An Apology to Gray…and a Tongue-Lashing to the Tiny People

by

This one goes out to all the tiny people . . .

What matters is that you want to see and make and do, on as grand a scale as you want, regardless of what the tiny voices of tiny people say. Do not be critics, you people, I beg you. I was a critic and I wish I could take it all back because it came from a smelly and ignorant place in me, and spoke with a voice that was all rage and envy. Do not dismiss a book until you have written one, and do not dismiss a movie until you have made one, and do not dismiss a person until you have met them. It is a f***load of work to be open-minded and generous and understanding and forgiving and accepting, but Ch**st, that is what matters. What matters is saying yes.

-Dave Eggers

—-

I closed the comments on the earlier post today because I just read a little of what was said about Gray Charles on another site.

This entire mess is absolutely ridiculous.

My heart goes out to Gray Charles, and I want to apologize if what I wrote was remotely hurtful. It certainly wasn’t intended to be…but after reading the comments of someone who was more than hateful with their words…I want in no way to be compared to that.

This absurd behavior by adults has got to stop…Taylor Hicks or no Taylor Hicks

The entire online community of this person…PERSON…has waged some underground war and it is beyond my comprehension.

Cowardice and ignorance and hatred and minutiae have become commonplace in this little world we all created and I, for one, am sick of it.

Seriously…how can anyone feel justified to complain about a blog? A BLOG?!?!

There are children dying every minute in this world from disease.

There are shooters killing themselves and others.

There is war.

There is hunger.

There are hate crimes.

There is poverty.

There is illiteracy.

No where in all of that do the goings-on of Taylor Hicks…or Gray Charles warrant such outrage and antics.

I’m ashamed to be a part of all of this…and plan to make some changes of my own around this site.

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82 Responses to “An Apology to Gray…and a Tongue-Lashing to the Tiny People”

  1. Claire Says:

    Shelley, I really have no words. I am stunned.

    Gray-I am so very, very sorry for what other people, who will NOT apologise, have said to you. That is all I can offer.

  2. leejolem Says:

    Shelley, I’m confused. I’ve never seen you post anything even “remotely hurtful” about Gray. Maybe I’m just in the dark. I was not aware of any underground blog war (although I was on the meta-gray thread when some nasty things were said). You are right about the outrage and antics being unwarranted when there are real life tragedies being played out all over the world, every day.

  3. Claire Says:

    Just to clarify – Shelley, my first line in the first post was a reference to what had been happening at GC’s and some other sites, not a reference to anything you personally might have said to Gray. For the record, you were NEVER hurtful. Very honest, yes. But hurtful? I don’t think so. And I would think that Gray would be familiar enough with your style of posting by now to appreciate and recognise that.

    I left the meta thread by page 29, I think. It may be “only a website” but Gray has feelings, and for people to personally attack him for whatever perceived slight is just plain childish. Some people just really need to step back and gain some perspective. As you have said Shelley, there is SO much happening in the world right now that we need to be outspoken and outraged about. Personally attacking a man and undermining a year of his hard work dedicated to an artist we all admire is not one of them.

    Wow, I sure said a lot for someone who “had no words” a half hour ago. 🙂

  4. Gray Charles Says:

    I’ll post one thought on one board today and it’s here. I have a great deal of respect for Shelley because she did exactly what Dave said in the quote. She put it out there – good for her.

    Out on the internet people are protected by their anonymity. They say things they wouldn’t say directly to a person’s face, they make assumptions they judge. In short, they forget that they are human beings.

    For over a year I put it out there – almost every day. I created something that I can be proud of. I got lots of help from people like Shelley who jumped in to experience something and made their own contributions. Whatever happened it awakened a desire in many to create music, words or a new relationship. Holy crap – that’s something isn’t it?

    Do I expect some criticism in the way I ran the site, my choice of words or attitude? You bet I do. Most of it I took well, some not so well. The stuff I didn’t take well had an element of the personal in it. A desire to critique me, the person, rather than the job I was doing or the site I was running. Oh, I could name names – but I won’t. No need no need at this point. Wander around to a few other websites and you’ll see them, they’re out there right now.

    I received a lot of support when the criticism came in. Thank you for that – it really helped. Still, I am shocked at people’s willingness to just say “let’s move on”, “let’s not deal with it” in the face of astoundingly rude and inappropriate behavior. “Let’s look the other way everyone, let’s focus on Taylor on the music. Isn’t this all what it’s about anyway?”

    For me, no – it’s not. It was always about a whole lot more. It was about music, and pop culture and community and writing and music and trying to understand a business model and . . . you get the point. Criticize that if you want – it’s cool. I never hid it from anyone – in one of the first conversations I ever had with Taylor I made that clear.

    What kind of community have you created when many people would rather look the other way rather than deal with those who want to tear down, wreck and destroy? From where I sit you have a community that I don’t want to be a part of anymore.

  5. jenfera Says:

    Shelley, I am with lee. I don’t see anything of what you have posted being hurtful to Gray. As far as I can see, you have been a friend and even a champion of Gray’s.

    It really is looney, how invested the human heart can become in this type of thing. I think internet communication in the form of instant messages, chat, message boards and even blogs and email can easily become an addictive behavior. And addictions rarely turn out pretty.

    As for any changes you have planned around this site, I vote for more squishy muffin bunnies, rainbow-flavored kittens, and majorettes.

  6. Shelley Says:

    jen and lee…i was covering the bases.

    with what i read…some parallels could have been drawn.

    i wanted to circumvent that from happening.

    gray knows i care. 😉

  7. rowan Says:

    Shelley – I am with you and other Monkbots in incomprehension as to why anyone would express feelings other than gratitude for everything that Gray has achieved and shared. God bless, Gray.

