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The Toxic Drama on YA Twitter

8 August 2017

From Vulture:

Young-adult books are being targeted in intense social-media callouts, draggings, and pile-ons — sometimes before anybody’s even read them.

. . . .

The Black Witch, a debut young-adult fantasy novel by Laurie Forest, was still seven weeks from its May 1 publication date, but positive buzz was already building, with early reviews calling it “an intoxicating tale of rebellion and star-crossed romance,” “a massive page-turner that leaves readers longing for more,” and “an uncompromising condemnation of prejudice and injustice.”

The hype train was derailed in mid-March, however, by Shauna Sinyard, a bookstore employee and blogger who writes primarily about YA and had a different take: “The Black Witch is the most dangerous, offensive book I have ever read,” she wrote in a nearly 9,000-word review that blasted the novel as an end-to-end mess of unadulterated bigotry. “It was ultimately written for white people. It was written for the type of white person who considers themselves to be not-racist and thinks that they deserve recognition and praise for treating POC like they are actually human.”

The Black Witch centers on a girl named Elloren who has been raised in a stratified society where other races (including selkies, fae, wolfmen, etc.) are considered inferior at best and enemies at worst. But when she goes off to college, she begins to question her beliefs, an ideological transformation she’s still working on when she joins with the rebellion in the last of the novel’s 600 pages. (It’s the first of a series; one hopes that Elloren will be more woke in book two.)

It was this premise that led Sinyard to slam The Black Witch as “racist, ableist, homophobic, and … written with no marginalized people in mind,” in a review that consisted largely of pull quotes featuring the book’s racist characters saying or doing racist things. Here’s a representative excerpt, an offending sentence juxtaposed with Sinyard’s commentary:

“pg. 163. The Kelts are not a pure race like us. They’re more accepting of intermarriage, and because of this, they’re hopelessly mixed.”

Yes, you just read that with your own two eyes. This is one of the times my jaw dropped in horror and I had to walk away from this book.

. . . .

Based almost solely on Sinyard’s opinion, the novel became the object of sustained, aggressive opposition in the weeks leading up its release. Its publisher, Harlequin Teen, was bombarded with angry emails demanding they pull the book. The Black Witch’s Goodreads rating dropped to an abysmal 1.71 thanks to a mass coordinated campaign of one-star reviews, mostly from people who admitted to not having read it.

. . . .

The harm Mimi describes is central to campaigns like the one against The Black Witch, which are almost always waged in the name of protecting vulnerable teens from dangerous ideas. These books, it’s claimed, are hurting children.

. . . .

Dramatic as that sounds, it’s worth noting that my attempts to report this piece were met with intense pushback. Sinyard politely declined my request for an interview in what seemed like a routine exchange, but then announced on Twitter that our interaction had “scared” her, leading to backlash from community members who insisted that the as-yet-unwritten story would endanger her life. Rumors quickly spread that I had threatened or harassed Sinyard; several influential authors instructed their followers not to speak to me; and one librarian and member of the Newbery Award committee tweeted at Vulture nearly a dozen times accusing them of enabling “a washed-up YA author” engaged in “a personalized crusade” against the entire publishing community (disclosure: while freelance culture writing makes up the bulk of my work, I published a pair of young adult novels in 2012 and 2014.) With one exception, all my sources insisted on anonymity, citing fear of professional damage and abuse.

None of this comes as a surprise to the folks concerned by the current state of the discourse, who describe being harassed for dissenting from or even questioning the community’s dynamics. One prominent children’s-book agent told me, “None of us are willing to comment publicly for fear of being targeted and labeled racist or bigoted. But if children’s-book publishing is no longer allowed to feature an unlikable character, who grows as a person over the course of the story, then we’re going to have a pretty boring business.”

Another agent, via email, said that while being tarred as problematic may not kill an author’s career — “It’s likely made the rounds as gossip, but I don’t know it’s impacting acquisitions or agents offering representation” — the potential for reputational damage is real: “No one wants to be called a racist, or sexist, or homophobic. That stink doesn’t wash off.”

