Ah, the anonymity of the Internet - like so many other things about the web, it seems to draw out the worst in people. The last blast of anonymous nastiness I got over the e-transom came after my experience directing Blowing Whistles at Zeitgeist Stage. When I called the Globe's Terry Byrne on her revenge review, I got a barrage of nasty comments. Typical is the one below:
What’s depressing is your fixation on other theatre critics. Is your ego so small that you can’t be a critic without tearing down the “competition”? Then you expect them to be supportive when you switch hats to be a director again? How bizarrely unprofessional and conflicted can one person be?
Grow up, Garvey. Nobody cares what you say about the other critics. Not many people care about you at all any more. For the 16 people who are still tuned into your rantings, 12 are laughing at you and the the other 4 are embarrassed for you.
Hmmm . . . I wonder which of my 16 readers wrote that one? I probably saved it because somehow it sounded like it might have come from Terry herself (although I have no proof). Or did it come from some other bitter critic (I've pinged quite a few of them)? Or perhaps, unlikely as it may seem, from Zeitgeist's David Miller, with whom I cut off all communication after a series of unpleasant encounters (he carried on via email until I blocked that, too)? Or just some other party too cowardly to own up to his or her own statements?
Well, after that unpleasant experience, I shut down anonymous commenting on the blog - clearly it was too much of a temptation for some of my readers! Still, I left the opportunity to comment open to those who had blogs themselves, or were registered on Blogger. Recently, however, after my jab at the Gold Dust Orphans, the e-transom has once again filled up with discombulated vitriol - all coming from "bloggers" who have blocked their own profiles and don't seem to actually have blogs! Sigh. If a theatre can be judged by its audience, then . . . well, never mind. The bottom line is the comments option is shut down for everyone, for the time being. I'm not going to publish this junk, so why should even I have to read it? Maybe I'll re-open the comments shop in 2009. We'll have to see if the Orphans have calmed down by then!