A few days ago, an article about me was published in a certain Kuwaiti online magazine. I read it and it more or less reflected who I am and that was that. I don’t know what prompted me to check back again yesterday but as I looked through the article, I had to do a double take. There was a picture published that 1)wasn’t there the first time I saw the post, and 2)wasn’t mine at all (the painting, that is). I immediately e-mailed the author, Deepa Pant, letting her know of the mistake and expressed my wonder at how and why the photo got there, and well after the article was published. She immediately (sorry to go into painful detail but it’s all important to the ridiculousness of the story and the gross unprofessionalism I experienced) wrote back to tell me she had no idea about the photo. Together, we made a concerted effort to get the photo removed. She e-mailed the magazine (cc-ing me), and I both e-mailed the magazine and left a comment on the post (which appeared but was awaiting moderation). And then I waited. This was around 3:00 or 4:00 pm.
The picture remained for several hours. I checked if my comment had been published: it had been rejected because it wasn’t there anymore. I’ll come back to this later. 8:31 pm I got an e-mail from Deepa that the photograph had finally been removed, neither one of us having heard from the magazine. Now here comes the rant:
9:19 last night, I got a letter of apology from the magazine and I was impressed. Good for them, I thought, for owning up to their mistake and being professional about it (you must know that I am quite fastidious when it comes to professionalism, and I use it across all aspects of my working life, whether it’s in my own work, or when I’m volunteering, or even just doing someone a favor). The further I got down the letter, the lower my jaw dropped. The first phrase which struck me was that “It offends and deeply disappoints [them] that [I] think this process was done ‘without consideration or care’ as well as ‘sloppy’ [which is correct, I did say it was both, and it’s also correct because it’s true!]” And what process was this? I’ll quote: “In an effort to illustrate the article better, as we felt it was lacking imagery, I browsed your site for some of your artwork…It was an error on my part, as I completely missed the fact that the image wasn’t yours.” See? Without consideration or care. And yes, sloppy. Oh, and she had the gall to say that it does not reflect their professionalism in any way. It does. And as for being offensive, I wasn’t offensive at all. I would show you offensive, but I like to maintain a certain dignity and grace in this blog (although I tend to fail at that sometimes).
And the straw that broke the camel’s back: “That being said, we accept criticism and opinions in all forms.” Um, no you don’t. Otherwise you would have approved my comment, which I will post here:
Please note that the painting of the man sipping his tea is NOT one of my paintings. It is a painting by Irani artist Reza Doust. I am aware that the writer of this article, Ms. Deepa Pant, has contacted you to remove the picture, as have I. It’s serious business publishing someone else’s photo as my own, especially when it has been taken, without consideration and care, without even reading the context of its original publication in my post, from my blog and sloppily pasted into this article.
Offensive? I don’t think so. Any self-respecting magazine would have printed this comment, especially one which claims to “accept criticism and opinions in all forms.” But someone actually saw this comment and made a decision not to approve it.
I know some may construe this whole post as being unprofessional. But frankly, I don’t give a damn. As long as I live in a country where you have people patting their backs for achieving what anywhere else in the world is considered a mediocre feat, I won’t be keeping my mouth shut. Shape up, people, or just shut down.
*I did reply to the letter I received from them, but I ended up going to bed upset, that somehow they got away with it, because in my letter I was un-genuinely kind and forgiving.