The "want to touch and be touched" by the celebrity phenomenon. Talked
of treating the visit as the second coming...just the observation of how
people (especially groups) can act in such circumstances.
Depends on what he was paid _for_. If it was to be seen and give a
demo/talk, that's one thing. If it was for that and he's mobbed w/ some
crowd, expected to judge some show, etc., ..., that's something else
How about the associated VIP phenomenon? The one where anyone who
knows, touches or comes into the presence of a VIP becomes (thinks
they are) a sort of pseudo VIP? Like that wood whisperer kid. The
guys at the guild are always making jokes about him and how full of
himself he is. He sure does like to hear himself talk. I haven't
been able to make it more than a couple of minutes through any of his
podcasts. He rambles on a lot and doesn't do much of anything on the
show. I think he should put in a decade or two of working wood before
he declares himself David Marks Jr.
I hear ya'!
At least he seems to have slowed down with dropping David Marks' name.
While WW (I can't remember his name...) does look like he has some
skills, he does smack of a guy who couldn't make much money as a pro,
designing and building things, so we went the media / instructing
route. I think he actually has promise as a demonstrator, but without
the portfolio of a DJM, Lonnie Bird, Frank Klaus, etc...
Did you ever notice how little WW does with hand tools?
** http://www.bburke.com/woodworking.html **
Nor do I. And as noted, maybe it was a bad day for him.
I do have a good idea, and I have never liked "those kinds of guys".
One thing I learned over nearly 35 years of getting paid as a
professional woodworker is this: No matter how good you are, there is
always someone better.
With so many years in the trades, and with so many of them being self
employed (27.... crap!) I have done a great deal of carpentry work.
One thing I learned really well after a few years in the trades was a
proper perspective on the endless arena of woodworking. I have
learned that just because you can do one or two (or three) thing well,
it doesn't mean you are a master at all aspects.
In the bigger picture, I spent time working for a financial
institution managing their construction portfolio. So if a "Marks"
comes to me when I was in banking and cannot correctly calculate the
compounding per diem interest or APR on a floating rate interim loan
(which as you know is typical for most aspects of construction
financing), should I have belittled him?
I had those folks come in all the time with their HP12c calculators
and try like hell to figure out what their financing was costing them
when they had a building principal as project went on. When I saw
their calculations (which by the way, were NEVER right) I didn't make
them ashamed of their efforts.
The guys that went to meet Marks are not, were not, and don't intend
to be professionals. If they were, it would have been a totally
different situation. Personally, I keep my mouth shut as to what I
think of most people's work, unless they are working for me, or with
me. On my dime, I try to be as constructive as possible, as quick to
praise as I am to criticize, but the guys on the job ARE
professionals, and a thicker hide is needed when certain expectations
of quality are expected simply because they are pros.
If they are asking you pointedly for your opinion as one professional
musician to another, you shouldn't fudge too much. I think you should
tell them the truth, and as unvarnished as possible without destroying
them. I have had many a woodworking compatriot strike out on their
own after doing a couple of nice jobs, only to find that one of the
real talents of being a professional woodworker is to be able to pay
Yes it does. But we are talking about two different things. You are
writing about interfacing as one professional to another (or maybe to
an aspiring professional). I have had many a candid talk with fellow
professionals about different aspects of our own work, and I have no
problem admitting my own shortcomings in certain aspects of
For example, if I cut a roof, I can spend an extra week cutting in
valley rafters, jacks and compound cut soldier walls for tile. I can
get it done, but it is painful. I had a guy that worked for me for
years that loved to cut in roofs and took a lot of pride in cutting in
full hip roofs. He was easily 3-4 times faster than me. But, if we
needed to modify a or make a cabinet, he was totally lost.
Oversize crown molding was a mystery greater than Stonehenge to that
guy, and while I truly admired his skills at the beautiful hip roofs
he would cut (there was almost no cutting the sheathing to compensate
for an off cut, ever) he thought I was the better carpenter because I
could build/rebuild cabinets and build doors and frames from
scratch. We tried to help each other along in our deficiencies, but
actually had little luck. But that was one pro to another, done with
respect for one another's talents. No harm, no foul. We had been
around the block enough times to realize you can't excel at all
aspects of woodworking.
Marks' visit was a one time, few hour visit where he was facing a
serious case of leg rash from hero worship at best. He was not there
to instruct, critique, or judge projects. He was there to be the guy
on TV. If his audience had been students or fellow professionals,
then I probably wouldn't have cared. Most "artists" seem to be
arrogant insecure pricks, and poor behavior seems to be a hallmark of
accomplishment these days. I am not saying that describes Marks.
A good observation. But upon reflection it also extends to the psuedo
artists as well. I no longer participate in our local woodturning
club due to the unbridled snobbery those in the club show to each
other. I think the club should be an open door for all to participate
on all levels. Everyone should be encouraged to have fun and try
different things, no matter the success or failure.
It isn't that way though, as many of the guys in the club have been
"serious turners" for as much as five years! Say it ain't so! And by
the time they jangle their memory a little, add in a high school
semester of shop and watching Dave Hout on DIY, they can easily claim
ten years. So they have to be experts, right?
A grand lesson in humility was learned by them (too bad it didn't
stick) when we had a fantastic turner come in for a demo a couple of
years ago. He looked at some of the work on a table the guys had
brought for "judging" between themselves. He thought he was there to
"critique" not pick the best piece. So, instead of someone getting
bragging rights for a job well done, it went completely the other way.
