Bob Lefsetz

Bob Lefsetz May Be Reading This!

On Friday, Bob Lefsetz sent out a piece called “Dealing with Hate.” Based on the title, I figured it was about how he lives with himself. Wanting a laugh, I opened it up and quickly saw that it was a lesson in how to properly deal with Internet critics.

Well, my friends, as one of the Internet’s leading purveyors of Lefsetz Mockery, don’t think I didn’t assume that it was about me. I broke out into songs of joy and did a did a happy dance. And then the bus driver told me to get back in my seat because I was disturbing the other passengers. Christ, people are so grumpy this time of year.

“Oh, come on, Dave,” you’re thinking. “This couldn’t possibly have been a response to you. You’re just a raving narcissist.” That goes without saying, but over the next few days, this was forwarded/posted on my Facebook wall a couple of times, suggesting that it was possibly about me. As our own Chris Holmes said via e-mail, “I feel like Bob had a Lefschmutz column open while he was writing this.”

So while I was originally going to put it aside, like nearly everything else he writes, my public has decreed that I take a victory lap. I present it to you as a seasonal holiday gift to you, complete with a brand-new picture. For the record, I don’t hate Bob Lefsetz. True, he’s a creepy old misogynist who gets nearly everything wrong, but he’s never personally harmed me, so there’s no hate.

1. Never ever respond.

Followed by a 1,000-word public response.

That’s the hater’s goal. To entrap you.

My goal is not to entrap you, but to expose you as a charlatan who, somehow, has been ascribed a degree of credibility. If pointing out your myriad mistakes and contradictions constitute as entrapment, it’s your own fault for making them.

Draw you into a conversation.

Well, I’ve already pointed out that you don’t engage your Twitter repliers, so why would I think you would talk to me? Besides, a conversation with you is the last thing I want.

Wherein you have to justify your complete existence.

You don’t need to do that with me. You exist for me to mock. Simple as that.

You can never ever win, furthermore the hater’s friends will pile on. Read if you must, but never acknowledge you’ve done so.

Which, in and of itself, is an acknowledgement that you have read your criticism.

2. Research the hater.

I feel violated.

Especially on Twitter.

Wait, I thought Twitter was dead?

See how many followers they have. Fewer than you, otherwise they wouldn’t bother to hate.

Do you really think I’m jealous of you because you have 58,000 people seeing a picture of your mother using an iPhone?

Also, check their number of tweets. If someone’s tweet count is in the double digit thousands, laugh and move on. First of all, almost no one is going to see their hate.

A guy who hates Twitter but still tweets has no credibility in discussing how to analyze tweet counts and follower numbers.

Second, the reason they’re hating is to justify their existence. They’re looking for attention. Who else would waste so much time blasting their thoughts into the wilderness.

Every time I think Bob’s self-awareness can’t get lower, he writes something like this. How does he not realize that his entire career has been built upon “blasting thoughts into the wilderness?” More importantly, did he completely forget his 1,500-word piece of performance art called “Things I Hate?”

3. Google the hater.

This usually makes you feel better. Because you find out the hater is a loser. Because winners don’t have time to hate, they’re too busy trying to win.

OK, the worst part about this is that I have the same name as a leading JFK conspiracy theorist, and his name comes up first when you Google my name.

4. See it as a badge of honor.

If someone is hating you, you’ve made it.

A guy who had dreams of being Irving Azoff but hasn’t had a job in the music industry since he got fired by Blackie Lawless is saying he made it. That’s rich.

5. Read it.

Anybody who says they don’t read the words of their critics is an optimistic pussy who is afraid of their shadow. As the cliche goes, you can’t embrace the good without the bad, you can’t acknowledge the love without the hate.

This coming from a guy who regularly forwards e-mails from his readers that do nothing but validate his opinions.

The truth is we’re all equal.

Except in terms of Twitter followers, of course.

Even if you’re winning it’s only temporarily, on a scale that will cease to exist. You’ll die. Standards change. Do it because you love it. Know that criticism comes with the territory.

That’s fairly sound and measured advice.

6. Don’t change who you are.

Then the terrorists have won. Oops, then the haters have won.

I don’t know which is worse, Bob equating critics with terrorists or him using a joke from 2002.

I’m not saying you can’t learn anything from your critics…

Except you haven’t, because you said we’re all equal shortly after saying people who have fewer Twitter followers than you are scum. If there’s anything you can learn from the two years I’ve been doing this column, it’s that your constant contradictions undermine your credibility, and without credibility, you’re nothing.

…but the more successful you become, the more hating you’re subjected to, and the natural response is to pull back.

Want to avoid being subjected to hating? Stop being full of shit. Stick to writing about the personal memories that you have with the music you love. I may not always agree with your taste and I don’t give a crap about your childhood, but they remind us that you’re a fan.

Don’t do that. Then the essence of your art is eviscerated. People love you for that essence.

I don’t know about anybody reading this, but I can’t read that sentence and not think of Dr. Strangelove.

