I have always admired the writing style of Everett True. He is often brutally frank but in a manner that is never less than hilarious and thought-provoking. He is a cultural provocateur; he calls it like he sees it, no matter how the consequences might hurt him. I am honored that he has graced us with his writing, especially considering how much he has influenced me. Now, that doesn’t mean I agree with him on everything he says—I’ have often found him frustratingly wrong, and have never been afraid to say so. Once, when I wrote for his website Collapse Board, I suggested to him that the only way to follow up his charmingly aggrandizing “Why Everett True Is Right Week,” was to allow a no-holes barred “Why Everett True Is Wrong Week.”
Naturally, he loved the idea, and did just that.
(Not surprisingly, more people were willing to tell him why he was wrong than were willing to tell him why he was right. Typical.)
I submitted my own reply to him, indicating why he was wrong about a particular post, and he shared it, happily and respectfully, indicating that not only is he a benevolent despot, but he is willing to listen to constructive criticism. Won’t necessarily change his mind, of course; but hearing a person out is a much more admirable trait than declaring someone wrong and refusing to listen–even if you secretly declare them wrong and refuse to listen. I have no doubt my words did not change his opinion one inch; that he allowed me the opportunity to try–well, I completely respect that.
And you should, too. (I leave it to you to understand why.)
He has a new book to offer the world, entitled Electrical Storm. It’s not a traditional autobiography; it is, in his own words, a collection of stories. I was given the opportunity to publish an excerpt, and I chose this particular excerpt for one reason; it teaches a very important lesson, one that’s never taught in university, and can only be gleaned from the harsh pinprick of experience: never critique people you consider your friends. It’s a lesson I learned very early on, and it’s one rule I will always maintain. (I recently wrote about this very subject; click here in case you missed it.)
Autobiographies are inherently self-serving. They’re not to be trusted. They serve to glorify the author; rarely paint their author in a negative light, and if and when they do, they often do so in a way that makes them look better. I am sure that Everett’s book will, at times, be absolutely no exception.
But that’s not the case with this excerpt; it’s painful. It’s sad. It’s real. It’s Everett True admitting he made a mistake, and that he’s to blame. Honesty is always an admirable virtue, even more so when it’s tempered with the unflattering admission of one’s errors. Everett’s reflection here brought a tear to my eye. It instantly made me want to support this campaign, and I have done so, happily. Not because Everett True is my friend, but because Everett True is a storyteller, and he is a storyteller who is willing to turn the knife on himself, because sometimes you have to do that, as the lesson is more important than the ego.
In other words, I am supporting Electrical Storm simply because I really want to read this damn book.
Please support him here:
I have actually used your response to the Polyphonic Spree rant in lectures on several occasions, citing it as a good example of how context and information can change perception and taste. Not mine, however.
Thank you! That’s a battle I know I wouldn’t win. 🙂