Tuesday, April 15, 2008
“Criticism” came up as a topic of conversation one day last week on “The View.” As stand-up comics, Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg both commented that an entire audience could be laughing and enjoying their act, but if there was just one person who appeared not to be enjoying it, that was the person they focused on.
Whoopi said that whenever that happened, she would often interrupt her show and ask the person how they were feeling.
“Because, you know, sometimes, the fact that they’re not laughing doesn’t have anything to do with you,” she said. “Maybe their dog just died, or they had a fight with their spouse just before they came to see the show. But if it turns out that I’m not what they expected and they don’t think I’m funny, rather than watch them suffer through it, I offer to give them their money back if they want to leave…which puts us both out of our misery.”
Joy took it more personally, saying that when she was just starting out, there was a woman who sat through her entire show with a scowl on her face.
“Everybody else was laughing like crazy…I really had a great show that night, except for that one woman,” she said. “And she was wearing a red hat, so I couldn’t miss her…it was like a magnet, my eyes kept being drawn back to her. That was 25 years ago and I still remember that woman. So, now, whenever there’s a not-quite-so-enthusiastic person in the audience, I refer to them as ‘Red Hats’.”
I didn’t transcribe the conversation as I was listening to it, so that’s not all word-for-word, but it’s pretty close…and timely; because the next day I got this comment in response to my last column:
Oakdalian said... Is this her personal blog now? There must be other former P&G actors we can get caught up with out there.
The first not-quite-so-enthusiastic response to my column. It may not have been intended as a personal criticism, but my immediate response was to take it personally…and to want to be accommodating…to somehow try and “fix” the situation. Would Oakdalian like me more if I wrote less? Then, hey, I could do that! Maybe I should PGP if she’d like me to cut back and contribute a column every two weeks instead of once-a-week.
Then I realized that I had just fallen under the spell of the “Red Hat.”
Wow, that quickly? That easily?
Yep. That’s just how it happens. We set a goal, establish an agenda and roll merrily along, collecting our “atta-girls!” – and then an unexpected criticism puts a crimp in our momentum and we start to doubt ourselves. But if we’re conscious of it and address it, it won’t last for long.
So that’s my column for this week! And if there’s a lesson to be shared here, it’s this…
“Sticks and stones can break your bones, and yes, criticism might even hurt you. But that’s just a feeling, with which you are dealing. YOU are the only one who can stop you.
Have a great week!
Mariann also blogs at : Lee Bailey’s Electronic Urban Report
Posted by Alina Adams at 9:00 AM