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Janitor On Duty

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January 13th, 2008

6:12 PM

I may need a personality makeover


Maybe I'm just getting old, but I think I've gotten too soft.

It's not that I don't like doing what I do, reviewing stuff and all, but recently, with the whole Cassie Edwards drama, I realize that I have probably stopped a long time ago following blogs. In fact, I'm thinking that perhaps, this time for real, I should just stop checking out other blogs for news and rely on... I don't know, are there actually any news in the genre that are really of the must-know type?

For example, I just came across this. My first thought was, "Was this really necessary?" instead of, "Heh, heh, heh! More amusing drama! This I gotta read." This means that I have reached a point where I don't find such matters amusing anymore.  I find myself wondering why that author putting is the drama through the meat grinder again, this time at the bastion of immaturity known as Fandom Wank, of all places. She said on the EREC blog that she was not gleeful or anything, but then why oh why does she put the whole drama, Jennifer Crusie, and anyone who disagrees with even a little of the way Smart Bitches do their thing through another session of 'snark', so that people, many of whom don't even read romance novels and some even actively loathe the genre, can pile on and throw an online bonfire about things? Is this even necessary? A part of me that is protective about the genre wishes that the matter will stop being played out before people who already have unflattering preconceived ideas about the genre because that is only inviting more mockery. Honestly, Fandom Wank, for example, is a bash-and-mock place. I don't think anyone is expecting intelligent discussion there. So why bring the matter over there? To laugh at Jennifer Crusie? To say that Cassie Edwards write terrible books and therefore she deserves to be constantly humiliated? Since when is "snark" the same as "putting the people whose opinions I disagree with through a public stoning by my fellow like-minded peeps?"

Now I think back about the times I made fun of Laurell K Hamilton and Anne Rice. Okay, I personally think my occasional jabs at their blog entries and ridiculous antics are mild, but they are uncalled for nonetheless, and these recent developments are forcing me to reexamine my own actions. I must say that I am not too proud of some of the things I have said about these authors because they could have somehow escalated into a humiliation session just because I provided an outlet for such an incident to happen.

I guess I've just become very disillusioned with the word "snark". In fact, I think I'm starting to loathe that word. "Snark" is, I believe, dry wit or sarcasm. But somehow it has become synonymous (everywhere, on Livejournal, entertainment forums, et cetera) with "saying all kinds of nasty things and renounce all accountability for them on the name of 'snark'". I nowadays wish people won't call me "snarky", because I like to imagine that I don't go down that road where authors are concerned. I'd like to imagine that my reviews don't attack authors personally or humiliate them so much that they are forced to run into hiding. Mind you, I write reviews nowadays while often checking myself to see that any jokes I make are clearly about the storylines, characters, et cetera, and not about the author personally, so I do try to be careful.

This blog entry is not to denounce the existence of any blogs that you may consider a "snark" board. Hey, I believe that they have their fans and their uses, but I think that I've come to a point where I don't think they are for me anymore. This blog entry is also not about my attempts to claim that I am better than other people. This is my blog, and you know me, I've been known to write down my thoughts and even my internal debates with myself here, and this is just one of those many "here is what I am thinking" moments in this blog. I'm trying to come to a conclusion about what I should do by writing all these things down to see whether I can come to some kind of answer that I am looking for in the process. That's what my blog is for, after all. It's about me!

Maybe I've mellowed, I don't know, but I believe I am going to make a belated resolution for myself this year: I'm going to watch very carefully what I say, here and elsewhere. I'm going to make sure that what I say won't go too far and cross the line (although I can't be responsible for anyone who assumes that a negative review of their book is the same as a personal attack on them - that's not my problem!). I'm going to be more... well, I'll still be me, but I'm not going to poke at things just because I can, unless I have a really good reason to.

That means this blog will probably be much more boring from now on, if it isn't already boring in the first place, but at least I can breathe easier and have more fun with blogging.

