The Guardian's Chris Wilkinson gathers up the bits of bloggery laying about, and puts them together into a coherent and useful piece of writing.
I'd like to say that the dust-up, such as it was, with Derek Ahonen is something I feel has been slightly overblown. It was a single response from the playwright, and I can understand why he was sensitive. We expect critics, even critics we know personally, to be entirely honest privately and publicly with their opinions of our work. That's their function. If I were to read another writer quoting a lukewarm review of mine, I'd probably be slightly unhappy as well.
It's easy to hope that all writers and members of a community will remove all social constraints and just let loose on one another. That's simply not how communities work. One of the reasons we build communities, even when it seemingly limits the discourse, is the sense of shared goals and safety. I believe that Derek misread my intentions with the post, but I don't think he was displaying a personal opinion that no one else shares or that was entirely unreasonable. Maybe we both should have thought it through a little more carefully.
What I do think is a useful question to ask, however, is how can we have a constructive public discourse and remain sensitive to the very real human beings we're discussing. For me, it's not an abstract thing. I may never have met Ahohen, but we certainly have friends in common. I personally have met most of the people I could and do blog about. So the social aspect of my work isn't imagined. I have to look everyone I write about in the eye, basically.
- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.