We were talking on Twitter the other day about how the current dramas (and worse) seem to be infiltrating every corner of our online universe. Sock puppets, unedited books, vendettas against readers, overzealous fans, the list goes on and on. One veteran of romancelandia reminded me that there’s always some kind of kerfuffle, and she’s right. But they seem harder to get away from right now, at least for me.
There are several reasons for this. First some of the drama is about important things, and it seems only right to register an opinion and actively support people with whom you agree. The idea that authors negatively reviewing other authors is terrible, but favorably reviewing your own work is fine, for example. That is just pure, unadulterated bullshit (which is unfair to bullshit, really, because bullshit is a useful product). And it deserves massive pushback.
The harassing and persecuting of honest reviewers is also very, very bad for the reviewers themselves and for the larger community, and all of us should fight back against people who engage in it. If we don’t, even more bloggers and casual reviewers will withdraw. When a twitter buddy not noted for being a shrinking violet says she thinks twice before commenting, we have a real problem.
On the other hand, I am so very tired of people using 50 Shades as an example of anything. It’s a phenomenon. Almost by definition, it’s not a good harbinger of trends, changes, or anything else, because it’s so unusual. Trying to reproduce 50 will lead to diminishing marginal returns and outright flops (it already has for some copycatters). And, of course, we are all sick to death of it. So here’s my last word, brought to you by my last nerve: if you use 50 as an example in a conversation that is not specifically about 50, I’m leaving. You hijack a discussion, you will be talking to yourself. I’m gone. 50 has had not only its own 15 minutes of fame, it’s stolen the 15 minutes of many other deserving one-hit wonders. I’m not adding to that.
I’m also really sick of seeing drama llamas who are on my side in various important and not-so-important debates behaving badly. Calling someone names is immature 90 percent of the time. Trashing the personality and physical appearance of their relatives is disgusting 100 percent of the time. When you start doing that, I’m embarrassed we’re playing for the same team. I’m not leaving the team, but I’m hoping fervently that you find another hobby (even though I know you won’t, because, well, drama llama). And guess what: it’s not more permissible on a “private” loop than a public one when that private loop has hundreds of members. Nothing on the internet is secret, remember? I’m not ratting you out, but that’s because I care about my reputation. You’ve already shredded yours.
All this ranting and negativity is brought to you by my discovery that I’m having trouble finishing romance novels by auto-buy authors, authors who are not only good writers but also generous, lovely people (to the extent I know them online and elsewhere). I pick up a book, but I can’t separate the book-reading experience from the online experience. And it’s not just that I’m fed up with the romance genre, because it happens to me when I try switching to mysteries or SFF. Hello, hubristic writer of potboiler thrillers. Oh look, another fantasy writer who excuses single-dimensional portrayals of women by arguing that the Middle Ages were sexist, so it’s “authentic.”
This crappy feeling will pass, because I love reading genre fiction more than I love keeping up with every incident that happens on the internet. I’m working on better filters and a better balance, because there is no way I’m giving up the pleasure I know I can have from authors whose work I love. Too many of them are coming out with books or are in my TBR, after all.
I’ll keep doing the links posts, because those are fun and there’s plenty of stuff out there that doesn’t involve Badly Behaving People. And I’ve been thinking of starting to write posts about books and authors that I can’t or don’t review at Dear Author but that I want to write about. And I really need to figure out LibraryThing.
Thanks for reading. Sorry about the negativity, but I needed to get it out of my head and onto the page.