Link to the rest at Vulture

On some days, PG feels like he’s living

Reviews, YA

106 Comments to “The Toxic Drama on YA Twitter”

  1. This was a shocking read, even if we Account for the somewhat melodramatic nature of the young adult community and the sensational reporting of the news media, still worrying to think that things like this are happening.

  2. This was a shocking read, even if we Account for the somewhat melodramatic nature of the young adult community and the sensational reporting of the news media, still worrying to think that things like this are happening.

  3. Fortunately, these days, S** outrage is just good advertising.

    The funny part is that the book description makes it sound like the kind of novel S*** should be fawning over.

  4. Sorry for the double post above.

  5. God forbid this Sinyard person every get her hands on The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

  6. Sadly, this doesn’t surprise me at all. There was a time when I wanted to write YA. Then I started to see this kind of nonsense happening and decided to focus most of my future work in other genres.

    I just read another book that had a similar backlash against it: Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth. I thought the book was an improvement over Divergent, which is to say that I actually made it all the way through and have at least some interest in maybe reading the sequel. But she got accused of all kinds of isms for that book. Overreactions, of course. The hilarious thing is that, when I read the book, it seemed obvious that she was going out of her way to be “diverse” and “inclusive” (but mostly doing it the right way, by incorporating it into the story so that it made sense–or at least was a casual part of the worldbuilding–and wasn’t just preachy) and it totally backfired on her. Better just not to care about that stuff and try to tell a good story, I think. Tell the story you want to tell, and if people get upset about it for being full of isms, that’s their problem.

    I mean, yeah, that kind of negative press might hurt your sales and maybe your career, but that seems like a greater danger to those who actually care about “diversity” and “representation”, and whose target audience does, than those who don’t.

    This sort of thing is also why I decided to get rid of my Twitter and not get any more involved in social media.

    • Bingo. There’s no point pandering to S***, because they’ll eat you anyway.

    • I write YA, but I do it my way which means self-pub. I don’t care about diversity from the standpoint of checklists and I’m not much for most of the -isms. The characters are there as I envisioned them. Ditto for cultural issues. My first book had nearly none. My current series will have a bunch but buried under layers of story.

      My philosophy is that if someone doesn’t like my story (gasp!), then they should find a story they do like. And, instead of demanding I change my story, they should write their own dang story.

    • I’ve noticed the same thing, in meandering about on Goodreads (checking out books that people on my contacts have read/want to read; mostly stuff that catches my curiosity in a morbid train-wreck kind of way). Usually when you see one of these books where the swarm has descended saying “I haven’t read this book but it’s a horrible book and no one should read it,” it’s a book that seems to be trying very hard to be “correct.” Which goes to show the deck is stacked and you can’t win no matter how hard you try to follow the rules. The only way to win is by not playing at all.

  7. “Better just not to care about that stuff and try to tell a good story, I think. Tell the story you want to tell, and if people get upset about it for being full of isms, that’s their problem.”

    This. A thousand times this.

  8. I read the sample of it and I found it very predictable. The characters felt like I had seen them many times before in other YA stories. Nothing new so I don’t know why she was so upset.
    Read Carve The Mark. Not bad but wish I had got it from the library instead of buying it.

    • I was able to get the audiobook for around $5 as a daily deal on Audible. I was a bit surprised by this, since it was fairly new at the time. But the narrators were good enough to make it worth $5 for the listen.

  9. On some days, PG feels like he’s living

    I hope this article didn’t send PG off in a dead faint? First time I’ve ever seen him write a sentence fragment.

  10. It’s not just YA. My forthcoming title got a 1 star review on Goodreads from a Netgalley reviewer largely for “cultural appropriation.” Read: my protagonist is a Japanese-American woman, and I’m not.

