“Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how it’s done, they’ve seen it done every day, but they’re unable to do it themselves” – Brendon Behan, Irish author, poet and playwright, as quoted in “The Cynic’s Lexicon: A Dictionary of Amoral Advice” (1984) by Jonathan Green
Over the course of a decade of minor literary accomplishments (which includes articles published in 2 separate national daily newspapers) I too have received my fair share of criticisms. These range from the normal run of the mill professional, slightly apologetic rejection letters printed off of stored templates in editors’ laptops to the personal appeal to “Please, please for the love of God Stop Writing”. Even on the Domesticated Kid, I have had occasion before to refer to the infamous Catholic Nun who was a devout reader and a foul mouthed critic. (see Internet, the mallu family and online stalkers)
My latest acquisition by way of criticism, however, happens to be more personalized than most. After the publication of my slightly controversial blog post “Size Zero Hammers and Geriatric Muscles” I received an unprecedented number of emails. Apparently posts about movies generate a lot of heated passion (note to self: Never, ever write a review of Gunda, ever. Shudder)
The content of the mails could broadly be classified under two titles, as follows:
Title #1: “Why I love the Domesticated Kid” (content generated predominantly by female fans from two countries, India and Papua New Guinea)
Title #2 : “Bleh”
Under the second title, several noteworthy tomes have been received so far, of which the latest one is but a small example.
“If you stayed up till 3.24 a.m in the night putting in effort to come up with this lame piece of crap, I have only one word to tell you:
Stop writing. Stop even trying to write. Stop telling people to read what you have written. And most importantly, stop trying to be funny. Evidently, it is just not meant for you.” – Anonymous
Since the author clearly wished to withhold his identity for fear of immediate reprisal from hordes of angry Papua New Guinean ladies, one can only guess who he might be. I, for one, wish to picture him as a normal family man with a new born baby who keeps him awake and cranky at nights. And oh yes, he is also an ardent believer in ensuring that the literary sanctity of cyberspace is maintained. He will, therefore, not allow any corruption of the finer elements of humour as he has heard on BBC radio shows in the distant past. No sir, not on his watch.
However personalized this warning to stop writing may have been, it sadly does not win the title for the most threatening criticism ever received. That honour goes to a series of hand written notes delivered to my hostel room at IIM Bangalore in the winter of ’11. Naturally, I hadn’t expected such naked ferocity of expression within the confines of a management school, where traditionally all forms of hostility are reserved for the Pakistani cricket team. But, there will always be that one psychopath who sneaked past the interview board.
Note: Since the title and subject of the letter intrigued me, I ventured to reply to some of them and hopefully, placate this yet to be committed critic. What follows are his first threat and some of his replies to my pleas for survival.
Jan 3 2011
SUB : Weasel’s murder
I have only one question for you. Granted, you have the freedom to write whatever crap you want. But what made you think that having written it, you could then proceed to have it published in the college website with impunity?
For crimes committed against my literary sensibilities, you are hereby sentenced to die. I will personally carry out the punishment.
Jan 4 2011
SUB: Means of Weasel’s death
In response to your query, the answer is NO. I can’t grant your last wish. I can’t wait indefinitely until you manage to have a threesome before killing you. I would also like to add that you will be killed with my banana.
PS: In response to your other query, viz. “Why Weasel?” – because I like it.
Jan 6 2011
SUB: Clarification of exact procedure re Weasel’s murder
I received your request dated Jan 5 asking for clarification regarding how exactly I propose to kill you using a banana. I shall suffocate you by stuffing it down your throat, you idiot. And as to the second part of your query, no, I didn’t mean to say ‘my’ banana; I meant to say “a” banana. Sorry, but typos will happen.
Ladies, I am still waiting to unearth the identities of these two individuals. Soon as I get some info, you have permission to go all Papua New Guinean on their asses.