Thursday, January 10, 2008

Once more, with feeling.

Jenny Crusie has more to say on the difference between legitimate reviewing/reporting, and scape-goating. (Warning: it's long.)

Two things in this essay stood out for me. First, the fact that Jenny is so willing to admit her own failings in the area of "snide and demeaning." How refreshing to see someone step up and say, "Here's where I think you screwed up, but here's where I screwed up, too. I'll try not to do it again."

I'm the first to admit that I often descend into "snide and demeaning," (and on one notable occasion, "mere sarcasm") particularly when discussing the RWA, and often when attempting to dissect and understand the behavior of certain romance bloggers. It's not cool, because the tone adds nothing to the debate. Jenny's on the nose with that one.

I can't control the ebb and flow of the River Rancid, but I can refuse to drink from its waters. I will try harder.

Secondly, Jenny says this:

"It isn’t about being nice; nice has no place in communicating ideas. It isn’t even about being polite; that’s a social construct. It’s about figuring out what you want to communicate to other people and saying that, instead of going for the laugh and the superiority."

YES. A whole entire universe of YES.

Comments are running heavily in Jenny's favor, but it's her blog, after all. I'm sure the folks on the opposite side of the debate will rally their troops any time now. But here's the thing I really don't get: How can anyone with enough interest and smarts to follow the discussion this far conflate Jenny's dislike of the tone of the conversation with defending plagiarism?

I'm not buying it. And while I'm sure this will generate someone out there to think/say, "You don't know me and you can't speak to my motivations," I can't help but think that nonsense is just a cover for "Ouch, Crusie's right, we've been acting like asshats, but we enjoy it too much to stop."

Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe some folks really are that stupid.

Wait...was that snide and demeaning? I can't even tell anymore. *sigh* This is gonna be hard.

SelahMarch.com - Romance of Dubious Virtue

13Comments:

Blogger Kate R said...

yeah I'm hearing negative stuff about the bitches' crusade lately. I agree. And of course J Crusie is right, as usual.

On the other hand, it still bites my butt that Edwards was just damned lazy. Too lazy to even smooth in the bits she stole borrowed whatever.

Maybe I'd be less butt-bitten if I could get a good contract, but I think I'd still be all self-righteously offended. Not the legal thieving part of it, the LAZY ASS part. LAYZEEEE

1/10/2008 8:41 PM  
Blogger Kate R said...

I wonder if people are more or less offended if they a an Edwards reader. What if the author in question was someone you loved, would it be easier to forgive her or harder?

1/11/2008 7:23 AM  
Blogger FerfeLaBat said...

Ever read "All the King's Men" by Robert Penn Waren? There's a scene in the book where Stark is telling Jack to get the dirt on a former Judge. The judge is a well respected man who had spoken out in the press against Stark. Jack said he sincerely doubted there was any dirt worth digging up on the Judge. Willie Stark said, "Jack, there's something on everybody. Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption. He passes from the stink of the dydie to the stench of the shroud. There's ALWAYS something."

That may not be exact. I don't have the book in front of me to double check. But the point is, if you hate someone, you can bring them down, because no one is perfect. They had hammered at her enough times that it was inevitable. If it hadn't been this, they would have found something else to pull her down.

The SB's have quite a few pet hates in romance writerland. Given how spectaculary well this one went for them, I doubt they will be done with this kind of moral deconstruction anytime soon.

1/11/2008 7:41 AM  
Blogger FerfeLaBat said...

Pardon the typos. It's writer BC time. (Before Coffee)

1/11/2008 7:43 AM  
Blogger Kate R said...

the pile-on nature, the whole SBTB part in the story isn't as interesting to me as the fact that there is some ambiguity about whether or not what CE did is okay.

Part of the reason it's less interesting is because pile-ons and then secondary pile-ons and then further crashing around on the internet are becoming as familiar as fender-benders on the highway.

My instinct is to slow down and pass the scene rubber-necking (but not nearly as much as I used to)...and praying for all victims, even the aggressive idiot that was tailgating.

The part that I think will have some lasting echoes for writers is all about CE.

She is not a trained scholar. Granted, we learned all about plagiarism in high school, but we also learned about it's its their there and look how well those lessons stick.

Her books are fluffy romance, escapism etc. Not the sort of thing that has notes about resources etc.

Yet. However. Still. I'm still burning about the fact that she couldn't be arsed to turn what she took into her own language. It makes me grind my teeth and think she should write some sort of apology or explanation. Maybe a Cassie Edwards Source Book would be nice, and a good seller.