  8. Claire Says:

    From where I sit you have a community that I don’t want to be a part of anymore.

    Gray, I for one completely understand. You have been s**t on by people that you may have thought of as “friends”. That hurts (voice of experience here). If I were in your shoes, I would also want to turn off the monitor. You have worked sometimes 18 hours a day to provide a quality site, and if some people feel the need to overanalyze, criticise and basically tear you down, then ultimately that is their problem. You did good. They did not. Is that too simplistic?

    You said you would post one thought today, so I do not expect or need a response from you. Just please know that the ignorant few do not represent the basically kind and “normal” majority. I will simply leave you with an excerpt from some lyrics that I feel are fairly appropriate. And just be happy, Gray. That is all I want from you from now on.

    Thin Lizzy – “Do Anything you Want to Do”

    “There are people that will investigate you
    They’ll insinuate, intimidate and complicate you
    Don’t ever wait or hesitate to state the fate that awaits those who
    Try to shake or take you
    Don’t let them break you

    You can do anything you want to do
    It’s not wrong what I sing it’s true
    You can do anything you want to do
    Do what you want to

    People that despise you will analyse then criticise you
    They’ll scandalise and tell lies until they realize
    You are someone they should have apologised to
    Don’t let these people compromise you
    Be wise too…..”

  9. ivoryhut Says:

    I did not see the whole ugly mess (although I did notice the first rumblings of it), and I was not a witness to the mean-spiritedness that ensued. In the Philippines, we have a saying attached to certain kinds of people who, loosely translated, are great at creating messes but lousy at cleaning up. You’d expect that of a two-year old, not of thinking adults. But then again, some people are hardly thinking. Or adults.

    For more than a year, I have admired more than just Gray’s wit, knowledge and writing (it’s all those dang lasers). I’ve also marveled at how Gray has addressed criticism, his highly-evolved sense of fairness (even if sometimes it was to his disadvantage), and how he’s been oh-so-accommodating whenever possible.

    I’m sorry he had to go through what he did.

    I think there is the “community” and then there are the “users.” The community understands that the word implies sharing, participation, and fellowship. There is gratitude and appreciation and genuine respect for every member.

    The users, on the other hand, just take whatever it is they want. And when they’ve taken all they can, they either just leave or trash the place.

    Gray’s right. When the neighborhood becomes overrun by users, it’s time to lock the gate, pack up and go.

    (Either that, or get out them tasers. But after a few hours you might be yelling, “Thumb cramp!”)

  10. leejolem Says:

    Here’s something for Gray in case he pops in again:
    http://www.stardoll.com/en/dolls/298/Joss_Stone.html

    Hope it brings a smile to his face.

  11. blueberry Says:

    –From where I sit you have a community that I don’t want to be a part of anymore.–

    Ah, that is a shame and we sure do have ourselves to thank for it. Gray, my deepest apology for the behavior of a few who unfortunately have very loud voices. I can’t begin to understand why people say and do the things they do, I guess they just feel the need and, for most people, avoiding confronting those we don’t understand is the most appealing path. It looks like we have to do better than that.

    I hope, in time, the pall that has been cast over your contributions to so many will lift and you will be able to enjoy what you created without reservation.

  12. Holeigh Says:

    I’m so confused right now…and somehow happy that I began to take a step back from the blog world a couple months ago. :/ I know if I had been present at these acidic message board attacks, I would have said something I’d regret. Although, I don’t know how much I could regret, when these people would tear down someone I care about, even if I have never met him.

    I don’t know if I can “move on” from GC (I still haven’t deleted that bookmark), but I’m going to do my best to contribute to this blog in as wonderful a fashion as people presented in the old days at GC. Seeing as our community from GC has adapted to Shelley’s world, I think we owe Gray that much. I am incredibly annoyed and upset that any of this had to happen; if Gray had to go out, he should’ve been allowed to go out in style.

    All I can say is that we all have our little corners of the universe to take care of; we should all continue to try and make them as inviting and accepting as we can, while attempting to spread a little of that to others.

    The quote may come from a shady place (Emperor Nero of Rome), but “what an artist dies in [you]”, GC. (Metaphorically speaking, of course.) Being allowed to communicate with someone as genuinely decent as you has been a pleasure.

  13. Dee Says:

    Claire, I’m with you. Gray deserves a lot of praise. I read pretty much the whole
    thread over at GC and Boogie. I was stunned. The attack on Gray sort of came out of thin air and I they were not valid. The discussions were going so well up to that point. Hope he knows that most people do not in any way share that persons point of view. For something so great to end on such a sour note….. Well it’s just sad.

  14. double d Says:

    Shelley — I witnessed it all and no, your words were not REMOTELY of the same affect. I understand your circumvention, however.

    I am also at a loss for words….THAT, rarely happens.

  15. justwatchin Says:

    I didn’t see any of the really bad stuff, I am so sorry it happend. Sorry for the direct attack on Gray, sorry that posters like that can’t be shut out, sorry that folks like that even exist..sorry for what I feel are the majority of us who very much appreciated GC site & GC himself.

    I’m not sure what the comments, look the other way, and not deal with encompass….again, I didn’t see any of it, except for the two or three posters on the MetaGrey thread who were crashing “our” party.

    I can’t remember who posted this, but someone mentioned that it’s hoped that Gray does not stay away for too long, because he has too much to offer. Yes indeed. I hope, that after a break, he can come back and visit those of us who are tied to him because of how very much he did for us, and more than that…I am not great at writing or verbalizing….

    At any rate, I hope the disgust he feels now, someday gets overtshadowed by the positive feelings most of us at the GC blog held for the blog, and Gray himself. Very sad here.

