I use the FoxNews technique of the question mark in the title because, like them, I have no specific evidence for my claims. I could also use their 'some say' technique also, but again, have heard nothing at all from anyone about what I'm going to say here. I may stick with question marks just for giggles. And it is entirely possible, probably even likely, that I am way out on a limb with this one.
Is anyone besides me getting annoyed with the current trend of choral conductors throwing out lavish compliments onto Facebook after a gig or performance? 'Last night's performance of the Intergalactic Honor Choir was a thrill, thanks to the preparation of the directors involved, especially Karl Koral, who organized the event. It was an honor to conduct them.' This kind of post invariably elicits the return compliment of 'we couldn't have done it without your planetary genius.' And how about announcing every pissant thing we do and then posting a picture of the plaque or certificate we received? And how do you feel about the conductor who announces how grateful, honored, or, most gag-inducing of all, blessed they are to be standing in front of their charges and leading them, which is only what they were hired and are paid to do?
And my favorite: I learn more than I teach. I have learned a few things from the individual choruses I have conducted over the years, but there was never any doubt in my mind that I knew a helluva lot more than every one of them or I would have gotten out of the business. And I always taught more than I may have learned. (This is not to deny the insecurity that afflicts all of us).
These falsely modest devices seem to be simply subterfuges for bragging, first of all, but--more important--mere fishing for compliments: they are so lucky to have you; we couldn't have done it without you; working with you is an artistic revelation and more fun than sex.
Is this just sour grapes on my part? Could be. I never had FB to post my glories, coddle my students, be publicly grateful to all involved. I had to use actual letters in the mail, or later, the occasional email. Point is, no one saw it but them. And I didn't thank them, I complimented them, which is what they really wanted. I wrote these letters throughout my career, beginning with my last LA church choir, 1966-1969.
Who would be hurt by foregoing FB and simply sending an email to the gig chair, the ensemble? Why isn't this done more? Why do we have to publicly demonstrate how diplomatic, Christian, grateful, honored and blessed we are? Is there something wrong with keeping it private and in the family? And qui bono by making it public? Hmmmm?
I finish with questions, too: What the hell ever happened to self-effacement or--saints preserve us--genuine modesty? Am I the only one left who was raised by Lutherans, who was taught to never have an exalted opinion of oneself or, if so, to at least have the decency to keep it to oneself?
PS: this post is dedicated to Miguel Felipe ('blog more') and Christian Campos ('where's the professional rant?)