  11. Given the events of the last few days, I presume this book’s author work(ed) at Google.

    • Not sure about the author, but Sinyard probably did (the aggrieved hysteria is giveaway).

    • Yeah, I just switched my browser search from Google to Bing.

      It’s a funny old world when Microsoft looks like the least evil option.

      • I also use Brave instead of Chrome. It keeps the annoying ad scripts away so I don’t have my computer freezing up when I visit assorted websites.

      • I also use Brave instead of Chrome. It keeps the annoying ad scripts away so I don’t have my computer freezing up when I visit assorted websites.

        • Apologize for the duplication. I think the comments are acting wonky. If the thing says that you’re duplicating a post, pretend it’s true even if your post hasn’t even shown up.

        • Yeah, I’m just waiting for Brave to be officially supported as part of Ubuntu. If the license makes it possible.

      • I’ve been on Bing for several years. It’s at least as good and often better than Google at everything except deep time searches. (Bing has a strong recency bias.)

        Best of all, it usually surfaces the right links on the first page.

  12. On some days, PG feels like he’s living

    I hope the incomplete sentence is an accident and not a sign that Big Brother has captured you 🙂

    As for the OP, it’s looking more and more these days like only the brave should publish, which is sad. I wonder how many emerging writers are going to look at these incidents and decide to stay submerged just because they’re unwilling to get thrown into the lion’s den, without even the comfort of knowing that their attackers will get eaten instead.

    Does anyone know if someone has written a “House of Usher III”? As in, a 21st century update to Ray Bradbury’s “Usher II” from the “Martian Chronicles”? Just asking for a friend 😉

  13. I was passively watching the reactions to this article yesterday. There was an author who shared it and as a result people yelled at her for it. Kinda proved the article’s point.

  14. It seems to me the ax has swung the other way, where we used to have the ultra-conservative / religious attacking works of art an entertainment for the purpose of making sure that material was withdrawn from public view. Now the side that complained about those right-wing campaigns (let’s call them the left-wing) are doing the same thing. None of us will be immune to this, at some point they’ll blog about our books being problematic because of such-and-such content, etc., maybe they’ll even bring back “Banned in Boston” for laughs, and we’ll have to figure out how we, as a community of artists and entertainers who should be free to publish without fear of a smear campaign, will respond. The attack on this author’s book is unacceptable.

    • Fading othodoxies of any stripe get strident when they lose control.

      This, too, will pass.

    • It’s not so much that they will say your ideas are bad. They will say you are a bad person (who should be shunned) because of the ideas you hold.

      Gone, it seems, are the days when G. K. Chesterton and George Bernard Shaw could be close friends, despite their often incompatible ideas.

      • What you are describing is quite literally page 1 of the Community Organizer playbook. It’s now spread to millions of ‘citizens’ due to dirty pool politics. The media does this daily. We reap what we sow.

        To paraphrase: paint those who disagree with you as Hitler, then you can treat them like crap and no one can argue that you shouldn’t – lest they also be attacked. See Nate Hoffelder below.

        • I didn’t paint anyone as Hitler.

          But thank you for pointing out the issue; i will do my best to avoid it in the future.

          • No you don’t, my apologies. I meant it as a euphemism. But you do jump on the bandwagon based on the opinions of others that you ‘trust’. Which is classic Hive Mentality. Which is your right, I do the same, just on the opposite side. Both of us have the right to criticize each other’s opinions too, without calling one another a racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic/islamophobic bigot.

            I have no desire to do so, but I bet if I trolled the Twitter feeds of your trusted friends, I may find just that line of attack. If not, then many others doing so have given your type a bad name. Now you know how it feels to be stereotyped as so many non-liberals are.

            At Google, most recently.

            And with your blog you are in a big position of influence. Which I congratulate you on. I don’t read it, but I imagine many do. You can wield that power as you see fit, a la Google/FB.

            • Well, I did say in this comment section something about sneering and spitting, which is a step down the path to comparing someone to hitler.