  16. musicmatters Says:

    Hey Shelley, I’m a long time lurker and a even longer lurker over at Gray’s. I enjoyed his blog more than words can ever express. I loved his wry sense of humor, his writing sensabilities and of course his choice of music. I maybe posted twice but I’m really shy with my words looking back at me. I remember the moment I saw Taylor’s audition because I rarely watched AI and only did for the obvious trainwrecks during the early auditions. Taylor really captivated me. I loved his voice and the genre of music he preferred. To my utter horror I was glued to this silly cheesy reality show. I found Gray’s site soon after and I loved it as much as Taylor’s music. Here’s a guy who really liked Taylor too and it wasn’t some fangirly nonsense. It was really about the music!!! His site was so much more than Taylor and I appreciate all the great artists you introduced to me. Gray, your dedication to the site was amazing. I know I wouldn’t be up in the wee hours of the morning resolving problems when the server would crash. I could go on and on about my fasination with graycharles.com. But let me just finish with saying that Gray filled a little bit of the void left in my heart with my father’s passing 3 years ago. My Dad loved soul music so much. I can remember walking home from school and I’d get to the corner of my street and hear James Brown wailing. I would tell me to turn down his rock music because the whole neighborhood could hear it. (What a role reversal!) Well Gray, thanks for blasting your music I’m sorry you had to turn it off. Thanks Shelley for letting me wish Gray all the best.

  17. KD Says:

    Okay…I’m clueless, and I think I’d like to keep it that way from the sounds of it. I have no idea what was said, but it was obviously hurtful. I don’t plan to go looking for it, or the faceless name it was said by. That will be my small contribution…the more exposure these comments and the commenter receive, the more validation they gain. I don’t say, “Look the other way, it’s all good.” However, I do think those who dare to make comments that are hurtful and attacking on the internet under the guise of anonymity, gain pleasure from having those comments take on a life of their own. No amount of tongue lashing will stop them—Shrew alluded to this earlier. Those who don’t make the nasty comments are the ones instantly wondering what they did or said that was nasty, and are the ones trying to fix something that they never broke. The breakers break for pleasure…no guilt.
    Gray–I wish you peace as I have many times before. Shelley–I wish you the same.

  18. KimLoree Says:

    If I would have been there…I would’ve kicked their a**es Gray. I don’t know what was said that would hurt you so badly…but I sure want to know who said it.

    Sorry….I know you don’t need a mother, but I am PISSED OFF at the tiny people.

    Shelley…I promise I’ll stop using your site to vent.

    I loved the GC community.

  19. andi Says:

    I’m so sad reading these posts today. Don’t know what happened yesterday. I think I signed off at about 1 est, but I thought it was so cool to see Gray posting when I was there. I really wish I could write – express myself eloquently like so many of you can, but I’m not gifted that way.

    Gray, you were/are the biggest, best blogmaster(?) stud ever. Please know that you are loved and I miss you every day.

  20. justwatchin Says:

    I would like to know who said it as well, problem is they change screen names….also, KD has a point in that they do it for pleasure and any verbal exchanges just seem to fee their fire…

    I go with letting KimLoree kick their a**es.

  21. Soulkaren Says:

    I, too, have been absolutely brokenhearted by the attacks on someone who gave us so much. I do want to say, for the record, that The Boogie Board is full of good folks who love and admire GrayCharles.

    Unfortunately, on our street was the intersection where the wreck occurred yesterday, but that was not representative of the rest of us. I have been a part of that place since last June, and we have been thrilled and proud when Gray would come to visit. I have many, many friends at The Boogie.

    That said, this is really not about a message board. It’s about unkind things said to someone I value, and I am deeply sorry it happened and yet wise enough to know I can’t run back the clock.

    There will never be another moment in time exactly like the amazing year we’ve just shared. GrayCharles.com and the man behind it were a HUGE part of this journey, and he forever has my thanks, admiration, and appreciation.

    Thanks, Shelley, for letting me visit and post.

  22. Newholly Says:

    I seldom post on any boards but visit most. Gray, please, don’t let a band of fools spoil the legacy of Graycharles.com. Please bring it back without comment capabilities. The archives, the radio, all that GREAT work you did deserves to stay in cyberspace for Taylor and Gray fans to see and enjoy. Loved your work – please don’t let it disappear!!

  23. e-maginary friend Says:

    I gave my ticket away last week.
    I cancelled my weekend plans in NYC last week.
    I cancelled my IYT order last week.

    I infered that I did not think that the audio blog “We Will Let Gray be a fan of Taylor Hicks” extended enough gratitude, or set the proper tone for the transistion to something else.

    I stand by my earlier comments that Gray should not release the archives since his honest words have been turned in on himself by others for reasons not worthy of attention.

    I mentioned yesterday that by choosing not to make a statement you are choosing to say quite a bit.

    No regrets here except for the way this has devolved.

    Shelley, once again you a true and real friend to many.

  24. Meg the elder Says:

    Gray wrote: “What kind of community have you created when many people would rather look the other way rather than deal with those who want to tear down, wreck and destroy? From where I sit you have a community that I don’t want to be a part of anymore.”
    ******

    Apathy is the soul sickness of those who refuse to say ‘YES’. They just nod because they think that is safer and they think safe is good — and kid themselves that they are really living.

  25. ivoryhut Says:

    We are all wounded inside in some way or other. We all carry unhappiness within us for some reason or other. Which is why we need a little gentleness and healing from one another. Healing in words, and healing beyond words. Like gestures. Warm gestures. Like friendship, which will always be a mystery …

    Yes, the highest things are beyond words. This is probably why all art aspires to the condition of wordlessness. When literature works on you, it does so in silence, in your dreams, in your wordless moments. Good words enter you and become moods, become the quiet fabric of your being. Like music, like painting, literature too wants to transcend its primary condition and become something higher. Art wants to move into silence, into the emotional and spiritual conditions of the world. Statues become melodies, melodies become yearnings, yearnings become actions.

