Monday, June 9, 2014

What to Do When You Find Out Your Favorite Author is a Jackhole

If you’re anything like me, you don’t just have a favorite author, you have a mile-long list of them. You love their writing or the way they tell stories or the way they make you feel when you’ve invested yourself in their characters. You follow them on every social media site imaginable. You tweet them and sometimes they tweet back; sometimes they don’t but it’s okay because you know authors are busy people. Maybe they 'like’ or ‘favorite’ your comment and that’s enough because they’re currently writing that sequel you’ve been waiting for and you don’t want them to take any time away from that. WRITE, AUTHOR, WRITE.
But then this happens: Following them as you do on the webz, you see all their opinions, their gripes, their MISOGYNY or RACISM or GENERAL UGLINESS. And you are devastated. Just devastated. Because how can someone who writes such beautiful words be so icky?
If you are an avid reader, perhaps you’ve been in this position.
This has happened to me several times in my life, and since the tweet that spawned this Ranty McRantpants blog post was approximately 140 characters of pure sexism, I’m going to say this: EVERY time I’ve learned one of my favorite authors is a giant douchecanoe, said author has been of the male variety. I’m not saying this will always be the case, but to date, this is how it’s been. Draw your own conclusions from that.
The latest author to be put on my Jackhole Of Epic Proportions list is a super famous dude. If I spoke his name you would ALL know him. Even if you aren’t an avid reader, his book was made into a movie so I’m sure you’ve heard of him. To avoid hate spam, I’m not going to call him out. *
Now, I went into a small (okay, not so small) rage when I read the tweet. To sum things up for you, it was a hit at women writers. Which at the foundation of it all, is really just a hit at all women. I blinked profusely, hoping I was reading it wrong. I waited for the author to realize his mistake and delete it—it’s still there as I’m writing this. I waited for people to call him out—some did, but so many more simply praised him for his jackhole-ishness.
I was… well, angry.
Listen, and listen well, people. IT IS TWO THOUSAND, FREAKING FOURTEEN. Remember when the Bronte sisters had to write under a pen name in order to be taken seriously? Yeah, me neither. BECAUSE IT WAS A HUNDRED AND SIXTY YEARS AGO. Are you telling me that men STILL think they are the top authority on all things? Men writers who are douchebags, are you telling me that you STILL don’t take women writers seriously?
Yes. Yes, you are.
And guess what else. You’re telling the world that you have a self-inflating helium balloon for a brain. I could throw the numbers at you. I could tell you, look at these girly writers with their girly books and their kissy scenes and their loooooove stories. Yeah, they’re millionaires, so.
But honestly, disgusting human, I’m not talking to you right now. I’m talking to the readers who have been disappointed by your gross lack of human decency.
Okay, so here’s what to do when you discover one of your favorite authors is an a-hole:
1.      Cry, if that’s your thing. Let it all out. Give yourself time to feel the devastation. Because we book lovers take these things seriously, so yeah, mourn a little.
2.      Realize that your favorite (possibly former now) author is just a person. A person like any other, with faults and failures and mistakes. They are not magical creatures that spew forth words, while sitting on gigantic clouds of cotton candy in the heavens.
3.      Take said author down off the enormous pedestal you put him on and add him to the Jackhole list.
4.      Vow to stop putting humans on pedestals. Save your pedestals for things like unicorns and chocolate and rainbows and stuff.
5.      Decide if their books/writing is still something you want to read/support now that you know they have a Masters degree in being an oinky pig. The half-page long run-on sentence in their latest book should’ve been a clue but you ignored it since the story was so captivating.
6.      Let it go. (Did you just sing the song? I did.)

7.      Smile. Because there are plenty other authors in the sea. Just remember, no pedestal.

*Edited to eliminate the hint of who I was referring to since I had no intention of naming him, talking about him publicly, or otherwise discussing him. 

4 comments:

  1. Wouldn't it take a personality of many facets and angles, good and bad, to create stories of heros and villains? Aren't artistic personalities prone to over-honesty and extreme ego? I expect my favorite authors to be somewhat unsavory of character. It takes a broken mind to create beauty most of the time, and that brilliant, douche-writer is and does exactly that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely, it takes a multi-faceted personality to create a good story. But I think you're making a generalization when you say artistic personalities are prone to extreme ego. I know many, many artistic people who are able to treat others with basic human dignity. Being artistic doesn't mean you're automatically a jerk. It isn't like, a guarantee. Are some writers jerks? Yes, because they're people and some people are jerks. Are ALL writers/artistic people jerks? No.

      Personally, I DON'T expect my favorite authors to be unsavory. I expect all people (artistic or not) to be generally pleasant. But people make mistakes (I know, I do) and I can look past those. What I can't look past, is the repeated instances of just downright ugliness. At some point, I just can't call them a favorite anymore.

      But that's me.

      And to your last point, I do not think it takes a broken mind to create a thing of beauty. I think it takes a beautiful mind, but not necessarily a broken one. There is no doubt about it, the person I'm referring to HAS created a beautiful thing. Which makes it that much harder when I, as his fan, read his unsavory tweets. I think when these things happen, step 5 becomes very important. You have to decide if you're okay with still reading their work. If you are, then great. I'm usually not.

      Thank you for your comment, David.

      Delete
  2. Unicorns deserve pedestals. ^_^

    Um...this is the downside and upside to living in a bubble. I don't know things like this so I when I hear it my first thought is: you're joking right? Because it IS 2014. Why on earth? Like...I can't even. But I don't read a lot of books by male writers. Not fiction books...I'm too embarrassed to say how few fiction books by male authors are on my shelf! It's terrible. Lol! I wonder if there's a reason for that.

    Okay, I admit I have JK Rowling on a pedestal, but she's awesome, right? She's the only one though. The last author I put on a pedestal fell off the face of the earth for a decade. She came back 8 years ago and STILL HASN'T FINISHED HER SERIES from 1998! Yeah, she's on the poo list. But JK Rowling is awesome, right? ^_^ I have other authors I love so much, but no one else is on a pedestal except for Joss Whedon. Also, soo awesome, right? ^_^ Man, I'm really kicking myself for this. Lol! I can't believe the lack of male authors represented not only in my house, but on my TBR list! Girl Power. ^_^ Apparently...Dude...in my most recent collection of short stories, the ones I dislike the most are written by men. And two of them have girls being assaulted for no reason. Maybe I don't read too many books by men because I don't trust them. Lol!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I could just hug you a thousand times. Great post. And we've all been there, unfortunatley. I'm of the put their books down forever, let it go, and move on. There are so many other great authors in this world who are deserving of my attention and worship :)

    ReplyDelete