Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ballets with a Twist

While I was in New York City last weekend, of course I had to see the ballet. BUT I’m already coughing up over $150 for ballet tickets in DC this year, so to save some money, I went to a free performance that was put on by Ballets with a Twist with the Lincoln Center Education program. Well, let me just say that you get what you pay for.

The whole theme of the performance was Cocktail Hour. Each dance represented a different drink. I will divide this post by each dance, and critique each one separately.


A slight dancer tiptoes onto a dim stage holding a lit candle flickering in the darkness. She is dressed in a beautiful green ensemble with glitter and gold sprinkled throughout. She reminded me of a spooky cross between Tinkerbell and Peter Pan (her outfit was a delight but her short hair and boyish figure were more Peter than Tink). The dancer was beautiful, but this piece was so obvious. The green outfit and the creepy music were enough for the audience to guess which drink she was portraying; the dance itself was unnecessary, which should never be the case in ballet. I can understand why the show started with this dance: it was the best out of all of them. A strong opener brings the audience in, but it also leads to greater disappointment throughout the rest of the show.

 Mai Tai
This was an awful follower. The dancer wore what looked like a cheap child’s pink tutu bottom with an odd bikini top (a two-piece outfit for a ballet just doesn’t work: no one likes to see an emaciated tummy peeking out at them). She moved more like a crane than a dancer (was that the point? If so, it was not graceful to watch). She looked uncomfortable the whole time, as if she wasn't even into it.

Three dancers came on stage: two men dressed in black turtlenecks and sunglasses looking like Keanu Reeves in the Matrix, and one woman with a horrible platinum blonde wig (she looked like the anorexic version of Marilyn Monroe from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes). The music was a James Bond theme, which made sense, but the rest seemed random. The background male dancers started miming See/Hear/Speak No Evil (why?), and the electronica music was nothing meant for a ballet performance.

*This photo was not of the performance I saw, hence the different male outfits.

This sexy dancer saunters in, and she is quite believable as the sultry singer that the audience hears in the background. She is quite graceful, especially with her hands. But that’s where my enjoyment ended. She wore a pillbox hat, an accessory only Jackie Onassis Kennedy should ever be seen in. The dancer then started performing a striptease, taking off her cute capelet and swinging it around her head. She took off her gloves with her teeth (ugh, spare me) and then threw them at the audience. I thought I was going to the ballet, not a gentlemen’s club…


First of all, have you ever heard of a Sputnik drink? Neither have I. I will admit that the performance included a recipe for the drink, so I can appreciate that. A dancer comes onto the stage in a garish orange outfit along with matching elbow-length gloves (the costume designer must have thought that adding gloves would bring class to this entire performance since many of the ballerinas were wearing them. This sadly was not the case). The dancer looked like a 1960’s go-go dancer gone wrong (and that’s saying something when go-go dancers are rarely right). And I couldn’t tell if she or the singer started screaming like an animal in the middle of the dance, but either way, the entire thing was disturbing.

I saw this performance in Manhattan, the Big Apple, NYC, you get the picture. You’d think they would have gotten this one right. But, alas, they did not. The dancer comes out in an ugly mauve-ish dress (which they described as “elegant.” Ha!) with, get this, a fake dog on a leash (trying to dance with a stationary dog is difficult and not very pretty). The entire dance lacked the New York City feel: the dress was God-awful (not even close to Audrey Hepburn in Breakfastat Tiffany's), and the dancer did not have the aura of a powerful, New York woman like I would have hoped to see. And at the end the dancer shouted “Merci!” Sweetie, this is New York, not Paris. Later the choreographer described this scene as a woman leaving a “fancy party” (or not-so-fancy…) to head home for one final duty; she called it “a date with her dog,” but really that is a euphemism for taking the dog out so it won’t have an accident in the house in the middle of the night. How poetic.

Brandy Alexander
I’ve never had a Brandy Alexander, but I’m going to take a wild guess and say it was not named after Alexander the Great as this group assumed. Five dancers (four women, one man) jump onstage wearing togas and gold cuffs. I liked that the dance focused on the man (very infrequent in ballet), but I couldn’t tell what his relationship was with the women. Were they supposed to be his slaves/concubines (all I could think of was Britney Spears’ “I’m a Slave 4 U”), or his warrior princesses? All of the dancers seemed very serious for this tough piece, except for one oblivious girl who had a silly grin on her face the whole time. The girls were dancing with those stupid Cleopatra eyes (you know, when you take sideways peace signs across your eyes), while back-flips and hard-core movements would have been more appropriate for the theme of this dance (if you're going for the Ancient Mediterranean theme).

