Sunday, April 29, 2018

A compliment, a complaint, and a command...

This morning, I listened to a duet a guy from Sweden did with me on SingSnap.  He left me a short comment that included a compliment, a complaint, and a command.

I have a feeling he meant well...

Clearly, his English isn't perfect, although he does have a fairly nice singing voice.  I was left a little puzzled by this comment.  I have many open duets posted on SingSnap.  He could probably spend all day on them if he wanted to.  There are probably thousands there, because I rarely delete the stuff I post.  I will admit that I haven't done any new duets lately.  For some reason, I haven't felt inspired to make much music this month.

When I recorded the duet he joined me on, I did it in the original key.  Sometimes I do change the keys on certain songs-- usually the ones that were originally done by men.  This one was recorded by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, so I didn't change the key.  And since I recorded it a long time ago and this was my first encounter with him, I certainly "didn't make it hard for him".  That kind of implies that I did something on purpose.  I don't know this man from Adam and he made the choice to join me.  If I had known him, and he had specifically asked me to sing with him, and then I deliberately chose a key that would be hard for him, then he could legitimately claim that I'd "made it hard for him."  In this case, he really can't.

Yeah, this is just another one of my quirky posts about strange comments I get from people.  I'm sure it makes me sound anal retentive or whatever.  I don't mean to sound that way, even though I probably am that way.  I just find language interesting, kind of the way Flula does.

Flula is a German guy who parodies American idioms with stereotypical German literalness...

I think this "blaming thing" is kind of a European concept.  It's like the cultures here have this fault finding feature built into their languages.  I noticed it a few years ago, when Bill and I were subscribed to Germany's version of Hello Fresh.  I had a problem with my very first order.  I tried to subscribe to the service, but their Web site kept sending me error messages.  I thought the orders weren't going through, so I tried again repeatedly, using different credit cards until I finally got a message indicating success.  What I didn't know was that Hello Fresh was getting the orders, but their Web site was fucked up.  Consequently, the following week, I ended up with four meal boxes and three fruit boxes from Hello Fresh.

This problem led to a lengthy customer service dialogue with Hello Fresh staffers, who inadvertently pissed me off by blaming me for the problem with THEIR Web site.  The representative had asked me to "be sure it doesn't happen again", as if the issue was my error.  But then, it could be a function of translation.  Sometimes language discrepancies and different constructions can lead to misunderstandings.  I also think there is a serious blame culture in Germany.  Someone has to be at fault.  It's like they don't believe in accidents.

Maybe it's the same in Sweden.  If a key is too high in a song, it's my fault for recording it in too high of a key, rather than your fault for not choosing another partner or asking me to record it in a lower key.  But honestly, I do think the Swedish guy means well.  I was mostly pleased by his comment.  It just made me think of different language situations I've run into here in Germany that I might or might not run into in America.  But at least in America, I'd know it was less of a culture thing than an asshole thing.

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