Last time I had a show on television it was 1999.
Now it's a new millennium. After a nice decade of relative quiet at home, I've created a new show which goes out to the world tonight.
And I can't help but notice it's a different world. Not saying worse or better -- just different. This world has a web and blog sites (like this one.) There's Facebook and Twitter -- and 700 million more critics.
It used to be you offer up an artistic endeavor -- a show, a movie, a book, a performance -- and the appropriate reviewer would weigh in, hopefully with nice things to say.
Now everyone has something to say. Everyone has comments, and then everyone else, it seems, has some response to those comments. Then the commentors start talking to each other and they agree and disagree and argue and throw nasty words around and endless chatter chatters forth.
I'll tell you right now: I'm not going to get involved.
Someone said to me, "But, don't you want feedback?"
I said, "No. I really don't."
Not that I don't care what people think. I care tremendously. I just don't think hearing the details helps.
If I had my wish, everyone with a screen would watch it. (It's on NBC tonight at 8:30, in case you're interested.)
And then -- as long as we're wishing -- I'd wish that everyone who watched it was nuts about it.
But I know that won't be the case. I know that millions of people will like it, and millions of other people won't care for it. And many more millions of people will have heard nothing about it, while many will actively choose to not watch it.
And there is nothing I can do about any of that. I've already completed the only part that I can control; I made something to the best of my ability, and offer it up proudly.
But feedback? Not a big fan.
Nice things are good. Compliments support, laughter, encouragement... Nice things I like.
Criticisms? Dismissals? Snarky swipes? Not so much.
Good things -- appreciation, generosity of spirit -- I've found, lead to the creation of more good things. Not-nice things, on the other hand, lead to... nothing good.
I know some people feel differently. Plenty of people thrive on adversity; ballplayers who love the challenge of a hostile away-game crowd, for example. Me? Not so much.
So I'm already sharpening my filtering skills; my aim is to stay away from the bad, and keep only the good.
Not particularly realistic, I know. That's not how life works, generally speaking. Life comes in two flavors: good and bad. And it's a never-ending package deal which they don't let you split up. Ever.
But I'm going to try anyway.
I'm going to watch my offering fly out of my hands and into the universe.
For those of you who do watch it (it starts tonight on NBC at 8:30 in case I forgot to mention) I truly hope you enjoy it.
For those who might not enjoy it or choose to not watch it, it turns out, as I understand it, they have other shows on other channels that you might like instead. You could, if you'd like, watch those, and we could forego all the chatter. You know, just because we now have so many ways to share and discuss doesn't mean we have to. We could, for example, just watch or not watch. Like we used to.
I'm just saying; it's not impossible to do this without anyone getting hurt. Doubtful, but possible.