General Jack D. Ripper: Yes, a uh, a profound sense of fatigue… a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily I… I was able to interpret these feelings correctly. Loss of essence…I can assure you it has not recurred, Mandrake. Women uh… women sense my power and they seek the life essence. Women uh… women sense my power and they seek the life essence. I, uh… I do not avoid women, Mandrake…But I… I do deny them my essence.

Change for the haters and you’re disappointing the lovers.

I’m guessing Bob’s disappointed a lot of lovers.

Well, maybe not a lot in terms of quantity, but percentage…

7. Have a sense of humor.

We all have a tone of voice. We all have expressions we employ. We don’t like them to be pointed out, we don’t like to be reminded of them, but it’s the nature of society. If you can’t laugh at yourself, life is gonna be tough.

Definitely, but no solid piece of advice from Bob ever comes without being followed with equivocation, sooooo….

Then again, there’s no need to fall upon your sword in the face of a tsunami of hate. Laugh, then have a backbone. Because your backbone is part of your appeal.

Please. You whine like a goddamned baby about every little thing that momentarily annoys you and then tell us to toughen up?

8. Understand the hater mentality.

Things I Hate.”

They want to drag you down into the hole they’re in. If you succumb, they stop hating, they’ve made you irrelevant and go on to hating someone else. Hating is not about you, but a frustration embodied in the hater that he or she is not beautiful, successful, winning, whatever.

Batkid Sucks.”

That’s all they’ve got, their hate. You’ve got so much more.

Twitter Sucks.”

9. Vitriol is no response.

Your Band Sucks, So Stop Sending Me mp3s.”

If you must respond, and as #1 states above, you never should, so you’re breaking the number one rule…

For once, Bob acknowledges that he’s contradicting himself.

…don’t use expletives…

Fuck you.

…and don’t shout. Twist your language and become sarcastic, stating that the hater is correct, ultimately neutralizing the hate.

It does nothing of the sort. It only makes you more worthy of hate.

Or embrace the hate and acknowledge it, yes, I’m a worthless human being with no reason to exist, thanks for pointing that out.

This is what you do when you can’t defend your arguments with facts.

The hater is looking for a fight, if you’re not fighting, they move on to someone else.

If I was looking for a fight, would I have done 20 of these things without having gotten a response?

10. Hate is invisible until you amplify it.

Not many people watch Jimmy Kimmel. Most were unaware of Kanye’s fashion comments. But by reaching out and responding to the “hate,” Kanye made everybody aware of his inane statements.

Kanye’s entire business model is based on making everybody aware of his inane statements.

It hurts when you see the hate, it’s personal, but it’s not personal to anyone else and almost everybody else ignores it. Yes, Google might tell you you’re an idiot, but who else is Googling your name?


11. Democracy doesn’t rule online.

Anyone can play, but that does not mean anyone can be heard. That’s the story of the past two years, how the winners have pulled away from the losers. And the losers don’t like it…that they just can’t place their stuff online and make it anymore. So who do they rail against? You, the winners!

Every website ever created was financially successful until two years ago. Then they went out of business and people started having privacy issues with Facebook and Google.

12. Retweets might mean nothing.

Nice use of “might” considering how much you were crying that you don’t get enough retweets.

Some people have clubs, not everybody, there are some lonely rogues. And they like nothing more than to slap each other on the back as they pile on.

OK, now I don’t think Bob has read my Twitter feed, otherwise he would have known that I could have made a killer joke about his mom from that sentence.

You see this in your Twitter feed and think the whole world is talking about you, but dig deeper and realize that it’s the three nerds from high school who suddenly have a voice, but just like in high school, no one is paying attention to them, no one is listening.

“If you can’t laugh at yourself, life is gonna be tough…Laugh, then have a backbone. Because your backbone is part of your appeal.”

13. Haters are professionals.

You hear that, Jeff? I’m gonna invoice you for this!

Haters don’t hate once and then stop. They hate and hate and hate and hate, because what they’re looking for is acknowledgement. It’s unreasonable, but it’s fact. See it as their problem, not yours.

Look, I really don’t want to link back to my takedown of “Things I Hate” three times in one post. I mean, I like masturbation as much as the next guy, but not always in public. Especially not when it’s cold out.

14. Few haters will say it to your face.

When I tweet this, I will be sure to tag you so that it appears in your Twitter feed.

They love the anonymity of the web, especially in comment threads.

This column appears under my own name, and my Twitter account is @dslifton.

Put them in front of the star and they’ll get all googly-eyed.

I thought Michael Buble was lame until I got free tickets and backstage passes!”

Not all of them, some of them are so maladjusted that they will never stop hating until they win, big time, which they can’t, because they’ve got to see themselves as outside underdogs, and to win you have to learn how to be an insider. Winners have relationships, people who will aid them in their endeavors. Haters have no army, except for the silent loners afraid of their reflections. They’re on a subliminal trip to nowhere.

“I’ve been on mine ever since I got fired by Blackie Lawless!”

15. Hate peters out.

“Peters” (giggles)

Those websites, those fake Twitter accounts?

