When you embark on an artistic career, or are a newbie in any field, you quickly cozy up to nearly constant criticism — or "constructive feedback", if you're lucky. You would never even dream of talking back to those critics, because you're less self-assured as an artist — you're learning the ropes, you're paying your dues. However, as you become more established, and the praise for your good work heaps on, it becomes a little more difficult to swallow the pans and jeers of the masses.
When you're used to nearly constant praise, it makes it much harder to deal with the criticism. You would think that a mega-accomplished, wildly lauded super-producer such as Judd Apatow would be able to ignore the complaints of some teeny, tiny Twitter critics who have no power to make or break his career. In other words: He's only fucking human.
It all started when MSNBC host Touré tweeted at Apatow about his disappoint with This is 40, which is being pretty much universally summarized as long, boring, and aimless. (Hey, some people like that!).
Warning: "This Is 40" is a horrible mess with a meandering plot and few laughs and characters who are hard to like. What happened?— Touré (@Toure) December 27, 2012
Apatow saw his criticism and raised him a personal insult:
.@toure this from the guy who refused to ever pretend to his toddlers that santa existed.You really showed them. Talk about hard to like.— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) December 27, 2012
But then, as others chimed in their agreement with Toure, Apatow hopped into the fray. In fact, Apatow made it a point to tweet back at some dude with eight followers, telling him that he has no power because he has eight followers.
@bruceamorrow good thing you could only expose me to your eight followers.— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) December 27, 2012
Then why respond? You're a multi-millionaire who is arguably the most powerful comedy-maker in Hollywood right now; why the eff do you care about some guy with eight followers*? To the outside it looks uneven - Judd Apatow vs some schlub with eight followers - but at heart, they are still just two people at a computer yelling at each other.
At a certain level, no matter how untouchable you seem, this insult-slinging is inevitable. I appreciate the fact that Apatow isn't so removed from the little people that we don't get to see him being ungracious — it's humanizing. Beyond that, Apatow is at the point in his career (one that many of us will never get to) where he's done being careful about what he says because he doesn't really have to be anymore. I'm of the opinion that we all reach that place — the place of "I'm pissed off and I'm not going to take it anymore!" — it's just that some of us don't have the clout to get through it. We've all had moments when we wanted to pull a Jet Blue flight attendant and tell everyone to fuck off, grab a beer, and slide down the inflatable raft to safety/ruin.
Some advice to Mr. Apatow (and myself, and all of you), don't take this shit too personally. Get off the Internet, go hug your brilliant daughters, let the Internet brawl wash over you so that you may live to make This is 50. And hey, maybe you can even incorporate some of the critic's advice? Maybe?
*Side note, I was able to find that tweet from BruceAMorrow's page, but it's missing from Apatow's timeline, suggesting that maybe Apatow felt bad and erased it. Or maybe Leslie Mann was all, "OMG KNOCK IT OFF" and he ran back to the bathroom to carefully curate his tweets. My bad! It's in his replies!