Saturday, January 26, 2013

Blogathon 07: Keeping Up With the Critics (Part 2)

I'm not entirely sure what my relationship with other writers is. I know where Tim and I stand along with a few others. Actually, in getting people to participate in the Blogathon, I learned a little where I stand with others, positively or negatively, I guess. But, I don't think that's exactly what David was asking about.

Let me say a few words about David first: David is one of my favourite writers online. He's damn good. He inspires jealousy with almost every post -- thankfully, the kind that makes me want to simply be better. He's got such a strong voice and perspective and is unapologetic for it. He's one of the people I try to be like -- one of the standards I hold myself up to.

He and I are of the same generation of online critics. There's a group of us. What I found interesting when I quit CBR and announced that I was ending this blog was that, in speaking to a few of them, they understood and were in a similar place. We all began writing online around eight years ago -- a little more for some, a little less than others -- and all seemed to 'reach out peak' at the same time. It was fascinating to me to see how many of us were at similar places with our writing. We'd all written for a 'major' site or two, all had our blogs, all written pieces that got linked by everyone, all written pieces that were ignored, all had little dust-ups with creators... and we were all tired in our own ways. Is there something inherent in what we're doing that caused this or is it just that subtle peer pressure infecting each other? I don't know...

The worst time, for me, to deal with the influence of others is when it comes to my top ten comics of the year. Putting those books in order, leaving off certain critical darlings, putting on other books that no one else seems to like... you worry what that will do for your reputation. It's all ego and petty bullshit, but you don't want to post a list that turns you from someone other people like and respect into someone whose opinions are so out of vogue that you're a joke. I don't know if that happens with just one post, but it happens and it's something I'm always afraid of. And that's a little sad.

As David says, when you read about something someone else likes, you don't just want to check it out, you want to like it too. And you don't always. There's a lot of doubt that comes with that. Like what am I not seeing that they are? Am I wrong? Are they? Of course, no one is wrong. It's all opinions and reactions. No one is right, no one wins. But, try getting yourself to believe that.

It's easier when it's something you love and others don't, I find. I'm more secure in what I like than what I don't. I hate the term 'guilty pleasure,' because it's so stupid. This idea that you shouldn't like certain things -- or that liking them is something you need to justify... it's so wrong in its approach. My attitude is, if I like it, it's great. I wouldn't like it if it wasn't. Fuck everyone else.

I don't have that confidence in things I don't like, though. That's where the doubt creeps in. That question of what am I missing? I've yet to find a way around that...

And I'll deal with that in 30 minutes as I begin discussing West Coast Blues by Jacques Tardi with Ales Kot.

By the way, we're up to $600.95 for the Hero Initiative. Keep those donations coming! Even $5.00 can add up quickly if a lot of people give that much.

[Don't forget to donate what you can to the Hero Initiative (Details in this post)! After you do, let me know via comment or e-mail (found at the righthand side) so I can keep track of donations -- and who to thank.]