Kevin Smith has had a pretty rocky relationship with film reviewers these past few years but I’ve stayed a fan of what he has accomplished (I was one of the few on our podcast that was really impressed by Red State).
This past year has seen a huge life transition for me. As I’ve gone through it, and as I’ve experienced recent events, there’s one interview with Kevin Smith that keeps coming to mind, over and over again: a 2009 interview that Smith did with Lee Stranahan on “The Dark Side of the Internet.” In it, Smith discusses how the poor performance of Zack and Miri caused him to swear off the internet for good.
While I think constructive criticism can benefit any number of people (myself included), there’s one section of the interview that has really changed the way I look at things. It starts about the 5 minute mark above:
“You know what I realized one day? People can write the worst shit about you that you’ve ever seen. They can write really horrible shit about your wife, about your fucking kid. They can write things about your motivations. They can try to peer into your soul and write heinous fucking things. They can take you into bizarro world and write the opposite of everything that’s true, and maintain to the world in general that it’s true. And it’s only really recently that I’ve realized that they can do all that, and they can’t affect your ability to earn, to love, to be loved, to have a good day…
It’s weird. I’ll sit there and read something on the internet really heinous about myself or about my work or something, and then I’ll go a meeting on some project I’m working on. Those cats aren’t like ‘Hey, we read that thing and that dude’s right, you are a prick!’ That shit doesn’t matter, and you bring it up to them! It’s so weird, I’m so tired of telling people in my life…people will be like, ‘What’s wrong?” and I’m like ‘I read this fucking thing on the internet that really bothers me.’ None of them have ever been like, “Oh man I’m sorry.’ They’ve all been like, ‘So? Dude, look at your life! You won! What do you give a shit what someone writes about you on the internet?’ And I’m like, ‘I dunno. Because I always have.’
And then I just realized, maybe I can just stop.”