    – Ben Okri

  26. azure Says:

    I wrote this on the earlier thread and comments were closed just about simultaneously. I wanted to bring it over here, because in case Gray checks back, I would like him to know how much I appreciated our touristas “chat” on Sunday.

    To anyone wondering about Gray’s early departure :
    I was at the Boogie Monday, when the real nasty crap began to rain down on him. As much as I’m sad that he had to shut down so abruptly (after saying the site would remain up until Tuesday evening, he really had no choice.

    The people who drove him out were beyond rude; they were downright nasty! So, if you’re thinking harshly of Gray for shutting down so abruptly on Monday, please don’t. He’s only human, and honestly, enough was enough!

    On Sunday afternoon and into the evening, those of us who were fortunate enough to be on the meta thread, spent a few hours “chatting” back and forth with Gray. The thoughts and feelings contained in those posts were a real tribute to Gray – the man and the site. (For me, personally, they were the real closure to Gray Charles.)

    Many of us participating in Sunday’s chat were “old regulars” who had stumbled onto GC’s more than a year ago. There were plenty of opinions expressed – and they ran the gamut from anger to blame to denial to acceptance to appreciation. But the bottom line was that feelings were discussed and considered – and more importantly IMO, they were validated.

    People weren’t rude. They didn’t attack each other personally. It was dialogue (with maybe just a little snark thrown in) between people who had come together – because of a shared interest in music, in general, and Taylor Hicks, in particular.

    I feel fortunate that I was a part of that last Sunday “chat” at GC’s. I got to know (I think) a bit more about the “man behind the curtain” and I had gotten to a place where I accepted that it was time to let him move on. It didn’t mean the end of the road on my Taylor journey – just a slight change in direction.

    Then came Monday! It’s too bad that a site, created and run with such intelligence and passion, had to end the way it did.

  27. Sideways Says:

    I am deeply saddened by the passing of the Gray Charles blog, and the way in which it ended.

    Gray wrote upthread
    “I received a lot of support when the criticism came in. Thank you for that – it really helped. Still, I am shocked at people’s willingness to just say “let’s move on”, “let’s not deal with it” in the face of astoundingly rude and inappropriate behavior. “Let’s look the other way everyone, let’s focus on Taylor on the music. Isn’t this all what it’s about anyway?”

    I, too, am shocked by the attitude and head in the sand mentality the day after this tsunami of shit was thrown Gray’s way.

    Yes, the internet offers anonymity. But guess what, I’ve “met” some of these internet posters when they attend a concert. They can’t hide then. Nah, I haven’t said anything, but when we introduce ourselves, they know I know what they have said online. None of the bravado expressed like when they were sitting in front of their computers. No spewing forth of venom.

    It’s an interesting phenomenon. I know that Gray was thinking of writing a book. I was also thinking what an interesting social “experiment” this has been for me. Never having been a “fan” like this, never being on a message board before. Never read a daily blog. I should have been keeping a journal this entire time.

    I’ve attended quite a few Taylor Hicks concerts and had the pleasure of meeting some great people. I have established some nice connections/friendships because of this Taylor experience. Most of this was due to common music interests found through Gray’s blog. ( Other social commonalities as well… middle aged moms with husbands and kids who may or may not have left their professions to raise their kids) It’s been a great ride.

    This year of Taylor is coming full circle, and the demise of the GC blog really speedens it along. I will continue to follow and support Taylor Hicks (I attended 4 concerts so far!), but I really don’t know how involved I will be on-line anymore. Maybe I’ll change my mind, I don’t know. A lot of what has gone down the past few weeks and days has been a major turn-off.

    I really loved the GC community.

  28. Sideways Says:

    I forgot to thank Shelley for her blog and an opportunity to express my thoughts.

  29. KimLoree Says:

    e-maginary friend,
    Deb, I’ve been thinking about you for the past couple of days…trying to think of something kind and wise to say to you. I’ve been feeling your pain in the words that you don’t say. The path you have chosen makes me so sad.
    I had my moment, when the GC ground began to crumble where I was struggling with being pissed off at Taylor. I finally decided (I think) that I didn’t have enough information to pass blame. Maybe that is just me being selfish….cuz I don’t want to lose both Taylor and Gray.
    The path I’m going to choose (as soon as I can get my a** moving) is to try and find the joy and community in my own “real life”, which I have been avoiding.
    I wish you all happiness, joy, community, laughter, and music. (especially you Gray).

  30. justwatchin Says:

    Well, as we speak, I think I recognize two mal-posters on the HQ blog, who, oddly enough, state they want to “move on” and forget about it? Looks like that site will not be my home.

    “I gave my ticket away last week.
    I cancelled my weekend plans in NYC last week.
    I cancelled my IYT order last week.

    I infered that I did not think that the audio blog “We Will Let Gray be a fan of Taylor Hicks” extended enough gratitude, or set the proper tone for the transistion to something else. ”

    I am so sad to see this especially from one who offered so much as a fan, but respect your decision. Unfortunately, the “what “is being said by not saying anything, is only speculation. I’m holding onto the hope that it is ignorance & lack of time that did not allow for the proper transistion…perhaps that will be addressed in the future…at very least, it should most certainly be. So much is owed for what cannot be measured.

    Shelly, I’ve never posted here. I hope this is alright with you, and within the confines of your intentions.

  31. azure Says:

    justwatchin’ –
    The two or three “party crashers” on Sunday’s meta-gray paled in comparison to the havoc wreaked on Monday. (I’m not so sure the same parties weren’t involved – but the content was more vitriolic.) Sunday’s chat was, on the whole, a positive one, and a tribute to GC. Monday was something he shouldn’t have had to put up with.