PS: Please don't turn the comment threads into a general complain thread against Smart Bitches and other sites that you don't agree with. If you have problems with these sites, why not blog about it yourself or take it up with the webmistresses? I may have my share of disagreements with how they do things, but I have no problems with them, so I'd hate to see this blog turn into a camping ground for people to organize campaigns against those sites.

24 comment(s).

Posted by Barbara Sheridan:

Sign me up for the old & soft club.

The truth has come out, Edwards' career is over. If there is any legal or monetary punishment to be handed down it will be sometime down the road.

There's not much more "news" to be had and the ongoing drama-fest has worn awfully thin.

Bashing the romance genre and it's authors as a whole and the intelligence level of Edwards' fanbase in particular adds nothing.
January 14th, 2008 @ 1:55 AM

Posted by Mari:

"Snarky" meant good things when I started out the internet, and I prefer to still see it as good despite that it's overused. I think what you write is the original meaning of snark, funny and just kind of mean while taking responsibility for it.
January 14th, 2008 @ 2:01 AM

Posted by FerfeLaBat:

I have always maintained that the first "victim" of snark is the person snarking. It is dark humor turned inward for the world to watch. There is a huge difference between bitchy and snark. I hate that it's been turned into a catch-all phrase for abusive put-downs. 30 days till Big Brother starts. Get all this angst out of your system and get back into snark mode.
January 14th, 2008 @ 2:15 AM

Posted by Merlin:


I've been following this debate across several blogs for about a week now and whilst I have no doubt at all about the fact that Cassie Edwards is at fault it's nice to see someone take a more gentle, even-handed approach instaed of tearing her to shreds.

I have no idea who she is (except that she's 92) and writes the kind of books that I don't read but I can't believe the level of bitchiness that's been going down lately.



( And Hi Ferfe - thought I'd find you here)
January 14th, 2008 @ 3:35 AM

Posted by Amarinda Jones:

So you're going for boring and mild mannered? That will be interesting
January 14th, 2008 @ 3:57 AM

Posted by Gennita Low:

:o But you're Chinese! Snark is in our DNA!
January 14th, 2008 @ 4:17 AM

Posted by Shiloh Walker:

I rarely go to the SB blog. It doesn't appeal to me that much. Since I rarely go there, I can't comment on how they've been blogging about this situation.

But I have been watching it, and discussing it, on the Dear Author blog. While Ja(y)nes are clearly disgusted by the plagiarism, I don't really see them attacking CE. I can't say the same for all the comments, because I haven't read all of them.

There is a difference between condemning an act and condemning a person. When an adult does something wrong, age shouldn't be issue. Wrong is simply wrong.

However, I just mentioned on the DA blog that I've got to feel some pity for CE. She had a career aspiring writers dream of. And now? :-(
January 14th, 2008 @ 8:57 AM

Posted by Karmyn:

You do realize that fandom_wank is in no way affliated with Smart Bitches, Dear Author, or any other romance blog, right?
January 14th, 2008 @ 9:03 AM

Posted by Selena Kitt:

Someone told me Karen Scott swore off snarkiness recently, too! Maybe there's some anti-snark bug going around? :)

I feel sorry for CE. What she did was so very clearly wrong (and with the new laughing boy evidence, there's just no question anymore) but I still feel a great deal of pity for her.

I haven't looked at the dates on the books written (I've never read a CE book in my life and didn't even know she existed before this drama) but I wonder if any of her earlier stuff had "lifted" passages in it? My feeling is, she got caught on the romance-writer treadmill, probably felt a lot of pressure from agent/publishers to put out moremoremoremore... It doesn't justify what she did. And I imagine we won't hear any real, genuine response from her, anyway. I just wonder.

So we can look forward to a kinder, gentler Mrs. G, a kinder, gentler Karen Scott... I wonder if this is a new trend?