For the unaware, he’s undoubtedly referring to the awesome @FakeBobLefsetz. Here are some gems:




They die. Because they’re one note jokes and you’re so much more than that. The hate might be clever, but clever never lasts, it’s one note for one time.

E-mail screeds, on the other hand, are forever.

16. Hating is like spam.

It will never completely go away, but it will be minimized into irrelevance.


Seemingly everybody uses Gmail these days, which employs the great Postini filter. Spam isn’t a thing of the past, but it’s now an occasional nuisance instead of a headache. Hate is peaking, because as the winners pull away from the losers online, everybody can see the haters for what they are, disgruntled people clamoring for attention who usually have nothing of value to say.

I can’t wait to quote this the next time Bob blathers on about the volume of the music at Five Guys or that he didn’t get airline peanuts.

  • Jay

    Ahhh, Christmas Schmutz. You know, I really think I’m gonna pull away this year. I can feel it.

  • Steve Simels

    “Hate is peaking.”

    Not if I have anything to say about it.

  • MatthewBolin

    Dave, I love your deconstruction and criticism of Lefsetz because it exposes how oblivious he is to his own hypocrisy. In this case, he totally zooms over the fact that as music writers go, he is probably one of the biggest haters of them all. I don’t even thing he likes music, with the exception of some country and country/mellow rock dudes because they give him free tickets and he admires how much tail they pull.

    But, really, go through a cycle of his columns and you’ll usually find the same things over and over again:

    **A band who just signed to a major label: I haven’t heard of you. You’re going to bomb. You obviously didn’t grow your fan base organically.

    **A band who’s trying to grow their fans organically: Where’s the record? Why should I listen to you if you’re not pushing units? Get off my lawn.

    **A band with a decent amount of sales: You can’t sustain your career with this model. If you’re not pushing the # of units I say you should, you’re only proof that the record industry is failing, man!

    **A band with lots of sales: You’ve got to change up your sound. You’re the flavor of the month and going to fall off unless you grow with the times. Get ready for total irrelevancy in a year or two!

    **A band that changes with the times: You think anyone wants to listen to your new stuff? That’s not what got you those fans. Great job alienating them. Just shut up and play the hits.

    **Classic bands who have stood the test of time: Why do you even try? Your time has come and gone, and you don’t even realize that. Just stop now….except for Jackson Browne: He still makes me moist.

  • Scott Peterson

    Hey, is it possible Lefsetz isn’t just an idiot and a jerk but is actually…well…troubled? He’s so incredibly clueless that I’m starting to wonder if there’s not something seriously wrong with him. Unless he thinks completely contradicting the point of one sentence with the very next sentence, and then the following sentence contradicting them both, indicates complexity of thought? Or perhaps he fancies it his trademark style.

  • DwDunphy

    I don’t hate Lefsetz…or at least, I didn’t dislike him intensely until after the Batkid thing. Art is subjective and will mean different things to different people, good or bad. There is a fan out there for even the most obscure thing recorded. Every great artist has written, painted or performed a clunker. And in each of these endeavors, even if there is a thread of meanness to the response, I rarely see ill will to the individual who made it (except for Bieber. I hate that guy.)

    But I cannot reconcile the Batkid thing as anything but pure misanthropy and cynicism to any attempt to do good, or at least do nice. If Lefsetz wants to find the bad in every business model and in every recording he hears, so be it. The opinion isn’t going to do any harm. I suppose his opinion of the Batkid thing won’t do physical harm to anyone either, but it seems to be a clear indicator that he cannot find the good in anything anymore. He cannot even offer up a token smile…for what? Fealty to “truth” or “truth as I see it”?

    If Lefsetz does read this, I hope he has one takeaway from it all, and it is this: life is tough when all you see is the negatives. For the better part of 1998-2008 I saw little upside in anything. There were parts that were in fact inflicted on me, but there were many more I inflicted on myself. I was miserable and made more miserable by the comfort I thought I got from misery. That’s not truth. That’s enabling your own bad life.

    I have no great truths to give. I just hope to tell people about some good things, have a laugh when things aren’t so good, and hope that when I am being a temperamental so-and-so, someone gives me a well-meaning, friendly kick in the ass.

  • dslifton

    I have no idea if anything is mentally wrong with him, although he has admitted to being in therapy. I think his contradictions are simply a perfect storm of laziness, lack of attention span, and contempt for the audience.

  • dslifton

    One of the things I’ve been pretty careful about with this column is not criticizing his taste too often because of that. I took apart his Pistol Annies post because he was saying that it was average, but everybody should still listened to it. He was right – it was average. So why was he telling us to listen to it? Because he’s had a Miranda Lambert boner for years. But I don’t see a point in being all “How can you still like the Eagles?”

    Since the Batkid piece I’ve realized a few things about the way I think his mind works, but I’m saving them for the right opportunities. This didn’t present itself.

  • dslifton

    I do what I can.

  • dslifton

    Again, I’m honored that you have joined the fight.

  • Dr. Clint Handsome

    God, Bob Lefsetz is just a big ball of hate.