  32. PattyP Says:

    Well, since Gray has posted his single comment here, then I’ll just say Gray, that sure sucked. I know I lost sight of the main focus of your blog from time to time, but I always had nothing but the utmost respect for you — from before you had any contractual ties to Taylor until the last day you posted. I’m just sorry that last day had to come, especially in this way.

    Wayne Newton to you, GC!

  33. Meg the elder Says:

    There are those who stand firm and remain true to who they are -like Gray… like Shelley. These people get to truly be live. Those who shadow dance trying to fit in by looking the other way when crimes happen only pretend to live.

    Here is something I used to have on my office wall. I LOVE THIS THING. It is a guide to being alive from where I sit and I want to share it with you guys.

    by Oriah
    The Invitation
    It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
    I want to know what you ache for
    and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

    It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
    I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
    for love
    for your dream
    for the adventure of being alive.

    It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…
    I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
    if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
    or have become shrivelled and closed
    from fear of further pain.

    I want to know if you can sit with pain
    mine or your own
    without moving to hide it
    or fade it
    or fix it.

    I want to know if you can be with joy
    mine or your own
    if you can dance with wildness
    and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
    without cautioning us
    to be careful
    to be realistic
    to remember the limitations of being human.

    It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
    is true.
    I want to know if you can
    disappoint another
    to be true to yourself.
    If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
    and not betray your own soul.
    If you can be faithless
    and therefore trustworthy.

    I want to know if you can see Beauty
    even when it is not pretty
    every day.
    And if you can source your own life
    from its presence.

    I want to know if you can live with failure
    yours and mine
    and still stand at the edge of the lake
    and shout to the silver of the full moon,
    “Yes.”

    It doesn’t interest me
    to know where you live or how much money you have.
    I want to know if you can get up
    after the night of grief and despair
    weary and bruised to the bone
    and do what needs to be done
    to feed the children.

    It doesn’t interest me who you know
    or how you came to be here.
    I want to know if you will stand
    in the centre of the fire
    with me
    and not shrink back.

    It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
    you have studied.
    I want to know what sustains you
    from the inside
    when all else falls away.

    I want to know if you can be alone
    with yourself
    and if you truly like the company you keep
    in the empty moments.

  34. Taylorwow Says:

    I didn’t read the really nasty stuff that appeard on a thread. But I hope that Gray will go back and read the thousand or so very positive, affectionate, and greatful tributes that were posted on GC when he bowed out on April 1. Those came from the heart. I hope that rereading them will erase some of what happened yesterday. Not many people would have evoked that kind of loving response after announcing that he was leaving as administrator of a blog. Hold on to those words Gray.

  35. Soulkaren Says:

    Wow, Meg.

    That’s just simply great!

    Thank you for posting. I am saving.

  36. ridearoundsally Says:

    A message to Graycharles..Im so sorry you took a bashing. I didnt read what was written but I can imagine. Why is it so hard for people to disagree with out being disagreeable? Im betting though for every one bad comment you get you will recieve one hundred good ones. Its beyond me these people that just type stuff for the hell of it…sometimes i think it gives them a power trip. Ok so I have never been the brightest spark posting at GC in the past…but you sure have put up with a lot from me in the past but it was never ever ment with any malice. I realy did love your site and was in awe how you managed to keep it going….hell..anyone that loves “The Squeeze” is A+ in my book!!! I just pray you dont take any of thier nastyness to heart. I dont have a song to send you or a cool poem…but heres a little scottish saying just for you..
    Write injury in sand…kindness in marble. Gray..you were always cool for cats.

  37. texan Says:

    I am feeling a little KD-ish here. Not sure what transpired, but sure I hate to see the hurt.

    I have been working on some new goals and new direction in my life and have thus been absorbed in reading and laying some groundwork. I do hope that my absence is not interpreted as acceptance of brutal words hurled at people that I admire.

    I simply threw in the towel on chat/blog forensics and got terribly interested in some new goals.

    ..to simpler, richer times!

  38. justwatchin Says:

    I stopped viewing AI & am not going to frequent HQ for a time.

    I think I understand now DD’s comments on the Sun/Mon thread, coupled with “Imag.Friend”…I’ll wait to see who the real Taylor is, and will hope for the best for all. If I recognize any nasties, I’ll try to stand firm… (what is it Smeagol says to Gollem? leave leave, and never come back!). Too bad it’s not that simple.

    Meg, thanks for the poem.

  39. baka Says:

    I like Taylor in concert more than on any CD… (sorry that was random)

  40. Jules Says:

    Meg – that is really beautiful – thanks

  41. Alison B. Says:

    Well, I will put this out there:

    Anyone who supports Taylor but attacks Gray is not part of my community.

    Anyone who supports Gray but attacks Taylor is not part of my community either.

    I am talking about the people who are just plain cruel. I understand that for a few people they were speaking out of hurt and anger. They were being like a little kid who yells at a parent “I hate you” when, of course, they don’t really mean it. I believe we all have a little kid inside us on some level. At least, i know I do. Sometimes I have felt angry at a person but then realized I was just hurt.

    If people who said angry things apologize to Gray and he sincerely finds their apology acceptable then ok, I will follow Gray’s lead in that. I also hope the people who are angry at Taylor will not be angry at him anymore.

    I don’t want to be involved in any Taylor vs. Gray competition. I like, respect and appreciate both Gray and Taylor. I said that just a couple of days ago and I’m saying it again. I strongly support both of them.

    I like to visit the Boogie board because of the cellcerts and many of the familar people from GC. I pretty much know who to stay away from. At least I hope I do. I wasn’t there when everything hit the fan. I hope the people who said the nasty comments were firmly dealt with. Just deleting the thread would indeed be looking the other way. I do read a little over there but prefer to post on the daily open thread out front, and then only once in a while. I hope no one here thinks its disloyal of me to keep going over there. I like it here too.

