Friday, October 18, 2013

Oh No you Didn't

by Gary
On the pocketfullofbooks site, Anna our host (she doesn’t provide her last name) recounts various examples of authors behaving badly as they react to criticism.  There’s the author who attempted to sue an Amazon reviewer.  There was the author who sent his self-published book to a number of bloggers he claimed had promised to review his work and nary a review showed up.  Thereafter on the writer’s site he posted a warning to these reprobates, and you knew he was serious ‘cause he USED ALL CAPS.  Turns out this chap had previously been blocked from Goodreads.  Wonder why. 
Then there was this by a writer on Amazon: “There is the stupid cow from Goodreads who has been real nasty and keeps doing up really bad reviews of [my book], then gets her friends to go in and ‘like’ her bad reviews so that that review will be pushed up to the top of all the lists. Now she’s put it up on Amazon! She is a disgruntled old cow who doesn’t like me and how I got published. There’s no point in saying anything about her or responding (she loves that) but what we can do is push her review back down the list by bringing all the good reviews back to the top. How do we do this? Well at the end of each review there is a little button where…”
There’s also the possibly apocryphal story of a certain big time bestseller who had a thin skin. Reportedly he would use the name of his critics and make them pederasts or give them small penises, or both I suppose, in a novel if a critic had pissed him off in a review of a prior work.  Take that ye varlets!
I don’t make murder victims out of people who have pissed me off but I have certainly modeled characters riffing on the dickish behavior of people I’ve interacted with in various settings or have seen in the media.  Like how can you resist skewering a self-righteous boob like Congressman  Randy Neugebauer, a GOPer from Texas.  Two days into the government shutdown he voted for he was caught on video berating a park ranger.  Telling her she should be ashamed for fencing off the World War II memorial from these aging, infirmed vets I’m pimping to curry favor with my base.  Okay, that last part I added but you get my drift. 
Certainly we’ve all had the experience of dealing with the clerk behind the counter, the gate keeper of a bureaucracy big or small, who act like a baron or baroness overseeing their lands.  They control a cog in the machinery of the thing you need; be it to get your driver’s license renewed; that dealer owner part for your car you don’t know the technical name of and they won’t look up; the confirmation you did indeed get the right building permit; or I already filled out all the forms you told me to and now you tell me, they’ve somehow been misplaced?  And my only recourse is to fill them all out again?
Okay, maybe those unfeeling wretches deserve slow, painful deaths…on the page.


Susan C Shea said...

Gary, having worked in large, self-satisfied bureaucracies for too long, I learned that there are many people whose only power is saying no, stopping or slowing things down. They can't make anything happen, so they relish this instead. It's endemic in some organizations.

Barry Knister said...

People who write thoughtful, fair reviews are to be admired and appreciated. At the same time, it's inevitable that among those who write reviews and not books, there will be some who envy writers, and review books accordingly. But it must also be said that quite a few books really do deserve bad reviews. When I read a negative review that offers clear reasons for the reviewer's opinion, I think it lends credibility to the whole process.