I know that Bob Garfield, AdAge’s resident Eeyore, doesn’t really care what I have to say because I am anonymous. But I am going to say it anyway because he is acting like a clown and deserves to be called out for it.
Garfield is upset because Steve Hall at Adrants called Garfield’s commentary on the Super Bowl commercials “retarded”. I can see why Bob is upset. Before the industry blogs came around, Garfield could rip ads all he wanted and, no matter how inane or “retarded” his position was, he was unassailable because he had the column. He could say whatever he wanted, pontificate to within an inch of his life and he would remain safe from criticism because he had exclusive access to the proverbial megaphone.
Things have changed and now Bobby is upset. Boo hoo.
Let’s break down what Garfield says about this kerfuffle:
A critic makes judgments supported by analysis and argument, then signs his name and takes responsibility for his words.
A professional critic does. A blogger whose actual job is creating ads usually doesn’t because he or she would rather not deal with the blowback that might result from hurt feelings…like yours.
But in this case, you’re trying to use the anonymity card against Steve Hall. Who signs his name to his posts.
You are an idiot.
What you do, and encourage your readers to do, is take cheap, anonymous potshots devoid of evidence, argument and, most often, facts. A common tactic is to grossly misrepresent somebody’s point of view — mine, let’s just say — and use that as a point of departure for ad homimen [sic] attacks.
While it is true that the anonymity of the internet allows some people to speak out of turn, as it were, that wasn’t the case here. Steve listened to your fatuous chatter and called you on it. He even pulled quotes that you used to describe some of the spots in your own video and posted them. That sounds like evidence and, by linking to the video, he made it easy for people to check the facts – your own words. What else does he need to do, gather DNA evidence at the scene of the shoot to prove it was you and not someone else who says dumb things about advertising in front of the camera?
As for his arguments being ad hominem – of course they are! He is dealing with advertising which, by its very nature, demands an emotional response. You pan all the Super Bowl spots and Steve thinks your assessment is too harsh. There are emotions tied up in that, in the response to the spots and in the response to your comments. Indeed, emotional response is the very core of both your and Steve’s reaction. To deny him an appeal to emotion is to deny him an opportunity to comment.
Which, of course, you would like because then you would have your commentary monopoly back.
It pisses me off, but more than that it makes me sad — sad to see how the internet has brought out so much meanness, childishness and, above all, cowardice.
I’m so sorry you’re sad, Bob. It must be tough to know that there are a legion of advertising commenters out there who are better than you at commentary and yet it’s not what they do full-time.
Having had an ad or two on the receiving end of one of your articles, I know how mean and childish you can be. But all commenters are like that. They have to be in order to be honest. Let’s face it, sometimes ads just suck…and the ones of mine you panned probably did suck, though perhaps not as much as you said. But I get over your disagreement because I am a big boy and sometimes people don’t think your shit smells like roses. It’s a lesson you might want to internalize.
Then you hold yourself up as brave for putting your name to your articles…but commenting on ads is your job. So it’s not brave to write under a byline because everyone knows you are going to have to get negative from time to time. It’s really brave to write about the true state of the industry or to comment on it while you are in it. While your positions, commentary and even the pure fact that you are blogging could result in real repercussions. All you face is the threat of disagreement. Which is very scary, I know, but many of the ad bloggers face a whole lot more if they get outed.
Bob, it’s time to grow up.
This isn’t the first time that someone has disagreed with you, it’s just the first time that someone disagrees with you and has a platform big enough to make that disagreement widely known. And you better get used to it because the democratization of media means that this won’t be the last time.