I hope you all had a safe, fun New Year’s Eve and a restful Jan. 1st.
Since I launched this website — http:JonFriedman.net — I have received numerous criticisms from readers. They are often mean-spirited and relentless. They have a need to rip me on the site.
You know what I say to them?
Fine. You’re just making me more famous.
I’m not quite sure why these folks feel a need to blast a complete stranger (me), with whom they have no connection. Are they shut-ins? Addled? On drugs? Maybe they just need a dog — or a hobby. I would recommend crossword puzzles, assuming they know how to read.
Before Penguin/Perigee published my book, “Forget About Today: Bob Dylan’s Genius for (Re)Invention, Shunning the Naysayers, and Creating a Personal Revolution,” my friends and associates warned me that Dylan’s fans could be vicious in their criticisms of my book.
Again, it’s fine. I believe in free speech — as long as people are civil.
People are allowed to be mean-spirited. They’re allowed to be foolish, petty and pathetic. (I always like how a lot of folks don’t have the guts to print their full names, and hide behind their wacky diatribes.)
This experience has showed me a little more clearly what Dylan and other public figures go through when they take chances in their work. When Dylan went electric, country, born gain and everything else, he faced a lot of flak from narrow-minded people.
I got a lot of flak from readers for my book, many of whom refused to accept my premise (that Dylan had lived such a rich, successful life that he could serve as a role model; that is, the “Forget About Today” readers can learn how to improve their lives. They insist on viewing life and work through the same lens as always — that is a songwriter, a recording artist, a performer — an entertainer — and nothing else. They have the right to be ignorant.
So, keep those letters coming, everyone. Say whatever you want. But remember to be civil. Show a little class.
JONFRIEDMAN.NET QUESTION OF THE DAY: If you ever wrote a book about Bob Dylan, what would you try to say about him?
Leave your comments — and be civil, or be gone.