Shocked and Awed: A Response to Hiring Internet Hitmen

No, not “shock and awe.” It’s -ed, as in I am shock-ed and awe-ed. And I am. I am shocked at the level of stupidity of the rampaging morons but awed at the concern and cooperation from so many others.

I had planned on doing the third of my articles on Leslie Charteris’ legendary character, The Saint, today. But after the seriousness of the last couple of articles and especially after what’s just happened in Bookland, it just did not feel right to me to just go back to business as usual. I felt we, or at least I, needed some time to digest and mull over this new conflagration.

I spent most of yesterday just wide-eyed with my jaw on the floor as I tried to process and keep up with this new firestorm in Bookland. My Aunt and her aide thought I was completely crazy as I kept interrupting and exclaiming over every new low in craziness. How to explain to an almost 90 year old lady and her aide that book reviews can give birth to so much bat-fucking-shit? Pardon my language.

I first started writing book reviews just to help pass the time during a long hospital stay. I was given two weeks to live but when a few months went by and I was still alive and kicking I had the family bring me my laptop. Then I bought a faster laptop (hospital connections can be crap). Then I added a netbook, too. I had two tables at my hospital bedside. One for medicines and stuff but the other was for my laptop and netbook and my ipod and my cellphone and my stacks of books and notebooks. Hey, if I had to be stuck, dying, in the hospital I was at least not going to be bored.

So I wrote a few book reviews and book lists. And I got all excited when I got a few comments. Then I started following some forums and, wow, I discovered Bookland is really a vast, writhing, steamy Peyton Place. I guess I was naïve. I take that back, I know I was super naïve but I never expected book lovers and writers to act like that or like this.

First I discovered self published authors, then sock puppets, then shill reviews, troll attacks, Badly Behaving Authors, roving bands of rampant trolls, stolen and republished books, self appointed judges, accused bullies, real bullies, doc dropping, rabid stalking would-be avengers, people with no concept of reality, common sense, or self control, and now wild eyed would be serial destroyers. “Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!”

And all I did was write a few words about why I liked a couple of books.

I’ve stayed out of most of all the rumblings in Bookland because I felt like I was late to the game and didn’t know all the history and facts. I ranted a bit when some idiot stalked, harassed, and bullied that poor person by sending a letter to her workplace claiming she was a psychopathic danger to the kids she taught because she wrote bad book reviews. I’m a teacher, too. If my principal had gotten a letter like that she would have been rolling on the floor, laughing. At least back before I was hospitalized in 2009. Nowadays? After the movie theater shooting and the Newtown school massacre? Who knows where the laughable stupidity ends and the murderous crazy starts? Who can take the chance? Nowadays, after you goggle at the display of moronic egoism in a letter like that, you have to go call the police and beef up your building defenses because you just never know when some out of control wanna be ruler of the world is going to start killing innocent bystanders to prove how great and brave they are, how RIGHT they are, at least in their own cess-pool shit filled fucking butt-hurt damned bat shitting decayed lump of decrepit shit called a mind. Pardon my language.

It makes me mad. Why the hell can’t I write a review about some book and honestly say whether or not I liked it? If I think it’s a stupid book, why can’t I say that? Why the hell do I have to worry about some beyond stupid idiot stalking and bullying me if they don’t agree with me?

Because I do worry. WE worry. On some of the forums yesterday I saw people saying they had stopped writing reviews and others calling for a boycott of review writing. But I don’t think we can stop. If we do, even for a few days, even for a minute, then the idiots think they have gained power, that they call the shots, that they have won.

You know a lot of people mutter about how this or that government is trying to take control and tell us what to do and think. But I think the real threat to our freedom are the egotistic little morons who imagine they are gods of creation or at least self styled destroyers of any one who disagrees with them. Because we don’t know which of these morons might one day show up on our doorstep or at our work with a gun aimed our way. Because pathetic morons have done just this. And people have stopped writing reviews and freely expressing themselves.

So we have to stand up to the pathetic little morons. We have to call them on their lies and their blind stupidity. But most importantly we need to keep writing reviews. We need to keep expressing our own free opinions.

Thank you to everyone who contributed time, energy, support, and/or plain hard work in facing down the morons. Let’s keep them in the tiny little box where they belong.

25 thoughts on “Shocked and Awed: A Response to Hiring Internet Hitmen

  1. I've been reading long for months and I have to say this is horrible. I will never forget the way that crazy woman at that STGRB site goes after Gen because she speaks out against the wrong done there. She and her flying monkeys like Carroll Bryant and Rick Carufel do terrible things to people on their hate blogs. I applaud you for speaking your conscience Havilah and I am glad you made it through your illness to be an even stronger person.

  2. You must be one of the new writers Gen was telling us about. What a fantastic commentary! RT/FB

  3. This is taking a stand. With the vicious way they go after Gen and John, now I'm worried you'll become another target for them. I hope I'm wrong.
    ~ Concerned at Goodreads

  4. Everybody wants to rule the world.

    When they find out they don't and they can't, they throw hissy fits like Carroll Bryant, Rick Carufel and Melissa Douthit/Athena Parker and her multiple personalities at STGRB.

