What’s a Gay Chickenhawk; Award for Worst Book Review; Eisler on Objectivity; Bully Site Taken Down; Public Domain LGBT Pics

(Update: The web site to which I referred in this post that claims to be anti-bully is up and running again. I don’t think it would be fair to link to them because I’m not linking to sites that are in direct opposition. I’d like to remain objective. But you can do a simple search for any of these web sites, and they aren’t hard to find.)

I don’t know about anyone else, but I always find these things like “gay chickenhawk” interesting, especially since I missed out on that time period in the seventies and eighties where there were so many symbolic slang references in gay culture. I honestly couldn’t tell you the difference between what a red, yellow, or brown scarf means. And even though I’d heard the term “chickenhawk” I never really knew what it was until I looked it up.

According to Urban Dictionary, this is a chickenhawk:

A Gay term for an older man that constantly chases after younger men typically in their 20’s.

The heterosexual female equivalent is the Cougar.

Wiki gets into it a little deeper:

It is sometimes used as a disparaging vulgarity within the LGBT community, or seen as a slur against people in that community. The label can be applied to a man who seeks partners with the look of someone young, regardless of their target’s age.

And here’s an interesting thread at Real Jock.

On to the Hachet Award, which is an award for the worst book review of the year. You can get there from here.

The prize was founded last year by literary website The Omnivore to reward the “angriest, funniest, most trenchant” review published in a newspaper or magazine. Its serious aim is to raise the profile of book critics and “promote integrity and wit in literary journalism.”
“Book reviews are, in the main, too fawning and dull,” said Omnivore editor Anna Baddeley.

What this award seems to be promoting are book reviews designed only for the sake of entertainment. I get that; I’ve been entertained by a few book reviews in my time. And I think if it’s taken with a tongue in cheek attitude there’s nothing wrong with it. There are a few reviews I’ve wanted to write about certain books I”ve read but I’ve refrained because I thought it would stir up too much of a crapfest.

However, I don’t think book reviews are “too fawning and dull.” Not the good or the bad. I think book reviews (for the most part) are honest and people/readers are only trying to help other people figure out whether or not to buy a book. I also think readers want to express their opinions about books they’ve read. I know I do.

BUT, there’s one thing to always consider when writing an overly exaggerated bad book review: the odds are you’re going to be helping a book and an author you don’t like. I’ve seen it before too many times to fall into that trap myself. Which is also another reason why you don’t see me writing over the top bad reviews often. That’s how I found “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and I highly doubt the reviewer was trying to promote it. And I saw one living hell of a gay book get slammed and roasted last year and that hunk of mess went on to become a bestseller and it pushed an obscure new author right into the most pitiful, sickening, foray of social media cuteness and awesomeness I’ve ever seen in publishing.

So I’m hoping this award isn’t meant to be taken seriously, and that it is just for the sake of entertainment. But nothing would surprise me anymore.

Now here’s a smart, simple post from the brilliant Barry Eisler. Though I’ve never read any of his books, I have been linked to his blog and I love the way he writes posts that make me think. I may not always agree with him, but I always respect him.

The primary function of America’s establishment media is to launder government propaganda into something the citizenry will believe is objective news. The New York Times is a dutiful exemplar.

I think this is probably one of his shortest posts, but it gets into a very interesting topic: mainstream media. I’ve often posted about how frustrated I get with bloggers who don’t utilize the who, what, when, where, and why factors when writing blog posts. I get even more frustrated with the mainstream when I see this happen. And it’s really as simple as that. Objectivity is another story.

And speaking of objectivity, here’s some interesting information about “That site that shall not be named,” Stop the Goodreads Bullies. I’ve remained objective about this site since last summer, and I will remain so until the end of time. I’ve never complained about a review for one of my own books, and I rarely even read them. I don’t get bullied and I don’t think of myself as a victim. If you screw around with me online, I’ll most likely ignore you because I don’t want to give you any attention. If you do it face to face, you run the risk of me mopping the floors with you.

In fact, one of the things I have to do this week is figure out how to stop getting notifications every time someone leaves a review for one of my books on goodreads. I never got those notifications before, and now suddenly I’m getting them every single day. And please don’t get me wrong. I appreciate all reviews and I thank people for taking the time to write them. I just like to step aside when it comes to reviews of my own books.

I actually hesitate to post anything about this bully web site now because so many are so passionate about it. But this is news, regardless of anyone’s opinion. And to ignore news of any kind just because you don’t agree with it defeats the purpose of freedom of speech. In any event, it seems this web site has been taken down for reasons I’m not sure about. There are a few articles I could link to, but frankly I don’t trust the sources to be reliable.