Roy Rogers
The ballerina comes onto stage with the theme song to Rawhide playing. She’s not dressed as a cow-girl or a sheriff, so the audience is left guessing at who she is supposed to be. But all of my focus was on the belt in her hand, which she used as a whip or noose. S&M clearly came into my mind (and I wasn’t the only one. Someone else in the audience mentioned Fifty Shades of Grey). The use of props in dance annoys me greatly; it’s a way to dumb down the art form for the public. So along with the strange outfit and the weird sex toy, all I could guess was that she was supposed to be a hooker or the bride at her own bachelorette party, bouncing around a man dressed in a suit who served no purpose whatsoever.
We later learned that this ballerina came from the New York City Ballet. Talk about a down-grade! I assume this switch was made due to an injury or her age, neither of which would be her fault, but that’s life as a dancer.

Bloody Mary
This dancer’s costume was quite beautiful, much like that of Absinthe. It looked like a burgundy gown Anne Boleyn would have worn, except the skirt was cut off. The bust was decorated with beading, and the Elizabethan collar acted as a halter-top, which I thought was very clever. But other than the outfit, I was not entertained. The ballerina had a pissed-off grimace on her face the entire time. Was this her getting into character? I doubt it. And at one point she opened her mouth wide like a wolf, as shown in this picture. What was that all about?

Scotch on the Rachmaninoff
For one, what happened to plain ol’ scotch on the rocks?
This was the oddest dance of them all. There were two male dancers dressed like Chippendale dancers in bedazzles vests. The choreography was awful; I felt embarrassed for the dancers. They were touching each other and dancing with one another; they even slapped each other’s faces with gloves, giving the entire performance a homoerotic feel about it. The play-on-words with Rachmaninoff was lost on most people; the dancers were supposed to look like they were playing dueling pianos, but really I was just waiting for Elton John to show up for a threesome.

Mint Julep
This was the finale performance. Immediately the audience gets the connection with the Kentucky Derby with a horse picture in the background. But this felt more like a hoe-down than the famous horse race (the banjo music threw the whole theme off). The main point of the dance was that two ballerinas were horses and two men were their stable-hands. The men would lead the “horses” on invisible leashes, which made sense. But then they attempted lifts, which goes against the whole thing: why would men try to lift horses? If you’re going to have characters (human or otherwise), be consistent! The only redeeming point of this dance was one ballerina who was supposed to be an attendee at the horse race in her pretty pink dress carrying a parasol.

There was a Q&A section which clearly demonstrated why this ballet was so awful. The choreographer Marilyn Klaus is an insane woman with crazy dyed red hair; she is an “artist,” the kind that really should be understood as “weirdo.” She said things like, “The dancers are painters but they make the paint” and that the “spirit of dance oozes out of my pores.” WTF? She strangely evaded the question when someone in the audience asked about the day-jobs of the dancers, saying that “They do what they can to stay afloat.” What, are they prostitutes and drug dealers when they aren’t dancing? They obviously aren’t good enough to be full-time dancers, so she should have been honest, admitting that they wait tables and such. Instead, she just continued the illusion that the life of a dancer is beautiful and glamorous, when it truly is anything but.

I just kept thinking that this ballet was a pitiful take of TheNutcracker. There were several small dances, much like the different treats in the classic ballet. But the dancers never really got into character (except perhaps Gimlet), and excluding Absinthe and Bloody Mary, the costumes were horrible compared to the beautiful outfits you see in any production of The Nutcracker (why Catherine Zehr, the costume designer, got such applause, I do not know. Obviously most viewers were not regular ballet-goers). And whoever wrote the original music was no Tchaikovsky. I believe that if the songs were ones the audience could have recognized, even sung along with, everyone would have connected better with the performance. But instead everyone had to listen to what I would call noise, not music. The choreography in general felt pretty amateur, and when the dancers were not in sync with one another, that made it even worse. And get this: they do a Cocktail Hour performances every year. Once was bad enough!