January 14th, 2008 @ 9:04 AM

Posted by Emily Ryan-Davis:

I've mentioned before I'm not much of a blog-hopper, precisely because I got tired of the "snark" trend about 40 seconds after it started. If yours isn't going to be snarky, maybe I have a new-to-me blog to add to the very few I check often :)
January 14th, 2008 @ 9:19 AM

Posted by Rachel:

Gotta agree with Karmyn. The SBs, to the best of my knowledge, didn't post on FW. the story got there from someone else. And while I agree that there's no need to bash CE personally after she' been pretty devestated professionally, I don't think Sarah or Candy have done that. There's been no "Neener neener, dumb cheating bitch goes DOWN!" tone in their posts. In the comments, yeah, but Candy asked them to tone that down. Now, haivng said all that, I'm in total agreement about being so, so over the CE debacle. I think it's time to just let the author(s) and publishers deal with it and move all the hell on.
January 14th, 2008 @ 9:37 AM

Posted by anna v:

Pepperlandgirl started the fandom wank thread. She's definitely not Candy or Sarah, she writes as Pepper Espinoza and Jamie Craig.
January 14th, 2008 @ 10:53 AM

Posted by Mrs G:

1. I'm aware that FW is not affiliated with SB. I mentioned SB because that wank was closely related to Jenny Crusie's response on SB, which was Ms Crusie's reaction to SB.

2. I have no problems with Candy and Sarah making fun of Cassie Edwards or highlighting her plagiarisms. The people commenting are the ones I have problems with. They cross the line.

This is similar to the popular website Go Fug Yourself. Two years or so ago, comments were enabled and my goodness, the comments were so vicious and devoid of humor that it's pretty clear the people commenting are just trying to upstage each other in making the most malicious statements around. Eventually the hosts had to disable the comments. The site is funny. The hosts and their writing are funny - snarky without being ridiculously hateful. But the comments are the problem, just as the comments always are the problem, IMO, with SB.
January 14th, 2008 @ 2:39 PM

Posted by Jennifer McKenzie aka Jennifer Leeland:

Dayna Hart and I were discussing this and came to the conclusion that "snark" is exhausting. Not the initial dark, humorous post that points out the ridiculous, but the follow up. There will always be those who choose to be vicious and hateful instead of seeing humor.
Then again, some things are no laughing matter. Plagiarism, for example.
I never had the guts to say the things you do. Frankly, I'm terrified to be reviewed by you because I know you'll do what you usually do, which is tell the truth with absolutely NO sugarcoating.
Often, you've slammed books I've enjoyed, but I've had to admit you're right.
I know the Cassie Edwards story made me very angry. Not because the woman copied word for word from an article she used to research her story, but because she (and her publisher) seemed to think there was nothing wrong in it.
And I don't see Janet Daily's career "over". I don't think Ms. Edwards will suffer financially either.
Which is a damn shame.
January 14th, 2008 @ 10:16 PM

Posted by December Quinn/Stacia Kane:

I've never noticed your blog being particularly snarky, Mrs. G. Just your unvarnished opinions, which is what I come to your site for anyway.
January 14th, 2008 @ 11:23 PM

Posted by sallahdog:

for me its not the bloggers that are the problem, which is funny, because in general I am not a blogger... its the commenters...

Look, I used to be huge LKH wanker. Until I gave up on her books, then the fun of constantly wanking on her (other than her occasional blog post that cracks me up) lost its appeal...

You move on to another addiction. its no biggie...

My latest one is Project Runway.. which is hilarious because I couldn't give a crap about clothes in real life..
January 15th, 2008 @ 12:15 AM

Posted by Anonymous:

I'm just tired and sad about the whole thing. I wonder what kind of repercutions there will be. I feel like a group hug for authors and readers alike. I'm an idiot.
January 15th, 2008 @ 1:06 AM

Posted by Anon76:

Yeah. My New Years resolution was not to check any blogs anymore. But then this issue hit, and well, dangit, it's important to me. As a reader, and as an author.

