File puptcrit/puptcrit.0612, message 268

To: <>
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2006 02:17:09 -0500
Subject: [Puptcrit] Email misunderstandings on Puptcrit?

Hi all.
I have just had a strange and sad small serie of email exchanges with a fellow Puptcritter.

I was called an attribute which I admit to without a problem: argumentative personality.
I like constructive argumenting, wether I be proven right or wrong in the end, there is always something to be learned. I would gain nothing from "being right" at all costs. There is no learning there, only stubbornness.

What I do not understand, is that in 2 short email messages that I received about a simple comment on my part, concerning the Noreen Young DVD,  it escalated into what I interpret as a very heated comment on my, and my city's character.

I will not name the person, so don't ask.
The person was defending the DVD fervently, which I find commendable, since I too reccomend the dvd.
The difference is that I pointed a few missing information which I think would be important to know in the event of problems occuring witrh the puppetmaking processes. I did this just so people interested in the DVD would know more about the product.  I certainly appreciate such comments about other DVDs and books when I shop for one.
The first email from the person was just a short comment  which could be summarised in that person's own sentence: "I really think you are being very picky about some of the things"
To which I replied, politely and with a grain of humour, that I hoped were were not having a heated argument about it, and that I still supported that DVD.  I then received this last communication, which was disturbing to me: "This will be the last time I ever contact you.  It is obvious that you are an argumentative personality just like my French Canadian sister-in-law who lives in Montreal and is always right even when proven wrong. That attitude is why I never visit that city.
Good luck in the future."

At least the person finished with a nice wish.
How can this person judge my character from just two short emails?
Is it wrong to defend your own point of view more than 5 minutes?
If so, then let's close all courts of laws right now, and declare all laws void!
Why categorise a whole city's population into a single frame of character?
This is the same simplistic mechanic that fuels racism, I think. This worries me.

By the way, defending my own city: Montrealers are known around the world for their open-ness.
Just look at the non-violent huge crowds at the Jazz Festival each year. Such open-ness can only come with open-mindedness. Sure, we have our own blocked heads, but I don't like for a whole city to be judged on one person's alleged behaviour.

Anyways, I hope this was just a big misunderstanding for some weird reason.
I do not think I am always right, in fact I am usually the first to admit I'm wrong, much to the confusion of people I argue with. Which used to make me no good at school debates. LoL.

Should I be guilty of such an attitude as "self-righteousness" without knowing it, PLEASE tell it to me straight, and explain, so I can see what you mean. I'm young and able and willing to learn.

But please, avoid such hasty categorising of people.
Email messages don't have facial expressions, no voice tone, nothing but words, which can each be interpreted in various ways. I still don't understand what happened in that person's own translation of my words, but I sure find it sad that communication was cut short.

I would not be surprised to receive one extra heated message from that same person when finding out I posted about this on the list. Please know that I am only mentionning it so that others can avoid such situations. And also maybe someone on the list can explain to me what went wrong!

I include our full "conversation" below, with the person's name removed.
I don't understand that someone raising so many good points about teaching material can jump to conclusions like that heated comment.
Why am I spending so much time on this?
one: I am concerned about resentments and communication problems among collegues.
two: I need to understand!


person: I just read your response to the posting about the Noreen Young DVD. I really think you are being very picky about some of the things. She is very careful to tell about bubbles in the plaster. If you read the booklet that comes with the DVD, she tells how to use paper clay to fill in any imperfections in the finished mold. anyone who works with contact cement should read the warnings on the labels. Since the different steps were filmed at different times, it may seem that the can was open all the time. Plus it is the GEL contact cement that works a bit differently than the liquid. I don't claim that the DVD answers everything about the latex method, but she has been very generous in answering any questions that I have emailed her. To answer all the troubleshooting would have required more than one DVD, but it opens the door to this process.
Personally I have had NO PROBLEMS in following the DVD and the booklet.

my response: Hi ********** 
You are right on the fact that I am very picky about these things.
I am myself a teacher of art techniques, and have realised, through my own forgettings, what trouble students can get into when some kinds of basic info are missing. IO am all for letting them learn from their mistakes, but why not try to help thema void a few. There will always be other mistakes.
So I prefer to risk repeating myself instead of forgetting essential troubleshooting tips.
Sometimes I push it a bit far, so maybe I sounded a bit too harsh about the Noreen Young DVD, but I still stand by my comments. It's not like these are small overlooks, I cringed quite a few times when I watched it the first time (NO!!!!), fearing a catastrophe, seeing the problems that might occur. Only because I have had experience with these materials, and know how bad and expensive it can get when the mistakes happen.
Why not prevent some? I thik any instructionnal material can be useful, but why not make it as complete as possible? My standards are even higher now that I have seen a few DVD from the Gnomon Workshop.
The quality varies a bit from one to the other, but the very worse I've seen were VERY well done, compared to all the other books and videos I have consulted. The latest, which I purchased, was Sculpture with John Brown, volume 2. I watched it four times (over two weeks) without even trying the actual techniques.
Just watching such clear information improved my sculpture skills tremendously.
Without it, I would not have been able to make the clay Christmas card I just posted about on Puptcrit.
Ok, I admit, I'm a part-time art-technique paranoid! I have a puppet character in my head which would be perfect to represent this aspect of my personality.

person: All I can say is that I have had no trouble following Noreen's video step by step. Everything worked wonderfully. It has inspired me to go in a new direction. This is coming from a person who has been making marionettes and other puppets for over 50 years. 
And DVD, book etc. that can inspire and give techniques that WORK to my mind is successful.
In addition to being a professional puppeteer, I also teach art in my school district's adult education program so feel that I can be objective in evaluating instructional materials. 
Every teacher, artist and performer has their own way of working and I honestly feel it is unfair to by hyper critical about methods that have worked for 25 or more years.

My reply:
HI ****
I hope this is not a heated argument we are having. 
Emails can be so darn subjective because we can't detect the tone of mental voice that went with the words.
I've realised something, that there are many levels of expectations everywhere.  I believe it is necessary to have a variety of qualities available for everything, so that that is always room for learning, for improvement.
But, as it is ok to have lower expectations for some things, I am the kind to concentrate on getting it better and better. I am much harsher on myself than on anyone else, so maybe that's why sometimes I push it a bit far when evaluating other people's teaching material.
Note that I still said I reccomended the DVD, I just wanted to add that it was not all-encompassing, and that there might be a need for more resource to complement it. Maybe I went too far with the examples I gave though. Thank you for writing this to me personally, and not on the list. I can see it could have made another long debate, and as much as I love those and what sugestions they bring, I got no time right now for participating as much as I would like!

person: This will be the last time I ever contact you.
It is obvious that you are an argumentative personality just like my French Canadian sister-in-law who lives in Montreal and is always right even when proven wrong.
That attitude is why I never visit that city.
Good luck in the future.

Are there any "translators of written emotions" in the group???
List address:
Admin interface:


Driftline Main Page


Display software: ArchTracker © Malgosia Askanas, 2000-2005