    My community consists of people who support Taylor and support Gray, people who are interested in creating a positive and constructive environment, people who don’t look the other way. I think that is a community worth belonging to.

  42. Alison B. Says:

    In light of what Shelley posted above:

  43. Hickstyeria Says:

    I’m also in the dark about what exactly took place but also don’t need to know the details – the very fact that something happened from people supposedly fans of Gray’s and also Taylor’s wrenches at my heart. I loved the GC community and he was my first blog – he’ll always be ‘my first blog’. The Internet was designed to be informative and to communicate but as we all know, it’s become so scary too because the messages and the information aren’t always what we had expected to hear. I recently a woman blogger in the US has had death threats and sexual comments made about her just because she has a blog; like yesterday’s act of madness in Virginia, there are no words or thoughts I can express adequately to say how abhorrent it is that we live in a so-called civilised society and yet there is an underbelly to it that seems, daily, to get larger and more dominant in everyone’s lives.

    Gray, your blog was true to the ideals of the Internet and, for all that you gave me personally, I shall always be grateful. You’ll know from my email signature that I like the poetry of Robert Frost and, in particular, ‘The Road Not Taken’:

    “I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference”.

    Stay true to who you are for you have made a difference.

  44. brc Says:

    At least the nasty people stood out as being the toxic people that they were. What’s more disheartening (and I’m paraphrasing something I posted elsewhere this morning) and more hurtful is how so many who had sucked up to Gray for so long just dropped him like a hot potato when there was nothing left for them to “take” from him. All of the “Oh GC was nice, but I was really there just for Taylor anyway” people. They didn’t stand up for Gray. They didn’t take offense. They just said “Oh well, maybe I can make THHQ work for me now that Gray’s gone.” They say that the real culprits in bullying situations are the bystanders. That became perfectly clear to me yesterday.

  45. JAG Says:

    Gray please don’t allow those two or three ignorant posters a second thought! You built a wonderful community of very special people here who admire you for all you have done for us! You have touched lives in ways that you will never know.It is so sad that some folks hide behind the mask of the internet to spread their venom! In all my life I have never been able to figure out the reason for such atrocious behavior! My glass is raised to you GC,you done good!And don’t ever forget it!

  46. justwatchin Says:

    Alison B, well said. Here’s to Gray, Taylor & all who love and support them.

  47. bjewel Says:

    Meg, that is beautiful, and I am saving it, too. Thanks, too, Shelly.

    Gray, many, many people respect you for your devotion to the blog, your sharing of great music, and many love you as a friend, even though you may have never met them (I met you at WorkPlay!). If you are writing a book, I hope any pain suffered will evolve into a chew toy for your literary endeavors.
    I will take your advise and not turn away from rude and cruel behavior being overlooked.

    “baraka bashad” (a blessing of power to you.)

  48. shrewspeaks Says:

    I just emailed Shelley and I will ask it here…

    Why does everyone have to think alike to get along? When is that a requirement for a society?

    I admit it…my quotes from yesterday are surfacing other places out of context by people I don’t even know. I am sorry for that. And I am sorry for any pain it has caused anyone. I am sorry I have my own opinion and expressed it. I am sorry.

  49. brc Says:

    shrewspeaks… what gives? what quotes are you talking about?

  50. shrewspeaks Says:

    The quotes are trivial…it is the question that matters.

  51. brc Says:

    Well as it pertains to the question, I’ve always felt that different opinions are what makes the world go around. If we all thought alike it would be pretty boring. The problems ensue when people can’t agree to disagree. When people attack and vilify those whose opinions are different than theirs.

  52. blueberry Says:

    Apologies for the comment by Baka (my 14 year old Taylor fan!) I’ve told him he has to follow the flow of the discussion to comment and, also to use punctuation at the end of a sentence!

  53. shrewspeaks Says:

    I guess if we could solve that question brc we would be standing on a platform somewhere in Sweden

  54. Meg the elder Says:

    “Question raised by Shrew: Why does everyone have to think alike to get along? When is that a requirement for a society?”

    Hey Shrew,
    The issue had nothing to do with healthy disagreement. It had to do with ruthless, inaccurate posts aimed not at exploring ideas with dignity and grace but rather attempting to tear apart a person’s good name.

    Deliberate cruelty has nothing to do with divergent ideologies or vantages on a given point.

  55. Pamela Says:

    I’m sorry Gray.

    I’m sorry you had to make a difficult decision and lose something you put so much time, sweat, heart and soul into creating.

    I’m sorry if you don’t feel appreciated because you really are. After all the hundreds of supportive posts, you have to know how the community as a whole felt.

    I’m sorry you’re shocked at people’s willingness to just say “let’s move on”, …”let’s focus on Taylor on the music”. What would you have us do? Feeding the trolls doesn’t work. What should we demand that will not tear apart Taylor’s fan base?

    I’m sorry that you no longer want to be a part of Taylor’s fan community. You have always wielded a great deal of influence and could still use that in a positive way. Actually, you had a sort-a scary amount of influence.

    I’m sorry I never could come up with suggestions for making the blog financially viable. Several of us sincerely did try.

    I’m sorry it ended this way.

  56. double d Says:

    Shrew is alluding the fact that our discussion on Sunday included some criticisms of Taylor that were called to task as being as hurtful as what was said to Gray. Makes me sick that those comments were taken in the same vein by others, but I understand it. (BTW, Gray wasn’t involved in those comments — just to be clear.)

    Like Shrew, I am sorry. Sorry that I even brought up the point in the first place. Sorry that we snarked a bit. Sorry that we questioned. Sorry that I was disappointed. Sorry that folks were offended by what I said. Sorry about all the drama. Sorry that I’m even writing this…..

