Saturday, January 10, 2015
Handling hostile reviews
"I need some protection from all the reviews," emailed George Clooney to a Sony executive, after wincing from criticism of his film The Monuments Men.
"We will protect you by making money .... it's the best revenge," emailed Sony back -- which, when you think of it, is not a bad answer at all. That 50-shades writer must have thought that often. What did they use to call it? Laughing all the way to the bank?
The anecdote has triggered all kinds of responses, including a meditation in this week's DomPost insert "Weekender" -- which, of all things, looks at restaurant reviews.
Apparently a chef in Auckland became so incensed at reviews of his Nourish Group restaurants in the magazine Metro that he took out a full-page advertisement announcing that all Metro food critics were banned from his doors. The ad featured a recipe for "Metro Food Critic Testicles," saying their reviews were "out of step" and that they were playing "a childish game ... Balls to them," it concluded. At which Metro editor Simon Wilson responded by sending him a pair of coconuts, and a note saying, "They're bigger than you think."
Now, that is childish. He had many other valid points to make. Metro food critics pay for their meals, visit at least twice, and must not know the proprietors or chefs at any of the establishments.
But taking out that ad was a big mistake, too. The chef in question now wishes he hadn't acted on the spur of the moment. And what he said has food for thought for us all, book writers included.
"Often reviews have some really good points and you learn from it and grow the business. ... You can't win against reviews. You're best just to shut up, accept it and look at it objectively."
Belated wisdom, but noteworthy nonetheless.