“What I cannot condone from any author, especially one of my favorite authors, is linking to a reviewer’s blog or review and allowing people to slam the reviewer.”
– A disgruntled blogger
Apparently it has become acceptable to hold an author directly accountable for the actions of her fans.
Recently, Anne Rice posted a negative review of the novel Pandora to her FaceBook fanpage – as she is wont to do quite frequently with all manner of reviews. The review received severe negative publicity from fans of Ms Rice, as is to be expected with any fanbase from any author.
It has now been decreed, apparently, by the general blogging populace, with the exception of some, that Anne is directly responsible for the actions of her fans.
The arguments are thus:
- Anne has over 700, 000 fans and should know better than to throw them a bone, and
- Anne deliberately extends her feelers through the internet for negative reviews and then posts them to her page so that fans may bombard the poor, suffering authors.
Firstly, and most importantly, as an Anne Rice fan, I am beyond insulted by the suggestion that we are nothing more than slavering zombie masses, driven to do our Master’s bidding. Because this is the implication given by the primary argument. We are individuals with our own minds, our own drives and desires. Many of us (and I do understand that I am generalising, but one must when dealing with close on one million people) have Anne Rice to thank for those drives and desires, having grown up with her words or finding them later on in our lives. But WE ARE NOT dictated to by Ms Rice; not even subconsciously. Some fans are civil, some are not. One cannot assume that we are going to jump whenever she rings her proverbial Pavlovian bell. I resent the implication that we are minions/dogs/hounds, or whatever. It is blatantly rude to suggest so.
Secondly (and perhaps I should say that this is just as important), there is no conspiracy to what Anne Rice has done. I am sick to death of hearing people accuse her of deliberating over these issues and then choosing to create flame wars. From my experience, Anne is a woman who revels in moderate to semi-heated, polite discussion. Her reposts are intended to inspire argument and nattering, not to create misery in the lives of bloggers. I can even see this side to her in her novels. Her characters take ample opportunity for heavy, intense discussion. Why is it so hard to understand? Why make an urban legend out of a simple interest in opinions regarding her work?
One of the severe backlash responses has been that the Anne Rice fanbase is unfamiliar with the term ‘freedom of speech.’ This amuses me immensely. Really it does. How can an individual accuse others of stomping all over their right to say what they will, and then become greatly offended when the same is done to them? Anne reposts commentary on her work. It is her place as an author. Believe it or not, she is entitled. If bloggers did not want the negative attention, then why opt to blog in the first place? As a blogger, it is your own responsibility to set your security settings so that moderation of comments is enabled. If you find a comment offensive, remove it or simply do not accept the approval. I, for one, have never left a comment unapproved unless it has been verbally offensive (foul language when it is uncalled for – and then I contact the author to request a rewrite). If you approve a negative comment for the world to see, then you are as guilty of inciting hatred towards the author or yourself, as you accuse Ms Rice, herself, of being. It is attention-seeking nonsense.
Perhaps my argument here is that the bloggers complaining of how unfair it is that they are insulted should not be in the ‘business’ of blogging at all. Grow a backbone. I am sorry to be so blatant regarding this, but really. We are taught from a young age that we will receive criticism for our decisions. Learn to accept it and move on, or go and order yourself a stiff drink at your nearest bar and let the agony of being a crucial part of the internet settle down. The internet is a great, big world, People. It is full of rude, disrespectful individuals. Do not allow yourself to be convinced by your own terrorised thoughts that one person is steering those hundreds of cussing comments towards you. And please, for the love of God, do not spread this ridiculous opinion to others as well.
You are as guilty of inciting aggression towards Anne Rice as you are accusing her of inciting it towards yourselves and others like you. Think carefully on your actions, and try to see past your own prejudice. This kind of inappropriate behaviour is what is wrong with the internet community; the flaming and swearing, and general distastefulness of commentary posted everywhere.
One woman cannot control the actions of many. And I would much prefer to have an active author, who responds to commentary and requests responses, than a silent one who pays no mind to her fans.