"I Am Rotwang, and So Can You"
I hadn't planned on this becoming, like, an actual weblog. It was just a one-off so that I had a url to point my counter-spam-spam at, to fight the rampant comment spam here on FOD. But then ClayJunky had to come along and start a frickin revolution against an even deeper problem here on FOD- people becoming hypersensitive and overly nice; unwilling to be critical. Well, since I'm plenty critical, and since this is actually becoming a real weblog, I will kill both birds with one stone, by beginning this the way most weblogs begin, with an introduction.
Allow me to introduce myself. I am a FOD user named Rotwang,
AND I AM A PHONY.
I AM A POSER.
Yes. It's true. I can't keep up the act any longer. To explain how and why, we must go way back, to an earlier time. To the past, Conan? Yes, Andy, all the way to the year 2007.
Funnyordie.com began as a site for critiquing funny videos, which of course it still is, although now it's become more social- "facebookization", I call it. I am a brutally honest critic here. Sadly, that's a dying breed, hence Clay's article. From the beginning, I aggravated FOD staff by complaining about Chosen One status, so much so that Eric Appel friended me on Facebook for 6 months, only to later call me an "asshole" on FOD, which isn't even as bad as what Seth Morris has called me ("cunt", among other names). (Myself, I don't go to namecalling unless I'm talking about spammers.)
I was/am similarly willing to be harsh in critiquing videos, and so I developed a reputation. It's kind of funny because the truth is, if you review my comment history, I post more positive comments than negative ones, as I point out in my profile description. Still, I sometimes get reactions from people when I comment on their videos- users I don't know have said things like "whew, I saw your icon and I was like 'oh shit', so I'm glad you liked it." (As if my opinion really matters anyway.) Or, if I'm negative about their videos, people forget that I'm usually positive, and spout descriptions of me like "you, the one who goes around to every single person on this site's video and criticizes it" (BTW, that was overzet. last week.)
And so, as the FOD society formed, I fell into the role of a villain. And it made sense for me, and seemed to fit. Hell I'm named after a fictional villain.
But it's a lie.
I'm not a villain. I haven't got what it takes. I have all the side dishes, but I'm lacking in the essential ingredient for villainy:
I lack evil. Evil requires the will to be selfish at the expense of the group. In other words, acting in such a way that, if everyone acted that way, the society couldn't function. That just ain't me. I'm not one of the cool kids, I just dress like they do.
The true face of Rotwang.
The truth is, I'm just another boring goodly citizen. If everyone acted like me, FOD would be a better place. BECAUSE IT'S A CRITIQUE SITE, PEOPLE. The videos would gradually get better and better based on the honest feedback.
Which brings us to tonight's sentence:
Any honest criticism of a work, no matter how harsh, is an act of benevolence, not malice.
Use that all over FOD when people bitch at you for voting die or being critical. (And don't source me- I'm sure I'm not the first to put those words in a row!)
About the only exception I can come up with is if the criticism is based on misinformation. In which case it's accidental.
Anyway, long story short: Criticism is neither evil nor villainous. I choose to put on a villain costume so that I won't have to worry about being nice. ("And so can you!")
And I want to add something about constructive criticism. We have this idea in our heads from grade school that constructive criticism is the only kind you should voice. Most of my criticisms are constructive (even the positive ones). However, not all are, and not all should be. If a building is condemned, you don't fix it, you knock it down. Some things have NO merit whatsoever. I try to learn from a professional, the world's most well-known film critic, Roger Ebert: his critique of Rob Shneider's epic masterpiece, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo.
Alright this is long enough by now, right.
In my next post, er, or at some point soon, I'll get into the methodology that I use to value videos. Because I actually think about these things. Take the advice or leave it, but I'll dump it out if you want it.