top of page

The old virus of professional spite

It truly has been the winter of our discontent. Just like Shakespeare’s Richard and Steinbeck’s Ethan we have experienced an internal inferno of unprecedented scale . We have fallen. We have become poorer. We have tried to woo the unreachable beauties with no luck. We have complained to our partners, to the council and the government. We have been ill, and we have one way or another become morally corrupt.

In all that turbulence nothing has been more annoying than our bloody colleagues boasting on social media. The countless Over The Rainbows, the tiny multi squared videos, the former moments of glory, the present demonstrations of living room virtuosity, other 450 press ups and 1 500 keepy upies whilst balancing a tuba on the head, home movies, ... that has been not just annoying. It has been soul destroying. Seriously! Whoever invented social media is solely responsible for our moral demise. Zuckerberg, Dorsey and Bill Gates who will micro chip us all so that all our evil thoughts about our colleagues and how to avoid tax will be directly displayed on Facebook, Twitter and HMRC the minute they cross our minds (along with all the naked women and men who are there too) destroyed professional ethics forever!

Well... actually... social media has made us far more resilient and somehow more polite and reserved. Professional envy and spite are not new. As a matter of fact people in the past were much more cruel towards their competitors. Salieri allegedly poisoned Mozart. Brahms and Wagner were openly fighting a verbal war. Ever thought of how much Beethoven must have despised his colleagues?

Here are some quotations of the some of the most famous composers. Imagine these on facebook! Tolerance and politeness? Not really.

Ludwig Van Beethoven:

“Rossini would have been a great composer if his teacher had spanked him enough on the backside.”

Felix Mendelssohn on Berlioz:

“One ought to wash one’s hands after dealing with one of his scores”.

Peter Illyich Tchaykovsky:

“I played over the music of that scoundrel Brahms. What a giftless bastard. It annoys me that this self-inflated mediocrity is hailed as genius.”

Maurice Ravel:

“ I am told that Saint-Saëns has informed a delighted public that since the war began he has composed a music for the stage, melodies, an elegy, and a piece for trombone. If he’d been making shell-cases instead it might have been all better for the music.”

Aaron Copland:

“Listening to the fifth symphony of Ralph Vaughan Williams is like staring at a cow for forty-five minutes.”

Ernest Bloch:

“Debussy is like a painter who looks at his canvas to see what more he can take out. Strauss is like a painter who has covered every inch and then takes the paint he has left and throws it at the canvas.”

Johannes Brahms:

“If there is anyone here whom I have not offended, I beg your pardon.”

Mark Twain:

"I have been told that Wagner's music is better than it sounds"."

Woody Allen:

"I can't listen to too much Wagner: I start to get the urge to conquer Poland."

Harsh, ha! We are way more polite! We are politically correct. We don’t dare make comments like that even in front of our closest friends. Maybe it is because we are full of self doubt. Maybe it is because we don't have Emperors behind us. At least not all of us. Maybe it is because we calculate better our future relationships? Or, if we decided to be decent and generous for a moment, maybe we have learned that there is enough space for all of us and that everybody is allowed a minute of glory thanks to the good tools of social media.

These days we all can be composers, pop stars, artist, chefs, journalists and models. And why not! Go for it! As long as it makes you happy, you get our thumbs up.


bottom of page