What’s sad is that this performance was streamed live to libraries throughout Queens and Brooklyn. The idea of bringing ballet to the masses is a wonderful one: most people can’t afford to see the ballet, and it really is a beautiful art form that should be appreciated by everyone. But portraying this to the public as “ballet” is a crime. It’s a shame that these audiences will think they saw something special, when this mediocre adult dance recital did not even capture a fraction of what ballet really can be.


  1. Are you a dancer? What can you speak of in the way of what a dancers life might be like? My guess is you have never stepped into a pair of pointe shoes by the way you write about dance. My guess is you actually know very little about ballet or about watching anything other than the Nutcrackers you speak of. it seems you deem such a ballet with music by Tchaikovsky the only worth while ballet to be seen so my fear is you are dreadfully out of touch with the face of ballet and its evolution-- or is it audience go-ers like yourself who are directly contributing to its demise?

    In regards to your critique of Absinthe, where you felt the need to discuss the dancers hair cut, you insight that the audience must always be left in the dark and made to feel like an outsider when watching ballet. Interesting concept. I do not think that this choreographer is playing that game. In fact, if you knew it was absinthe based on watching it, well then, BRAVO. The costume, music and choreography were in sync and told a cohesive message. If you are looking for a mystery you might try Butoh?

    You also felt the need to comment on the dancers' bodies-- twice. The words emaciated and anorexic are so cliche and leads your readers to believe again, you have no education about ballet, about its demands on the body and about the way its training and movements sculpts a dancers shape. A two piece costume in ballet does not work? You forget about the dance in act II of your beloved Nutcracker then...

    and great! Gimlet comes on and you got it again! JKO! Did you not feel the nostalgic flair of this piece with its choice of music and costuming? A woman like J. Kennedy Onasis in the 30's and 40's would most certainly be represented in this sort of costume and vision. I don't know what kind of gentlemans clubs you have visited in the country but there was nothing risque about this dance. It is simply about a woman de-constructing-- from love lost-- to use the term striptease suggests that the dancer ended up naked or in her underwear.

    I didn't hear the word MERCI-- she hailed a TAXI! Again-- you got it all wrong. There is a nostalgia in the late evening on 5th avenue of a time where women were sophisticated and glamourous. We don't have that today. If Manhattan was made to portray the Manhattan you know, as a transplant, you would see girls in yoga pants with ear buds in, texting their girlfriends-- or maybe a cheap short black dress and way too high heels that this "NY woman" feels is the right choice to step out in for an evening out on the town. Maybe you should write to the costume designer and ask her to make the dress so that it is barely covering. That seems to be what you were looking for?

    Ok-- now i know my answer. You have NEVER danced ballet-- backflips are not in the ballet repertory. Perhaps Petipa never got the memo that you need to see circus acts to feel entertained?

    Bloody Mary-- pissed off grimace....Baroque music (BTW if you bothered to do any research about the company you would have known that all the music was written by a GRAMMY winning composer) Mary I of England? YES! If you brutally persecuted and executed over 300 protestants would you be fashioning a radio city rockette smile? I think you missed entire backbone of this ballet. Cocktail Hour is not about drinks or drinking. They are meant to paint a snapshot of a culture or a time in history-- a memory, an idea--an energy....

    Furthermore, EVERY ballet every made in history is made up of different "short dances" as you called it. Movements, solos, pas de duex, trios, etc. etc. ok-- now i KNOW you have no idea about ballet. PHEW.

    So its a crime--- what then, is ballet?

    1. First of all, thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I mostly write it for myself and my friends, so I am always pleased when it reaches new audiences.

      I think to sum up my thoughts and to take your concerns into account, the main thing I would say is simply that art is subjective. For any artistic piece, be it dance, music, painting, etc., there will always be people who like it, and those who don't. Over the years, I have come to realize that I prefer classic art to modern art. So, yes, when I think ballet, I think The Nutcracker or Swan Lake (and I think it would be fair to say that the majority of Americans would think of those two as well). I like pink tu-tus and tiaras and just for the entire show to be pretty, with a prima ballerina to top it all off. I realize not all ballets fall under that category, but those are the kind I like. We all have the right to hold our own opinions, and I simply do not care for modern ballet. And I have the right to share my opinions on that, knowing that some people will not agree with what I have to say.

      I do not have the time to write (and I'm sure you have better things to do than read) responses for each critique you had on my post. We could go further into the enunciation of performers' speech or body types of dancers, but I think my post along with all of the comments sum up the discussion for all of my readers.

