When Authors Go Off the Deep End: John Grisham, Kathleen Hale and Margo Howard #WTFCKERY
Grab some popcorn because the WTFckery factor is at an all-time high this week. Three authors have invoked the WTFckery to the highest order. I should also throw The Guardian in there because their lack of research of editing regarding one of the authors they offered their space to (or to get on their soapbox) has people shocked, appalled and disgusted.
1. Let’s start with John Grisham. On Thursday, The Telegraph posted an article regarding an interview they had with John Grisham. The title is: “John Grisham: men who watch child porn are not all paedophiles”
I’m going to post excerpt from the article from John’s mouth and you can decide how much of a WTFckery this is:
“Mr Grisham, 59, argued America’s judges had “gone crazy” over the past 30 years, locking up far too many people, from white collar criminals like the businesswoman Martha Stewart, to black teenagers on minor drugs charges and – he added – those who had viewed child porn online.
“We have prisons now filled with guys my age. Sixty-year-old white men in prison who’ve never harmed anybody, would never touch a child,” he said. The author of legal thrillers…cited the case of a “good buddy from law school” who was caught up in a Canadian child porn sting operation a decade ago as an example of excessive sentencing.
“His drinking was out of control, and he went to a website. It was labelled ‘sixteen year old wannabee hookers or something like that’. And it said ’16-year-old girls’. So he went there. Downloaded some stuff – it was 16 year old girls who looked 30.
“He shouldn’t ’a done it. It was stupid, but it wasn’t 10-year-old boys. He didn’t touch anything. And God, a week later there was a knock on the door: ‘FBI!’ and it was sting set up by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to catch people – sex offenders – and he went to prison for three years.”
I wonder those who have daughters who are fans of John Grisham think of his opinion? John did apologize on his website (more like damage control, IMO by his publisher because of his new release forthcoming)
It’s interesting to note John’s explanation on how his friend was drunk (was the guy’s drink laced with a roofie?) and made the mistake (the guy’s hand had a life of its own and couldn’t stop?) of watching child porn is very different from what may have actually happened:
From Teleread: “The Daily Telegraph also quotes reports from the local Sun Herald newspaper – which incidentally is running Grisham’s apology as the lead story on its website – to the effect that US justice department lawyer Kathy McLure stated during the trial that Holleman had swapped child porn images involving sex acts and intercourse involving children under 18, and even under 12. Without being completely clear on the context, the Telegraph report does suggest that anyone following the case, and the reporting of it, must have been aware of what Holleman had done.
After serving his sentence, he then filed a Petition for Reinstatement to the Practice of Law in November 2001. Holleman submitted in support of that determination “sixty letters of recommendation including … numerous other attorneys in Mississippi and Louisiana.” The last name on that list of numerous other attorneys is John Grisham.
Therefore, John Grisham wrote a character testimonial for Michael Holleman in support of his reinstatement as a lawyer, after Holleman’s conviction and incarceration. It appears very likely, unless the Telegraph reports are completely wrong, that Grisham also did this knowing that Holleman had done far worse than just foolishly browse a website involving supposed 16-year-olds, but had in fact actively traded porn clearly involving seriously underage participants.”
2. Under Speshul Snowflake Alert, New Republic posted an article titled, Amazon’s Elite Reviewing Club Sabotaged My Book by Margo Howard who, accused Amazon Vine reviewers of sabotaging her memoir even before it was released.
Some key point from Margo (she also responds in the comments) about this so-called reviewing illuminati that Amazon has waiting in the wings to destroy an author’s career:
“If you do not detect the hostility in these Vine reviews, I bet your names are “Quirky Girl” and “Ms. Winston.” These people were not reviewing my book, they were reviewing me. Or rich people. Or something. And Amazon gave them the tools, through Vine, to damage my book for the casual browser.”
Vine reviewers “are not “actual readers” because, were it not handed to them, they never would have considered reading it.”
“If a “professional” reviewer or a Pulitzer winner said my book stank, I would think I had done my job poorly.”
3. Yesterday around 8am (and it’s still going), people started talking on Twitter about an article posted on The Guardian about an author confronting an on-line critic face-to-face. The fallout of this article, and the steps this author took because in her mind she felt she was being harassed by this reviewer is chilling. The article is by author, Kathleen Hale titled: ‘Am I being catfished?’ An author confronts her number one online critic.
For those who might not be aware of what catfishing is: “On the internet, a “catfish” is a person who creates fake personal profiles on social media sites—pretending to be someone more outwardly appealing than his/her true self, by using someone else’s pictures and false biographical information. These “catfish” usually intend to trick an unsuspecting person or persons into falling in love with them. The term “catfish” is derived from the title of a 2010 documentary film, in which filmmaker Nev Schulman discovers that the woman he’d been carrying on an online relationship with had not been honest in describing herself.”
