Okay, so it’s a little weird writing this letter, but I shall persevere. I, quite frankly, don’t understand the current environment in which critics can critique, but if authors respond, they are branded as vile human beings. Where is the discussion? The quest for further knowledge? The idea of meeting up at the end of the day for a nice, stiff drink at a lovely speakeasy?
Dear Schmorothy, if that’s your real name:
Here’s the deal: the majority of people in the current climate don’t really want discourse. They simply want agreement. They claim to be open-minded and friendly and want to have this open discussion, but in reality, they want the whole world to think like they do.
Add on the whole “entitlement” issue that seems to be a new affliction along with this thing called “affluenza” and you’ll have a giant mess on your hands. You’re entitled to your opinion, but there is a prevailing belief that the First Amendment gives you the right to speak your mind and then not get criticized about it (that’s incorrect… please leave a comment if you need links to an explanation).
Now, compound this socio-political soup with marketing, in which publishers want authors to have an “image” and the audience wants that “image” that’s been sold to them by the publisher and you have the perfect storm of people waiting for an author to fuck the hell up so they can dogpile.
In an ideal world, Dorothy, we’d all meet up at the end of the day at the Algonquin, crack open a bottle or ten of Veuve Clicquot, and laugh about it. You set the example of giving every bit back and audiences love you for it even after your death. But perhaps if every negative review wasn’t “THIS IS MAH RIGHT” and every author response was “HDU” we could get back to that golden era of authors and critics talking to each other about what they disagree on, making critics better at their job and authors better at theirs.
Don’t miss d0t’s first article. As d0t is of the disagreeable sort, Dear d0t will be posted when the spirit moves her, as in when she has a less than negative number of fucks to give.