My Unpopularity in Perspective

I had a lovely lunch yesterday with my former editor from the Voice, Doug Simmons, who hired me and edited me for seven heady years. Each of us had some anecdotes from those years we’d never told the other before. The guy who’d recommended me for the job (who might want to remain nameless in this instance) once called Doug up, furious about some new infraction I’d committed in the paper. “You’re the guy who recommended him to me,” Doug expostulated, “I’d never heard of him before.” “I think I’ve created a monster!,” the guy exclaimed, and hung up.

As big a thorn in the side I am to the classical composing world, there was a time when the Downtown scene hated me even more. Why Bill O’Reilly and I still have public careers, I have no idea.


  1. mclaren says

    Why Bill O’Reilly and I still have public careers, I have no idea.
    Because, as Bela Lugosi remarked, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”
    Doesn’t matter whether people love you or hate you…as long as they notice you.
    You wrote a while ago that a composer should never respond to a critic’s negative take on a piece “because it makes you look like an asshole.” But that misses the point. All the people who have really made an impact, did so because they weren’t afraid of looking like assholes.
    Ghandi? World’s biggest asshole. He got int he British Raj’s face and wouldn’t back down.
    MLK? A gigantic asshole. He refused to accept Jim Crow laws and kept leading marches in the middle of rabidly racist southern cities.
    Jesus Christ? A gaping asshole who waded into the temple — the temple! — and starting kicking the asses of all the moneychangers and smashing all their tables and scattering all their precious coins on the floors.
    The dirty little secret is that all the people who have ever made a difference, were originally perceived as vile loathsome creepy unpleasant people, monsters and assholes, every one, from Charles Darwin to Rosa Parks.
    In fact, it’s a solid rule of thumb that if you look around, and most of the people in your audience are not red-faced with hysteria and contorted with mindless rage at what you’re saying, you’re probably saying or doing something desperately foolish.

  2. Jack says

    Let me tell you, egomania doesn’t ever look pretty, and it definitely doesn’t look pretty on you. America deserves better. So does Bill Reilly – you are not in the same league, old Gann.
    KG replies: Bill Reilly deserves better than what? Comparison with me? Have I sunk so low that it’s an insult to Bill O’Reilly to be in the same sentence with me?

  3. Richard Mitnick says

    “Non illegitamae carborundum est” as posted in a fraternity house at Dartmouth college in the late 1950’s.
    Roughly translated,
    “Don’t let the bastards get you down.”

  4. says

    Continuing on this fine theme, I just loved it when I heard musician John Rich (of Big and Rich) pointedly declare, “If you ain’t pissin’ somebody off some of the time, then you just ain’t tryin’ hard enough!”
    And what logically follows is another of my favorite sayings, from author Wayne Dyer: “What other people think of me is none of my business.”