  57. shrewspeaks Says:

    Meg –
    I understand what happened. It seems that the ruthelessness raises from as brc put it so eloquently when people can’t agree to disagree. It seems there is a need within the internet community to stifle individual thought.

  58. leejolem Says:

    It always seems to come back to people judging other peoples’ level of commitment to Taylor fandonm based on their honest opinions. Crazy!! This is not the Messiah we are talking about–it’s a man who loves music and wants to entertain us and eats, breathes and sleeps the same as teh rest of us. Shrew–you should not have to apologize for having a differing opinion and DD you shouldn’t have to apologize for questioning or being disappointed.

  59. Pamela Says:

    brc and others – Since when did Gray ever need help standing up for himself???? GrayCharles is finished per Gray himself. Moving on to make the best of that situation is the mature course.

    I loved Gray’s site and posted there often. I miss it. …BUT it was a business decision between Gray and Taylor and J-Records who had contracted with Gray.

    What worries me most is all the subtle (and not-so-subtle) backlash against Taylor.

  60. brc Says:

    My recollection was that the majority of the conversation was critical of The Team, not Taylor. Did some people tell Taylor that it was time to step up to the plate? Yes. Did they say Taylor was a bad person? No.

    I don’t think anyone (at least not anyone here) owes apologies. The apologies are needed from those who took it upon themselves to assert their venemous intentions on Gray and those who were saying their goodbyes — but I don’t expect that those apologies are forthcoming anytime soon.

  61. Meg the elder Says:

    A true discussion with divergent opinions is one thing. Sometimes it is not clear in the first or second post a person writes but over time it is obvious if they are there to talk or to inflame. If they write to sort out a problem area to make things better or to tear injure and destroy.

  62. Jax Says:

    I have said this many times today…

    The few ruin for the many. The sad part is that the few don’t even feel ashamed when they do.

    Gray…

    There are no words. I am so sorry for all the crap thrown in your direction. I agree with the problems with the “just let it go” attitude. The right thing to do is to stand up for your friends. Know this … you are missed. Missed by the fans you helped mobilize, missed by the true fans you brought together. My coffee does not go down so well in the mornings without your site to read. If you ever decide to write again .. I would be honored to be included in those that you may choose to allow in past the giant guard dogs & armed bouncers. I jest but you get my meaning.

    Shelley … I would like to be a part of your community … is there a password?

    Shrew..DD…KD..Sally… Squeebee & the rest .. I have missed you all.

    Peace

  63. brc Says:

    Pamela, Gray is a big boy. I don’t think it’s about him needing us to stand up for him. I think it’s about common decency and loyalty. Gray was treated like dirt by some people yesterday. When that caused a sooner than expected shut down of the blog, people bailed. I, frankly, don’t see the backlash against Taylor. In fact, I don’t think this has anything to do with Taylor at all. I love Taylor. I love his music. I can’t wait to buy more CDs and see him in concert again. I think some of us were trying to make the transition in order to move on. Some others interpreted that as meaning that we cared more about Gray than Taylor. Then things started to deteriorate. And here we are.

  64. justwatchin Says:

    Without starting up the whole thing again, I don’t think any of you who posted in the MetaGray have anything to be sorry about..I read all the comments…I was actually there til 3pst Mon…….I think, if I’m understanding correctly now, some comments stemmed from a disappointment in Taylor’s ability/inablity or willingness/unwillingess to establish another online presence and transition the GC community, as well as hurt that he did not display the appropriate gratitude/appreciation of Gray’s contribution..also not transitioning the community properly.

    Gray seemed to enjoy the discussion prior to the nasties who started attacking him…I would have pulled the plug on them right away, but Gray stayed and attempted to be at peace with them.

    What a shame they caught up with him elsewhere, if these were indeed the same posters.

    I am in agreement with BRC who says the problem comes when some choose to “attack & villify” those of contrary opinions.

    My hope is for Gray to forget the crap, and remember the good….that Taylor will come thru with plans for an intelligent Gray-like blog & will acknowledge GC & his blog appropriately. My hope is also that Taylor will not lose some of his best fans…I do believe he is doing the best he can at this time.

  65. justwatchin Says:

    brc…I don’t get this, ” people bailed”..how did they bail?

  66. Meg the elder Says:

    Pamela said: “Since when did Gray ever need help standing up for himself??”

    Here is what I say. It is very true that Gray is eloquent. However, I do not see how his command of the English language reduces the culpability of those who chose to maliciously tear at his good name. I don’t like cruel behavior. I don’t like destroyers who kick to watch the pain. If I could have stood by w/o taking issue with the comments leveled at Gray I would not want to live w/myself tonight.

  67. Shelley Says:

    Jax, glad to have you…have all of you.

    There are no passwords here…just peace words. 😉 Kumbaya.

    I may be a little gun shy from all the new folks and talk of misbehaviors by others…but…

    I just want to interject at this point and make sure everyone is okay with the discussion at hand.

    I don’t want arguements to arise…and, if they do, they will be well-thoughtout, self-controlled, respect-filled debates.

  68. justwatchin Says:

    Thank you Shelley, pls. let me know if anything I say is not in keeping with anything you would like to have said.

  69. brc Says:

    Justwatchin… by “bailed” I meant that people (some people) seemed to abandon him. It’s the “Oh well, GC is in the toilet now, so I’ll move on to another fansite” mentality that I saw.

  70. Shelley Says:

    I would never tell you or anyone what to say….just offer guidance on how to say it.

    But, to clarify, my comment above was not a criticism of anyone…just concern.

