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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Why You Should Never, Ever Write Anything Negative About Phish

Posted By on Wed, Aug 3, 2011 at 3:34 PM

@iPORT , you are officially the worst journalist to ever liveless than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

It started as a joke. It became a warning -- a dire warning -- but it started as a joke.

Really, that's what this was meant to be, before however many hundreds or thousands of Phish fans read our post on the Outside Lands schedule and demonstrated how awfully limited their grasp of humor (and abstract thought) can be.

Here's what happened: This writer expressed appreciation for the fact that there are several interesting artists playing Friday at Outside Lands during Phish's more-than-three-hour headlining slot.

This writer made a crack about needing a minimum distance of 200 yards from any performing jam band.

This writer then moved on to other things.

Somewhere around yesterday evening, this blogged quip demonstrating mild dislike for Phish was absorbed into the online hive mind and spread to oversensitive fans around the world. Their reaction: hate, physical threats, more hate, criticism of our use of the em dash, more hate, and lots of comments on our site and on Twitter.

This writer has been called "the worst journalist ever to live," a "hack writer," and -- my favorite -- "a fucking tool."

Here's what my @mention stream looked like on Twitter today:

click to enlarge phish_responses.jpg

Except even that's deceptive, because it's about a twentieth of the bilious tweets I've received merely for mocking a band that way too many people take way too seriously.

So, fellow bloggers and journos, don't write anything even mildly negative about Phish if you don't want to be attacked online for simply having a differing opinion.

And here, not confined to 140 characters, is my response to those of you still steaming about three sentences that appeared on the Internet yesterday:

1. Not everyone in the world likes Phish. Lots of people do not. This is a fact. Deal with it.

2. That paragraph was not a slam against Phish. A slam, properly constituted, looks like this, or this, or any of these. To slam is to challenge the very legitimacy or worth of a band, its style, or its performance. I'm not questioning that about Phish. I'm not bothered by the fact that many people like Phish. I don't even hate Phish! I'm just glad I don't have to see only that band for the better part of four hours.

3. We don't all have to like the same things. It's okay if you like something that I don't. It's okay if you think something I like sucks. This basic intellectual activity, people: Sometimes we agree. Sometimes we disagree. Then we move on.

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Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown, follow Ian S. Port @iPORT, and like us at Facebook.com/SFAllShookDown.

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Ian S. Port

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