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What Would Tod Goldberg Do?

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Last week, Jordan Summers and Kassia Kroszer engaged the romance community at Romancing the Blog in a debate over author blogs. Summers felt hamstrung, in the past, about voicing strong opinions, particularly political ones, for fear of losing readers. Kroszer argued against the milquetoast bloggers. One response that I saw and have seen argued in the past is that our community is fettered by its femininity.

It’s not an uncommon complaint – “you wouldn’t see this if we were all men.” (This is something that is asserted by a good blogger friend of mine, in fact). First, it’s a false dichotomy because the forum itself would not exist if “we were all men.” Second, it raises up male discourse on the internet to be qualitatively superior to that of female discourse on the internet. Would the community be better off if we addressed things like men? How would men interact about romance books? Or books in general? Let’s look at one popular male author/professor/blogger.

Karen Scott uses the term “fucktard” quite a bit. She says she acquired her usage from Tod Goldberg. I asked Tod Goldberg, he of the one “d”, whether I should attribute the term “fucktard” to him. Goldberg demurred stating that fucktard has surely been around for as long as there have been fucktards. Perhaps he just applies it with more vigor and accuracy. Certainly Goldberg has no qualms about giving blunt opinions regarding behavior on the internet. He called a recent miles long thread here a “fucktardapalooza”. I’m of the opinion, although I haven’t shared it with Goldberg yet, that the more that you insult him, the more that he appreciates it. After all, you certainly don’t expect hugs and kitties when “fucktard” is used in every other paragraph. I’m sure, though, if you send Goldberg an email, you should be armed with something more witty than “No, I think you are the fucktard.” I mean, when he calls you a fucktard, you need to return fire and say something like “at least I can carry through an entire interview without my attention wandering like a five year old distracted by chewed gum on the sidewalk.”

Let’s be up front about a couple of things. Women are viewed differently than men by both women and men. Women have to work twice as hard to gain respect as men do. This is as true in the real world as it is on the internet. Despite the fact that the number of females and males who blog is fairly equivalent, the most popular blogs appear to be helmed by men. I also completely understand the desire for authors to not want to cause conflict, make waves, or even tiny ripples. But part of our oppression is self-inflicted. It is possible that men see us differently because we perceive ourselves to be different. Perhaps we have adopted an outmoded, outdated narrative about ourselves.

If we hold ourselves back, there is no progress made forward. If you are a female author who blogs and has something to say, then say it. And if you don’t want to say anything, don’t blame it on your particular set of genitals or lack thereof. I’m not really sure whether this assumption that men relate better is reflective of what actually goes on. Have you been to the ESPN message boards, where I would bet my left leg it is dominated by the penis endowed? Basically, it’s filled with name calling and schoolyard taunts.

Summers points to bloggers with large readerships like John Scalzi. Scalzi is often someone who is pointed to as an example of authorial blogging. People seem to forget that Scalzi has been blogging for over nine years. Nine years, people. He’s built an audience, found his voice, and has been blogging on a consistent, near daily basis, for nine years. I don’t say this to suggest that time alone is responsible for Scalzi’s large audience. Obviously his voice is incredibly important. I find Scalzi’s blog to be entertaining and his fiction work is award winning. But for all Mr. Scalzi’s huge per day visitor rating, he has not made it to the NY Times list** or USA Today list. Again, this is not to diminish Scalzi’s ability as a writer. He has won the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer in 2006 and Hugo Award Best Fan Writer in 2008. He may very well be a bestseller with his next book. But being a popular blogger may not necessarily translate into more sales and being outspoken about one’s opinions does not necessarily translate into less sales.

**Mr. Scalzi did make the extended NYT List at No. 33 for the paperback release of The Last Colony.

What is keeping female author bloggers in check over voicing opinions on a wide array of topics? Answer: Fear of losing sales. What is it that makes authors fear losing sales? Comments in which readers say an author’s actions can adversely affect her sales? How often does that happen? In each case in which Dear Author has highlighted fucktardy behavior by an author against a reader such as the case of Deborah Ann MacGillivray or Victoria Laurie, the authors’ sales have increased. In fact, I somewhat cynically wonder whether authors taking cheap shots at readers is done intentionally to gin up controversy.

There are authors that I’ve stopped reading because of their online persona, the only persona that I know, but I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority. There are authors that I’ve stopped reading because their books are bad. There are authors I’ve stopped reading because I’ve simply forgotten about them.

The truth is that there are plenty of advantages of having a female audience. A) females buy more books by a whopping margin of 3 to 1. B) there are more female authors that make a living off of writing than male authors primarily because of A.

An author can lose a reader for a whole host of reasons, and if being true to yourself is important, then why not blog about what you believe in or conversely don’t believe in. Summers closes her article with a sentiment that she wants to be unfettered by her fear in her blogging. I applaud and support that.

If men can get away with having opinions whereas women can’t, then we women are partially responsible for that. What it means is that we women don’t have to support everyone’s opinion, but rather their right to voice that opinion. This means that if you state an opinion, be prepared for criticism because if you can’t handle it, then you aren’t supporting the right of a person to voice that opinion. Calling someone a bully or running away because an opinion is challenged is just as suppressive.

Authors should feel free to say what they want. But free speech isn’t the same as speech with no consequences. If I disagree with another blogger within the romance community, I’m going to say it here. And I might say it in a mocking tone, in an insulting tone, or in an aggrieved tone. And yes, in return, I can be castigated, praised, insulted. You have to live with those consequences. But I’d rather engage in debate with a person that called me a fucktard than one who would challenge me and run away because that chills more speech, in my opinion, than any invective filled response.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

60 Comments

  1. Nathalie
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 04:35:00

    I’ve discovered Scalzi’s Whatever blog only last year, so I’m by no means an old fan of his. And it’s crossed my mind several times since then that if he were a woman writing in the romance community, there’d be a lot more “OMG!!11! He’s so mean“.

    Is it because he’s a man, or because he’s part of the SFF community that his (sometimes vociferous) opinions don’t create more “fucktardpaloozas”? Both? Neither?

    He probably receives his fair share of angry e-mails and it doesn’t seem to stop him from “taunting the tauntables since 1989″ as his blog proclaims. He probably doesn’t give a shit, and that may be the big difference (as opposed to gender or writing genre stopping him from voicing his stronger opinions).

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  2. ilona andrews
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 06:01:39

    I tried to count the number of times you said “fucktard,” but there were too many.

    I have all of the tact and grace of a tank. I do on occasion post strong opinions that piss people off, but I do it less and less. It’s not because I’m female. It’s because I don’t have time to deal with a long comment thread full of “You are so wrong!!!”

    Sorry. I just don’t have time to do it.

