Why You Should Never, Ever Write Anything Negative About Phish

@iPORT , you are officially the worst journalist to ever liveless than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

It started as a joke. It became a warning -- a dire warning -- but it started as a joke.

Really, that's what this was meant to be, before however many hundreds or thousands of Phish fans read our post on the Outside Lands schedule and demonstrated how awfully limited their grasp of humor (and abstract thought) can be.

Here's what happened: This writer expressed appreciation for the fact that there are several interesting artists playing Friday at Outside Lands during Phish's more-than-three-hour headlining slot.

This writer made a crack about needing a minimum distance of 200 yards from any performing jam band.

This writer then moved on to other things.

Somewhere around yesterday evening, this blogged quip demonstrating mild dislike for Phish was absorbed into the online hive mind and spread to oversensitive fans around the world. Their reaction: hate, physical threats, more hate, criticism of our use of the em dash, more hate, and lots of comments on our site and on Twitter.

This writer has been called "the worst journalist ever to live," a "hack writer," and -- my favorite -- "a fucking tool."

Here's what my @mention stream looked like on Twitter today:

phish-responses.jpg

Except even that's deceptive, because it's about a twentieth of the bilious tweets I've received merely for mocking a band that way too many people take way too seriously.

So, fellow bloggers and journos, don't write anything even mildly negative about Phish if you don't want to be attacked online for simply having a differing opinion.

And here, not confined to 140 characters, is my response to those of you still steaming about three sentences that appeared on the Internet yesterday:

1. Not everyone in the world likes Phish. Lots of people do not. This is a fact. Deal with it.

2. That paragraph was not a slam against Phish. A slam, properly constituted, looks like this, or this, or any of these. To slam is to challenge the very legitimacy or worth of a band, its style, or its performance. I'm not questioning that about Phish. I'm not bothered by the fact that many people like Phish. I don't even hate Phish! I'm just glad I don't have to see only that band for the better part of four hours.

3. We don't all have to like the same things. It's okay if you like something that I don't. It's okay if you think something I like sucks. This basic intellectual activity, people: Sometimes we agree. Sometimes we disagree. Then we move on.

----
Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown, follow Ian S. Port @iPORT, and like us at Facebook.com/SFAllShookDown.



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tucker
tucker

you are entitled to your opiion on phish,personally i dont like them, cant see what all the fuss is about ,i have a copy of round room and it is by and large a dull album ,so i you tubed them ,still can t see what all the fuss is about,there are far more superior jam bands ,check out string cheese incident ,widespread panic ,derek trucks ,and bands making far more interesting music ,i agree with the writer check out the bands on the other stages you might find something interesting ,and get this guys and gals i dont like phish ,

Heather H
Heather H

...and I'M offended at the slam at my so-called 'fragile summer fling'!  Jeez you just hate everybody huh?  ;)  

Sylvaindelaney
Sylvaindelaney

Love the article. I am an avid phish fan and I completely agree. I know I am a bit late on this, but there it is. Phish fans completely take the band.. and themselves... too seriously. I have been 40 plus shows in multiple states and every time is the same. There is always one or two or twenty fans that just completely ruin it for others by speaking the incoherent scene talk and whatnot. It would appear that you did not slam them but razzed on them bit and this is what happens. I would bet money that the boys know their fans are a bit over board and obsessive. Don't listen to the haters. You are a fine writer. Phish fans know phish fans suck. Believe me, it is common to discuss this at shows and beyond. 

Lee Born
Lee Born

Best band in the world....hands downMost incredible live concert experience in the universe....just try it...you'll like(love) it

BetweenTheLinesSF
BetweenTheLinesSF

Truth be told, I am not going to Outside Lands this year because Phish is playing.  I respect them as musicians, but I don't care for their music.  And I know they have a gigantic and rabid fanbase (as proven herein).  Spending that much money on tickets and then trying to avoid a four hour headliner and their fans did not sound like a good time/investment to me.  That said, I hope you all enjoy the show of the music you like, and please remember to pick up after yourselves!

