anne rice

Anne Rice Over Paula Deen

Anne Rice Over Paula Deen

Update Below *

In a new twist surrounding the Paula Deen deal, author Anne Rice has weighed in on the topic with a new brand of criticism that gets into “lynch mob culture.”

This is what Rice posted on facebook:

“What’s happening with Paula Dean [sic]? Is it fair? I never heard of her until today, and wow, this looks like a crucifixion,” Rice wrote, adding: “I may be wrong but aren’t we becoming something of a lynch mob culture? Is this a good example of that?”

I guess it’s plausible that you can live in the US and not know much about food culture, cookery, or personalities like Paula Deen. But not everyone agrees with me:

Meanwhile, Jeri Milburn quipped: “More shocking than these allegations against Paula is the fact that Anne has never heard of her until today!”

You can read more here. And you can check out Anne Rice’s facebook page yourself to see how people are responding. It’s a very interesting thread to read.

Suggesting this might be “lynch mob culture” is an interesting choice of words for Rice to use, given the historical significance of lynching in the south many years ago, and given the fact that she is an author and she’s aware of how important it is to choose words with care.

I grew up in a household where the N-word was never used. We weren’t saints. I often use the word fuck throughout a given day. I even write fuck here sometimes on this blog. I’ve called a few people chicken-fuckers. I’ve said worse than that on a bad day. I’ve written explicit sex scenes in books that would probably shock most people, including one that had a burping dick. I do think we can be too politically correct in the country sometimes. I’m afraid to use the word black, so I use African American or people of African descent so I won’t offend anyone. But I don’t use the N-word, and I never hear it used in my circles. And on those rare occasions when I hear someone use the N-word it always makes me cringe and I will usually ask him or her not to use it in my presence…or I’ll just leave, right after I tell them to go fuck themselves.

As a side note, I grew up in a small southern NJ town in place that’s referred to as Sleepy Salem County, at the foot of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. There’s a strong southern influence there, and many of the streets are named after southern towns and states. I lived one blog away from Virginia Avenue. The Maryland border is about a half hour away. The Delaware Memorial Bridge is considered the gateway to the south. I’m in my forties, and from what I recall people often used words like “colored,” and “negro,” and as bad as that sounds now they meant no harm by it. But only the worst of the worst used the actual N-word. I have a true story to tell about this, which I’ll post at a later date. It still makes me cringe to think about it.

Update * This is from Rice’s facebook page, from the comment thread where she’s been replying all afternoon:

Thanks for so many wonderful and thoughtful comments on both sides of the issue. Wish I could read every single one but they’re moving too fast for me to cover all. I remain of the same opinion still. This is a public lynching. We live in dangerous times on many levels. Today no one can afford to say the slightest thing that is “politically incorrect.” I mean nothing. We all have to be extremely careful. I feel sorry for this woman. —- I have read the law suit, and if the statements made there by the person suing are accurate or truthful, obviously Paul Dean is a plain spoken woman, somewhat course, somewhat vulgar, and perhaps even what we call ignorant. But I’m not sure a person’s career should be destroyed because one is course, or vulgar or ignorant. America has been built by many such people who were hard working and fair minded while being vulgar and course at the same time. I will be thinking about this one for a long time. And I will NOT be watching the Food Network. Don’t anyway and won’t start. They’re a little too “politically correct” for me.

And I hope this is my last update about Rice. I’ve had just about enough, too.

Anne Rice Responds to Open Letter; Gay Relationship Advice from Friends; Power of "I Don’t Know"

This is the last post about the Anne Rice incident for a while, but since she responded to an open letter someone wrote with regard to a recent incident involving a blogger and Rice’s fans, I figured I would follow up.

And the simplest way to do that is to provide this link to Rice’s facebook page where she posted a link to the open letter and asked her fans to remain civil with their comments.

It’s interesting to note some of those comments on Rice’s facebook page, because it shows how people have various impressions of how authors/readers should react to reviews. I’ve always believed authors shouldn’t react in public at all…unless of course the reviewer spells the author’s name wrong, or gets something factually wrong with the book.

Rice makes this comment on facebook:

One comment I’d like to make: publishing an extended negative criticism of a a book or a person on the internet is not a private act. It’s a public act. Perhaps sometimes bloggers forget this. Yes, in our culture everyone is entitled to have an opinion and express that opinion on just about everything; and when you make your opinions public, well, sometimes people are going to disagree with you. That is to be expected.

I don’t have any strong opinions about this. It’s the author/reader’s choice to react any way they want (or not react), and I’m not going to tell anyone how to do that.  Because that would fall under the category of none of my business.

Gay Relationship Advice from Friends

I found this article interesting because I often get e-mails asking me for advice about gay relationships, and sometimes I have trouble responding. And that’s because all relationships are different, all people are different, and everyone’s circumstances are different. The best I can do is relate with my own personal experiences with my partner of twenty years.  

But what about taking advice from friends? That’s even more interesting because in my personal life I have basically stopped giving out advice to friends. And the main reason for this is because my advice is always so good, and so right, I get annoyed when people don’t take it. I’m only joking around, of course. But I have learned that unless someone asks for my advice, I keep it to myself. Most of the time people are going to do what they want to do and any advice people give them will go in one ear and right out the other…me included.