    And as an author, yes, there is some backlash from the audience, when you do something they don’t like. I recall in particular a post where I mentioned that I saw a common thread in the romance books I’ve recently read with a heroine’s character being shunted in favor of greater development for the hero.

    A romance blogger emailed me and told me that I was mocking and insulting the genre. Which wasn’t my intention – I was simply pondering why those particular authors chose to treat women as idiots. (I think that was my first experience with categories, too.)

    And I had locked the post. I still stand by my opinion – but I knew that if I left it up, somebody else would come and bomb me and then I’d have to respond and then somebody else would comment, etc. Basically, if you’re an author and you do post a strong opinion, you have to be prepared that your post will make it onto blogs like this one, will result in a long comment thread, will make some people publicly vow that they will never read your books again, etc. All of that is stress-inducing and time-consuming, and while some women and men thrive on conflict and vigorous discourse, most of writers simply prefer to write books. Some things have to be said – it’s that or I might explode – but the list of those things is growing shorter and shorter.

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  3. Emmy
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 06:03:38

    .

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  4. Emmy
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 06:34:44

    He called a recent miles long thread here a “fucktardapalooza”.

    Actually, I think he said it was a ‘fucktardathon’. The “fucktardapalooza” was his book signing, as near as I can tell. OMG, the fucker rambles. And I thought my ADD was bad. Geez, even Shi would call me normal compared to that crazy bastage. He does have the occasional funny moment though.

    I have chosen not to purchase books of authors who act like…well, fucktards. To be fair, I had never read DAM or Laurie or Somerville in the first place, but I would not now purchase their work if I came across it. It’s entirely possible that an equal or larger group of people will buy their books to see what all the fuss is about. Some authors, like Chancery Stone, deliberately attack others to get more traffic to their website, so I can only guess it’s a somewhat effective strategy.

    The fact of the matter is that you can’t be in a public position (and if you’re trying to get people to buy a book, you’re in the public) and just say/do whatever you want without repercussions. Authors are free to blog about whatever they want. I am free to choose where to spend my money.

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  5. John Scalzi
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 06:36:07

    “But for all Mr. Scalzi's huge per day visitor rating, he has not made it to the NY Times list or USA Today list.”

    Actually, The Last Colony made it onto the NYT list not too long ago. And while TLC’s ascension had more to do with the demand built up from sales of previous titles in the series than it did with the site, it’s also the case the initial sales of my first novel Old Man’s War benefited hugely from the fact I had a robust online presence. Having a site and its audience, on other words, didn’t put me on the bestseller list, but it did help lay the sales groundwork that made it possible, three books later.

    Also, presence on the bestselling lists does not tell the whole sales story. Old Man’s War is my bestselling book in terms of total copies sold, and it’s never been near the NYT or USA Today list; it simply sells lots of copies, and a consistent number of copies, week in and week out. An interesting question would be to ask how much those continuing sales are aided by a Web presence; I don’t know if its quantifiable, but I suspect it doesn’t hurt.

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  6. Nathalie
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 06:49:44

    Allow me a silly fangirl moment “Squee! John Scalzi’s here!”

    Okay, feeling better now.

    I don’t know if readers buying (or not) books based on authors’ online presence make a big difference in overall numbers, good or bad. Not a lot of folks are online talking about what they read. In my circle of friends (maybe that says too much about me and I should shut up now…?), no one does. I’m the weirdo who wields stuff like “Smart Bitches”, “Dear Author” and “Whateveresque”.

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  7. Shiloh Walker
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 06:50:05

    *G* I’m another strongly-opinionated person. But I’m also lazy and I don’t get into things unless I feel like finishing them. We’ve seen the way some dramas last way past ad nauseam. I don’t want to mess with it. I have writing to do. I’m also slightly obsessive and I have a hard time letting go of things until I know I’ve made my point.

    This has nothing to do with being female, I suspect, and nothing to do with wanting to avoid conflict, or being nice.

    I can debate my opinions with others, and as long as I’m shown respect, I’ll return it. And I very often try to return it even when I’m not shown respect.

    But none of that gets books written. Writing does that, and I can’t write if my mind is constantly ate up with whatever current controversy or issue I’m caught up in online.

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  8. Jaci Burton
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 07:57:22

    I think Dear Author and Smart Bitches and Karen Scott’s blogs and all the women who blog there do a fine job of showcasing smart competent females who can engage intelligently in debate without said debate dissolving into female histrionics and drama, at least not drama by them. That’s why I frequent their blogs and occasionally comment when I have time.

    Like Shiloh, I can blog and debate, or I can write. I have to write. So I’ll leave the debating and the controversial topics up to the experts who do it so well, and engage when I have the time. It’s not a matter of fear, it’s a matter of me having a choice to make of where I spend my time. Contractually, I know where I have to spend my time. :-)

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  9. MoJo
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 08:13:54

    Ilona said:

    All of that is stress-inducing and time-consuming… Some things have to be said – it's that or I might explode – but the list of those things is growing shorter and shorter.

    Then Shiloh said:

    But I'm also lazy and I don't get into things unless I feel like finishing them. We've seen the way some dramas last way past ad nauseam. I don't want to mess with it. I have writing to do.

    That. I have too much other stuff to do, too many other fun projects or whatever to waste time arguing nicely or exchanging insults with people who have nothing better to do. Also, I’m getting older and a lot less willing to get my panties in a wad over stupid shit.

    Scalzi and Goldberg probably consider the time they spend on such as part of their workday–or, well, I would, if I were in their positions and had their following. Also, I bet that at least Scalzi cut his teeth on Usenet, which was a whole different thing from message boards and blogs and stuff. There was no nice. The women who hung around Usenet and participated did so because they could play the game the way the men did.

    Re men v women. This is the sad fact of life: If women buy 3 times more books than men, it makes more sense not to piss of the women. And women seem to be more easily offended than men. So offensive women’s-author opinions != sales.

    Easy peasy.

    ETA for Jaci’s comment:

    I think Dear Author and Smart Bitches and Karen Scott's blogs and all the women who blog there do a fine job of showcasing smart competent females who can engage intelligently in debate without said debate dissolving into female histrionics and drama, at least not drama by them.

    But the difference lies in the fact that they are readers (with reader blogs), not writers (with author blogs that are intended to drive sales or at least not kill them) and that is not an insignificant difference.

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  10. Gennita Low
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 08:16:48

    I think it depends on what your blog is about. Sure, you’re blogging as part of your authorial persona, but mostly, after a while, you’re blogging because you’re enjoying it as your playground. Your personality brings in the readers, whether it’s because of your fuctardry, your charm or your amazing collection of eye candy.