And it should be made clear by everyone everywhere that People Should Not Do That. No matter what they're writing, they shouldn't steal. It is bad, and it does not matter if you're writing escapist trash fun fiction. You shouldn't be trashing other people by stealing their work. Which frankly seems more like a more lasting trashage than almost anything else that's come along in this pile up.

I've had bits of my stuff stolen and it's feels nasty. Nastier than a pile-on and I've had both happen. At least with pig-piles, you know there's not thievery going on.

And yes, I'm no lawyer so I'm not talking anything beyond gut response, and not with a cool head either. That's when potential pile-age occurs! Truthiness? Heh.

1/11/2008 11:00 AM  
Blogger FerfeLaBat said...

Yes. I am interested in finding out the ethical and legal piece of the puzzle. But not from the people who started the storm. If you come across an editor willing to impart this information please pass it on.

1/11/2008 11:05 AM  
Blogger Kate R said...

hey, didn't I say the thievery didn't bother me? (see post one on this thread by me)

Guess I lied. It all bugs me. Not enough to write to CE's editors. Not enough to wear orange on 1/11... but more than enough to fill up Selah's comment section.

never mind the whole plagiarism thing--the idea that anyone who snarks Edwards insults her readers with snarkage is intriguing. I'm not sure I'm buying that one, but it's an interesting take.

1/11/2008 11:05 AM  
Blogger Kate R said...

although really, when you stop to think about it ferfe, why would an editor or a lawyer's opinion be any more valid than anybody else's?

Sure, right, more valid in the court of law and in the future of what'll happen to CE and other people in that situation. Last public word on the matter, fine. Everyone's saying let's wait and see what the experts say. It will be clear when they have their say.

But the fact is, I'm more likely to value a smart old broad's take on the situation.

Like me. I'm an old broad. I have plenty of takes. Just ask me, or don't--doesn't make a difference because I'll weigh in on the matter anyway. (I have to admit when I wrote that I was thinking my friend Margaret who is a good last word on almost any matter)

1/11/2008 11:14 AM  
Blogger Kate R said...

all right, I'd say skip the lawyers, my the last word on it is what Shannon Stacey says today at her blog.
Yeah.
She's a smart young broad with a good take. I'd link to her blog, but I can't get linky to work these days. And I'm supposed to be working.

1/11/2008 11:37 AM  
Blogger FerfeLaBat said...

I'm cutting off your caffeine.

1/11/2008 12:12 PM  
Blogger Sela Carsen said...

I'm interested in the facts. Whether SB publishes them or anyone else, facts is facts is facts.

And I could care less that it's Cassie Edwards.(ungrammatical, yes, I know.) All I see is a thief.

1/11/2008 12:53 PM  
Blogger Selah March said...

HO my God. See what happens when I take time off to be domestic?

Kate~ I don't know how I'd feel about it if an author I loved committed plagiarism. I suspect I'd be deeply disappointed. But I'm a forgiving sort. I also suspect that if he/she stood up and said, "Yeah, I did that, and I'll pay restitution, and I promise never to do it again," I'd let it go and keep buying his/her books.

Sadly, that doesn't appear to be happening in this case.

And yes, it's LAYZEEEEEE. And bad. And wrong. And sad. And it makes the rest of us look unprofessional.

As far as snarking on Edwards insulting readers, this is my opinion: Reasoned, insightful, well-written negative reviews and criticism, even those that contain "snark," should be within bounds. Only rabid fangirls who can't validate any opinion but their own would be offended that kind of reviewing.

That's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about a gang-bang.

An author gets two chances from me. After the second book, if I'm not feeling the love, I move on. So many books to read, so little time and all that. I certainly don't go out of my way to read something I already know I'm going to hate just for the chance to be funny about how much I hate it.

But then, I'm not selling advertising or getting publishing contracts based on my blog, either. Gotta draw the crowds somehow, and the easy target is...well...easy.

Ferfe~ I, too, would like to hear something about this issue from someone who isn't a blogger, an author, or a publishing PR hack.

Sela~ I don't care where or how the plagiarism news broke so much as I think it's sad that there's a cloud hanging over its breaking because the reporting parties took a bat to CE one too many times. Know what I mean?

Okay, I'm taking a hint from my own sanctimonious rant and moving on. Not closing comments, but I won't be returning to this thread, either. I've got a kitchen floor to scrub.

1/11/2008 1:17 PM  
Blogger Kate R said...

ferfe,

I'm cutting off my own caffeine and that's 4/5ths of the problem right there.

New years resolutions. Pfah.

1/11/2008 1:55 PM  

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