bullies

Nathan Bransford Post About Bullies and Goodreads

Nathan Bransford Post About Bullies and Goodreads

I wasn’t planning another post today, however, I ran across a recent blog post by author Nathan Bransford about alleged Goodreads bullies and I wanted to link to it for various reasons. One of which is to be able to go back and revisit the topic in the future. I really do think of my blog as a journal and I like having references. Another reason is that I think it’s one of the most neutral and intelligent posts I’ve read on the topic of online bullying in a long time.

I have always remained objective on this particular topic, and I will continue to do so. When I posted about a web site called Stop the Goodreads Bullies over a year ago here on this blog, I offered no opinions whatsoever, and I’m not doing it now. But I think this is an issue that deserves to be mentioned, I think it’s newsworthy to anyone invested in books and publishing (including readers), and I think it’s going to continue to be newsworthy because so many feel so passionate about it.

From Bransford’s post:

Everyone knows that it takes a thick skin to be an author. But no one who writes a book deserves to be subjected to online abuse. It’s one of the strange aspects of online life that it feels like nothing to attack someone through a computer screen, but the recipient of that attack feels as acutely as if it happened in “real” life. Make no mistake: These aren’t reviews, they’re personal attacks.

Bransford goes on to comment about bullying, and he even mentions the web site Stop the Goodreads Bullies. I highly recommend checking this post out. There are over 250 comments that will take a while to read, but it’s well worth your time to see how heated this discussion can get.

What I also find even more interesting is that Bransford is also a consummate, talented blogger as well as an author. He can go to great lengths of writing blog posts with links to publishing related articles on other web sites that are interesting and informative and can enrich our lives, and he only gets a handful of comments. But he posts about goodreads and bullying and the comment thread ignites, which is why I think this debate is only going to become more intense with time.

Ghetto Is Racist; Goodreads Drama; Lazybeagleentertainment.com

Ghetto Is Racist

At times I’ve been accused of being too politically correct, and at times even I agree with that. But I recently saw an author post something where the word “Ghetto” was used, and it was not only tasteless, but highly insulting to anyone who is sensitive to racism.

To take this a step further, I think authors should be held to a higher standard in cases like this because they above all others should know the significance of ALL words. In other words, had I seen this posted by someone who is not an author I would have had more forgiveness. I’m not sure it was intended to be racist in a cruel way. But either way, the author who made the comment came off looking racist or dumb…or both.

The saddest part about all this is that not one single person called the author out on it. And there were many comments that joked around and no one even seemed to notice it. I personally think this is why we do have race issues in America today. If over fifty people could not see that what the author posted was racist, that means over fifty people with good intentions don’t actually know that the word “Ghetto” is considered a racist word.

Why didn’t I say something? I’ve posted before that I’ve learned the only online argument that’s worth getting into is one where you are ready to stand up and die for the cause. And in this particular case, I wasn’t willing to do that. But, in the same respect, I didn’t make a funny comment to encourage this kind of racism. And, I am posting about it today in a way that I hope helps others see that the word “Ghetto” can be almost as offensive to others as the N word.

To show that I’m not making all this up, here are a few links. This particular piece gives a few good examples of what I’m trying to express right now.

From The Black Commentator:

“Ghetto,” when used colloquially as an adjective, is the most racist, derogatory word in the common lexicon, given its so subtle insinuations and layers. Employed to mean “uncouth,” “unruly,” or “parvenu,” “ghetto” is the most popular, new code word to stigmatize blacks.
 
The article gets into more detail, and I highly suggest reading it in full. This is especially important to me because I’ve also heard the word used with gays, too…as in “Gay Ghetto.”
 
 
It’s a term that stereotypes and lampoons a culture and is wrought with racial implications. Now instead of acting “black,” or “poor,” because those terms aren’t politically correct, people substitute the word “ghetto” and it’s suddenly acceptable.
 
As I stated above, I think a lot of people still use the word without knowing any better. However, I also think that if you claim to be an author you should know better.
 
Goodreads Drama
 
I have always had a love/hate relationship with Goodreads.com. I love the way it brings readers together, and at the same time I wish there were a different set of rules enforced to keep it more honest. I do have an account there, but when I go there I always make sure I go as a *reader*, not as an author. And I only have one account with my name, not multiple accounts with fake names and IDs. I’m not trying to be holier than thou. I just like to sleep at night.
 
In any event, there’s been another shitstorm over at GR I read about in Salon. I haven’t done anything more than a simple search because I haven’t had time.
 
