So about five years back, I did an art gig, the details of which we won’t go into, except to say that the money wasn’t great and I probably stuck it out a lot longer than I should have given that fact. But it was no worse than any other RPG gig, a genre plagued by many a woe and long be-nightmar’d, and life went on, and I thought no more about it.
A few months back, the contact for that gig got ahold of me to see if I was interested in any more work, to which I said no–Penguin pretty much owns me these days, I have neither time nor sanity for other projects, wished him well, and that was the end of the matter.
T’other day, he started sending out Teabagger screeds.
I doubt he gave it much thought, he probably just spammed his whole address book, but…seriously. You don’t do this to professional contacts. If I do work for you, it does not mean I am your friend. I occasionally do work for art directors who ARE friends, or at least very friendly acquaintances, but the fact I have illustrated for your company in years past does not mean I wish to know your politics.
I send a reply saying “Please don’t send me e-mails like this again,” and twenty minutes later got another screed. I don’t think it was directed at me, I think he was just screeding. I send another e-mail, saying that if he continued, I would have to block him, and this would put something of a damper on any possibility of working together in the future, and have heard no more, so hopefully he got the hint.
Nevertheless, let’s face it–I’m not going to work for him again. It was never terribly likely, but now it’s not gonna happen. And it’s not just because it’s Teabagger crap, although I freely admit I’d get less annoyed if he was trying to get me to save the whales–although I get quite annoyed by that spam over time, too, and have removed myself from more than one mailing list because one member insisted on forwarding every goddamn heart-warming/heart-wrenching animal story that crossed his desk, and I got tired of going to Snopes and debunking. Nevertheless, contrary politics do not mean we can never work together. A colleague I quite like and work with frequently likes Palin, and yes, that causes me a pang, but we just avoid the topic and manage to scrape along tolerably well together and nobody dies and there are infinity of other topics available to us.
But you do not spam your professional contacts with your political screeds. It’s…not classy. This person has revealed that they are not a professional. As strikes against them go, this is the last one.* I myself feel strongly about many political issues, but I do not send out mass e-mails railing about them to all the art directors I have ever worked with, because someday I may be back in that field, and I would like those people to remember me with fondness rather than loathing.
I realize in this age of internet cults of personality, many of the boundaries have blurred. I am as guilty as anybody, if not more–read the blog, you get my art, my writing, my politics, my financial woes, and hopefully-hysterical tales of colon cleanser. But at least it’s opt-in–you get tired of my colon, you can close the browser and never hear about it again.
And when it’s not opt-in, and you are sending your content out there to the unsuspecting, professionalism still matters. Damnit.
*And ironically, if he had e-mailed back and said “I’m very sorry, that wasn’t supposed to go out to you, please forgive me and I hope this won’t impact our future working relationship,” that would have made it all better, because admitting you have screwed up and apologizing IS professional. Again, sigh.