Thursday, October 22, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For

I am up for "post-tenure review" this fall, and while I was putting together my dossier, I decided I wanted to mention the impact of my blogging on my career the last four years. I mentioned, for instance, that my NEA grant would have never happened without the blog, and that my ideas wouldn't have been as polished had they not gone through the burnishing of my fellow bloggers. Anyway, I remembered that Chris Wilkinson had said something nice about my blog after I announced I was shutting it down, and I wanted to quote him in my PTR cover letter, so I went to "Noises Off" and did a search on my name. Imagine my surprise when I found a post on July 29th, two months after I had stopped writing Theatre Ideas, entitled "Fighting Talk on Theatre Blogs." I knew I hadn't been fighting, so I was curious why my name was mentioned.

In it, Chris summarizes the "controversy" over David Cote's article in TONY in which he called on bloggers to "Engage/enrage." As someone who has engaged Cote only a few times (most of them enraging), I was sort of tickled to see him calling out the slumbering theatrosphere, something I had occasionally done as well. As Pink Floyd once said, "Is there anybody out there?"

Reading further, I found out, to my amazement, that the reason I was mentioned was, in fact, that I was to blame for the sleepiness of the theatrosphere (well, me and George Hunka). "Why have things been so quiet?," Chris asked rhetorically. "Partly, it seems, it is because some of the blogosphere's more combative, abrasive voices have either moved on or mellowed out." Ahem. He then went on to quote Matt Freeman, who wrote on his blog, "So...has the blogosphere been dull lately? I'd give that a big yes. Scott Walters has gotten a grant and left his New York bashing ways behind, although we did give each other a pair of parting middle fingers before stopped writing Theatre Ideas." While I don't remember giving Freeman the bird, I suppose it happened -- I'm certain it was done with great respect and affection, as always. However, that the disappearance of a couple bloggers should lead to nap time in the theatrosphere amazed me. Who knew that George and I were so damned important -- not to mention combative and abrasive (OK, I knew that part) -- that in our quietude we were damning the theatrosphere to zombihood? Especially when Don Hall was still around raising the banner of abrasiveness.

But after I read Wilkinson's piece, well... I just couldn't bear carrying that guilt any longer. I decided it was time, after a five month hiatus, to open the windows, remove the sheets from the furniture, and open Theatre Ideas for business once again. It's the least I can do. On my CRADLE(arts) blog, I will continue to address issues concerning the arts in small and rural communities. And I also plan to soon create a blog concerning theatre and arts education in higher education. I'll just be a blogging fool...(wait for it). But dang it, I'm feeling sort of abrasive and combative (George, are you feeling pretentious and self-aggandising, and ready to drop a few quotes?). Maybe I'll engage and enrage somebody. I just hate so much quiet! Don, I'll let you throw out the first douchebag.

Oh, and for those of you who wish I'd kept the windows shuttered: direct your complaints to . Chris Wilkinson and David Cote. How could I ignore a call from New York and London, the two capitols of the theatre world?


isaac butler said...

Welcome back! This might rank as one of my favorite Theatre Ideas posts ever!

BTW: it's David COTE not COTES. No s.

Scott Walters said...

Yikes! Thanks -- I've changed it. Glad to be back. Glad you're glad.

Don Hall said...

Welcome back, Old Bean!!

Laura Sue said...

Hilarious. Give 'em hell. My word identification was comon--I read it as "come on" or "bring it."