    Yes, I think it’s important to not feel restricted in voicing one’s opinion, but I don’t think it’s just because a person fears offending or losing readers. Some of us just like our playground for playing.

    In the end, it’s what you enjoy and how you enjoy it. For John Scalzi, the name of his blog is perfect for him, and his byline is Taunting The Tauntable. That’s his thing, and definitely eyecatching to many types of internet visitors. For me…umm…huh, it’s A Low Profile. Dammit, no wonder I don’t get more visitors….

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  11. Nora Roberts
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 08:23:30

    I don’t have the inclination, time or enough to say to blog, but I sure like to read them and comment when there’s something of interest to me. And if I’m going to comment or engage in a discussion, I’m going to speak my mind. We don’t need balls to voice an opinion.

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  12. katiebabs
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 08:32:18

    I enjoy blogging not for the recognition, not for the praise of trying to hit the NYT or USA Today. I am not in it for the traffic or counting the amount of comments I have in one day. If people are blogging for some form of acknowledgment, more power to them. Posting alone takes a lot of work, but trying to be number one in the blogging world seems to give one a headache because you are worrying about stats, numbers and who is stopping by.

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  13. Jane
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 08:35:48

    @ilona. You said “A romance blogger emailed me and told me that I was mocking and insulting the genre. Which wasn't my intention – I was simply pondering why those particular authors chose to treat women as idiots. (I think that was my first experience with categories, too.)”

    and my response is that yes, I think that an author can say whatever she wants, but that there is a consequence to those words. If you choose not to say them because it might create more drama than it is worth or because you feel like you might lose sales or whatever, that’s fine, but I don’t like the implication that if only we were a community of women we wouldn’t have this dilemma.

    @John Scalzi “Actually, The Last Colony made it onto the NYT list not too long ago. ”

    Sorry about the mistake. I looked at your website last night and couldn’t find any evidence of bestsellerdom. I’ll correct the piece. I’m not discounting that your large online crowd has a positive effect on your sales. I’m certain that your blogging for nearly eight years prior to your first publication helped you have an audience for your books that a newly minted author did not. I think that is something that may have helped an author like Meljean Brook. I know I bought her book because of her blogging (although her authorial voice is nothing like her blog voice).

    And not to belabor the point about bestseller lists which I know to be somewhat specious and inaccurate markers of actual sales (particularly the New York Times), it does seem that getting onto the list can be self fulfilling in terms of sales.

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  14. Lauren Willig
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 09:18:12

    As Shiloh said above, goodness only knows that I’m more than opinionated enough in my personal life. Time constraints are certainly a disincentive to blogging, and, yes, the fear of backlash in terms of sales, but neither of those are the main concern for me.

    When people pick up my books, I want them to see the characters, rather than me. I don’t want my face or my beliefs intruding between the reader and the story. My characters are independant entities with their opinions and belief systems, none of which exactly track my own. I don’t want to clutter that relationship between reader and characters up with extraneous echoes of me. (Trust me, the characters are far more interesting!).

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  15. Anion
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 09:34:51

    I avoid controversy on my blog simply because it isn’t fun for me. I certainly speak my mind on a lot of topics but Scalzi-style offensiveness (I’ve visited the blog once or twice and found it highly unpleasant, and because of that I avoid both it and Mr. Scalzi’s books) is not for me.

    I’m not a fan of “We’re the smart cool people who think the right way; they’re a bunch of morons who are clearly wrong”-style elitism. I didn’t give a shit about the in-crowd in high school, and I sure as hell don’t give a shit about it now.

    ETA: Lauren makes a great point above. I want people to buy my books because they’ve heard they’re good or well-written or exciting or because they loved my other books, not because they see that purchase as supporting political views they agree with or whatever.

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  16. roslynholcomb
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 09:43:16

    @Mojo, I’m one of the veterans of the usenet and you’re right, it was very much a wild, wild west mentality. I enjoy that type of interaction, unfortunately I simply don’t have the time for it anymore. I’ll still mix it up from time to time, but not all that often.

    I think it’s interesting that guy blogs are more popular. I don’t read any guy blogs at all. My faves are all by women. My girlfriend get 10,000+ hits per day on her blog and she doesn’t avoid controversy. In fact, she calls herself a misanthrope. She also gets more than a thousand emails. I would literally cut my throat if I got that much mail. I think people like her BECAUSE she’s a curmudgeon, but I think the key to having a successful blog is posting. I mean posting A LOT. She sometimes posts a dozen times a day. I’m lucky if I do that in a MONTH. She also posts about everything. You never know what you’ll find her talking about.

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  17. Monica Burns
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 10:04:01

    The idea of “because we're women” playing a role in blogging has never occurred to me when I'm reading a blog (unless someone brings it up) or when I'm writing a blog post. I have really strong opinions, and it's for that reason that I try to avoid making posts (I don't always succeed in that goal) where I might irritate readers. It might only be one sale I lose, but losing that one sale means I've lost the the potential for six degrees of “word-of-mouth” separation. Whether readers avoiding opinionated authors it's a valid theory or not, I'm try hard to avoid testing the waters. Although I freely admit that when I do test the waters, I don’t tip toe into the shallows.

    As to authors voicing strong, possibly divisive opinions, it can be a dilemma and the idea of “voicing opinion with consequences” should be considered when making the choice. I have a lot of strong female role models who aren't/weren't afraid to put themselves “out there,” and I question whether the “because we're women” issue isn't more hyperbole than anything else. Sometimes the minority opinion can seem more extensive than the majority, simply because it's not something the majority finds worthy of discussion. Personally, it's a non-issue for me because I don't believe I'm limited because I'm a woman. I'm limited only by my own idiosyncrasies and faults.

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  18. Jessa Slade
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 10:11:33

    While I agree that being a woman doesn’t & shouldn’t stop you from having an opinion, I think it’s fairly obvious to anyone who works with men and women that their communication styles often differ. It’s that whole “communicate to make a point” vs. “communicate to build community” thing. Individuals vary in how they prefer to hold a discussion too: Visual processor, kinesthetic processor, etc. Just being aware of the differences makes you a better message sender.

    I write romance. For women. Romance is about relationship building. So I think my voice should be styled toward that end. I prefer my conflict in my stories and I want my conflict to have purpose and a conclusion at about page 379.

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  19. JulieLeto
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 10:13:25

    When my plotting partners and I decided to do a blog together, we made a conscious decision not to tackle any really controversial topics–not because of what we were afraid would happen to our sales, but because of the type of community we intended to build. We wanted to provide a place where readers could come to laugh, learn about us, learn about our books, laugh, commiserate about being women and parents and daughters and wives and dog-owners, etc.

