Pipers and drummers, like many people today, sometimes have a sense of entitlement that’s out of whack with reality. Putting together pipes|drums Magazine is 99.99% gratifying, or at least neutral. But a few times a year I’m reminded just how selfish people can be – even in this worldwide little piping and drumming club where you naturally expect more from privileged members.
Last week the great piper Willie McCallum provided a lovely tribute to the late Alasdair Gillies. His article followed an equally moving piece by the equally great Colin MacLellan. They put a lot of thought and work into putting their thoughts down and, frankly, I put a lot of thought and effort into obtaining their articles. These are historical pieces following the unfair death of one of history’s greatest pipers.
I decided to make Colin’s tribute available to all visitors to pipes|drums, unlike almost all Features articles that are for reserved for paying subscribers. In the case of Willie’s piece, I chose to designate it for subscribers-only. (I’ve since switched Colin’s to subscriber-only.)
I received this e-mail message from someone I know of but believe I’ve never met. I omitted his/her name but I kept the rotten syntax:
Subject: Willie McCallum article about Alasdair
I can’t believe you have restricted this article to subscribers only. This is an ultimate bad move. the one from Colin wasn’t restricted. Why this one?
Bad, bad, bad, bad mojo
That was how my Monday morning started. The inference was that I somehow grievously wronged the memory of Alasdair Gillies by not making this tribute available to all for free.
Perhaps the judicious action would have been to press Delete and try to forget it, but anyone who knows me knows that that’s not my nature. Perhaps it’s a fault, but I tend to think there would never have been a pipes|drums if I just ignored things I perceive to be unfair. So, here’s how I responded:
Sorry you don’t think the piece was worth including with a $15 annual subscription.
If you subscribe to any print magazines or newspapers, do you send similar angry messages about their “bad mojo” when they run extensive obituaries and tributes?
On the other hand, wasn’t it exceedingly generous that Colin MacLellan’s tribute was available to all?
What about thanking people like Willie McCallum or Colin or – heaven forbid – me, for putting this stuff together for you?
Perhaps you might consider your rather negative perspective.
I don’t begrudge anyone expressing their opinion, however wrong it may be, but I tend to think that this was just an instance of someone’s sense of entitlement skewing their common sense, manners and decency. Incidentally, I haven’t heard from the person since.
Pipers and drummers today often bellyache about things that years ago would have been the stuff of fantastic dreams. $10.99 for an iPhone bagpipe tuner?! A pipe band concert in a grand hall for $40?! Too many ticketed events at Piping Live!?! Having to pay $15 for a year’s access to more than 4,000 original articles on a nonprofit online magazine?!
Bad, bad mojo indeed.