I ran into a friend who is the co-founder and co-publisher of Seven Days, the weekly, independent news most worth reading in these parts. She said she had the worst publishing day in memory. And since it launched in 1995, a lot of water gone by as you might imagine, it seemed quite a claim.
One of her newer staffers posted a blog that was interpreted nearly universally as criticizing fans of the band Phish, the music phenomenon that started right here in Vermont. Local boys made good, like Ben & Jerry, only these guys are international rock stars.
Phish played a benefit concert in the area to raise funds for post tropical storm Irene relief. Parts of Vermont had been hit hard. Twelve thousand attended at the fairgrounds outside of Burlington and lots of money rolled in.
The blog post suggested that the fans didn’t do enough, that in addition to buying a ticket, they should have put on work gloves and picked up some tools. “Here for Phish? How About you Lend a Phreaking Hand” was the title.
Phish fans were livid. They tore into not just the sentiment, but the writer. They used words like snarky and stupid and suck, and those are just the s’s. They plagued the paper with complaint, in print, online, by phone, and however they could get it across, and when the death threat came, Seven Days called the police.
All’s fine now—the virtue of time passing—and the paper published an apology, as well, but it’s a lesson for writers.
Words have power. And if you call someone out for whatever reason, right or wrong, black or white, up or down, revolt may follow.
All this from the mere act of pen put to paper? From opinion expressed?
Amazing, isn’t it.
But how about you? Have your words ever brought you misery? Comment here, and tell us how it all came out. Any great recipes for crow appreciated.
Comments welcome and edited to include first names only, and website, if provided; never your email. Photo credits: Phish by hlkljgk Heather katsoulis; women by Stellarnostalgia Sia photoshoot; crow by monkeyc.net.