But what happens when you fall for someone you never expected, and things are far more complicated then you ever thought they would be? If our friends are there for us they will understand that the person they aren’t too keen on is the person that makes us the happiest. You may think your friend’s boyfriend/girlfriend is the biggest idiot/prick/your favourite insult in the world, but it doesn’t hurt (that much) to whack a smile on and try.

I can’t even tell you how many times that’s happened to me. And I have learned, trust me, whack on that smile and try because if your friend is in love with an asshole there’s nothing you’re going to do to change that. And if this is a good friend, you’ll have to remain silent until he or she realizes they are with an asshole. That’s what usually happens.

You can read more here.

Power of “I Don’t Know”

In this NYT article by Tim Kreider, the concept of not knowing everything is discussed in a way I think all authors can relate to at one point or another. Especially if you’ve ever done one of those blogtalk interviews alone. When you write about something, you’re automatically considered an expert on the topic, and everyone expects you to know all the answers. The problem with that is no one knows all the answers…I could be snarky here but I won’t…and sometimes it’s better to be honest and say, “I don’t know.”

Whenever someone writes to take me politely to task over some unfair generalization, self-contradiction or unexamined blind spot, my riposte is usually something along the lines of: “Hm, yeah, I guess you have a point there.” I don’t always agree with me; I certainly don’t expect everyone else to.

You can get there from here. Although, I have to admit that sometimes it can be very entertaining to ask a so-called expert his or her opinion, knowing full well they don’t have the slightest clue, and watch them circle the airport so to speak. Very rarely will you find someone honest enough to actually say, “I don’t know.” Just watch any politician in Washington respond to a question about healthcare.


Book Reviewer Attacked by Anne Rice Fans; Catholic School Fires Gay Teacher

A small blogger recently wrote a less than stellar book review for Anne Rice’s Pandora, and when Rice found out about this review she mentioned it on social media and Anne Rice fans ran to her defense creating the kind of firestorm that has caused many bloggers to rethink their comment policy. There’s even a familiar voice to the m/m romance community on the comment thread.

When the blogger/reviewer compared Rice to Stephanie Meyer in the review, one person lashed out with such a vituperative (I love that word) attack, wishing the blogger would get herpes, even I held my breath. And I’ve seen a lot, but I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen anyone wish an STD on a book reviewer.

What makes this review even more interesting is that the reviewer literally chopped the book up, which created yet another topic to discuss on the comment thread.

Last night, I took a craft knife to Anne Rice’s Pandora and I took out every page. I was left with the gutted remains of the cover itself and threw that away. It’s the first time I have ever desecrated a book in such a way and I can’t deny that it wasn’t made all the more enjoyable by how much I really and truly loathed that book.

In an interesting twist, the blogger was remiss in mentioning that she’d already planned to do a craft project with a book, and she rectified this in an update to the post after Rice posted all this on social media and her fans went berserk. In other words, the blogger didn’t start out with the intention of hacking up an Anne Rice book. It just wound up that way, and she posted photos, too…before and after!!

It’s a shame people don’t know that publishers recycle print books all the time. And publishers don’t make pretty boxes out of them like the blogger did. One person pointed this out on the thread, but it didn’t seem to get much attention.

This all reminds me of the third grade. We had a teacher…Miss Clifford…who was the consummate small town spinster of her day. She wore her hair in a bun at the back of her head, half glasses on the end of her nose, and pencil skirts that kept her knees locked together at all times. Miss Clifford was the crafty type. We made Christmas trees out of cardboard and Ivory Snow, Santas out of poster board and velour paper, and what she could do with macaroni and Elmer’s glue would make you scream. And once, we even made a Christmas bell out of used copies of the Reader’s Digest through a primitive form of origami. Photo above to prove it. This is the actual bell and why I saved it I don’t have a clue.

You can read the blog post I’m talking about in full, here.

Catholic School Fires Gay Teacher

When I read things like this about a gay teacher in a Catholic school who was fired because someone read she was a lesbian in her mom’s obituary, the post about Anne Rice and the reviewer above don’t seem quite as important. Frankly, after reading this about the school teacher, I don’t really care if the blogger wiped her behind with Rice’s book, Pandora.

From what I’ve gathered so far, this is not a gay teacher who walked around carrying rainbow flags and equal rights signs. She taught there for years and no one ever questioned her until her mother died and the obit was published.

Physical education teacher Carla Hale, 57, was fired in March after her name appeared in her mother’s obituary, which also noted Hale’s longtime lesbian partner.

You see what I mean. And this isn’t something new. For those who don’t take what it is like for gay people this far, obituaries have been a long standing issue with gay people, and it’s only recently where gay people have been mentioning their partners in public. Just think about the magnitude of that for a moment. Someone in your family passes away, and you can’t even name your partner/spouse in the obit for fear of backlash like what this teacher is now dealing with.

The main reason Hale was fired, after this obit came out, is astounding, especially coming from the Catholic church.

Hale was subsequently dismissed from Bishop Watterson Catholic High School after 19 years of service, with the school citing a morality provision in the contract between teachers and the diocese.

You can read more here.