              So it’s not an entirely baseless claim. (but as I read this comment section again, I again think what I said was accurate)

              You do have a point about the mindless echoing, a problem which we see even here. It is both a systemic and human problem in that there are systems like Twitter that are designed in ways that the mindless echoing (clicktivism is a close relative) gives users emotional satisfaction.

              so yes, it’s a problem.

              • Nate, I don’t believe I agree with you on the point where I could conclusively say something is repulsive, based purely on the speculation of other similarly informed people… but I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen someone say “You do have a point…” in an internet disagreement.

                I tip my hat to you, sir.

  15. What I find most distressing about this is the hive mind. One person takes offense and blogs about it, asking for retweets. No one else has read the book yet, but they take her word that it’s problematic and borrow her outrage. To me, that’s the scary part of this. What happened to waiting to judge until you can see for yourself?

    • I know, right? “However, just reading a so-called problematic book in order to judge its offensiveness for oneself is considered by many to be beyond the pale.” Who needs to think for themselves when they can be told what to think?

    • I follow a couple people on Twitter who were angry about this book. Their criticisms matched closely with the bland description in the Vulture article – enough to convince me that this book started at problematic and descended into repulsive.

      The shouting was well-deserved.

      • Nate. Please tell me you’ve actually read the book?

        • pffft.

          A lot of people here didn’t even bother to read the criticism before sneering and spitting at the critics.

          I at least went and read what the critics are saying, including people I have followed for years and trust, and you are trying to call me out?

          pull the other one, please

          • So, you have not read the book yourself. A couple of people (unnamed) don’t like it.

            Vell, I zuppoze ve muzt follow Der Leader.

          • Nate. You can do better than that and you know it. Look at yourself. You say a book you haven’t read has descended into the repulsive! On the basis of what people on Twitter say who probably haven’t read it either! Perhaps it is repulsive, though I am certainly not convinced based on what I have read here. It has nothing to do with calling you out, though if that is how you interpret it then it is very thoroughly deserved on this occasion. I mostly enjoy your blog, and was hoping, unlikely as it seemed, that you would reply that you had read it and had some reasonable basis for your comment. As it turns out, you do not.

            • When I read your comment last night I thought it was ridiculous because you basically discarded the entirety of literary criticism, but it’s bigger than that.

              The problem with your argument is that it is based on the premise that we are not allowed to take an expert’s opinion on anything – we all have to do all the original research ourselves.

              Yeah, that’s bunk.

              Also, I feel the need to add a clarification. I only went as far as saying the criticism was valid. I didn’t touch on the Twitter mob violence. And that is because I have seen it so much that it’s really a non-story to me.

              • Where does someone get the credentials to be an expert on prejudice and injustice in literature? Because I don’t know anyone whose judgment I would trust in this arena to the point where I would take their word for it.

              • Nate,
                I was thinking maybe you were being sarcastic and it just wasn’t coming across.
                I don’t think that’s the case.

                It’s so sad to go on a crusade to doom a book based on one person’s opinion. A crusade of a 1000 pitchforks against a book that 1 person bothered to actually read.

                • What crusade did I go on?

                  I have tweeted discussion about that Vulture piece, and I have left comments here. All I have said was that the criticism was valid (and now I’m not letting it go, but that’s an unrelated personality flaw).

                  That is not a crusade.

              • No Nate. This is just your rationalisation for your appalling behaviour in this instance. Are you seriously arguing that it is too much to expect someone read a book before becoming part of a Twitter vendetta of this type. Calling reading a book “original research” does not change that. What makes your behaviour even worse is that the timing of this Twitter vendetta makes it unlikely that any of these people you relied on had themselves read the book. Did you even ask them? Did you notice the reference in this article to the one star reviews from those who openly admitted they had not read the book?

                There are reliable sources and there are unreliable ones. When dealing with mob mentality on Twitter it is prudent to start with the assumption that those participating are the latter. Redeem yourself. Read the book. Then tell us honestly whether you agree with original review and why.

