Herein, an expectation of something that happens to anyone who aspires to have a well-known name on the 'net; no matter how big a fish (or how small a fry) you are, there's going to be someone, somewhere, who takes one look at what you've done and cannot suppress the compulsion to smear your good name.
This, of course, is hardly a new discovery. BBS sysop after BBS sysop, and sitemaster after sitemaster, and blogger after blogger, have found this out. And, surprisingly, although my status in the bloggin o'sphere is hardly notable (sadly–I have worked to make myself a bit more admired than I'm getting), I have actually had mud slung my way more than once.
In my perambulations (real and virtual) in carving myself a niche in that lavalite world that is graphic design, I have had the extreme good fortune to make the acquaintance of Pariah S. Burke. This fellow, early on, saw something in me that sometimes I do not see in myself sometimes, and asked me to write something for a site he was starting, which I link to frequently perforce, Quark Vs InDesign. This has since increased into participation in Designorati.
Someone Farts in My General Direction
Recently, intrigued by a marketing campaign Denver-based Quark Inc. (the publisher of erstwhile DTP king QuarkXPress), I wrote an article about it on Quark Vs InDesign. Titled "Quark Gives You Its Top Ten", it recounted Quark's top ten reasons to upgrade. A continuted subtext is the Adobe-Quark layout competiton is "who's better?", a designation that can paradoxcially be equally subjective as well as objective: one application can be shown to work better than another, however, one's view of whether functions serve them could mean the qualitatively-better app is not the quantitatively-better app.
Or, put in simpler terms, something mustn't only work, it must also "work for you" (or maybe "work with you"). Parenthetically, this is one reason why I think software developers add so many features–the more features they give you, the more ways there are to do a thing, the more likely you'll find that way that suits you. But I'm digressing here.
Anyway, I posted the article and it began to fade into the background of recent history. Eventually, some commenter attached one that wondered where someone could find more information on the differences between Quark and InDesign. A couple of follows ensued, and then comment number four was posted.
Apparently There's A Pox Upon My House. Hopefully It's Just A Small One.
The comment began thusly:
The first thing to do is go to a more impartial site, If you want hard facts, it’s very hard to get from this site, more of an Adobe backed marketing tool, so very good for getting details on the CS suite but not for DTP tool market comparison.That bothered me a little. I'm not so young that I can simply look upon an obvious smear of the good name I've worked hard to craft online and not wince just a little. Someone from somewhere (I know not and care not who and where), not knowing me or anything about me, sees fit to impugn my honesty, no doubt because they think that little, still-trying-to-find-design-work me, have been beating unfairly up on poor, multi-million-dollar-income-having-multinational Quark, Inc.
Well, really, you can't stop someone from thinking fool thoughts. And Pariah has taken pains to encourage me to let things roll off my back in this wise; and, to be sure, I was quite ready to do so here. I say this in all truth–despite my extremely mere stature as a design/tech pundit, I actually have been perceived as a secret-Adobe-backing-having syncophant.
I like putting the word "having" on the back of those silly word contstructions. Me think it funny! Anyway.
I let it go, as I said. I'm bigger than that; that I would not myself leave such a remark proves me a better person (also that I'm not including his name in this here missive, and will not). But, apparently not happy with making the slander once, it's made again. Scrolling down to comment number 6, I find the comment ending with the following bon mot:
From what I see the US is behind in seeing this due to the Adobe marketing machine, this website is a classic example. Only provide the information needed to get the result you want, and that’s the results that is the most profitable for the individual. They look for where there pay day is comingSpelling mistakes are all the posters (as well as the lack of a full-stop at the end of the 'graf).
They say sticks and stones may break one's bones and names will never hurt them. Not true. This hurt. For me to be struggling at what I really want to do and to still have to live with the fact that there are apparently people who are so sure that everyone has a hostile ulterior motive that I would sell the one thing I do have that's truly valuable online–my integrity and honesty–that really wounded.
Well, I'm not necessarily one to bicker online, but due to a number of centrifugal forces in my own life, I was compelled to respond. I did so via email. Not surprisingly, no response. I don't really expect one. To be honest, I don't think I'd really know what to do if one came, but I'm not worrying over that point.
My pay day? I wish. I'd say that my life is withal best exemplified by a remark made by a character in Norman Sprinrad's Bug Jack Barron: The saddest day of your life isn't when you decide to sell out. The saddest day of your life is when you decide to sell out and nobody wants to buy.
One of the happy things of my current life is, as a member of the media (shirttail or otherwise), I am accorded the privilege of receiving software for reviewing purposes, of course. It is a right I've earned, however, just as surely as any wage, and I believe the reason I've earned it is, in major part, because I write well and with insight, and when I present myself as a reviewer, I produce reviews. This is standard practice in reviewery.
And, for what it's worth, I think my reviews are damn' good ones.
A Manifesto, of Sorts
I write this not necessarily to moan and whine and complain or get sympathy (although I will once again remind everyone that I'm not above begging; I need a job doing design for someone, I know QuarkXPress, Creative Suite, Dreamweaver, etc...this has been a message from our sponsor, who needs to pay his bills) (and sympathy don't hurt, let's be honest), although it is, I suppose a note of complaint.
Well, I'm entitled. This is my 'blog, after all. And one of the unspoken missions of it is to chronicle my growth as a designer, in whatever form that takes. And, to be honest and true, it really ought to chronicle, to some degree, the ups as well as the downs, and the successes as well as the failures.
This is probably the most honest entry I've ever done. It reveals a little more about me and my feelings than I'm comfortable doing, but I feel like I'm gaining from it, and it's an account I'm compelled to write.
As far as the slights against my character and the content of Quark Vs InDesign, I can now let those go. It hopefully need not be said that they are patently false; moreover, I feel no need to defend myself against an accusation someone should have known better than to make.
And this isn't a defense. It's more of a manifesto.
Above all, all content I create for Quark Vs InDesign (as well as Designorati) is driven by the experiences I've had with what I'm doing. That goes for any experience I have with QuarkXPress as well as any experience I have using any part of Adobe Creative Suite.
I stand by everything I've said on both sites. They were uttered in the service of honesty, and when you write for network consumption, honesty (and its particle aspect, integrity) is the only commodity you have that is really worth having.
That's why I post as I actually am, in name and in deed; what you see with me is what you get.
If, on the other hand, if nothing but praise for your sacred cow is what you want to see...sorry. Can't help you out there. If I have to take my lumps, so do you. C'est la vie.
Tags: Samuel John Klein, blogging, writing, reviewing