      Thank you again for reading, and for commenting! Comments bring more traffic to my blog!

  2. It looks to me that you're mistaking the meaning of "confidence."
    Trashing things is not going to make you sound either confident, interesting, older, cooler or that you even have an idea of what you're writing about.

    Someone so young shouldn't feel so full of herself thinking to be able to actually critiquing a show. You risk to look as ignorant as you did in this post.
    I invite you to be more respectful about other people's work, you may result sounding less pretentious and maybe even slightly more amusing.

    The internet is not a private diary. People may end up accidentally reading your posts and ignoring how uneducated your opinion can be, they may even believe it.

    One small example of how absolutely inaccurate you can be, even though sounding so "confident", is the yell during the piece Manhattan: that was "TAXI!" and not "merci." So yes, New York, not Paris.

    Knowing very well the show I could go on explaining how uneducated (forgive me the repetition of the word, but it fits very well again) your comments are of what you tried to write about.
    When you see something that you can't understand just because is different than the Nutcracker, just keep it in mind and do nothing about it. Maybe soon enough it will make sense to you as well, as you'll grow up and you'll become more aware of how other people could see things.

    Just so you and any other unfortunate web user who may end up reading this post know, more than 5000 people voted a ballot and this show won for the second time to get back onto this stage. A stage affiliated with Lincoln Center of New York City.

    Don't be so pompous thinking that you got it right when everyone else may have felt differently about this.

    1. First of all, thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I mostly write it for myself and my friends, so I am always pleased when it reaches new audiences.

      I think to sum up my thoughts and to take your concerns into account, the main thing I would say is simply that art is subjective. For any artistic piece, be it dance, music, painting, etc., there will always be people who like it, and those who don't. Over the years, I have come to realize that I prefer classic art to modern art. So, yes, when I think ballet, I think The Nutcracker or Swan Lake (and I think it would be fair to say that the majority of Americans would think of those two as well). I like pink tu-tus and tiaras and just for the entire show to be pretty, with a prima ballerina to top it all off. I realize not all ballets fall under that category, but those are the kind I like. We all have the right to hold our own opinions, and I simply do not care for modern ballet. And I have the right to share my opinions on that, knowing that some people will not agree with what I have to say.

      I do not have the time to write (and I'm sure you have better things to do than read) responses for each critique you had on my post. We could go further into the enunciation of performers' speech or body types of dancers, but I think my post along with all of the comments sum up the discussion for all of my readers.

      Thank you again for reading, and for commenting! Comments bring more traffic to my blog!

  3. Thank you. Copying and pasting the same answer twice, fully describe the kind of mind behind the first post.

    1. Because the theme of the comments I received was the same (i.e. that I don’t know what I’m talking about), I thought the same response was adequate for both. But since you clearly want to beat a dead horse, I will humor you with a more personalized reply.

      The main point of my post (and the majority of my blog) is to share my opinions. My First Amendment rights allow me to say what I want and share my own views. I never claimed to be an expert in the art of dance nor did I state that I was an actual critic. I simply know what I do and do not like, and I think you would agree that not everyone likes the same things. I did not care for the show, and I explained why using my general aesthetical point of view. I go to the ballet to enjoy what I see and what I hear; again, what one person enjoys, another may not. Opinions are subjective; they are not “right” or “wrong.” As for thoughts on more literal parts of the performance, like the “taxi” comment you mentioned, I can say that I heard incorrectly, but so did others. The two ladies sitting next me also thought the dancer had said “Merci,” quizzically asking each other, “Why is she speaking in French?” So I was not the only one confused by parts of the show.

      Because my blog is written by a “young,” “ignorant” and “uneducated” person, I am taken aback by the weight that you are giving my opinions. I assure you that my blog does not have many followers, and therefore I doubt it has much of an impact on anyone except for myself. I think we both know Ballets with a Twist will continue to perform its “Cocktail Hour” shows, and people will continue to attend those performances. My post in no way is driving the company into ruin. The show will go on.

      I am trying to put myself in your shoes, but I simply cannot imagine letting a stranger get under my skin the way that you have allowed me to. If I read a vehement post about how awful my environmental non-profit is, and perhaps a post specifically on an event that I personally organized and put a lot of time and effort into, I don’t even think I would find the post worthy of a reply. I would have a similar thought process to yours, thinking, “What does this person know? How rude, disrespectful, and thoughtless!” but then I’d move on. I’d know that the work that I and my organization do is good and valuable, and that this one person has absolutely no influence over what we do. I understand wanting to defend something/someone that you care about and are passionate about, but if that something or someone is really something amazing, its success will speak for itself.