                • Why do y’all keep accusing me of things I haven’t done?

                  I never joined any Twitter vendetta, and no matter how many times you invent that charge it’s still not going to stick.

                  “Redeem yourself.”

                  See, this attitude is why I responded harshly to your first comment last night. I thought that you had set yourself up to pass judgment on me, and now you are reiterating your position.

                  There’s nothing left to be said, so I am done here.

                • Nate. You jumped on the bandwagon when you passed judgement on the book without reading it and declared the criticisms justified.

          • Here is the link to the original review if anyone is interested
            http://b00kstorebabe.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/review-black-witch-by-laurie-forest.html
            It’s not so much the review I have a problem with, everyone has the right to their opinion and to express it, but more the attention seeking from the review writer.

          • Nate – My understanding is the same as yours after I went and read the response from several critics who are experts in diversity in YA and Children’s literature. If the author was trying to write a social commentary on racism it was executed poorly.

            I would also like to point out something with no one else has brought up and which the article conveniently failed to mention. As a result of this social media storm several of the book bloggers who openly criticized the book had their REAL NAMES released online because people who opposed them hunted down the information and released it. So the “toxic drama” goes both ways here.

            • Have you read the book? Do you advocate this type of toxic behaviour by people who have not read the book?

            • My understanding is the same as yours after I went and read the response from several critics who are experts in diversity in YA and Children’s literature.

              How does one become such an expert? Is there any reason to care what those folks who consider themselves experts in the filed think? What is it?

              • Reasons, Mr. O’Brien. Reasons.
                That having been said, I suspect that the original hatchet job was because the author of the book had the temerity to suggest that you could actually be helpful to oppressed groups while still having prejudiced attitudes, and, worse, that prejudiced people are people, not cardboard cutouts who you can do nasty things to without qualm.

    • The name for this is Two Minute Hate. It’s cheap and easy, and all it takes is two minutes 😉

    • @ Suzi

      re: The Hive Mind. Reminds me of the old saying: “The collective IQ of a mob is that of the dumbest mob member divided by the number of people in the mob.”

  16. Banned Book Week starts Sept 24. We normally see people telling us about the danger of religious or conservative political groups agitating for the removal of books from circulation.

    I expect the supporters of Banned Book Week will stand up for their principles, and I look forward to librarians constructing displays highlighting the new threat to books.

    • An optimist, I see.

      • I am confident librarians would be the first to the barricades.

        • That would be awesome. The article quotes an unnamed person from one of the big 5 imprints:

          “As a publisher we are here to curate, defend, and protect fiction — the author’s ability to create as he or she feels fit, to tell the stories that he or she feels fit, and to not let the book be affected by outside opinion except those who are close enough to advise on story.”

          Well. They usually say they’re curators and defenders of culture when they’re explaining why they price gouge on ebooks. It’s nice change of pace to see that claim demonstrated in a way that benefits authors 🙂

        • As I said, an optimist.
          Librarians have biases.
          And the culture wars are everywhere. In every profession.

          Will librarians in Wyoming or Nebraska protest this kind of vilification? Possible.
          Will librarians in NYC, Boston, or San Francisco? Doubtful.

          No clean hands.

          Most likely reaction: neither camp will stock the book unless it sells like crazy. And that is very unlikely now.

          • Except it claimed the #1 spot in its sub-category on Amazon two days after being released, and its getting mostly fantastic reviews. I read the article on Vulture, where that info was included, along with a summary that ultimately, this trend seems to not hurt sales at all, and publishers mostly ignore it because of that.

            • 1- Short term spike. Would be nice if it lasted but these catfights rarely lead to positive outcomes.
              2- Good reviews now suggests the fight will start to spill over to the reviews.

              Still not getting the warm and fuzzies.

          • Libraries are founded on the premise of intellectual freedom and as librarians it is our professional duty to uphold this as we serve our communities.