For those who don’t know, this is a web site designed to attack online bullies who they claim attack books and authors. And there’s a strong opposition to this web site that’s led to some interesting articles since the site was launched. It’s also supposed to be reader based, and not for authors.

You can read more about it here, here, and here.

Now, if you’re an LGBT blogger, you probably have as much trouble finding public domain photos as I do, and this might help a little. It’s not something I’m raving about right now, but at least it’s a place to go for public domain LGBT photos. And it seems simple enough. One of my issues with deviantart.com is that it takes too long to figure out what’s free to use and what’s not. And some of the most dreadful photos of all time seem to have the most protected copyrights. These highly protected amateur images always remind of the old saying, “You’ll Die with Your Secret.” Because if bloggers like me were allowed to use your images and link back to you, you’d be getting more attention and recognition. As it stands, no one really cares about your copyrighted photos. We can, and will, live without them.

All I know is that if I post a photo here that I’ve taken myself, please feel free to use it in your blog post as long as you link back to me. I’m not that grand that I think I’ll ever become rich and famous for my photos, and if you can use one, have fun with it.

This article gets into more about how hard it is to find LGBT public domain photos. Check around, you’ll see what I mean. I would also imagine it’s just as hard to find public domain photos for any minority group.

 Ever notice how news orgs like TV stations will show gay wedding cake toppers and all they have done is duplicate either a male or female figure and place them side by side so it looks like twins are getting married to each other! Or they just show disembodied hands holding each other! Or worse an image of gay people holding hands but looking away from the camera – implicitly reinforcing the idea of a stigma to being gay. It’s sad, yet often they have few if any alternatives.

Photo above courtesy of this photographer. And a big thank you for sharing.

How That "DNF" Review "Thingy" Keeps Haunting Me…

I posted recently that I’d just heard of this “DNF” review grade/rating/internet-thingy…which, for those who still don’t know, means, “Did Not Finish.” As an author, I don’t think it’s ever happened to me, so no one can say I’m complaining about any of my own book reviews. It’s just that I honestly don’t get why anyone would bother taking a “DNF” review seriously.

And since I discovered “DNF” reviews, I coincidentally started reading the worst book I’ve read in years. What makes this particular book even more pitiful is that it was written by a New York Times bestselling author with a long list of published novels. I’m not going to mention names or titles. I won’t do that because I don’t want this to become a review blog. And this post isn’t a review of the book I read.

But I will mention that the book revolves around three women: a college age daughter, a middle aged mother, and an ex-mother-in-law/grandmother who is in her sixties. They all embark on a cross country road trip and the “fun” ensues (I’m twirling my finger right now). And you’d think that with three generations, and a road trip, there would be at least one likable character to hold on to. But not so.

But this isn’t a book review and I realize that this just wasn’t the right book for me, which happens. But it is an example of my point in an earlier blog post about “DNF.” I could have stopped reading. I could have deleted the entire book from my e-reader and it wouldn’t have made a difference in the quality of my life one way or the other. I could have left a bitter, scathing review on goodreads or amazon and felt a brief moment of blind vindication.

But I didn’t stop reading. I plowed through until the end, literally groaning out loud at some points (there was a scene at the Grand Canyon where I wanted to shove them all over.). And even though I didn’t like the book, I understand (objectivity) how other’s might like it…or love it for that matter. It’s pure escapism, from cover to cover. But it’s trying too hard to be realism instead of escapism for my taste.

After this reading experience, I still don’t get this “DNF” thing at all. It’s one thing to stop reading a book and move on…no problem there. It’s just that when I read comments and ratings and reviews for books that were never finished I have to wonder the about the motivation…or lack of motivation in some cases.

I suffered through this particular book and I knew I wasn’t even going to review or rate it in public anywhere. Finishing everything is a personal objective with me. When I begin something I see it through until the end. And, because I had the tenacity to get through this nightmare of a book, I will admit that the ending wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was, in fact, worth my time in the end, and all the complaining I did while I was reading.

But more than that, I’d recommend the book to people who I think would enjoy it (my mother would probably love it). I do know plenty who would, in spite of the fact that I hated it so much. And what a terrible shame it would have been if I’d stopped reading mid-way and written a scathing public review before I’d had a chance to see how it ended.

Joan Rivers Drops F-Bomb on Red Carpet: ‘Stop Campaigning’ and ‘Take Car…

I’ve seen various slants on what Joan Rivers said below. Many have been twisted. But if you view this with objectivity…which is something we don’t seem to have much of these days in the mainstream media in America…you’ll see that she’s talking about ALL politicians, not just any one politician in particular. And, frankly, I couldn’t agree with her more about celebrities (or authors trying to promote fiction) getting involved in politics.