Boy, did I discover an unexpected Christmas gift today! I was on YouTube, and one of the videos recommended to me was a Q&A from GalaxyCon Louisville back in November featuring Steve Whitmire and Kirk Thatcher:
It’s so great and entertaining and informative just in general, but here is what I particularly like about it:
Lately I’ve been making a really conscientious effort here on the blog to move away from the Schism stuff and stop dwelling on the negativity, etc. because I think that might end up doing more harm than good. (Knowing that Steve reads my blog has made me particularly cautious about that.) Nevertheless, in recent months I’ve reluctantly, yet determinedly, been involved in discussions on forums and social media in which people have rehashed the ridiculous rumors about Steve being difficult to work with, yadda yadda yadda. I’ve been challenging these views, asking where the information came from and basically just trying to hold people to a standard of accountability for the things they put out into the world with the potential to harm others.
Needless to say, people don’t like being challenged, and I’ve met with a lot of scorn, derision, and condescension that eventually reached toxic levels. So I love this Q&A because not only does Kirk Thatcher appear on stage with Steve, not only does he completely validate Steve’s philosophy on the Muppets, but within the first 10 minutes (almost within the first five), he categorically refutes the most persistent of the unfounded rumors so directly and unambiguously that I feel fairly certain that it must have been deliberate.
Though it probably won’t be enough to change the minds of the stubbornly obtuse within the fandom, the confirmation is still immensely gratifying to me. The rest of the panel is really interesting too (especially the part about Prince on Muppets Tonight), but that one section could have been the whole discussion for me, and I would have been satisfied.
7 thoughts on “Muppet Masters Q&A”
Bravo Mary, and this shall suffice to keep everything in balance. I’ve learned long ago not to believe many things I hear on the Internet, and am now just learning that some of the rumors are being enhanced by too much blah blah, literally forcing them into the fake news category. I shall be determined to stay positive. Just heard you on Cave. You were delightfully clear, funny and perfect in your delivery. In. Poor Weldon said he could not understand me, but seems happy with a Belgium follower. I have to do a better sound check with this new mic. Here it works fine, but I still hear echo. I’ll use this next month to pin down the intermittent garble. Will save this video for my archives to refer to.
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I know you were looking forward to talking to Weldon, so how was the conversation for you? For some reason I couldn’t hear Weldon on YouTube through my headphones. I could only hear the people talking to him on Discord. Once I took off my headphones and turned the speakers on my computer, I had no further problems. I don’t understand it.
Therefore, I only heard your side of your conversation with him. And alas, I must admit that I had trouble understanding you too. Wish I had a suggestion on how to fix it, but I’m not tech-savvy like that.
As for me, I wasn’t timing it out, but I think that was the longest conversation that I’ve had with Weldon so far, and for that reason it was probably also the most enjoyable. I’m just glad that whatever was going on with my headphones didn’t prevent me from hearing him. That would have been both awkward and disappointing.
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Funny, initially i had the same problem with my headphones on YouTube. Thankfully, someone replied to me there and told me what it was. Apparently they changed the sound setup to avoid the echo effect — the discord caller was on the right channel (only), Weldon was on the left, and somehow I was listening to right-only. I twisted my headphone jack in the socket and everything was perfect after that.
Btw, it was great to hear both of you!
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I think the problem for me is that the headset I use to talk to Weldon only has one earphone. Like I said, I’m not especially tech-savvy, but maybe that means it only has one audio channel. I think that must be it, because twisting the jack doesn’t seem to make any difference.
Mary I could hear Weldon very clearly, and also noted when I moved over to YouTube after being finished with my call, that the headphones were playing Weldon on one side and the caller on the other side. I have to go on discord to hopefully set the mic sound to their liking. It’s a high quality mic and it was clear here on my own PC with the headphones,but it’s possible I had the sound set too high… I do not know. Will have a go at it over the break. It’s frustrating, for the mic was my Christmas present, and it made me feel badly that it did not work well.
First and foremost, a (belated) VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU AND ALL HERE!! I wish you continued success and extend my ongoing support. Please forgive me, there’s been a handful of delays the past week, hence my having to push forward this (and other) comment(s) — in other words…,”like first and return later”. Now I’m back, seems like I’ve got quite a bit of catching up to do. Delving right in, amazing writeup as always, and equally amazing video. If I haven’t already, then I’ll need to say at this moment – thank you, Mary – for your perseverance – in putting aside any remaining hostility (*not that I’d blame you if you still had any), in handling pushback from relentless keyboard warriors with grace, in questioning the accuracy of (what might be) second-hand information/accounts, and overall, in defending Steve’s beliefs. It made me realize that I, too, should’ve been there for him early on, that I should be fighting the backlash still against him today…I just wish I had your level of determination – but I don’t know where to start, to be honest – thankfully, Steve’s side also has some backup from the Muppet/Henson/creature design community, as further solidified by Kirk’s statements, which, by the way, were refreshing to hear and provided for some relief (*that said, I still feel we’ve got a long way to go).
On a lighter note, I got really excited the second they brought up “Muppets Tonight” in the panel, the episode featuring Prince has to be one of my favorites (*so much, in fact, that after he’d passed, I found it somewhere online and saved it) – if it’s of any significance, I especially liked the short scene where he sang “Raspberry Sorbet” (*a parody of his song “Raspberry Beret”, for those uninformed), the ending where he and the Muppets all sang “Let’s Go Crazy” (*had he only let them incorporate “Purple Rain” into that part), and pretty much any moment a character struggled with his name (*then an unpronounceable symbol, made so as to mess with his old record label, if I remember right). Nevertheless, shifting gears back to our primary focus, I’m glad you’ve kept at your part, Mary, advocating for Steve and his views – in the near future, I shall make a plan and do the same – meanwhile, I’ll address the other two writeups with respect to Caroll Spinney’s birthday and “Cave-In” Episode 5 in the coming days, it’s always a pleasure to hear your calls (*so thrilled you came back last week), I look forward to this month’s stream and speaking again soon.
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Hi Saba, Happy New Year to you! And thanks for reading and commenting.
First, I want to clarify something that may or may not have come across as clearly as I would wish: For the most part, I don’t actively go around looking for people saying mean things about Steve so I can challenge them. Sometimes I run across comments like that as an inevitable consequence of being part of the fandom, and when I do, I usually push back against them. But I don’t challenge every negative thing that people say. If it’s clearly expressed as an opinion, I usually don’t question it, but if it’s an opinion (rumor, insinuation, assumption, etc.) expressed as though it were a fact, that’s typically when I push back.
What I’m driving at is this: Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s really difficult to jump into the fray, and it costs me dearly every time I do, so much so that I had to stop using one of the forums because the atmosphere was so toxic, it was taking a toll on my life and my work.
Also, the consequences of our actions can be so far-reaching and unpredictable that it can be difficult to recognize the right thing to do. On more than one occasion, I’ve wondered if I’ve been too aggressive in defending Steve and made things worse as a result. Sometimes it seems that all I’ve done is given people an excuse to just keep repeating the same insinuations and rumors over and over again.
So be kind to yourself, Saba. Despite the old saying, good intentions count for a lot. You’re clearly a nice person who means well, and that’s what’s really important.