            Take as a representative example the core values of the International Federation of Library Associations below:

            … IFLA embraces the following core values:

            1. the endorsement of the principles of freedom of access to information, ideas and works of imagination and freedom of expression embodied in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
            2. the belief that people, communities and organizations need universal and equitable access to information, ideas and works of imagination for their social, educational, cultural, democratic and economic well-being
            3. the conviction that delivery of high quality library and information services helps guarantee that access
            4. the commitment to enable all Members of the Federation to engage in, and benefit from, its activities without regard to citizenship, disability, ethnic origin, gender, geographical location, language, political philosophy, race or religion
            https://www.ifla.org/about/more

            I am a school librarian and we are often placed in a difficult position, called on to defend, justify, or remove ‘contentious’ works. We have to provide guidance and put in place review processes for challenged works which include all stakeholders of the community. Often easier said than done if the position of the library is not valued and respected within the school community.

            • Fine principles.
              Does every last single member walk to the talk?
              Does even the majority?

              Human nature prevails over principle way too often.

            • I observe that the hardest part of being a librarian is supporting the distribution of materials that the librarian finds repugnant, but they stick to their values and put it into circulation. I know devout Christians who fight to keep Christopher Hitchens’ books on the shelves, and others who wince when they see the size and circulation counts of our collection of Christian fiction, but they keep ordering more. I see the same behavior across every fault line, from progressive v. conservative to Inuit diet v. vegan.

              Are librarians biased? Who isn’t? But I know of no group that struggles harder not to be. Libraries even circulate materials that advocate censorship.

  17. I went over to Amazon to read the sample and while it is not my cup of tea, the most offensive thing I noticed so far is the 9.99 price tag for the ebook…. but then, I am (above all else) cheap.

  18. Al the Great and Powerful

    I see a whole lot of axe-grinding whinging about ‘S**’* this and ‘bad librulls’ that and “can’t trust ’em” from both sides and I say a pox on all of you who went with that rubbish. Blinded by your ideology, all of you.

    FJT got it wrong, he should have admitted that Human nature fails to prevail because of prejudice way too often.

    I am disappointed to hear such blatant monomania and think less of all of your opinions now, you knuckleheads.

    • Beg to differ.
      Prejudice *is* human nature.
      We are a tribal species, first, second, and always.
      It is the chimp in us, every last one.

      There will always be a kneejerk tendency to look askew at those who are “other”.

      Arabs saily it most clearly:

      “…before I was nine I had learned the basic canon of Arab life. It was me against my brother;me and my brother against our father; my family against my cousins and the clan; the clan against the tribe; and the tribe against the world. And all of us against the infidel.”

      Leon Uris: The Haj

      The ways we define kin and non-kin have changed over the millenia but the dynamic has never gone away. We’ve just changed the way we define the tribe or the clan. It may he by party or by ethnicity or profession or by sports team allegiance but it is always “us vs them”.

      And it is always “us” who are the virtuous true humans and “them” who are the evil subhumans. Us who kust grind them to dust and teach them to be like us. Or at least serve us…

      The only way out is for everybody to admit it is *everybody’s* fault and then try to let the “other guy” be safely “wrong”.

      And that is never going to happen.

      (I can rant, too.)

      • Al the Great and Powerful

        People aren’t born hating, as your quote said, ““…before I was nine I HAS LEARNED the basic canon…” (Capitalization mine for emphasis). Hate and fear are taught far more than any innate feelings one might possess.

        And I have no right or claim to judge what others think, I’m saying that WHAT THEY DO is poisoning the discussion. There are many fine pulpits for the righteous of every stripe to preach from, but in my opinion, this should not be one of them.

        Sorry, P.G. I realize it is not my circus and these are not my monkeys…

        Al Who Challenges all the Eejits Who Get Offended to Come Sit on My Lanai and Explain Why I Should listen To Your Nonsense – I’ll provide cold drinks and a tropical

        • Poisoning the discussion often describes expressing and defending ideas contrary to what someone else thinks. This has recently gained strength as people insist on their right to be free from exposure to ideas they don’t accept.