Stephen Hodson
Stephen Hodson

I'll be honest. I love Phish - shit, I just got layed off and the first thing that came to mind was, "I'm going to the Tahoe shows - hell yes!"

...But Phans do need to chill out and grow up in some ways. This guy has every right to write whatever the hell he wants to about the band. Attacking him personally - if that is in fact what happened - is lame and flies in the face of what the band is all about, namely, having fun and getting along with people. Whatever happened to Freedom of Thought and Speech? The fact that he even felt the need to write what he did is a backhanded compliment to the band actually.

In my opinion, *SOME* Phans need to be a little more open minded and secure about their identity in a world where Phish is but one circle in the Venn Diagram. Plus...we're taking over Outside Lands Friday...who really cares what this dude thinks. Double Plus, he's right in that there are other great bands playing during their set. I feel awful about missing Big Audio Dynamite, but what must be, must be.

Here's to a happy Festival for all those attending Outside Lands!

P.S. "Carini had a lumpy head."

pressisfree
pressisfree

LOL does this really matter? This guy can write about whatever he wants, its called 'freedom of the press'. I love Phish but I love my first amendment rights more. Give it a break brahhhhs

Cardonzo
Cardonzo

Phish had the most devoted following of any band i know.  If your gonna go out of your way to talk shit you better be ready for a few reponses.

languedoctor
languedoctor

Phish is fun. Phish fans are generally insufferable. Go figure.

anon
anon

so why can't we agree to disagree that you are a tool? it's like, my opinion man.

Miss NJ
Miss NJ

I've never listened to Phish before, and therefore I have nothing against the band. But the idiocy of their fans is enough to make me stay away, particularly after wading through all this crap. They're like Tool fans, only slightly worse because at least Tool fans are too strung out to really fight back when you mention that you aren't a fan.

The insanity of all this is that it reflects poorly on the band. I'm sure any musicians that have been playing together for approx. 26 years (as per a Wikipedia article) are used to differing opinions about their music, and one sarcastic, humourous jibe about the length of their set on the mighty intarwebz won't let them lose too much sleep. And yet, every time I read an overly defensive comment or tweet about this, it just makes me think, "man, what are these guys doing, musicially and creatively, to make their fans are so moronic?".

Apictureofnectar
Apictureofnectar

you should see how critical phish fans are about the band itself, this pales in comparison. also, i think this moronic behaviour, as you call it, is trulu not a reflection of the band. but yeah, we fans tend to be a bit (a lot) obsessive over the band, but the great majority are truly loving, peaceful and open people (and this is very obvious at the shows)

languedoctor
languedoctor

Phish have a cult following, for better and worse. The "worse" is what you see here. Lots of young, insecure folks going online to boost their credibility or self-esteem or whatever.

Gus
Gus

"Fucking tool" is a Phish reference/inside joke. That's why you were called one.

geli tripping
geli tripping

looks like this will be another article that will draw thousands of hits to this website. congrats blogger. phish people really need to lighten up..esp considering their favorite band is a nostalgia act

Harpua420
Harpua420

I am a phish fan. I saw my first show in '95. I thougt your paragraph was funny, and the followup article was great. Make no mistake, you need to have a thick skin if you are going to take any kind of jab at the band we love. There are a lot of poseur fans that just don't get it, and love to run their mouths. That said, any real phish fan knows that phish is not for the masses...and is damn glad of it! Especially us older fans who broke into the jamband scene with the Grateful Dead, and remember what happened when Touch of Grey became a hit!!

Fred
Fred

The only thing worse than Phish is their fans.

Greg Doucette
Greg Doucette

That festival wouldn't even be happening in San Fran if it wasn't for "jambands"

bankmeister
bankmeister

@twitter-218422210:disqus

"You're gripped by an evangelical fervor: a conviction that Phish is so great that anyone who doesn't like Phish has not listened to Phish."

