I am/was a big fan of the show Community, which meant I was a big fan of its producer, Dan Harmon. Yes, “was,” because I just watched a Netflix documentary called Harmontown, and, well, not so much a fan anymore.
I’m not going to cite any particular incident or scene that turned me off to the guy. Watch it, draw your own conclusions. But, about halfway through, it occurred to me that all of us peoples who make (or, in my case, try to make) a living from any kind of creative process—writing, movies, art—should just STFU. Seriously. Because, dudes, dudettes, when we start making it about ourselves, we’re done.
Most of the peoples who end up creative process types are world class jerks. We just are. You know why: it takes an extraordinary amount of ego to think one’s particular creative process is brilliant enough that others should pay you lots of money for it. As history has shown, those with extraordinary amounts of ego tend to be real jerks. So, if you want to continue making lots of money off that creative process, best to downplay the ego and enhance the product. Because nobody likes a whiner, especially a rich and successful one.
And I know, I know, it is difficult to avoid the whine because an inordinate amount of pathology seems to accompany that extraordinary ego; indeed, I’m pretty much convinced it’s catalyst. Sure are a lot of traumatic childhoods and other unhappy situations in the background, ain’t they? It’s almost a chicken-and-egg situation: do the pathologies cause one to develop the super ego in compensation, or do the pathologies allow the latent ego to wax sociopathic with greater ease? Dunno. All I know is that I tend towards world class jerkiness.
Which is why I don’t spend a lot of time with introspection on this page. First, it’s just boring. A lot of agonistes about crappy childhoods and rough lives is so Lifetime Movie Channel. Besides, the “lemons-into-lemonade” concept means all that past crap is now gist for stories and books.
Second, and far more importantly, it ain’t about me. It ain’t about you, either, Dan Harmon. It’s about what we do.
See, when God (or the gods, depending on your particular stance) grants someone the talent to mold a string of words into story, then the product—book, movie, hilarious TV series, whatever—is the issue, not your ego, not your pathologies, none of that. Best to keep all that at home because, you won. You did.
So using a documentary to bleed your wounds all over the place in a great big “Look how sensitive I am and how abused I’ve been!” set of rationalizations for being a Class A jerk negates the victory. Instead of everyone laughing and cheering and admiring a show like Community, they’re now wondering why NBC didn’t fire you sooner. I’da fired you after a week.
Which is why it is so very important that creative types just STFU.
Because, look at this, Dan, look at this: NBC had to hire you back to fix Community. What does that tell you?
And look at this, too, Dan: everyone in America now wants to play D&D with Spencer. Good job, man.