I was even ready to let the issue go its merry way yesterday, until...an author in my crit group basically said, "I don't know what the big deal is about. The woman made lots of money and has tons of books out. We all want that."

That's when I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this issue must be followed to its end. For another author to condone it because of her own wants of bucks and sales, well, I can't let it go so that such practices are acceptable.

I pray to God that when this issue is settled, I will move away from snarky blogs as I promised myself.

For now though? I will stay in the fight. The issue is too important to be ignored.
January 15th, 2008 @ 1:55 AM

Posted by Peyton:

Pepperlandgirl actually only writes as one half of the team that writes as Jamie Craig.
January 15th, 2008 @ 2:23 AM

Posted by Deb Smith:

I love your site Mrs. Giggles, and you never snark at a level remotely mean-spirited in the snarkish manner of the bloggers in question. Here's the thing about the C.E. debate: SHE MAY NOT EVEN HAVE COMMITTED PLAGIARISM. Lots of folks are screeching about copyright matters without understanding the legalities. "Fair use" covers a lot of gray territory in terms of quoting nonfiction material. And you can't plagiarize old texts that are in the public domain, which it appears some, or maybe even all, of C.E.'s quotes were from. You can assert that she's a sloppy writer, that she doesn't know how to paraphrase, that her books suck in general -- fine, that's fair. But for anyone to yell "plagiarism" when that may not be the case in any legal sense of the term is seriously unfair and possibly libelous. C.E. could very well have thought that what she was using from old texts was perfectly acceptable. A lot of authors (and obviously, much of the reading public) doesn't understand the weird rules of copyright, and authors often debate what requires permission, what can be quoted freely, and how much can be quoted, etc. Why not give C.E. the benefit of the doubt? Innocent until proven guilty by copyright experts, eh?Who went to C.E.'s Wikipedia entry and changed it to mention "the scandal?" And why did Nora Roberts pile on? Did C.E. pee on her leg at a conference sometime? This is just a horrifying example of how what appears to be a pre-established blogger vendetta turned into a wholescale effort to target and ruin an author. Whether you think C.E. is a villain or a victim, this kind of Mean Girl Internet Pile-On ought to scare all of us.
January 16th, 2008 @ 1:56 AM

Posted by Charlene:

Deb, your knowledge of law is deficient. NOTHING she has done falls under fair use, and plagiarism has nothing to do with copyright. You steal words from Jane Austen, you're still a plagiarist and you still have gone against the contract you signed with your publisher.

Giving her the benefit of the doubt is foolish and wrong and is a punch in the face to all writers who don't plagiarize.

I don't think she should be burned at the stake, but if I were her publisher I'd be suing her for every single penny of royalties they'd ever forwarded to her, with compounded interest. What she's done has besmirched romance fiction, her publishers, and her herself.

Giving the benefit of the doubt to someone that obviously in the wrong is not kind to anyone. It hurts every other writer, and especially the ones she deliberately stole from.
January 16th, 2008 @ 8:39 AM

Posted by Anonymous:

Came here from FW, where people are saying you're funny.

I don't see it.

You come off a stuffy hand wringer who's far too concerned about words posted on the internet. Relax and step away from the computer. I promise you, everyone involved in this whole debacle will survive and live to annoy each other another day.
January 16th, 2008 @ 3:45 PM

Posted by Mrs G:

Thank you for your words of wisdom. I don't know how I could have survived without them!
January 16th, 2008 @ 4:18 PM

Posted by Shirley:

LOL, Mrs. G! Love that response.

As far as the plagiarism goes, Deb Smith is off on her explanations, but not on the point. Until it's proven in court, we can't say whether CE did it or not. And if it never goes to court, then it can't really be said at all without being potentially libelous.

You've got it right, Mrs. G. There's nothing wrong with saying, hey, enough for me. I don't want what I consider to be crappy manners on my blog. Everybody doesn't have to agree, but it's your blog. More power to you.
January 21st, 2008 @ 8:32 AM