There’s this email that some rando sent to a webcomic artist that I like. Here’s the tweet. Transcription because the internet doesn’t last:
Tweet from @TinySnekComics:
I don’t think I ever shared this but I just wanted to grace the world with the greatest/worst unsolicited email I’ve ever received
I don’t know you, just stumbled on your comic. I like the artwork itself, it has a style that’s enjoyable and cute.
After reading one comic after another, I didn’t feel any of them were funny.
DON’T give up, I would like to see you get better.
Consider spending more time on the writing itself or team up with a writer or comedian to make your comic reach its potential.
someone who wishes you the best.
I think Someone Who Wishes You The Best (hereafter SWWYTB) really thinks they’re doing the right thing. They think that by contorting their words enough, they can make their message “nice.” (I base this opinion on years of thinking that myself as a child.)
This has been coming up a lot recently, and I don’t know why. So many instances of people feeling X, doing Y negative thing, and trying to justify it as “actually trying to do good.” (Hell, I do this too. See: righteous fury in the bike lane.)
It’s possible to offer constructive criticism, of course! It just would look different than this. So obviously SWWYTB is giving unwanted criticism (negative thing) and bending themself into knots in order to say “but no, I’m doing an ok thing.” I imagine it’s redirected from some other part of life that’s not feeling good.
(Maybe relatedly: procrastination as emotion management.)
Not quite relatedly: a friend recently described Mr. Rogers as being so effective because he was one of the few people to recognize publicly that children have emotions as complex and valid as adults, they just sometimes can’t express them quite right, and kids (or anyone!) love being validated like that. I love that characterization. Maybe Mr. Rogers came to mind because he would be the kind of person who could offer constructive criticism, if he knew it was warranted and wanted, and it would be taken well.
So how do we distinguish between SWWYTB and Mr. Rogers? I’m tempted to say Mr. Rogers would be doing the thing (offering feedback or whatever) from a place of strength, while SWWYTB writes this from a place of weakness. Someone else recently described a similar thing as “it’s from a place of integrity.” Either way it sounds like hippie talk, but I don’t know a better way to say it, and it would be a valuable shorthand: “look, he’s arguing with you about X, but it’s really just place-of-weakness.” It would make it easier for the people who are not place-of-weaknessing; it might in rare cases even make it easier for people who are place-of-weaknessing!
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
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