Monday, June 02, 2008

Authors Versus Bloggers/Reviewers

A big sigh opens this post. I'm not sure what to say, since I understand where both sides are coming from in these skirmishes. Blogger/Reviewer A rips on Author B. Does Author's book really, truly, irredeemably suck, or is that only Blogger/Reviewer's possibly ill-informed opinion? Has Author truly behaved in some reprehensible way, or is that merely Blogger's opinion? Should Author pay heed to that opinion? Should potential readers of Author pay heed to that opinion? Should Author's or Blogger's fangirls rush out of the woodwork with their verbal weaponry, eager to bash one or the other?

It's become abundantly clear to me that there are bloggers with large followings whose words are taken more or less as gospel. No matter what they post, many readers are just waiting on the sidelines to leap aboard their bandwagons. (Sorry for throwing all kinds of metaphors into the blender!) Often, if the blogger is an intelligent, fair-minded person and the writer's book and/or behavior is demonstrably BAD, the bandwagon is a legitimate place to be. Sometimes, though, the bandwagon seems to be carrying an ill-tempered bunch of braindead groupies out for blood.

I do love some of these sites. They bring to my attention books and issues I would otherwise not have been aware of. But the "Oh my God, you're so right, she/it is so odious" choir usually grates on my nerves. Authors (or publishers, in some cases) often have as valid points to make about the microcopes they're under as the people manning those microscopes. Sometimes the lenses are smeared or askew. (Another apology; damn, some days are just metaphor-rich!)

Human nature is mind-bogglingly complex. Rarely can one person's character or motives be summed up in a snappy phrase or two. I find it troublesome that so many bloggers and authors alike are more than willing to be reductionistic in their thinking and assume somebody is borderline psychotic or riddled with character deficiencies because he/she voices certain opinions or has a lapse in judgment. It isn't that I'd like to see us all form a circle and sing "Kumbaya"--hell, I'm too much a cynic and loner for that--but it would be nice to see people examining issues from more than one swallowed-whole perspective.

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