen so many concerts, that I lost count a LONG time ago.
I’ve been blessed and lucky enough to live in a part of the world where I can go to gigs as often as I like. From what I understand, it’s not as easy in Australia, for obvious reasons. But here, it was nuts for a while. Especially back in the 80’s and 90’s – there were arena bands, local bands, mid-sized bands playing all the time everywhere, all the time.
And I went to most of those shows. When the bands I wanted to see didn’t come to Sweden, I started travelling abroad to see them. Then I realized that I loved the travelling so much that I chose to travel to see bands regardless…
I’ve seen and heard “growl bands” at festivals, at local gigs, at band-talent shows where I was in the jury and so on… Believe me – I’ve seen and heard enough – and guess what – I SIMPLY DON’T LIKE IT. :) Period.
I can tell after less than 30 seconds, if I’m going to like a band or not. It’s something that comes with experience. Kind of like I don’t dig broccoli. I simply don’t, not even if you try to shove it down my throat. :)
That’s why music magazines and most magazines/newspapers have different people writing about different styles. The dude who’s reviewing 70’s retro-bands is not going to write about Slayer. And the guy who’s into Slayer will not be assigned to write about Poison or some other glam band.
Just explaining how shit works, might be easier if people understand why things are the way they are.
I’m guessing that a lot of anger and frustration out there is simply based on misconceptions. Hopefully this clears up some of those questionmarks. Knowledge is power! :)