June 25, 2024

First, thank you for all the lovely, hilarious messages you sent in response to last week’s post on tech fails and perfectionism.

There were so many, and you told us all about your own perfectionist tendencies, and, seriously, we could not love you more.

So, time for a little more perfectionism redux. 


Last year, our Great Courses series on Dracula dropped (go check it out if you haven’t already!), and it was a career highlight for us. We did the most research we’ve done since writing our dissertations. We wrote all the scripts and then edited and edited them again. We learned how to use teleprompters! (Those things are nuts.) And work with multiple cameras!

We bought FOUNDATION and learned how to use it. Truly, our dedication is boundless.

And when the series dropped, we got to learn something else new: how to handle reviews from The Strangers of the Internet.

Most of them are so enthusiastic and kind. And then some people… well, they’re the reason that all our published novelist friends say “NEVER READ THE REVIEWS.”

But apparently we had to internalize that message ourselves.

Admittedly, some of the negative ones are hilarious. Our favorite says that watching our series is like being vomited on by rainbow Ben & Jerry’s gay marriage ice cream, to which we can only say: “Why, thank you!!”

But then there’s this other one that mentioned that they were extremely distracted and annoyed at… wait for it… our giggling during the lectures. The review was then upvoted by several other people. 

A response to that review also felt the need to say “ESPECIALLY Dr. Warman,” which may have given Brittany a complex.

But then, the other day, we did a talk for Smithsonian Associates on “Beauty and the Beast,” and when we got the audience comments back from the post-lecture survey, we saw this – 


So here’s the thing – we regret to inform you that, sometimes, folklore is really funny.

That Great Courses series of the giggle-negative reviews? It’s on VAMPIRES

Like, if you can’t crack a smile or laugh about Lord Byron’s antics or Edward Cullen (“the world’s most dangerous predator”) sparkling in the sun or the fact that Bram Stoker just, like, commandeered a bunch of random werewolf folklore and decided that it was going to be vampire folklore now, we kind of don’t know what to tell you.

Other than we’re probably not going to be your cup of tea.

Please know that typing the above sentence is physically painful for us. We want, oh how we want, to be everyone’s cup of tea!! But we cannot, and for our own sanity and survival as creators, we have to let the anti-giggle camp go their own way. 

We have the scholarly chops. We have the PhDs. But we didn’t leave academia and start our own business to follow old rules or to not be ourselves.

We’re two people who are so wildly passionate about folklore and fairy tales and the Gothic and fantasy that we went through the gauntlet of academia so that we could share everything we can think of to share with YOU. Because we love this stuff so much, and we know there are others out there who do too, and who get as much out of it as we do.  

We’re doing this because it DOES make us laugh a lot of the time (again: VAMPIRES), because it makes us feel excited and delighted and inspired. Because we believe that learning should be fun, and that education should be way more widely accessible.

Fun and laughter are literally core to our values and our mission.

So yeah, you can’t please everyone. We’re still gonna laugh AND drop absolutely epic amounts of scholarship simultaneously. And we’re still gonna make some graphics purely because they amuse us. (Hi Higgins! #ifyouknowyouknow) It’s part of what Carterhaugh is all about!

If you’re a creator or artist or writer or frankly just a human in the world, you’ve probably run into something like this toot? And if you have perfectionist tendencies, it probably stung.

We hope this story makes you feel less alone and less like you don’t have to change your core in a quest to make everyone and every possible audience happy. You get to be who you are, even if some people have OPINIONS. If you can’t please everyone, you might as well be yourself. Kinda freeing, right?

Giggle on, friend.

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