Plainly Spoken, ctd
David Bruce Murray notices another instance of honesty being committed in announcements about personnel changes - this time, the Chucks asked their alto to resign so a family member could come back to the group - and adds an insightful reflection about how to walk the fine line between diplomatic honesty and indelicate bluntness. After recounting the way SSQ wished Ryan Seaton good luck “wherever” life takes him after SSQ, DMB writes:
“Wherever” makes us assume Seaton has no plans, because up until a few days before he probably thought he still had a job. “Sadness and regret” may mean he’ll be missed, or it may mean Ernie just hated going through the process of telling him he was no longer part of the group. On one hand, the fans don’t need to know every detail, but on the other hand, EH&SS has been after fans to relate to their collective personalities from day one.
Just so (the whole thing is worth a read; there’s even advice for struggling press-release writers).
This is part of a larger have-it-both ways mindset among artists that’s not unique to sg, but is more pervasive in the insular world of southern gospel, where until the arrival of the internet to Southern Gospelville, artists and insiders were accustomed to creating their own PR weather, telling fans, aren’t you grateful we’ve got these here custom umbrellas for sale at our booth for only $19.95? And then expecting everyone to line up, cash in hand (exact change, please).
Since I started averyfineline, I can expect at least once every year at NQC to get stopped by artists (or their over-involved mothers) who want to complain about this site’s criticism of their (or their child’s) performance. The attitude is always a variation on the same complaint: how dare you disrupt the useful fiction that everything done in the name of Christ is always already good! Oh, I understand why they’re upset, and I’ve always tried to take these complaints seriously and treat them respectfully. But it’s also a source of bemusement to me that artists seek an emotional, financial, even spiritual investment from the world, except when they don’t. Please … over here look at us, look at us! … Hey! What are you looking at!?
In the case of personnel management, it’s of course a group owner’s right to hire and fire personnel as he sees fit, and it’s his right to send out a press release lacquered over with euphemisms and evasions. But when you exercise those rights, please don’t complain when, in addition to those front-row fans who will reflexively approve of whatever decision comes from the top, there is a groan from the peanut gallery.Email this Post