    I don’t blog about political matters because frankly, it would be the same as me blogging about math. I simply don’t know enough to have the TYPE of opinion that readers are looking for in this arena. I mean, I can tell you want I think on a particular issue…but who cares what I think if I’m not knowledgeable or passionate about that topic?

    Now, get me started on plagiarism or crimes against children and yeah, I’ll engage, no problem. We’ve actually broken our “no controversy” rule at Plotmonkeys to discuss plagiarism because to the four of us, who have all been touched by this crime, it’s not controversial. But we don’t do it often. Why would be? Talking to our fabulous, upbeat, conscientious readers about plagiarism is like preaching to the choir.

    I’m very opinionated and I post on a quite a few blogs in the comments section about those things that mean a lot to me. I will say that I do not believe I’ve ever had a reader not buy my books because they don’t like my opinions…but I have certainly had MANY readers and fellow writers seek me out at conferences or through email because they liked something I said. I’ve made some great friendships that way. I refuse to be afraid to say what I want to out of fear of losing a book sale. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t think very carefully about HOW I voice that opinion. That’s just being a professional, IMO. And being prudent. And honestly, I try to live my life that way–strong opinions, couched with care. I think it’s a more effective way of discourse.

    I know of a writer whose politics are completely different than mine and I often disagree with the way she voices her opinion. But guess what? I still buy all her books. Why? Because she’s a damned good writer.

    If I stop buying her books, it will not be because of her political leanings or often confrontational personality…it’ll be because her books no longer engage me. So far, that hasn’t happened. And besides, she’s never, ever boring.

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  20. Lori Borrill
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 10:37:38

    I agree with Julie, who said it extremely well.

    I don’t blog strong opinions, particularly political, for the very simple reason that it’s not what people visit my blog for. I’m a romance writer, not Arianna Huffington, and I simply don’t have the ego to presume that just because someone likes my books, they now want me to tell them who to vote for, what toothpaste to buy, or how to bake a really awesome tuna casserole. They want to hear about my books, about what it’s like to be a romance writer, and maybe catch a little industry buzz as it pertains to my publisher.

    And if I did choose to voice a strong opinion and it turned some readers off, I’d have a hard time stretching that into a gender issue. That sounds like a lot of pouting and whining to me. Sorry.

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  21. Lori
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 11:22:47

    I’m another one who only visits female run blogs and I’m such a DA addict I check it throughout the day.

    I’m not really interested much in reading the political ideologies of my favorite authors, admittedly it might change my buying habits. I’m staunchly pro-choice and if I read say, Shiloh Walker was 100% right-to-life I don’t know if my dollars would be going into her retirement fund. Would she have the right to say it? Absolutely. But the knowledge would sour something for me.

    ***I don’t know Shiloh’s beliefs and was just using her as an example.***

    But what also gets my goat is that when a woman criticizes another woman for how something is said (where the men get into their name calling behavior), then women are accused of being sexist. Grrrrrr. Just because I believe we can disagree without being insulting about it doesn’t mean I hate women. It means I hate being told I’m a fucktard. Sorry. If you can’t be reasonable, go to your room and have a time out. I don’t accept this behavior from my 7 year old, why am I pilloried for not accepting it in adults?

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  22. K. Z. Snow
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 11:24:24

    So what silences those of us who have a penchant for opining?

    1. Other bloggers. I can’t begin to count the number of “play nice” admonitions I’ve read on blogs and forums. Or the number of posters who twist themselves into knots trying to be diplomatic and even-handed . . . and, as a result, reduce their comments to milquetoast. Sad to say, most of the blog hosts who resort to the ol’ school-marmy tsk-tsk-tsk are women.

    2. The likelihood of misinterpretation. A sense of humor is often the culprit here. All my life, it’s amazed me how many people seem to have had their senses of humor surgically removed. I’m a droll old broad and rarely become the Queen of the Hissy Fit. So I find it truly daunting how many people seem to be waiting, nearly with bated breath, to take umbrage at something. When that happens — and it happens a lot — discussions lose their focus and degenerate into huffing.

    3. Fear of repercussion. For writers, especially e-romance writers, the concern is justified. Readers can be touchy and easily put off. Fellow authors can be judgmental. Publishers can be vindictive. If we don’t censor or at least mute ourselves to a generally acceptable degree, shit starts hitting fans.

    4. What Lauren Willig said. A strong authorial voice is a good thing in fiction (for me it is, anyway; I hate generic-sounding prose), but it can be undermined by too strong a personal voice. I’m very aware of this and struggle with it constantly, since I would love to use my blog as a “ventue.” But I want to keep writing and getting published even more.

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  23. Monica Burns
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 11:44:53

    Just because I believe we can disagree without being insulting about it doesn't mean I hate women. It means I hate being told I'm a fucktard. Sorry. If you can't be reasonable, go to your room and have a time out. I don't accept this behavior from my 7 year old, why am I pilloried for not accepting it in adults?

    I wish I could be so succinct. That's it in a nutshell. I believe it's more than possible to disagree with people without personalizing the issue. If I'm not confrontational with an individual I don't expect to be torn apart by a rabid monkey, dog, goat or whatever flavor of the month.

    I don't think we have to eschew locker room talk completely, but I sure wish respect were a more prevalent in the world in general. I'm tired of ill-mannered people in the blogosphere, the grocery store, the road, wherever. It's one of the reasons I don't own a gun.

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  24. Jessica
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 11:51:36

    This fem world is why I write under a pseudonym. I have very strong opinions about books, about politics, about class, about religion, about race . . . and I write about them in nationally published op-ed pieces — not the stuff of popularity contests.

    I can’t imagine people reading those — mmm, somewhat provocative essays or my blog then wanting to read light hearted romance by a pessimist, a downer, a whiner – whatever.

    This was no more evident than at RWA where editors talk about readers like they’re all poor, sad women who need our books to see themselves, thin, or happy, or in love. As a reader, I think I can take more realism from my authors and the world – but what do I know about selling tons of mass market books.

    Although, now that I think about it, I don’t really know much about the authors I read (except those I know personally). Did I find it shocking that an erotica author was an evangelical Christian, sure, but it didn’t make me feel one way or the other about her books – but she sure has an ironclad pseudonym for her inspirational titles.

    One day I may have to own up to one identity or the other, but I’ll try to keep them separate as long as I can.

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  25. Jody W.
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 12:32:18

    I have no time and interest in fostering a community of contention on my blog or in my life. Must be nice to have so much extra time I can spend hours blogging and reading and mocking and fighting and flinging rude emails back and forth in some mythically “manly” fashion. Am I the way I am because I’m a weak, sissy female? Does it mean all the comments and blog entries I do make time for are boring, spineless and milquetoasty? Sometimes when discussions like this crop up, I get a bit frustrated by the implication if you’re not out there buttin’ heads, you’re some kind of colorless, puling, mediocre twit.

