I try very hard not to weigh in on internet drama. Why? Because it’s not what I want my website to be about. That being said, there are occasions when I get so absolutely pissed off I can’t seem to see straight so I decide to go vocal. Plus, us redheads are good about going vocal when we feel the desire.
There was a big to-do about an author had the (*gasp*) audacity to engage in a fan discussion of his work. Evidently that’s beyond insulting (I missed the memo informing me that that sort of thing is supposed to piss me off).
I’m going to make a few things perfectly clear:
1. I didn’t start Bookworm Blues so I could hear myself talk. I started this website to interact with people who enjoy the genre as much as I do. I don’t draw lines. I don’t kick people out of my special club. I don’t care. If you love the genre, I want to talk to you. Period.
2. I want my website to be fun. I enjoy and embrace discussion. I might disagree with you, but I enjoy that disagreement. What fun is the world if I’m not stretching my boundaries, understandings, and limitations? This is especially true with the interpretation of literature. Art is so reliant on perspective, and everyone’s perspective is different. I realize I am not a perfect being with absolutely flawless understanding, so I welcome discussions and comments that, perhaps, show me how flawed my understanding really is. That, to me, is fun.
3. I think it’s a horrible double standard to welcome authors in interviews, and discussions on Twitter, but kick them off of websites because they have the audacity to be an author. When you take the right to discuss work away from the creator, you’re laying down an impressive double standard. They can write, but they can’t discuss. Ridiculous. This thinking is ridiculous and insulting to me as a reader, genre fan, and website runner. Yes, websites like this are largely geared toward fans of the genre, but authors are fans, too. Probably the most impressive fans of all of us. Furthermore, if you take my previous two points into consideration, you’d probably realize that I think it would be a pretty stupid move to kick someone out as intricately tied to their work as an author from a discussion about their work. If you want to understand and know more about why a book does whatever it does, kicking an author who is brave enough to elaborate on some points you make is one of the dumbest, most closed minded moves I could imagine. It’s censoring, and censoring pisses me off.
The bottom line is, people can run their websites however they want. I, however, don’t run a special club. I don’t think it’s right to kick people out of it, and treat them poorly due to how they spend their daytime hours. It’s never, ever, right to treat someone poorly. I don’t care who they are or what they did. This whole to-do infuriated me. It paints so many people in a bad light. I read the comments and I was disgusted by how this author was treated. I’m appalled, and that’s the simple truth. I don’t weigh in on this stuff often, but it’s time I did, because I don’t want that sort of closed mindedness anywhere near my website.
I think bloggers, myself included, often take themselves (myself) too seriously. We aren’t the end-all-be-all of literature interpretation. What happened to letting go of the rules and having fun with our passion for the genre? Everything has to be psychoanalyzed, discussed, picked apart, and pulled over. Aren’t we losing something by being that analytical of everything (not just books)? When did discussion stop being discussion? When was it decided that there were rules to who could talk and who couldn’t?
Honestly, once people start to lose the “fun” of it all, I start wondering if the person who runs the website needs to really sit down and figure out why they still run a website.
We are vocal about our love of the genre because we love the genre. Period. End of discussion. We analyze, draw parallels, say things in neat ways, discuss the flaws and fantastic improvements of the genre, and whatever else. Bloggers have an important place in the marketing/fandom community. This website is a dream come true for me to run, and it’s allowed me to do what I never dreamed possible: talk to authors. That’s why I do this. I love the genre, and I want to interact with the movers-and-shakers. Bookworm Blues is a small genre website that keeps trucking despite all the issues I’ve had against me (thank you, cancer). I think one huge reason it keeps running is because I try very hard to keep this controversial, childish bullshit off of it. I try hard to not treat people like crap. I don’t think I’ve ever yelled at someone for commenting. Authors comment, and I welcome them. I try to do interviews, giveaways, I talk to publishers, editors, etc. I like to be informed, and being informed also allows my genre-love to grow. I’d be a fool to cut out an inside track to various genre issues, understandings, etc.
My only commenting rules:
1. Be polite. We’re all adults. Put your adult pants on before you comment.
2. Opinions aren’t wrong. IE: You aren’t wrong for feeling the way you feel, and I’m not wrong for feeling the way I feel.
I’ll be Switzerland to other website’s Russia. I declare this neutral territory. I don’t care who you are. If you want to come over here, discuss (whatever) and have fun (I try very hard not to take myself too seriously, and just have fun with my obsession) then please do. I don’t run an exclusive club. Bookworm Blues is open to whoever, be you author, agent, publisher, or fan. I embrace discussion, and I realize that, due to my imperfections, your interpretations and perspectives might broaden my own interpretations, understandings, and enjoyments.
*Bear in mind that your comments are given weight based on their content, not your status.
Image courtesy of Gav Reads.