          The poison becomes even more bitter when a majority holds one view and a minority expresses another.

          God Bless poison, for it lubricates a free society.

          • Al the Great and Powerful

            Yeah, I’m gonna have to disagree. Plenty of pulpits to preach at, but that isn’t discussion.

            No, poison lubricates absolutely nada. Actual consideration of opposing viewpoints lubricates society. Railing about liberal and/or conservatives and elevating or denigrating S*** do nothing to lubricate society.

            Here you are, telling the world you are Put Upon because I don’t like what you said. Really? did I stop you? Nope. But there you go, scoring points with the faithful.

            Whatever, dude.

            • Here you are, telling the world you are Put Upon because I don’t like what you said.

              Put upon? Of course not. I relish the opportunity to chug-a-lug the poison.

              I encourage anyone to challenge what I say. Go for it. Rip it apart. If my positions can’t withstand challenge, then they deserve to be refuted.

              Some would prefer my positions not be expressed. I’d counter that it is far more effective to destroy my ideas than suppress them.

              Effectively refuting the ideas also gives others ammunition to do the same in other contexts. It’s a great opportunity.

              I’ll take a hemlock with a dash if nutmeg.

              • I forget who it was that used to say: Take a stand. You might be wrong some of the time but if you don’t speak your mind you’ll be wrong all the time.

                All it takes is being willing to engage other people’s ideas.

        • People aren’t born with a specific set of biases but we are born ready to be imprinted with one or another. Look at children’s behavior. Put three toddlers together and they’ll instantly line up two to one. 🙂

          It isn’t all that different from our pattern recognition wiring that lets us see Jesus in soup or potatoes or see conspiracies in random unrelated facts.

          Name me one culture that doesn’t display prejuice of one kind or another. Us vs them kept us alive in the caves, in the days when there were ten human sub-species. The result of 200-300 millenia doesn’t vanish in two generations. It just finds ways to hide.

          • Survival and acquisitiveness. Very effective. Seem to be instincts.

          • Al the Great and Powerful

            “People aren’t born with a specific set of biases but we are born ready to be imprinted with one or another.”

            I can find plenty of reason to hate specific individuals for their own bad selves, I don’t need to find or be taught institutional reasons.

            I reject the (“us” who are the virtuous true humans and “them” who are the evil subhumans) argument entirely. I’ve been and done enough wrong in my life to know that is just not true. I like to think I’m better than worse, and I know I’m better/more virtuous than chimp brain wants to be. I can live with that.

  19. Al the Great and Powerful

    Sorry, ran out of time ranting while I was editing my post above, forgot to put a special shout-out at Edward M. Grant for his pussy-footery with asterisks. Grow up, you clown. You make me want to say many things PG would not allow.

    • Al – The asterisks are part of a content monitoring plugin I use.

      It’s mostly for profanity, but I’ve added a few fighting words/phrases that consistently generate far more heat than light when they appear.

      • Al the Great and Powerful

        I stand corrected, and do hereby apologize wholeheartedly to Edward M. Grant for criticizing him for the works of PG’s plugin.

        And I apologize to you, PG, for picking phrases that set off your filters.

        • Don’t worry about it, Al.

          It’s just that I’ve observed when a particular combination of three letters appears, ad hominem attacks tend to follow.

  20. Al the Great and Powerful

    This kind of political rubbish spoils discussion fora, because as is clear above, both sides talk past each other, and not to each other. Even if restrained, the posters lose credibility to those who don’t follow the same ideological bent, which makes those people less interested in whatever else the politically/culturally biased might say.

    Bah. You won’t listen or learn.

  21. I think I would want to read it(actually I have no desire to read it) before passing serious judgement. If the author is making points I find offensive that’s one thing – if characters are that something else.

    If poor writing is blurring the line that’s a third issue.