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  26. MaryK
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 13:04:44

    There are several authors I won’t buy because of their online personas. When I see one of their names on a book, I think “that’s the writer who said suchandsuch” or “that’s the writer who can’t have a conversation without calling someone a ****” and “if that’s what she’s like what must her characters be like?” Totally ruins the reading experience.

    And please, there are enough politics in life without them ruining romance. If I get political vibes from a book, I cross the author off my list. I read for entertainment so proselytize at your own risk.

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  27. veinglory
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 13:23:50

    Funny, almost every blog I read is by a woman, both fiction and science categories. The internet is large, opinionated women are not–I think–that thin on the ground.

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  28. karmelrio
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 13:41:37

    I have started and backed off this entry multiple times, which, given the topic of this post, is pretty damn ironic. So (deep breath) here goes. As an aspiring author, I have supremely mixed feelings about blogging – particularly the expectation I perceive out here in Romancelandia that every author HAS TO BLOG. Really? Why? I feel that most author blogs aren’t worth more than a single visit, and aren’t nearly as interesting as the books these authors write – or COULD write, if they worried less about promo and guestblogging and blah blah blah, and more about the quality of their books. It’s about the books. Isn’t it?

    I don’t need to know what my favorite author had for breakfast, see a picture of their cat, or read an interview you held with your characters. I don’t want to read deleted scenes – I’m assuming they’ve been deleted for a reason. I don’t want the author injecting his or her personality into my reading experience. I just want to read a good book.

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  29. LauraB
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 13:49:41

    I think Summer may be reading a false gendered dichotomy here. I don’t believe that women are given more shit than men are if folks disagree with them; what I do think is women are possibly more likely to internalize it, notice it and react to it.

    As for author blogs…. I’m sure there are as many out there who comment on current events as there are those who don’t. I’d also say that it is likely that this will hit on a fairly even scale between genders.

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  30. veinglory
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 14:00:55

    Karmel, I do agree that many author think that they should blog–but few really know why. You do need 1) something to say (a lot) *and* some kind of readership that wants to hear it (a lot). Even I am not all that interested in a blog that is just about me me me ;)

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  31. Nathalie
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 14:25:09

    Okay, put a French woman out of her misery and someone *please* explain the “milquetoast” thing? Please?

    ReplyReply

  32. MoJo
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 14:34:38

  33. Jill Sorenson
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 15:49:24

    I stand by the right to lob out an opinion and run away, ducking. Why does a blogger have to hang around, waiting to see how her comment went over, or respond to those who agreed or disagreed? Are our opinions worth less if we fail to engage in an argument over them?

    I enjoy getting responses to my comments, and being part of a two-sided discussion, but I don’t see anything wrong with walking away.

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  34. Daisy Dexter Dobbs
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 19:49:48

    Strong and compelling as my opinions on politics or world affairs may be, I don't subject my blog readers to them. It has nothing to do with fearing loss of sales. If I had a burning desire to assert my views, I would. It also has nothing to do with being a woman. I'm simply not interested in voicing burly or solemn viewpoints on my blog. I have no objection to those who do, whether they're male or female, author or reader.

    We all blog for different reasons. I do it for the same reason I write books or create artwork; because I find it enjoyable and therapeutic. Using my skills and natural inclination toward humor to make readers laugh, or perhaps to bring a smile to their day when they need it most, is vastly satisfying. There are many things in this world I can't do, but I'm fortunate that I can do that quite well.

    While knowledgeable regarding the harshness of the world around me, I greatly value the pleasures of entertainment and escapism. Writing, reading, artwork, engaging in laughter and good conversation…they soothe my soul, mend my body, enrich my mind. I'd rather steep myself in pastimes that cultivate happiness than spend my time soaking up the unneeded angst of blog dramas.

    I've found one of the nice things about getting older is learning what's really important in life. Life is short, and it can be damned hard and cruel at times. When I think of all the worthwhile things I can do in a day, initiating or fueling controversy on my blog or other blogs falls way at the bottom of my things-to-do list. I don't find it necessary to pound people over the head with my thoughts and opinions, stellar as they may be, and I'm not interested in them doing so to me.

    Some bloggers excel at creating calamity and instigating stormy debates. I'm okay with that. I marvel at their genuine knack for snagging the attention of blog readers the same way writers learn to hook readers with a book's opening paragraph. I admit that I do sometimes get sucked into reading heated blog squabbles. They can be wickedly entertaining, like trying not to watch a train wreck. For me, it's far too easy to get snared by all the negativity. Hours fly by and I find I haven't accomplished anything positive or productive.

    A little bite goes a long way. Come to think of it, I'm sure that's what many serious-minded blog readers might have to say about my decidedly non-sober blog.

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  35. Jessica
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 19:55:56

    Wait … is that true, that book sales increase with bad publicity? I don’t know why I’m surprised, but I am. Then what do you make of Angela James’s worry over at RtB about bad publicity?

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  36. kerry
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 19:57:36

    The most astonishing thing I learned by reading this (and the other thread pointed to herein) is that there are whole Monk *books.* I had no idea.

    I’ve been reading John Scalzi ever since he started blogging (or online journaling as it was called in the dark ages) and have enjoyed his writing mainly because he’s never been afraid to voice his opinion. Before book deals or after. Not that I always agree with it, but I think he voices it pretty eloquently and passionately.

    I usually do check out author blogs and if they are well written and interesting, I keep reading. I like when authors aren’t afraid to tackle difficult subjects and yes, sometimes I don’t agree with them. If they respectfully voice their opinions, I still keep reading. I don’t think authors should be “afraid” per se to voice their opinions, but there are going to be people who don’t agree with x and choose to voice that disapproval by not buying that author’s work.

    I think the female vs male author thing is a nonissue. I don’t really think women authors feel inhibited in blogging because they’re supposed to be “feminine” or whatever.

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  37. RfP
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 23:44:47

    “Fucktard” is a venerable term (in internet time). One source says it dates to at least 1994 and was used in Bridget Jones’s Diary. And as with so many useful descriptors, Television Without Pity helped popularize it in discussion forums.

    Jane: Calling someone a bully or running away because an opinion is challenged is just as suppressive. … I'd rather engage in debate with a person that called me a fucktard than one who would challenge me and run away because that chills more speech, in my opinion, than any invective filled response.

    I think those are quite different things. Are you really saying it chills speech to not hang around the site checking for responses? If so, I have several disagreements.

    1. That sounds like it ascribes motives to absent people whose schedules and levels of interest you don’t know or control.

