So much talk about this subject. So many words flying around the internet and swirling around the inside of people’s minds. Jesus, you’d think this was something serious and shit.
Look authors write. Readers read and, sometimes, review. That’s just the way it is. People get butt hurt about a lot of things. So is it any wonder that authors get butt hurt about less than stellar reviews? No. Is it any wonder that readers get butt hurt about being called to the carpet over their less than stellar reviews? No. It is what it is.
The debate flying around is whether authors should reply to reviews- at all. Some take this even further and say authors shouldn’t even look at reviews. La-di-fucking-da. Are you frickin’ kidding me? Really? This is akin to telling teens to just say no -or- to wait until marriage to have sex. Not. Fucking. Gonna. Happen. EVER. If you are of the opinion that it could/should/would… I have some swamp land in Alaska to sell you. No, no, I really do.
Now, keep in mind that the internet is full of rude, obnoxious people who are able to hide their identity. So… starting from the premise that not only are there assholes in the world, but there are relatively anonymous assholes that inhabit this world and you begin to see the dilemma before us. Being faceless on the web seems to give people the courage and/or stupidity they would not have or exercise otherwise. Because these people allow an endless amount of drivel and shit to spew from their fingertips.
Look, just because we can’t see each other–can’t see the hurt on the faces of people as we cause pain with our words– doesn’t mean the normal rules of polite discourse should be ignored. It shouldn’t. Childish rhymes notwithstanding, words can hurt and wound. Plus, you never know, the person you are directing your vitriolic garbage to might be unhinged and hunt you down like Predator did Alien.
That’s not to say that honesty shouldn’t be part of the internet opinion exchange. It should. If you think a book sucked. Say so. If it was great. Say so. Just don’t say it like a dick. And maybe focus on the book or the cover or that the moons didn’t align, and not the author. And if a reviewer is being dick and not focusing on the book or dim chakras or the use/non-use of a word, then I actually think it’s okay to call that reviewer out. But don’t be a dick back. A few non-dickish words to point out the focus of the the review wasn’t the book under review might be appropriate, or a hey sorry you didn’t like the book. Again, emphasis on not being a dick. By authors, readers or reviewers. On the other hand, sometimes, it just spools up the dickish behavior even more. It’s a judgment call. On the part of the people involved in the book and the review. The rest of us can have an opinion on what’s happening, but really we should stay out of the fray and just watch the train wreck as it happens. Rubbernecking is a spectator sport, not a participant activity. Plus, when the spectators jump in, well, we become the de facto dicks. Don’t be a dick.
It should be the guiding principle on both sides of this debate- DON’T BE A DICK. And if you can’t figure out who the dickish asshole is in the melee… well, it’s probably you.