It took me a total of three times to read the article to understand why Kathleen did what she did and why. It’s a disturbing, convoluted and contradictory piece that led to a whirlwind of discussion on Twitter among authors and book bloggers, in the grip of a massive shitstorm of WTFckery
First of all, the moment Kathleen asked STGRB blog for advice, everything Kathleen said about tracking down someone who posted what she felt was a nasty review for her book, No One Else Can Have You on Goodreads as unreliable and full of caution. Any author who praises or respects a hate blog as Stop the Goodreads Bully blog (who has also said some horrible about me on their site. FYI, the site has been inactive since the end of June) has no clout or deserves my respect or understanding to their situation. Also I have heard of Kathleen prior to this article being posted. Back in January Kathleen took to Twitter to vent her frustration over a 3 star review of No One Else Can Have You by a blogger I know, have met and interacted with on many occasions.
For some reason this one review on Goodreads out of the 1,000+ posted there for No One Else Can Have you really rankled Kathleen, so much so that she spent months obsessing over the review and the person (who goes by the name of Blythe Harris) who posted it. She then took action. In her own words:
“Over the next few months, my book came out, I got distracted by life and managed to stay off Goodreads. Then a book club wanted an interview, and suggested I pick a blogger to do it.
“Blythe Harris,” I wrote back. I knew tons of nice bloggers, but I still longed to engage with Blythe directly.
The book club explained that it was common for authors to do “giveaways” in conjunction with the interview, and asked if I could sign some books. I agreed, and they forwarded me Blythe’s address.
The exterior of the house that showed up on Google maps looked thousands of square feet too small for the interiors Blythe had posted on Instagram. According to the telephone directory and recent census reports, nobody named Blythe Harris lived there.”
Kathleen wanted to talk to Blythe, even going as far as going to Blythe’s house and watching her house, like some undercover FBI agent in a sting operation, deciding if she should ring the doorbell and confront Blythe of her review (here is the link to the review on Goodreads that was changed because of Kathleen being so upset by it, but the read-in-process comments remain). Also Blythe has written over 300 reviews and has an average rating of almost 3.50 for her reviews. An example of a nasty mean girl reviewer? Hm.) Also Blythe obtained Blythe’s address under false pretenses and confirmed the address with someone at HarperCollins.
As a blogger who is now an author, who still blogs and reviews, I am appalled. Authors obsessing and getting upset over reviews (especially on Goodreads for some reason) is escalating to a point that is extremely disturbing. This is going past a point of no return as shown by Kathleen’s actions. What if she had confronted Blythe, or whoever Blythe may be and it had gone very bad, where one or the other ended up in the hospital? If Kathleen was so concerned Blythe was harassing her or she was endangered for her life, or Blythe through emails and social media threatened Kathleen’s life or her family in some way, why didn’t Kathleen go to the authorities at least to have something on record?
I’m sick of authors, who have this sense of entitlement to them. There’s this belief now that an author has a right to know who their critics and their real names whether they’re a reviewer, book blogger or reader. Why? If an author wants to know XYZ blogger/reviewer’s real identity, then the same goes for that author. If an author doesn’t want a blogger/review to hide behind an alias, then the author should expect the same and not hide behind their pseudonym. Tit for tat.
Authors are artists and work in the entertainment field just like singers or actors. What they produce is a product, AND NOT AN EXTENSION OF THEMSELVES OR THEIR HEART AND SOUL. You think every movie an actor is in is a part of their soul? (I bet the actors of Troll 2, what is considered one of the worst acted movies and top 10 worst movies period would argue) Every time a singer produces and album, that applies? A book, movie, music album, Broadway show, painting IS NOT YOUR BABY. Why do some authors feel they should be placed on a pedestal and bowed down to just because they wrote a book and were lucky to have it published? Join the hundreds of thousands who have done the same thing. Like a snowflake that falls from the sky and melts the moment it hits the ground, there are too many of you to count, so you’re not speshul.
The internet and social media has lowered that walls that enables people to interact with others. Authors have the ability to interact with readers, as well as their critics. Because of this, it causes a big problem. Someone like Kathleen Hale confronting a reader in the real world causes big cracks all around, especially in the book blogger community. There is a buildup of distrust and fear, especially if say one day an author confronts a reviewer or a book blogger over a poor review and uses their fists or perhaps a gun to or some type of bodily harm to that reviewer/blogger where someone might end up in the hospital or in the morgue. I fear that day is coming sooner than later. If you don’t believe me, just read the article by Kathleen Hale and you’ll understand why there should be a cause of concern, including the publisher who needs to act on this situation, which in this case is HarperCollins.
Something is rotten in the state of publishing and the relationship between authors and book bloggers or reviewers (even readers who dare to post on social book sites their honest thoughts about books). There is a rot, a poisonous decay occurring where people are drinking too much of that scary Kool-Aid.
I refuse to drink that Kool-Aid or eat that apple. I fear others don’t feel the same. It’s frightening.
Roundup of Blogs and Websites specifically on the Kathleen Hale issue: