Postscript to An Apology: Making Goodbyes Stick...

So, what’s the hold-up? You’ve written your apology. You’ve gotten your mind clear and the guilt has dissipated. You can move on from your supposedly Spout-derived depression and begin taking the Cinema 4 Pylon to the next level.

So why haven’t you written anything, you whiny bastard?

All good questions that I ask myself, and probably questions that a couple of you out there may have muttered yourself.

But the answers are aren’t easy. So much has happened in the past week regarding the apology. Part of it is due to the anti-climactic nature of the response to the apology, and part of it leaves me wondering as to why I assign such significance to one small event that really doesn’t matter to, well, anyone else… apparently. But then there was something that followed up that response that leaves me wondering something else altogether.

First, the response. After posting the fourth part of my epic mind-cleanser -- sort of a concentrated Drano for the psyche -- I then devised a quick and very polite email to Ryan over at Spout, pointing him to the links for the four parts, and also instructing him that he if really wants to get to the heart of the matter, just check out the last part. After all, therein lied the apolo-wogy.

A couple of days later, I received this from Ryan:

It's all good. I understand how problems in life can affect the way people choose to react to changes in what they would rather not see change. I appreciate your sincere apologies. I realize it wasn't meant to be a personal thing. Anyway, it is good to have you back. Sadly I will not be here much longer, at least not in the capacity that I have been. Feel free to reapply to the spout mavens group if you want.

And that was it. Nice, but that was it. At the time, it was all I wanted. But then something bothered me about the end of the reply, and I am not reading anything into the last sentence and I know it is just business as usual over there, but it still struck a nerve with me. I never applied to the Spout Mavens group in the first place; I was invited because they liked the regular writing I had posted of my own free will on the site. I fully realize that I caused myself to get knocked out of the group, and I also sense that perhaps the ultimate key to worming myself back out of this mood is to work my way back into their good graces. At the time that I posted the series of four apology posts, asking forgiveness seemed to be only the first step; humbling myself and asking back in to the group was the next; doing good, solid work for the group would have been the final step.

Suddenly, after reading the accepting email response, I found myself ruminating over whether I really did want to reapply to the group; whether it was worth the effort or perhaps I should concentrate on my own site and wash my hands of the whole thing. Then, my buddy The Working Dead -- who is still a member of the group even though he hasn’t, by his own admittance, written anything for them for almost six months, even though they supposedly have (or had) rules against such a thing happening -- received this email from the Mavens group:

Subject: Farewell and changes in the way screeners work, again

Hello folks,

Today is my last day with Spout. I have enjoyed interacting with each of you, and reading the very different styles of writing you all have brought to Spout. I won't bore you with details, but obviously things are going to change a bit with me gone. My sister will, most likely, be facilitating the screener program from now on. Due to this the way the program will be run is going to be very different.

The new screener program:

First, all previous requests concerning formatting, manner of contact, etc. are hereby forfeit.

You may format your "review" however you please.

You DO NOT need to tell anyone your review has been completed, or include a link. Of course this is a good idea if you want others to read it and they aren't subscribed to your blog via rss. All communication will occur on the Spout site. We will not be using this email address for the screener program anymore.

If there is a screener you want you should reply in the thread that is titled with that specific screener. (I.E. if you're interested in "Hazard" you should reply to the "Hazard" thread requesting the film.) If the film is available you will be contacted and sent the film. If the film is no longer available a post will be made in the thread so that everyone knows that we no longer have that film to share.

That is basically it, we don't need to know when you get your review done. There are no time limits any longer, and you will never be removed from the program. Of course you must make requests in the group if you actually want to receive screeners from Spout.

I hope this format is more simple and palatable for everyone. If you have any questions feel free to reply to this email.

Well, all I wanted was peace, but it seems, as it does in most of the world, to be in very short supply. Peace is fine, but I started out on this journey fighting for some form of ideal, however mislaid my ideals tend to be, and just when it seems that I have achieved a seemingly peaceful state, I read an email which would almost seem to be majorly passive-aggressive if it had actually been sent my way. Now it just reads like it missed its main target.

There is no way that you can convince me this email doesn't contain traces of my involvement in this affair. Tell me that I didn’t have any impact over there with my idiotic, deeply programmed rebelliousness: the phrase 'You make format your "review" however you please' is a clear take on my mocking "review" quotes throughout several posts that I did for the Mavens group, including the final one for More Shoes that led me into my most recent depressive state. And suddenly, all the things they wished for us to do -- i.e., having us format our "reviews" for easier use by the mainstream users of the site -- are now gone, like they were never foisted upon the group in the first place.

And the only surefire reason that would convince me that I need to kowtow and ask admission back into the Mavens group is now gone as well: the randomness of the DVD screeners. Now it seems that one must pick a screener that looks interesting and ask for them to send one over if there are any left. Maybe it is too much work to just randomly grab the next disc on the stack and drop it in a bubble-encased envelope. Myself, I preferred never knowing what was going to show up in my mailbox, and my short career with the group was marked by numerous occasions where the most pleasant part of my day was finding that a movie, of which I had never heard previously, just really blew my mind or turned out to be a complete surprise in quality and depth. (There were crappy films too, to be sure, but those are the breaks...)

And these are the brakes on which I am now jamming my foot, hard and fast. However I might have been using this whole period, and these past five posts, to break myself out of an emotional rut, I now feel, with the discovery of this last email, that my apology was completely in vain. It may have helped me wash my hands of a supposed past transgression against innocent others, but clearly it was only considered necessary on my part. It really had no bearing on anything at all, except for as a dartboard on which I could pin my miseries, aim and fire. And while I can, as I just did, pick out small things which my ego allows me to use to convince myself that I have done some ultimate good, it is just as likely that this was merely the path that was being taken already in my absence, and it is equally likely that they received any number of other complaints from users in the group with like minds.

Not that I will join them again. I liked a couple of them pretty well, though I am deriving this opinion chiefly through reading their reviews -- which more often than not fulfill the supposed true purpose of criticism, unlike mine -- and I wish them all well. Me, though... I am choosing to move on and concentrate fully on my own sites and projects. I have wasted enough time on this by now, and with these latest developments, my interest in doing anything for the site is gone. After all, while I received a handful of nice responses from members on the site, it did nothing to drive people to the Pylon. In fact, the most interesting responses that I have received -- from comic editors, cartoon producers and directors, and an occasional rock star -- have been straight through the Pylon or on my sadly underused sister site, the Cinema 4 Cel Bloc.

And thus, I must say this for good: Goodbye, Spout. Good night, and good luck.

For me and the Pylon... Onward...


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