    2. A blog probably isn’t the center of its readers’ universe. Put another way, readers’ involvement doesn’t have to be equal to yours. You may want to pursue a topic in a particular way or timeframe, but you can’t force it.

    3. Why should anyone feel obliged to fight something out to the very end? A few weeks ago I gave Robin a list of reasons I sometimes don’t stick around for blog fights. Feel free to put “running away” at the top of the list, but please also consider that it may be “chilling” to require that others stick out a discussion for as long as you choose. I’d rather not express disagreement than be stuck responding to the thread forever. As Jody W said,

    Must be nice to have so much extra time I can spend hours blogging and reading and mocking and fighting and flinging rude emails back and forth in some mythically “manly” fashion. Am I the way I am because I'm a weak, sissy female?

    It’s not always sissy to walk away–or to not engage in the first place.

    karmelrio: I feel that most author blogs aren't worth more than a single visit, and aren't nearly as interesting as the books these authors write – or COULD write, if they worried less about promo and guestblogging and blah blah blah, and more about the quality of their books. It's about the books. Isn't it?

    For me it’s definitely about the books. I’m perfectly content for authors not to blog at all; if they do blog I’d rather they do it interestingly. I’m more likely to be turned off an author by banal writing than by strong opinions.

    Jessica: what do you make of Angela James's worry over at RtB about bad publicity?

    Isn’t part of her point that it’s not always as big an issue as readers may believe?

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  38. The Daily Square - Institutionalized Edition | Booksquare
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 00:56:43

    [...] What Would Tod Goldberg Do?Normally, we’d link to this because Jane picks up on the blogging/women/opinion theme we discussed last week, but…well, the real reason we’re linking is because we love to see the words "Tod Goldberg" in a headline. [...]

  39. Tod Goldberg
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 01:02:35

    I think there is an opportunity, via blogging, for readers to know too much about an author, thus demystifying what they do on the page to an extent. What I mean by that doesn’t really have anything to do with their opinions per se, or their thoughts on who is a fucktard and who isn’t a fucktard, but about removing that 4th wall and letting the reader into the process too much, which is why I don’t really talk too terribly much about my actual writing — the invariable response being that people who buy my books expecting something like what I sound like on my blog, or expecting subject matter like that, end up being disappointed. I am not the person portrayed on my blog, just as I am not the person you think you know from reading my books. What you get on the blog is another form of entertainment that contains large parts of me, certainly. But I’m like Whitman — I live in multitudes. That’s not to say I don’t believe in the things I say there, merely that I might only be angered or saddened or gladened by them for the length of time it takes me to write it all down.

    Personally, my blog is more like an extension of a column I wrote for five years in a newspaper in Las Vegas that basically detailed my fucked up little life and allowed me to rant on the things I found interesting or sad or happy or whatever and as such it’s a different beast for me than what I do in fiction. I expect that some of my readers have purchased all of my books, but I don’t expect that most of them have — I think typically people come to my blog looking for something in particular — a little humor, a little bit of fucktard outing, a little bit of making fun of my brother, a little bit of making fun of the fucktards who send me hate mail, a litle bit of making fun of myself. My opinions about other more important issues, like politics, or the environment, I espouse because as a nominal public figure I’d feel like a fraud if I didn’t. My position is that artists have two duties: to create art and to argue for a world where making art is possible. So i stand up and say what I believe and if people have an issue with that, I am not concerned, ever, that it will effect my sales because there are things larger in this world than sales numbers for books.

    If you’re going to live publicly, I feel like you should have a reason. I write books because I love it. I blog because I find it entertaining and it’s a good way to keep my fans engaged in the time between my books, but I could give it up tomorrow without any problem at all.

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  40. Chancery Stone
    Oct 16, 2008 @ 11:25:26

    I don’t normally comment on other people’s blogs, but as the (most recent?) recipient of Karen Scott’s “fucktard” I must say there is an inexorable amount of horseshit written about this subject.

    Do women (authors or otherwise) hold themselves back from “speaking their mind”? Hell, yes. Unless, of course, their peer group has given them the go-ahead after a group consensus of ‘our opinion of the week’. I mean, what if someone disapproved of them? Or, God forbid, they were seen as a bitch? Then no-one would love them and they’d lose all their book sales.

    As someone who has been at the centre of several such storms I can tell you from personal experience that the first thing out of your ‘detractors’ mouths is always, “Your behaviour has ensured I will NEVER EVER buy your book”. This is invariably followed by “Your behaviour has alienated all your potential readers”.

    Make no mistake, these catchphrases are both threat and condemnation: We will withhold, and we’ll make damn sure everyone else withholds too. Plus the double-whammy that it is your own fault that you have “alienated your readers” and you are now doomed to failure.

    Does it give you increased book sales? Perhaps. Nearly all my skirmishes have produced one or two sales, but I’m too small fry to know if that would translate big if the author were big. Did Anne Rice get lots more sales during her debacle/s? I really don’t know. All I know is it’s a truly crap way to increase book sales. As a modus operandi it stinks. It takes up more time to deal with hatefests than you gain from them. Does that mean you should shut your trap in case you offend the sensitive fangirls? Categorically no.

    Fangirls (I use the term to refer to both sexes – I find the men as stereotypically bitchy as the women) do not wield anything like the power they think they do. It’s this illusion of the ‘power to punish’ that keeps women authors cowering. There is nothing women fear more than sticking their heads above the parapet. They simply can't handle that level of disapproval coming at them. Paradoxically, it also makes them the most likely to actually be heading the most recent lynch mob, especially against other women. They deeply resent any woman speaking up. Just as it is always other women first to shout out “slut” at any woman having a ‘better’ sex life, they are also the first to yell, “Crazy bitch” at any woman daring to go against the flow.

    In short, as a ‘controversial’ author myself, I would say yes, women are spineless and hypocritical and their own worst enemies, first in their condemnation of other women who dare to be “badly behaved” (i.e. outspoken and not intimidated by disapproval) and secondly, by being the chief perpetrators of gossip cliques where this so-called “bad behaviour” is meticulously examined and delineated with group-approved ‘rules’ like some kind of demented social system – all the while disguising it as the ever-popular “mocking”. Never was “mockery” so life-or-death serious. They have truly made ‘don't make waves’ into a way of life, complete with a Stepford Wives slip-on personality.

    Although the male fangirls join them (in lesser numbers), I seriously doubt we’ll ever see men creating one of these little dens of disapproval for themselves. They’re too busy tearing into each other and inventing new swear words, cheered on by this week’s collection of Karen Scotts, sitting knitting on the sidelines, admiring the brave macho boys while they carry out their real work as internet ‘mums’, making sure their daughters never outshine their sons.

