Sunday, October 31, 2004

On Conspiracies and Pettiness

On Sarah Weinman’s excellent blog, (, aka, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind), people weighed in on the Andrew Klavan debate (see my previous blog entry). As an example of the liberal ferocity rampant among readers and the book community at large, a few people wrote in about the unfair treatment that Robert Ferrigno received among anonymous reviewers on amazon after he expressed some conservative views in an interview. (To know what I think of nameless critics, see my blog entry Anne Rice vs. Anonymous Reviewers). Now I happen to think Robert is a talented writer and a nice guy, and it pisses me off that people slammed him unjustly—and especially sans cahones to sign their commentary. But if people think that political backlash is unique to one side of the spectrum, they are sorely mistaken. For all you writers out there, here’s an experiment: Go post an “I Love John Kerry” sign atop your website and see what pops up within hours on amazon. The point is that anywhere that readers can post comments without accountability, you’re gonna have slant and ugliness. The capacity for pettiness (especially when one is granted an opportunity in which their face and name can be withheld, but none of the vitriol) is neither unique to liberals nor conservatives. Believe me, the guys I hear from occasionally when I get the weight of a handgun off by a half gram (bless them – they’re generally respectful and want to keep me from looking dumb next go around) ain’t voting Nader. I never understand why both sides of the political spectrum squabble over who should be appointed greater martyr status. If you state your views as Robert did, or as Bill O’Reilly does, or as Michael Moore does, you’re gonna piss off people who hold opposing views, and some of them will respond without class or dignity. There’s no vast conspiracy there—it’s human nature.

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