I've been in the mood to rant today, and I don't think I've had one here since I started up again, so tonight you guys get to find out a little of what bugs me in the online world and blogosphere. I'm going to be circumspect and not actually use certain romance author's names because frankly I don't want them (or their friends or fangirls) googling themselves, finding my website, and giving me the same crap that some gave Keishon a little while ago. I could handle it if it came, but why bother?
1. This one comes mostly from reading discussions about the James Frey thing. I can't stand it when people say something like "You don't remember everything you ate a month ago, do you?" as a response to people complaining about Frey's fabrications/exagerations in his book. Whether you think Frey was lying or not, saying something like this is just stupid. This person can't come up with an actual thought or argument to back up their viewpoint (and there are plenty of valid ones they could use) so rather than be logical or reasonable, they go for trying to ridicule the other person. The sole purpose of a rhetorical question like that is to try to make the other person look ridiculous, to make it look like they have irrational expectations that no one could meet, and therefore Frey's isn't so bad. Major pet peeve for me. People, learn how to debate. Go read a book about actual debate -- not just arguing or trolling or steamrolling.
2. A certain author (whose books I sometimes like and sometimes don't) made a statement a couple of weeks ago about whether it is appropriate for readers to review books. The merits of that argument have been debated back and forth, and personally I think anyone who doesn't disagree with her is just an idiot with a chip on their shoulder, but that's just me. That's not what bugs me. What bothers me is how that comment was made and her behavior afterward. I was always taught that when you are having a discussion/debate/argument with someone, you do it in a polite manner. Cursing, insulting, demeaning language or behavior is inappropriate, especially with someone you don't even know (and who really knows anyone online?). So thinly-veiled insults and insinuations disguised as humor just piss me off. A lot of what was said around the blogosphere during that discussion was brushed off as attempts at humor by people making the comments and by some reading them. I don't buy that. There are some people who want to say their mean piece but not look bad for it, and pretending to be making a joke is the way they do it. They say their mean little comment that makes them feel better sitting at their computer at home in a way that looks humorous, and then when they're called on it, they say "I was just making a little joke, why are you taking it so seriously?" Stroking their sad little egos the whole time. And who's going to call them on it without looking like they can't handle a little ribbing? This is the epitome of passive-aggressive behavior -- from Wikipedia: "Someone who is passive-aggressive will typically not confront others directly about problems, but instead will attempt to undermine their confidence or their success through comments and actions which, if challenged, can be explained away innocently so as not to place blame on the passive-aggressive person." Sounds like little mean insults passed off as jokes to me.
3. There is a huge difference between speculating/talking about an idea/impression and slander or libel. If you don't understand the difference then you need more time socializing with real people. The whole thing about The Queen of Romance at the AAR Reviews Board just drives me nuts. Nobody said they'd heard she was screwing the pool boy, they said it seemed like the photo was a little too close to the character. I think it's pretty clear that the publisher was trying to use the photo as a part of the marketing of the book and the Queen herself even said that the photo was an attempt to establish the persona of her alter-ego as opposed to her normal one. If that's not saying it's tied to the series, and therefore the character, then what else does that mean? Ultimately, however, it's not this that bugs me so much as another aspect of the whole argument: that some readers just can't handle open discussion that might be critical of authors (and especially, horror of horrors, a top romance author) and that when faced with informed, rational opinions and discussion, they can't manage to respond in kind. If someone writes a thoughtful, four-paragraph post that you don't agree with, you don't respond with "what's wrong with you that you speculate like this, you must have personal issues that you can't handle, you should see a shrink instead of posting" or some other such crap. That's not discussion, that's insult and doesn't have any place in a reasonable forum.
The sad thing is that even though I have my own opinions about all of these situations, I am completely respectful of the opinions of people on the other side in each because they all have useful points to make. And the issues that don't can always spark discussion about other interesting issues, so it drives me nuts when good discussion is hijacked by idiots.
So what do you guys think about these situations? Do the things that bother me irritate others, or is this just a part of my own idiosyncracies?