Um, because it's true. Or they don't have developed, complex taste in music. Or both.

AB
AB

Tool.

Greg
Greg

Anyone getting mad at Ian might be better served going through the archives of this blog and realizing, since he's taken helm of SF Weekly's music coverage, he's endorsed the kind of intentionally ignorant and sloppy editorial that provokes reader reaction and, therefore, earns hits. No one frequents this site for its opinions, it's more due to a complete lack of any kind of daily local music coverage elsewhere. Take what you can get, I guess, but please don't take this guy or his staff seriously. 

OPT
OPT

you didn't simply say "i don't care for phish", you tried to put them down.  no one cares if you don't like phish.  and lol at being excited for bands that wont be remembered 20 years from now, and you being excited for "singalongs"

Paul Kemp
Paul Kemp

Ian, if you really want to experience an angry mob of tweets try criticizing LADY GAGA.  your computer may explode.

TWB
TWB

I'm gonna go ahead and MT this

Dignan Sinclair
Dignan Sinclair

I love phish (have seen them over 80 times), but all you people need to relax.  He has a different opinion than you.  Much like all the mocking of the Disco Biscuits on PT's Phish boards .

SpazMango
SpazMango

Actually, three hours of Phish is not enough.  I prefer 12 hours of Phish over a three day festival. No need for other bands.

Michael Howard
Michael Howard

Cheers Chap! You clearly mock what you don't understand and you did it in such a poor fashion that calling your self a journalist is laughable at best. Phish would chew you up and spit you out and eat you for breakfast again. I don't make fun of you for listening to canned garbage in tight jeans with your hair lip, so don't make fun of us for listening to a real band make real music that is actually alive and breathes and shifts shape and inspires. you sir are a jack ass. "Those who don't believe in magic will never find it" - Roald Dahl

Manichini
Manichini

I think the main point of contention is that people who casually toss off a slam at Phish, saying something about hippies or noodling, are demonstrating a complete lack of understanding about the music taking place and what kinds of things happen during live improvisation. I'm happy to have, and would much rather have, a conversation about MUSIC, but far too often opposition to Phish is expressed as derision for "hippies" and pointless "noodling". It's so far off subject: "hippies" exist in every genre for most successful bands in a rock context. As for "noodling", well, I'd wager Phish ends up being one of he more hard-rock shows of the festival. But that's a conversation about music, one most critics aren't capable of having(when it comes to Phish) because they don't know what they're talking about. So they fall back on tired conventions of derision and no one is taking that shit anymore, not because we're so sensitive, but because it's false, a misconception, a unfair, uninformed moment of what can only be likened to discrimination(althought much less serious and frankly absurd). 

Mtota
Mtota

I'm a little late on thisissue, but I do have one stylistic gripe with your abhorred blog post: I willnever understand why some journalists feel the need to point out a word theyare punning on -- it's a bit like laughing at your own joke.

 

Imagineif Shakespeare noted in his plays every time he used a pun. There woulddoubtless be something fishy in the state of Denmark if that was the case. 

Jrod
Jrod

People take music seriously, whether it's Phish or Rihanna. Music houses very personal connections for people. Why else would you be writing an article about a music festival that is bursting at the seams with talent? Is it because you think people should take the music they listen to less seriously? You dug yourself a rhetorical hole here my friend. One that could have been avoided with a more thoughtful response. Anyhoo, I applaud you for making the joke in the first place, if indeed it was a joke. Nothing wrong with a little tongue and cheek humor, just recognize that when you make your thoughts public, the public will respond in kind (or not so kind).

Rbrandon89
Rbrandon89

In terms of musical ability, Phish is as good as it gets.  If you don't appreciate musical ability, then you probably won't get Phish. 