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  41. Annie Solomon
    Oct 16, 2008 @ 17:12:57

    As someone who just started a blog on my site, this discussion really caught me. I admit to not writing about a few things because I didn’t want to stir the waters–or maybe, as Tod said, I didn’t want to let the reader in too deeply. I have strong opinions on politics and religion, but that’s not only too private, it’s too real to talk about. And I don’t write real. I don’t want to read real, either. Not to say that I want to be boring, or silly, or how did Jody put it–”a colorless, puling, mediocre twit”–but I do want to be fun and entertaining, and create a shared experience with the reader. What do we have in common? How are our experiences different? And, as Jody said, why are only the rough-edged, head-butting writers respected? But hey–I’m just getting started. Be interesting to see how the whole thing progresses. I was extremely nervous about starting, for many of the reasons expressed here–time and content being primary. But I’ve been shocked at how much fun I’m having. Even when I’m only talking to myself. How’s that for narcissism?

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  42. Ann Somerville
    Oct 16, 2008 @ 19:39:46

    how nice of you to post this when I would not have the temptation to jump in :)

    I'm of the opinion, although I haven't shared it with Goldberg yet, that the more that you insult him, the more that he appreciates it.

    Yeah, I suspect it’s genetic. For a man, negative attention is a good thing because it brings out the protective nurturing instinct in their female fans. Basically, there is no downside to being a tool if you’re a guy – which is why the Goldbergs are such avid practitioners of the art of dishing it out but not taking it.

    Me, I prefer the size of Mr Scalzi’s cojones, and his blog.

    I can't begin to count the number of “play nice” admonitions I've read on blogs and forums. Or the number of posters who twist themselves into knots trying to be diplomatic and even-handed . . . and, as a result, reduce their comments to milquetoast. Sad to say, most of the blog hosts who resort to the ol' school-marmy tsk-tsk-tsk are women.

    What K.Z. Snow said. All of it.

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  43. Tod Goldberg
    Oct 16, 2008 @ 23:30:44

    Actually, Ann, what Jane said would indicate that not only do I take it, but that I enjoy taking it, which is the opposite of what you said, which is that I dish it out but can’t take it. When, in fact, I yearn to be abused and encourage you to write a story about such, preferably featuring me with George Clooney (but only as Jack Foley in Out of Sight) or Dave Navarro (but only whilst in Jane’s Addiction), and in the middle of the action I’d like one of them to shriek, “Take it, you fucktard, take it!” And then, well, then I’ll die happy, though admittedly with smaller balls than John’s.

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  44. Ann Somerville
    Oct 16, 2008 @ 23:49:36

    I yearn to be abused and encourage you to write a story about such

    Strangely, I am more attracted by the tantalising prospect of John Scalzi’s bisexuality than when whether you like to take it in any orifice at all.

    In fact, dear Tod, I give not a gibbon’s baculum what you or your socially challenged brother think or desire on any subject whatsoever.

    I'll die happy

    You had me at ‘I’ll die’ – though, for the sake of harmony and not being thought to be issuing actual threats, I’d be satisfied with you pissing off and leaving me and my blog alone. The extra attention isn’t bringing a particular high class of visitor, you know? Not a lot of cross-over between my readers and yours, strangely.

    Some readers in the romance community seem to be seduced by your and little Lee’s peculiar brand of ‘treat ‘em rough and they’ll follow you anywhere’ attitude, but I am not of that inclination.

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  45. Tod Goldberg
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 03:33:23

    If you didn’t care, Ann, you wouldn’t be here. And while I admire your persecution complex, Ann, it does trouble me in a general way that I find more than a little mystifying. I sense that you actually harbor hate towards my brother specifically, me by association, which is fine because it’s fun to watch you froth. And I mean that: I find it fun to watch you froth from a sociological and cultural standpoint. A hate that goes beyond simple blog loathing, a hate that actually causes you (the royal you, in this case) to think anyone, ever, gives a fuck about your hate is compelling to me beyond entertainment purposes, because it speaks to the larger issues Jane brought up so eloquently above. What I mean by that is not specific to you and your feelings that somehow you’ve been needlessly abused by me pointing out that you hate my brother by linking to your very entertaining blog (any blog that uses Lee Goldberg Is A Twat as a tag is worth a look in my book), but specific to most people on the internet and in traditional print or talk radio who actively hate others for the opinions they espouse on subjects as trivial as sports, or scrapbooking, or romance fiction, or any other kind of writing, really. hate someone because they hurt other people with sticks and stones. Hate someone for human intolerance that leads to violence.

    It speaks to what Jane noted about fear of stating opinions because you don’t want to deal with the blowback, but it also says something about a culture that revels in debate but doesn’t really want to take the steps toward change. When I call someone a fucktard, I’d like them to stop being fucktards, since it would make the world a nicer, smarter, less fucktarded place. The less fucktards we have, the less chance we have of ever electing Sarah Palin to office, for instance. I’m a pacifist, as Flea once said, but I will fuck you up.

    I don’t think anyone apart from my wife is seduced by anything that I do, Ann. I can’t speak to Lee’s seduction abilities, though since he is older and uglier than me, I’m going to guess it’s constrained to his wife, too. You also don’t know enough about me to speak with any authority about my attitude, since the only people I treat rough are, in fact, fucktards. I urge you to spend a little time looking at who I’ve called a fucktard — apart from yourself, naturally, but what did you expect? I wanted a Tod Goldberg Is A Twat tag — and I think you’ll find that I typically talk about the bottom feeders of society. I only speak right on.

    I suppose it’s irrelevant at some level, since what Jane has written here is not about me as much as it is about saying what you feel without fear of recrimination, regardless of sex, which is something you certainly do, Ann. And as long as you don’t mind being told you’re a fucktard for thinking the things you think at least as it relates to my family, well, then I’ll just keep pointing it out when you do it. Because isn’t that what you want? More people to be convinced of your position? Isn’t that what we all want? Consensus?

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  46. Ann Somerville
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 03:45:47

    If you didn't care, Ann, you wouldn't be here.

    Oh, did this become Tod Goldberg’s blog while I was on holiday?

    Sorry, I thought I was commenting on a post by Jane Litte on her blog. Damn, my Google Reader must have reset itself.

    The answer to ‘What would Tod Goldberg do?’ is, as far as I’m concerned – who gives a flying lemur’s nipple?

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  47. Ann Somerville’s Journal : The way people’s minds work really amazes me
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 07:30:03

    [...] whether people like me ought to get their botties smacked by the big bad Mummy publisher, and if we’re harder on mouthy women authors/bloggers than men. To which I say no, and yes (and said as much a few days before any of this discussion started [...]