      I wanted to enjoy the “Cocktail Hour” performance. I didn’t go to the show hoping to dislike what I saw. I would love to see the show another time and be proven wrong; that I’d enjoy it so much it would make me eat my own words. Or would you recommend that with my classic (vs. modern) tastes I should not try to change my own mind?

  4. From your introductory blog:
    “One of my New Year's resolutions is to write a blog, so here it is. This blog will contain tips and advice, quotes that inspire me, and words to live by. Each day will contain a new pearl of wisdom, so by December 31, 2013, you will have 365 pearls! Pick them up and make a necklace!”

    Well, we'd best leave this particular pearl out of the necklace. Given your words here, which are not only mean-spirited and uninspiring, but seem designed to humiliate the dancers, I wouldn’t be surprised if you were the person who asked about the artists’ day jobs. That rotten egg of a question would have been more fitting for Jerry Springer than Lincoln Center — especially considering the fair number of children both performing with the company and sitting in the audience that day, many of them with aspirations and dreams of becoming professional dancers.

    Perhaps your disappointment at the artistic director's response to the day job question led you to ignore the audience's applause for her awareness that the subject was demeaning to the dancers. And speaking of disrespect, ridiculing your own sex with the reference to prostitution isn’t a “pearl of wisdom.” It’s disgusting.

    Insult, insolence, and inaccuracy are pretty unfair and unpleasant offerings for those readers who have never seen the company perform. It’s quite a shame to hear a performance that library members and Lincoln Center patrons voted for ridiculed so crudely. Your insanity remark was certainly uncalled for, and instead of “quotes to live by," you’ve gone out of your way to rip apart a production for which there was a line around the corner. Unfortunately, many of those people didn’t have the chance to watch the performance and actually might have appreciated your seat.

    I agree with the above poster: you must not be a dancer, as you seem to have no concern for grace.

    1. I will thank you as well for reading my blog! And more than simply reading this one post, the fact that you bothered to read any of the others is astounding!

      Since previous commenters have preferred individual replies, I will give you one, too.

      For the record, I was not the person to ask about the dancers’ day jobs. I don’t think I would have been curious enough to ask. Perhaps the question was untactful, but I think would be justified by those “uneducated” about ballet. It’s common knowledge that fields like dance, writing, acting, etc. are hard to break into. These art forms are subjective, and therefore success is not guaranteed; there is no “right” and “wrong” as in other professions (ex. An account needs to be good at math. Either the math is right, or it isn’t.). I think a lot of people, upon meeting an upcoming actress or a self-proclaimed poet or a new stand-up comedian may think, “How do they pay the bills?” I understand that these dancers have other forms of work in order to support themselves so that they can continue to enjoy their passion of dance. My comment on drug dealing and prostitution was sarcasm; the way Klaus evaded the question made it seem like there was a dirty secret to hide. I never actually thought the dancers were involved in anything illegal. For all I know, the dancers could be working for organizations involved with human rights or children’s hospitals, jobs that are just as meaningful as dance. I just wonder if all of the dancers were as offended by the question as you, Klaus, and some audience members were. Perhaps they wouldn’t have minded sharing; maybe they like their day jobs, too!

      As in one of my previous replies to comments, I simply have to say that I am amazed at the impact this post has on you. I’m one person who has little (or perhaps no) knowledge of ballet. And this post was only seen on my own blog and on Twitter; it’s not published in the New York Times. Perhaps I use the word “confident” to mean that I have my own views and opinions, and I’m willing to share them; I will not change them because others don’t like what I have to say. Perhaps you can be confident in Ballets with a Twist and know that some silly girl in DC isn’t going to change anything when it comes to the company or its success.