You don’t necessarily think the world of bookworms would be full of bullies. Readers, after all, are assumed to be a more evolved species, capable of articulating higher sentiments than “You suck.” Well, not always. Just a short time ago, Lauren Howard was gearing up for the release of her self-published debut novel, “Learning to Love,” a tale in which “love at first sight isn’t always as simple as a fairy tale.” But then the Goodreads crowd reportedly decided to assert its dominance over the fledgling author, and that’s when things changed.
 
In this article it alleges the self-pubbed author was threatened with rape.
 
They say that novelists ought to develop a thick skin if they want to survive the inevitable assault of literary critics and the occasional displeased reader. Then again, most novelists don’t get rape threats from strangers online before their first book even hits the shelves.
 
There’s an interesting quote in that particular article where a GR member says, “Get over it princess.”
This is the GR member speaking to the self-pubbed author (a young woman). This comment was made by a man named “Derrick.” Is it just me being too PC correct again, or does that sound like he’s talking down to a woman? And if this GR member…reader…is allowed to comment in a public forum should he be kept to the same PC standards as the rest of us?
 
So far, no one has mentioned how poorly this author was treated as a woman. I’m not talking about the book or the reviews or the ratings now. I’m talking about the fact that the author is a woman. I won’t even get into the rape culture aspect of this thing right now because that would be another post. Maybe I’m too sensitive to these things because as a gay man I know that subtle brand of degradation all too well. It even comes from some gay men sometimes, unfortunately.
 
But I digress. The point of me posting about this is mainly because I think it’s interesting these things are now becoming more mainstream, and that they are being written about in larger publications. Five years ago if something of this nature had happened you would only have seen it on a small blog like mine.
 
Lazybeagleentertainment.com  
 
On a far more positive note, there are web sites out there that are bringing authors, publishers, and readers of all genres together. The one I’m talking about now is lazybeagleentertainment.com, which I’ve mentioned before a few times. It’s owned and authored by two great guys, Patrick and Rondal, and I don’t think I have seen two people work so hard on anything since Tony and I opened a business ten years ago in less than three weeks. So I know how hard they are working.
 
If you have not seen Lazybeagle yet, take the time to check it out. If you are a reader I think you’ll love what you see. The most interesting thing about this site is that it includes all genres. I like that partly because I think it’s going to be important for LGBT authors to start incorporating hetero characters with LGBT characters in the future.
 
The reason I’m posting about this now is because Patrick has had a minor health issue and he’s going to be slowing down for a while. And I think we should all offer these guys our support and our best wishes for a fast recovery.

And, if the Internet is supposed to be all about information, lazybeagle has cornered the proverbial market this time with book info.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  

Doing the "Right Thing" on Tuesday and Political Bullies

Tuesday is election day in the US. We are voting to either reelect our current President, or voting to elect a new President. We hold these general elections every four years. It’s a very exciting time for most of us, and it can also be a very stressful time for some.

I don’t post about politics or my political beliefs here on this blog. I’m not doing that now. I happen to be a rare dying breed: I respect everyone’s opinons. So this is just a general post mainly for those are worried about voting, and for those who don’t live in the US and are curious about what it’s like over here during voting time.

This year it’s been particularly brutal. It’s usually intense during presidential elections, but I haven’t seen it this way in a very long time. People are passionate about their candidates and they are fighting hard to see them get elected. Some are turning into bullies and it’s getting ugly.

And when that happens sometimes we lose sight of common sense. It’s wonderful to be passionate about a political candidate, and to work hard to see that candidate get elected or reelected as the case my be. But voting in the US is not a group activity, at least not as far as I know. Voting is a private matter for every single individual and no one has a right to bully or force anyone into voting a certain way.

The other day a good friend told me that a mutual friend of ours said this to him: “Remember to vote the right way on Tuesday.” Of course that means that our mutual friend wants my good friend to vote for our mutual friend’s candidate of choice, not to vote according to my good friend’s own conscience. Not only is this wrong in too many ways to count, it’s insulting and patronizing and no one has the right to tell anyone else how to vote. NO ONE. No one has the right to apply pressure or force, not even gay people.

So don’t be bullied by anyone. If you aren’t the confrontational type and someone says this to you, just smile, nod, and walk away. Then go vote for who you believe is the right candidate. It’s your choice. You have that privilege as an American to vote however you wish. And no bully has the right to force you into voting any other way. If you are the confrontation type,  do what I do: tell them to fuck off, and then smile and walk away.

Doing the right thing when you vote is about what you believe as an American, not about what someone else believes.