He didn't want to know at first who did what. So he would hold up the
piece and say things like "I'm not sure what he was going for here, so
maybe someone should pipe in and tell me what they were trying to do",
or " I assume this was done on purpose ?!? ". One of our red faced
artists had to own up to their own work, and take the criticism. It
was done with some grace and tact, but the unvarnished truth was too
harsh for many.
Their mutual admiration society took a real hard hit, and as you
observed, the haughtiest of the artists were the most severely
wounded. They were OK the next meeting, but then in subsequent
meetings the decided they had been treated unfairly and that person
wouldn't be asked back. To me, he was a breath of fresh air.
I don't know when an "artist" becomes and "artist" but I hope I don't
ever become one. Seems too hard.
OK.... this time I mean it. Off the box.
And no matter how much better that someone is, it doesn't mean he
doesn't have something to learn from you either.
In our guild, you can pick any two random people and be pretty much
guaranteed that each has something to teach the other.
That is a sign of folks that are "on the path" to me, realizing that
no matter where you are in your skill sets, there is more to the whole
picture than can be learned.. There is no end, only more road. That
would be a guild I would love to join.
Not always but from time to time I still learn from helpers hire to
do something, guys that haven't been doing this for more than a couple
of years. You never know.
"The Guild of New Hampshire Woodworkers is an association of
professionals and amateurs bound by a common interest in
woodworking. Through regular meetings, lectures, demonstrations, a
video library of those demonstrations, juried exhibits, a newsletter
( The Old Saw ) and other activities, the Guild strives to bring
together the diverse interests of the New Hampshire woodworking
If you're not in the area, though, the only real benefit is the Old
Saw magazine - and you can download old issues for free anyway.
On Wed, 30 Apr 2008 13:29:12 -0700 (PDT), " email@example.com"
I've been involved in several pursuits that fit that definition
Woodworking is obvious.
Then there's music and flying. You can never know it all...
** http://www.bburke.com/woodworking.html **
But let me be more blunt, at the risk of offending some here. What I
saw was a group of older retirees (not recent) that had gathered to
see someone they admired and respected. Older guys that have taken up
woodworking at the last part of their lives. I see them as harmless
older guys some talented, some not so much so, but all doing something
rather than to sit and rust out. The folks that were there to see him
were meek, and felt it was an honor to see him.
So I'll take your side on this for a minute.
They should not have been so gullible as to think that Marks was
anyone other than a manufactured personality that won a contest (watch
Swing's video) to get a show. They were stupid to think he was
anything like the character in his show, but in reality only a self
serving snob that was there making an appearance due to contractual
obligation he could not evade.
And too, shame on them for expecting him to be polite and
considerate, or at least keep shut. As pointed out in this thread,
that seems to be a lot to ask of many these days, and he may not be
able to deliver. As my sister the Human Resources expert says, "it
may be beyond his current skill set".
The WC folks were not pleased, though. The owner's rep told me that
they expected Marks to be there as an ambassador for woodworking, have
a little fun, and to shake a few hands an kiss a few babies. Marks
cost them business and teaching income. He was paid to do a job, and
he didn't do it. Worse, in the end it went the opposite way it was
supposed to go.
Still, my comments were on his behavior, not the man. I hope he was
just having a bad day.
Hard to say...ideally it would have gone as you and WC expected. I have
no idea as you say about the man behind the image. If the mingling,
etc., was an expected part of his appearance and he bungled it; no
excuse. Whether he should have been polite and muddled thru even if it
wasn't, no argument. I just wondered if perhaps there might have been
at least some blame to share; but maybe not...
I am not professional woodworker nor have ever been although have done a
lot over the years from rough framing to furniture and have used it as
means for enhancing income or as second business (altho that's been a
long time ago now) and was "good enough" to at least make that work.
My career was as engineer and I worked with and supervised enough who
were (or, more generally wanted to be) good enough to be treated as
something special. Unilaterally, we did without or they learned
(sometimes in painful ways) to treat their colleagues as they would expect.
I didn't intend to condone boorish behavior in my earlier remarks; I was
simply wondering if perhaps the recipients didn't bring some of their
misery upon themselves by being somewhat boorish in their own treatment
of a (albeit paid) guest?
Probably the one endeavor where it is easy to measure the ability of
the participants is commissioned sales.
There is only ONE objective, "Go to the Bank".
Commission statements reveal the pecking order in a hurry.
I didn't see the boorish behavior, and don't think he took their
attitude that way. The attitude from him seemed to be that he hadn't
seen anything there to impress him, so it was a waste of time.
And in truth, I may be a little sensitive to this kind of behavior. I
absolutely f**cking hate snobs, snobbery, and anything that goes with
it. Most snobs are like a one note samba, they do one thing well, and
that's it. Their whole claim to fame is one thing in their life...
Had I been part of that club, he would have indeed seen boorish
behavior if he had fired off on one of my amigos that was too shy to
speak up. I can be short tempered, really profane, and extremely
confrontational with that type of guy or gal. However, it wasn't my
place as I wasn't there except as a guest. I don't belong to the
woodworking club, and in the end, sometimes folks get treated as badly
as they will allow themselves to be treated.
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