  5. Your right about one thing-- your blog will NOT get in the way of Ballets with a Twists's success but maybe you don't realize the strength of your words and the use of social media. Your post, though you say it was only seen on your blog and twitter, with your use of tagging, had the potential to reach 33,086,660 people. In that, you made defamatory comments towards the director, insulted the dancers PERSONALLY and abused your right to free speech. So yes, your post has had a tremendous impact on something that a large team of people have invested SO much into--by attempting to knock it down to gain more followers or readers. And for the record, i am a dancer and dancing is my JOB. It is something that consumes my life and requires a whole- hearted commitment to. I have a college degree. I work seven days a week. I train everyday to be able to get on a stage not to be called fat, emaciated, anorexic or disturbing- but to share a piece of that life with the audience. I have never ONCE waited on a table in a restaurant. If a dancer cannot make a living based on the remuneration for their time in a studio or on a stage it does not make them an unsuccessful dancer or that they are not "good enough." Do some research and see what the payscale for a dancer is-- if we are lucky, there is 1% of our population who can actually life without any supplementation from outside sources.

    You are right about one thing. Art is something that inherently initiates a response. There is often an immediate like or dislike which stirs up conversation, emotion and if your lucky, controversy. It is universal yet it does not speak to everyone. Cocktail Hour did not speak to you, and that is not at all what is upsetting here. You are right-- you do have a right to your own opinion. In this age of internet, where nothing is ever lost and everything always permanent, your dislike, and your only recent admission to being uneducated has latched on to Ballets with a Twist in cyberspace like a bad barnicle on a beautiful ship that will never be able to be lost. When someone sees the company on television, in a magazine or even on Facebook, when searching the internet to learn more about the company they will now see your blog, written off the cuff and without any sensitivity and keep that audience member from purchasing that ticket. What a shame.

    1. "Potential" is a good word to use for the impact my post could have had. Do either of us think over 33 million saw my post? No. There is the "potential" every day I drive my car that I could be in a car accident, but does that mean I should stop driving? No. My post had the "potential" to reach that many people, but does that mean the worst outcome is going to occur? No.

      As for the profession of dance, as I stated in a previous comment, I understand that most dancers cannot depend just on dancing to earn a living. It's simply a fact of our society/culture/etc. I also mentioned in a comment that the other work dancers do may be very important, like helping others in need. That's certainly not a bad thing! And I don't look down on waiting tables (I myself was a waitress/bartender at one time); what needs to be done needs to be done. If we can agree that most dancers have to work other jobs, and if we agree that that fact is rather common knowledge, why should it be hidden?

      Moving onto my post affecting ticket sales. For one, I myself never look at reviews. I don't even use for picking out restaurants. I go to what I want, and I'll judge it for myself. Why would I trust total strangers to decide what I would or would not like? If I were an outside viewer who read my post, I would think, "Well, I usually like ballet, so I'm going to go anyway." The power you give to my words is astonishing. I'd like to put a little more faith in the American public to make up their own minds about things, and to read my post with a grain of salt, knowing that my thoughts are OPINION, not fact.

  6. I recently attended a terrific sold-out evening performance of Ballets with a Twist's Cocktail Hour. While researching the company, I encountered your unfortunate blog.

    You are indeed, some "silly girl in DC," as stated in your own words, that "has little or perhaps no knowledge of ballet." You also, sadly, have no knowledge of music, or design, or social history, or social manners, for that matter. So explain why you would write about something you clearly know nothing about? Everyone has views, opinions, likes and dislikes. This does not give a vain, uninformed person the moral right to attack something they admittedly know nothing about. And it was an attack, not a series of opinions. The beautiful photos from the show that you posted, invalidate your statements.

    It's time to grow up, expand your horizons and educate yourself. Do not voice your opinion unless you can contribute something from an informed point of view. If you, or your ego, are not capable or willing to do this, then do the world a favor and keep it to yourself. Stop taking up space and using up resources. Do not speak until you can improve the silence. The ramblings of a self-absorbed bully, clearly searching for attention, detracts from the truly creative souls who passionately devote themselves to the arts.

    1. Is your post "improving the silence" ? I think not. At least previous comments made by others included specific references to quotes I made and argued against particular things I had written. Your general comments on the fact that I am "uneducated" and on my "ego" are not constructive at all. It's like giving a student an F on an essay without any feedback besides, "This is bad. What you wrote was wrong." If you are going to ask me to "contribute something from an informed point of view," perhaps it would be more useful for you to build an argument against my words rather than name-calling ("self-absorbed bully"). Is this a moment of, "Do as I say, not as I do?" Hmm?

      PS: I will repeat from previous replies I have made that the more comments this post gets, the more people who will see it.