File puptcrit/puptcrit.0612, message 273

To: <>
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2006 08:43:52 -0500
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Email misunderstandings on Puptcrit?


It is the holidays and I don't wish to start an argument with anyone, but I
agreed with your original opinion of Noreen's video when I read that e-mail
a day or two ago. I didn't interpret any kind of insult toward Noreen
herself, just some constructive criticism. I also have that DVD and having
watched it several times, I wondered about troubleshooting myself. The DVD
is very good, and infact, I have not been able to find anything else like
it.... but like you, I still wish that there was a section which addressed
common problems.  =)

I don't know if that makes me picky, as I am not from Canada, however my dad
was born on a reservation there so maybe it's in my blood. *grin*

I'm sorry that I can't be of further assistance with the letter that you
received. My only thought is perhaps the person might Noreen incognito... or
maybe Heather Henson? Of course, I'm just poking fun.  =)

It's the holidays, shake it off and be Merry.  =)


-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Mathieu René
Sent: Friday, December 22, 2006 2:17 AM
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
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
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
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
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

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
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???
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