    It's called BUTTHURT.

  5. Hi Havi, it's me Rita xx I loooove your book reviews here. Honest to God you got me reading the darnedest things. I never thought I'd read Crome Yellow much less like it. Don't you dare stop writing your reviews! This blog is the homepage on my browser for a reason. I love your software reviews too. I'm on Iron now because of you people. Don't stop!

  6. You're right Clare these people ARE awful. Have you seem their blogs lately? Carufel issuing threats like parking tickets, Bryant making wild accusations and incoherent ramblings, Douthit over at STGRB talking down to Pippa like she's Queen of the Internet with her “we hope she grows out of it” crap. I for one am very grateful to have friends like GXP who put these jerks in their places. These bullies try to run everybody off the internet so they are the only story out there. I kept thinking “Not gonna happen while Gen breathes” and now we have another brave blogger taking a stand. I LOVE THIS BLOG. Karen in Texas

  7. It's been open season on readers for some time now. Grow the fuck up. Readers don't owe you anything and it's not our job to support your delusions of granduer. It's a book not headline news.
    Rick

  8. If every actor on Broadway flipped out over a bad review the way these self-important, butthurt nobody authors constantly do the crime rate in New York would be so unmanageable they'd have the call in the US military. #Unprofessional

  9. I worked at a school that specialized in children with behavior problems aka violent behavior. I taught the senior kids. I have faced down real-life dangerously out-of-control bullies. It's not that I don't worry, because I do. It's that I've done it before, I can do it again if need be. Plus remember, the doctors actually and truly gave me two weeks to live……nearly four and a half years ago. When you're counting your life in hours, a lot of things fall into perspective. A WWII resistance leader once said “I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees.” I agree.

  10. And that's exactly it. These are books and book reviews. This is not a war. We are not carving up territory. These are simply reviews stating personal opinions that no one will remember reading 5 years from now concerning books that almost everyone will have forgotten about in 10 years.

  11. I debated and debated last night. I didn't want to re-fan flames or derail any behind the scenes maneuvering. But I felt this was too big an issue, that we need to mull this over and draw a line in the sand. Plus it just pissed me off. 😎

  12. Thank you for this very timely blog post. I think you nailed it! Plus, you gave a good argument for continuing to review; I have stopped reviewing self-pubbed authors for fear of an atomic meltdown and the consequent threats when they don't get a five star review.

    Maybe it is time to disregard the threats and just do what feels right? I wish your post could be sent out to every single person who has ever been shat upon by an author who attacks readers.

    By the way, each and every BBA you cite? Yep, they have been banned by GR and may be a bit bitter?

    You mention a health scare and a triumph over it? Stay strong and healthy you wonderful blogger. x-)

    “G” from Goodreads

  13. Oh my goodness, I meant the following emoticon:

    I hope the previous one wasn't flipping you off? Sheesh, I need to lay off of the Mountain Dew after work. Caffeine addiction is BAD.

  14. G, it's an insidious kind of self censorship when we stop reviewing. I completely understand why and, when I look back over the last year, I can plainly see that I've done it, too. I've only done five or six reviews in the last year. And I've been no where near the firestorms. So I completely understand. Why would anyone want to deal with the unrelenting stupidity of some of these morons? And doc dropping someone because you disagree with their opinions? Ridiculous, self-centered, delusional morons. Who are they to say what opinions we can have and how we voice them? I don't remember voting any of the morons in as god controller of the Internet. But I do understand, especially if you have children, how this can freeze a person's freedoms. So I, personally, vow to start writing reviews again. At least one a month. Maybe I can get it up to one a week (I tend to agonize over my reviews so much that it takes me forever to get one done). But no self-centered, ego bloated, self-appointed bully is ever going to tell me what to think, say, or do.

  15. Oh my goodness, you are spot on when you say that it is “an insidious kind of self censorship”. Many readers have sworn off EVER reviewing a SPA because of all of the backlash and stalking that have occurred. It's just a profoundly sad situation when a reader FEARS writing a legit review because a writer could go after them.

    I think I will start to review the books I have read (SPA and pubbed) and stop worrying about the repercussions, because when all is said and done, the worst has been done to many readers…what the hell else can happen? < -okay, I was being a bad-ass and probably temping fate with that statement. ;) You really have a positive take on all of the badness that is swirling around the book community right now, and your positive/strong stance on things, is pretty stellar. “G” from GR

  16. Thank you, “G.” The simple fact is that no one person is in charge of the internet or the book community. Some people may scream and complain louder than others but just being loud does not make them in charge. Eventually this will all get hashed out and most people will agree on some basic guidelines. It will never be perfect and there will always be people who act stupidly. But eventually we will all be able to get back to just plain enjoying our books. (f)

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