    The book is 41/2 stars on amazon and #8 in its category. What we or the folks on twitter think of it is likely water off a ducks back to the author anyway.

    I feel the burining need to end my post with a fragment. Can’t think of one.

    • Same. I picked up the sample on Amazon and might see if the library has it (Cheaper). I’ll make my judgement then…knowing full well that I pass on most YA anyways because it seems to lack depth and glosses over alot of stuff I wish it would give more detail on.

      But that’s me 🙂

  22. The author of this post could have saved 3 characters on the title by simply writing “The Toxic Drama on Twitter.”

    Why I deleted my Twitter (in 140 characters or less)

  23. In almost everything I’ve written, there is a thread of this: man’s seemingly palpable need to dislike someone other than himself. — Rod Serling

  24. Anyone notice how many people are telling authors what they can and cannot write? Same with movies, TV, and video games. Is there any reason to pay any attention to them? What is it?

    We should probably recognize that we can write whatever we want, regardless of what someone else likes. That’s power.

    We can write about religion, politics, race, sex, Cowboy Bob, and RinTinTin. We can be noble, craven, racist, bigoted, inspiring, or dishonest. Nobody can stop us. Again, we have the power.

    Now, this isn’t a particularly brilliant insight. Anyone can observe it. So, what do the people complaining about content want?

    Is it reasonable to suggest they don’t want us to have the power?

    • Al the Great and Powerful

      “Is it reasonable to suggest they don’t want us to have the power?” The power to be a jerk? Keep it. The power to speak in coded phrases for the faithful (every time some knucklehead sneers ar the S***, every time some poster criticizes conservatives as reactionary fools)? Keep it.

      Write what you want, but don’t whine when people disagree with it. I am not nor have I sought the nomination to be (and, if asked, would not accept the position of) The Boss of You. Not my circus, not my monkeys.

      Bah. You won’t listen or learn, you’re too busy playing victim. You make me WANT to say many things PG would not allow.

      • Write what you want, but don’t whine when people disagree with it.

        I’ll defend the whiners of the world. They also have the power. There is no reason to pay any attention to those who tell them to stop.

        God Bless free speech, for the more we have, the less some like it.

  25. Good lord, my tender ears can’t take it anymore!

    In all seriousness, to hate on a book that you haven’t taken the time to read and dumping on the author for writing it, simply shows everyone that your chronological age is your shoe size.

    I do know from personal experience that a ticky-tack complaint said to the right person can often destroy a nascent career before it can get fully up and running. Had it happen to me some four years ago and I’ve been having a hard time trying to recover from the lies that were told about me and my book.

  26. Al the Great and Powerful

    See, Terrence OBrien sez,
    “I encourage anyone to challenge what I say. Go for it. Rip it apart. If my positions can’t withstand challenge, then they deserve to be refuted.

    Some would prefer my positions not be expressed. I’d counter that it is far more effective to destroy my ideas than suppress them.

    Effectively refuting the ideas also gives others ammunition to do the same in other contexts. It’s a great opportunity.”

    And I say, “Why should I bother? Its even better to ignore your ideas. You saying I have to engage is like the bully saying I have to fight. No, my man, no I do not.” You are not the Boss of Me, either. Be kind of stupid to, really, since my starting position is that politics and culture wars ravings are horrible nasty trash polluting the discourse.

    Why on earth would I waste my time for either side of the debates you folks espouse? Its your ‘I cannot be stopped from crapping in everybody’s living room’ mentality that I hate. Felix J. Torres may be right, its our chimp mind making us so, but I refuse to play your games.

    Besides, I already stated the only way I’d entertain your natterings, “I Challenge all the Eejits Who Get Offended to Come Sit on My Lanai and Explain Why I Should listen To Your Nonsense.” Put up, get on the plane(s) and knock on my door, and I’ll listen to your screed. Otherwise, your words are dust.

    For further assertions that I have to play your game with your rules just because you say so, I refer you to the response in the case of Arkell vs Presdram.

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