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27 August 2012

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Diana Peterfreund

(whispers) I've never read The Westing Game. Do I lose my kidlit badge?

Leila

(whispers back) Of course not! But when you have a couple of free hours, maybe you could fit it in? It's a massively fun book.

Hope

I wish there were a safe way to talk about the authors/reviewers thing without worrying about getting sucked into a flamewar.

Leila

@Hope: Give it a try, if you'd like -- flamewars are rare here. :)

Hope

It just doesn't seem to me that the authors in these cases have done anything to justify the level of outrage I see. It's like you have an idiot patron and you lose your cool momentarily and you say something impolite. It's unprofessional, you know that, you're apologetic, but you don't expect to have seven hundred people picketing the library because you rolled your eyes at Mrs. Nitwittery and said, "Oh, look here, here's that book, cleverly hidden on the shelf next to others by the same author."

People start making death threats over a book review.

Instead of saying "What the hell is wrong with people?" we say it was Emily Griffin's fault because she posted about it on Facebook. Why is Emily Griffin responsible for the outrageously stupid behavior of total strangers? Because she failed to take the situation as deathly serious right from the beginning? But it wasn't deathly serious. It was just someone being an idiot online.

Does every damn thing have to be taken seriously for fear someone will make a Death Threat? If Griffin was just supposed to know that mentioning this on Facebook would lead to Death Threats, doesn't that mean that we've accepted them as part of life? So now we have to second guess our every word to be sure we're not going to set off the murderously stupid?

I feel like the person who wrote the blog post is making a mountain out of molehill just so that someone WILL make a death threat and then she can say, See! See! I told you so!

Leila

Oh, I think that's a fair point, Hope. I do think that some of this stuff gets blown waaaay out of proportion, and while I do think that Giffin's posting about it on Facebook probably only served to fan flames of flaminess, the phone calls and whatnot are the responsibility of the callers, not Giffin's.

Hope

See, I know a number of male writers for adults, John Scalzi being the head of the list, who often post about their one star reviews and people see it as a sign of humility, not a way of winding up the minions. I'm not sure it's the authors who are the problem. I think this is a weird flip side of the "are we too nice?" thing, only in this case people think they should establish their credibility or improve their status by being inflammatory.

Leila

Maybe it comes off as different because Scalzi posts about the reviews at his blog, rather than engaging with the Amazon reviewers directly? I dunno.

A few minutes later: I just went back and revisited his one-star post from 2010, and I think the difference (for me) is that he A) doesn't suggest that his readers go and "check out" what's going on in one-star world (thus not fanning the flames), and B) uses them as a way of reminding himself that you can't please everyone all of the time, etc., etc. It seems like a totally different mind-frame is all.

All that said, I think that crap like this goes down on a regular basis in any fandom, it's just that when it happens in YA world (or on the fringes of it) it's especially glaring because so much of the YA fandom is nicey-nice? (Like you were saying about the Nice Flipside, I mean.) Or... something?

Apologies if I'm not making any sense here, as I've had coffee, and I almost never drink coffee. *jitters*

Hope

I guess I'm not making much sense either (and I'm a regular coffee drinker, so I have no excuse).

I just keep going picking at this subject and I wish there were more discussions of it that didn't start from the idea that it's all about authors who can't take a bad review. That really seems to be the smallest part of the problem. How much is a community responsible for the worst behavior of their members? What are they supposed to do about that behavior, anyway? Does making a big deal about people misbehaving really reduce misbehavior? If it doesn't, if it just makes for more bad behavior from both sides, does that mean you should just ignore misbehavior, or is that papering over and condoning it? I dunno. I'm just being lazy and wishing someone else would think about it for me . . . any takers?

Ilanawaters

I'm not a fan of "50 Shades" either (not my type of thing), but . . . . book burning? Seriously? Are we trying to emulate Nazi Germany? That's just ridiculous. I'm not crazy about the message the book sends either, but at least in America, you're supposed to have freedom of speech. E.L. James can write what she wants, and you're free to read it or not.

Hope

I kinda conflated those two stories into one: "Publish a fourth book in a TRILOGY and we'll set fire to it!"

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