  48. Ann Somerville
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 07:37:46

    To be fair, I had never read DAM or Laurie or Somerville in the first place, but I would not now purchase their work if I came across it.

    Emmy, how many times are you going to make this declaration? Is there anyone in Romancelandia who hasn’t heard you bang your fist on your chest and declaim how unworthy I am of your patronage? Do I have to repeat what I said the first time you babbled about this? I don’t want you to read my stuff. Please. Keep away from my writing. My readers are intelligent, open-minded and likable people who I’d be happy to sit down and have coffee with anytime. I want to keep it that way.

    As for the clumsy attempt to link me with DAM and Laurie… If you truly think there’s some equivalence, then all I can say is you really do have a twisted world view. Of course, to some people, a loud-mouthed woman really is a criminal, but then you and I will have to hang together on that score, wouldn’t we?

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  49. veinglory
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 08:18:11

    One reason to not go for 100 percent, full power opinions with extra added personal attacks and sexual references, is that it tends to derail any sensible discussion.

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  50. roslynholcomb
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 08:44:16

    This discussion is particularly interesting to me because I’ve had an online presence for more than a decade. I’ve only been a published author for two years, but I’ve been around various political and social forums for years. Had I known I would eventually start writing I probably would’ve been less likely to pop off my opinions for fear of offending people. Or perhaps used a pseudonym of some sort. Frankly, it never occurred to me that those two worlds would ever cross, or that people would hold it against me if they did. I guess I was a wee bit naive.

    I’ve had people tell me I needed to ‘pipe down’ in my commentary for fear of offending potential readers, and I considered it for a nanosecond. Then decided I simply can’t be bothered. On certain forums I’ve had people claim they’ll never read my books because they don’t like what I’ve said. There’s not a helluva lot I can (or would) do about that. I do, however, watch what I say about other authors. If I like a book I’ll praise it to the skies, but I won’t talk about it in public if it’s bad.

    My political and social opinions are still just as raw and gritty as they ever were. I do occasionally pop off with them on my blog. I don’t do that nearly as much as I used to simply because I don’t have the time. I like to put a lot of research into something before I actually express an opinion on it. These days, both my research and writing time is taken up with trying to make a living.

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  51. Emmy
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 09:54:49

    Oh, look….another episode of the Somerville-Goldberg show. And me without my popcorn.

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  52. Lee Goldberg
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 16:28:06

    Emmy,

    Different Goldberg, different show. Same old Ann.

    Lee

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  53. Emmy
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 17:03:04

    Lee

    LOL! I was going with Tod’s thesis of fraternal transference..ie: she’s only picking at him because she adores you so.

    Emmy

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  54. MD
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 21:04:11

    Emmy…
    Just my 2 cents, but lumping Laurie and Ann in with DAM is incredibly inappropriate and unfair. I think you owe them both an apology.

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  55. Mike Cane
    Oct 18, 2008 @ 19:34:58

    >>>Women have to work twice as hard to gain respect as men do. This is as true in the real world as it is on the internet.

    Jaysus. Are you for real?

    Do you know one of the blogs I admire? This, by a *woman*.
    http://f-ckingc-nts.com/

    Another — by a woman:
    http://www.violentacres.com/

    Christ, say what you mean with style and substance, and people will respect you because of it. Don’t be a fucktard and hide behind your sex.

    Any writer can hold any opinion. I don’t bring political or other ideological differences/similarities into my judgment of a writer’s *work*. That’s being a fucktard.

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  56. Jane
    Oct 18, 2008 @ 19:47:38

    @Mike Cane: I assume that you are directing your statement at me. Yes, I do believe that women do not get respect that men do with the same immediacy and at the same levels. I’ve worked in a male dominated field for years and, particularly in my early days, was not accorded with the same level of respect as male peers. Women, white collar women, still earn 80 cents to the dollar of men. There was a research study done showing that transgendered individuals were paid more when they were men than when they were women.

    The romance genre, by itself, is the perfect example of the lack of respect that women get. The genre is constantly being derided as being intellectually bereft; that somehow relationships and story about relationships and love lack the same value as male directed books. Or compare the amount of respect the romance genre gets compared to sports, where grown men where costumes every week and get paid millions of dollars to beat the crap out of each other or throw a ball through a hoop.

    I do think that attitudes toward women are changing but that women have to be part of that change by not elevating male discourse over female discourse.

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  57. Shayne
    Oct 18, 2008 @ 20:05:37

    I would think if readers spent more time reading, and writers spent more time writing, a large number of fucktards would disappear.

    Which would make a lot of us happy. Damn, would it make a lot of us happy.

    Then again, it might just be me.

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  58. Mike Cane
    Oct 19, 2008 @ 15:09:53

    >>>Or compare the amount of respect the romance genre gets compared to sports

    Don’t get me started on sports. Heh.

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  59. Paul Bens
    Oct 19, 2008 @ 18:47:25

    Mike Cane said:

    Christ, say what you mean with style and substance, and people will respect you because of it. Don't be a fucktard and hide behind your sex.

    I just have to jump in and respectfully make a comment.

    Mike, your comment is the ideal, but I do have to say that while there are some people who will “hide behind their sex” or other minority status, quickly blaming every ill that befalls them or every unkind word on subtle (or not so subtle) discrimination, the vast majority of people don’t do this. There are very real pejorative attitudes toward women/gays/people of color as I’m sure you know.

    It’s also true that there are a lot of people are quick to say when minorities complain of these things, they’re just playing the “race card” or the “gay card” or the “women card.” “They just want to blame everything on being gay/a woman/a person of color.” Sure, people do play those cards and those people are as dangerous to me as bigots and racists and the like. But the fact that there are asshats who pull these stunts doesn’t negate that these things actually do happen.

    Just one quick example…

    My mother was told for 6 months before she died that she was a hypochondriac. Her doctors were male. She kept telling them something was seriously wrong. None would believe her. On the night she died (of an aortic aneurysm and not her imagination), the doctors to my sister who called that there was absolutely nothing wrong with my mother. She had been dead for 2 hours, her body breathing reflexively.

    After this, I looked into it. Male doctors tend not to believe women patients when they say something is wrong. Yet, men generally are paid attention to. When my father complained of a pain in his chest, the doctors couldn’t find anything, but they kept looking. It took them 9 months to find the lung cancer, but never once did they doubt something was wrong.

    Anyhoo…that’s my .02, though many may think I’ve overestimated its value.

    ReplyReply

  60. Ann Somerville’s Journal » Blog Archive » Fallen heroes
    Jan 14, 2009 @ 21:24:28

    [...] says she doesn’t want publishers to act as policeman on their authors (oh what irony), and another by Jane Litte about whether men get an easier ride about being outspoken than women do (something I had posted [...]

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