  71. Claire Says:

    brc, I think people were just respectfully taking their leave of the site and of Gray and trying to figure out where to go from there. I think it’s perfectly normal that people would say “come on over to Site X” or Site Y is really cool” or “Site Z has great media”. People weren’t trying to jump ship, imo. They were trying to tie their lifejackets together and form a circle in the water. The community at GC was important to many people there, many wanted to keep it going in some form, and the talk of other sites was just a way of encompassing that.

  72. JAG Says:

    Shelley…. I forgot to thank you when I posted a while ago.It is so nice to know that you are here and welcome all of us. This has been a great thread so far.Lot’s of familiar names,happy to see everyone and glad to get their feed back.I would just like to add “drum roll” we finally heard JTFTW at work today !It stopped me in my tracks the same way Taylor did when I first heard his voice !

  73. justwatchin Says:

    They posted that they were moving on right after the nasty posts? Long time GC posters? I think I may take a few days off…I’ve kidded that I’m wearing black today…but I truly do feel like I am in mourning….In order to console myself, I tried to think of any positives that might come out of this…the only one I could manage was that I’d be spending less time on the computer…so far I’ve spent all Sunday, almost all Monday, and almost all today….I don’t seem to be able to just let go.

  74. brc Says:

    Claire your point is well taken. I understand that people felt like they needed to band together. I was/still am feeling a bit lost. I guess I just didn’t feel that the “respectfully” part of your comment was true in some cases.

  75. sooz Says:

    Quoted from Pamela above – I’m sorry you’re shocked at people’s willingness to just say “let’s move on”, …”let’s focus on Taylor on the music”. What would you have us do? Feeding the trolls doesn’t work. What should we demand that will not tear apart Taylor’s fan base?

    Fortunately for me, I was not involved in the discussion of the last few days or I am the type of person that would be physically ill because of it.
    However, I did see some of it and I have emailed Gray twice in the last two weeks to wish him the best. I am actually a bit confused by a bit of his comment above and that’s why I have included part of Pamela’s comment in mine here.
    Gray, if there is something you would have those of us who have expressed our gratitude and best wishes do at this point, then you need to tell us. You have been privy to so much information that none of us has and I get the feeling from your statement that you expected us all to rally and change your situation. Have I misinterpreted your comment? I think most of us, me included, were doing the only thing we could do when you said you were done two weeks ago. If we can help with something else, you will have to tell us. We don’t know what is going on or has gone on unless someone in the know, like you, were to tell us. I truly am confused. Maybe, I missed more than I thought I did.

  76. Claire Says:

    I guess I just didn’t feel that the “respectfully” part of your comment was true in some cases.

    brc, you may have a point there 😉 but in reality I think the vast majority of people posting on MetaGray just wanted to say goodbye, hang around til the end, and yes, decide where to go from there. Kinda like the last day of school. You wander around the halls, chat to people, visit your old classrooms and hangouts, maybe tell some teachers what you really thought of them (heh), and eventually the buses pull up, you climb aboard, take a last look back and drive away. Not everybody will be going to the same college, but the memories will never go and boy, it was a blast while it lasted, wasn’t it??

    (or am I the only one with such good memories of school???)

  77. e-maginary friend Says:

    I had a sinking feeling at the Meta-thread, as soon as people started spreading the word to other sites that Gray was responding to posts in the Meta-Thread (Sunday). I felt that he was speaking to the posters that had really cobbled their most honest sentiments together in dimly lit room.

    I feel we sometimes gravitate to the more is better philosophy. Let more people read the discussion. Let more people argue with editors, and critics. It’s better. I think real is better than inflated whether it’s your opinion, feelings or numbers.

    That sleepy little hamlet of discussion was meant for those that seeked it. Sometimes it is the same way with music.

  78. brc Says:

    I think I can make my point better (about people bailing) with an example. I won’t name names because that’s besides the point…

    “I loved the GC site. Didn’t post much there but loved lurking every day. However I’m not in this for a fan site I’m in this for Taylor Hicks and Taylor Hicks only.”

    I’m not faulting people for saying “Hey, where should we go now?” Maybe I’m just too close to this having been part of the Sunday discussion. Just hurt feelings and resentment I guess.

  79. justwatchin Says:

    E-m….perhaps then, the door should have been closed, once the ideal # posters had been reached….or do you mean, that everyone who sought it was welcome, no matter the numbers? I joined in later, but I did truly want to be there, though I don’t have Clare’s look backs at school, still being there till the end…happy to just hang out and listen…interested to see what Gray had to say….I hope my being there was okay. If felt like that is where I had to be until it was over.

  80. e-maginary friend Says:

    I think at the point that Taylor became the winner the undertones and overtones of the blog flipped from art to sport. We now have a winner to protect, advance and secure bragging rights for.

    Gray became a manager of a “sports figure” as opposed to an artistic peer. Some people came for the spectactle. I think Gray was speaking as a private artistic being on Sunday and we all thought the game and the competition on so many levels were over. We blinked and Gray was clipped.

  81. e-maginary friend Says:

    justwatchin,

    People were so eloquent and sincere starting late Saturday night. I just enjoyed reading the thoughtful posts. People wanted to leave something there for themselves and for Gray.

    Remember when people would post that they had nothing to post? I felt that many additional people came when the buzz started, but they were not seeking a discourse or closure. Some people started bumping elbows and shoving for a view in my opinion.

  82. Shelley Says:

    Okay…I’m giving fair warning.

    I’m about to close the comments on this post.

    It doesn’t matter why people did what they did or how they did it or where or when or what.

    The fact is…a person was hurt…Gray. That’s all I give one rip about.

    This has nothing to do with Taylor.

    I don’t want to get mired down in the play-by-plays of the account.

    Let’s move on to sunnier subjects.

    Tomorrow’s post will be a recap of tonight’s AI.

    And…I will, for the second time in a week…put a ban on the words Taylor and Hicks.

    Monkbot is shuttin’ down for the night. 🙂

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