Jiggs
Jiggs

Your joke was cliche and not slanted enough to actual humor. So the opening to your article was a jab, slam, dig...use whatever adjective you may find useful here, but it was a negative comment, nonetheless. Where was the joke about Girl Talk clicking play on a laptop?...perhaps a joke about a 4 chord progression repeated ad nauseam for MGMTs would be in order? No "put me in coach" joke about John Fogerty? Pretty poor example of backpeddling, in my opinion.

Your defense of your "joke" is inconsistent with the rest of your "article", thus the backlash. I also see you take the time to point out the hate, but not the intelligent, well thought out responses. I'm sure there were quite a bit of those. However, like Phish, the fans are just as easy to make fun of, aren't they? Perhaps it's just us being over-sensitive, right?

It also may help you to know that the Phish online community is the most overly critical group I have ever seen. As a group, we can analyze and examine and question all the nuances of the band playing live. We have seen it all, and probably have already said it all about the band. When we see a blogger (make no mistake...this is not journalism) use a lazy tired joke, then we tend to call that out.

ericwyman
ericwyman

Your talents don't lie in humor I guess.

Zmaxwellmusic
Zmaxwellmusic

I think where you aren't getting it and why people got pissed off is because you dissed a band that people love deeply in a really shallow and petty way, on a blog that Phish fans read and now, instead of admitting that it was lame journalism, you are defending yourself and talking about how people take the band too seriously which makes you come off even more toolish.  

Jon
Jon

You need to be happy Phish is playing the dumpy festival to start.  It wouldn't even exist without them.

itsice
itsice

Well - instead of being glad you don't have to see them - perhaps you should go make the trek and see why people got so defensive..... you might be surprised and actually find something about it that will blow you away. I have a feeling this show is not going to be a snoozefest and I hope even more so that they don't play Halley's crashes and you get the real deal. :)

There is definitely many valid reasons people take this band seriously. So here is your opportunity to do your "hw" and see what this big fuss is all about.

Ryan Connelly
Ryan Connelly

Also the premise of this article suggests you are unfamiliar with the internet. You just went viral, buddy!

Ryan Connelly
Ryan Connelly

Correction: you should never, ever write anything negative about Phish, unless you're actually a Phish fan yourself, and have been to 10^x shows but now it's "just not the same anymore" then you can rip on them for being lame old men. I am not a big fan of this myself, this seems to be a more widely accepted attitude though.

The reason I find it weird that so many people "hate" Phish is because they do not have one singular sound. Most people who actually listens to them invariably find at least one song they like (plus I know 0 people who dislike the song Tweezer Reprise) though if you wish to write them off beforehand, that is certainly within your right. I'm sure I wouldn't hate Coldplay as much if I listened to all their albums, I just don't want to do that, so I kind of understand that attitude. Just saying that a lot of people hate Phish without really knowing what they sound like.

I am Hydrogen
I am Hydrogen

It's Like black liquorice you either love it or hate it.

Syerzy
Syerzy

Hey,  Look at me, I'm one of those yuppy hipster guys who came to SF and ruined it.  Let me guess you live in Lower Haight or The Mission, GO HOME!

Sivart13
Sivart13

It's sad that the only time people ever post comments on these are when some dipshit band's fan message board links to them or what ever.

I read your internet blog posts too, Ian SPort. I do not like Phish either.

Han
Han

split open and MELT, bitch!

wygoodness
wygoodness

the fact that you think MGMT is still a relevant act is laughable. either way, they are pretty terrible live and if you actually knew of anything you write about, you would at least know that. 

i'm sure you're enjoying the stir these articles have created, but all they have done is discredit you as a reliable source of musical knowledge. most of your music interests are probably all ripped from pitchfork articles within the last 2 years....mix that with a few token artists from the 90's, and there you have it...Ian S. Ports musical opinion. i'm sure you'd be pretty hard pressed to name more than 5 songs on each of your "favorite artists" albums. at least the cover art is cool BRO.

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