Freedom of (Hate) Speech
I’m a writer. Always have been. Always will be. So it stands to reason that I am absolutely in love with The First Amendment which grants me Freedom of Speech–not to mention The Press!–not only can I say what I want I can write it down as well and pass it out maybe even make a buck off of it. Who knows.
Three “events” have struck this week and they, once again, have me questioning just how I actually want Freedom of Speech to go in certain directions. While, a few years ago I never would have said that I was in favor of limiting Free Speech in any manner–I’m still not, not really–I now find myself saying whatever happened to Common Sense, Good Taste, Personal Responsibility and, in lieu of those things, Being Shunned By The Community.
First this week, a friend sent me a link to Change.org to sign a petition over removing a Facebook page that I had looked at and earlier reported. A page Facebook told me was protected by Freedom of Speech even though they clearly have a No Hate Speech Policy. Check it out Witches Must Die By Fire. No, that’s not hate speech, that’s simple, mature, responsible, expression of a coherent thought.
If it read; Christians Must Die By Fire, Blacks Must Die By Fire, Jews Must Die By Fire, Fags (sorry) Must Die By Fire or anything like that, FB would take it down. The “owner” is an instigating ass anyway. You should read some of the crap over there. So I signed The Petition
Second, someone sent some letter to someone over an autistic child and….the world went ape shit. Justifiably so, of course. Click the link and read it for yourself if you haven’t already. (Personally I read it on Yahoo! News 2 days before GMA brought to me with morning coffee…that happens a lot lately. But that’s another blog altogether.) This “letter” is absolutely horrible and signifies that all the truly wrong with people these days. The fact that it was sent anonymously only proves what coward the writer is. If you want to get up there and point fingers, make nasty remarks, and say how people should be euthanized at least have the balls to do it in the open…you cowardly piece of shit.
Out of the entire nasty vulgar vile thing, there is one item in there I could identify with and understand…but not the way it was written. It’s the part about ‘scaring my normal children’. OK. I can see how the boy might be ‘scary’ to other ‘normal’ kids. He’s different. He makes funny sounds. Kids don’t understand. Kids often fear what they do not understand. As a PARENT it’s your job to help them, to guide them, to deliver them out of ignorance and to understanding there’s nothing to be afraid of with regard to the boy. And you’re going to have to do that with several things in your children’s lives; no boogey man under the bed, no monster in the closet, the lady next door is old, crotchety and smells funny but that’s ok and….so on. If you as a parent can’t ease and finally allay your child’s’ fears you’re probably not a great parent. Maybe you’d like to consider dealing with your own shortcomings rather than taking your inability to be an effective parent out on the autistic boy next door. Just a thought.
Third and last, before I went to sleep last night I checked my Facebook page and there was an article in my personal feed from a fellow author who I don’t know but have to pay attention to her posts because I think she’s very smart. Canceling The Release of Learning to Love. Authors cancel release dates for all types of reasons…mostly the book just ain’t finished…but this quite different. Check it out. I’ll wait.
It’s all because she asked a simple and relevant question on GoodReads; Why are these reviews showing up when none of these people have read the book because it isn’t out yet?
I think that’s a very legitimate question and there’s nothing stupid about it.
I am seriously considering canceling my GoodReads account, I know I’m taking them off my site this afternoon because I too have had problems with them in the past and been the victim of bullish behavior that was condoned by GoodReads and it happened over the exact same issue; how can these people be ‘reviewing’ my book when it’s not even out yet? Just so you’re aware on GoodReads and the like, those “stars” aren’t just connected to just they’re also there to gauge by ‘interest’ in reading a book. So people who have never read it can just click ‘1 star’ and fly away to the next author and leave ‘1 star’ and go to the next all day long. Thereby bringing down your total rating of those “star reviews”. Oh yes, AND it’s perfectly ok for a “reviewer” to openly state in their “review” they’ve NEVER read your book but they HATE it anyway. Not exactly a fair and unbiased system is it? Not exactly a nurturing environment for author or reader. Oh yeah and that’s Freedom of Speech. For a site that depends MORE on the AUTHOR participating than it does on ‘readers’ participating they might like to rethink their business strategy. No authors, no books, nothing to review. It’s that simple.
What broke my heart over the whole thing is that she’s a debut author and her debut book is being put on indefinite hold over a few cowardly self-important dicks—no loads with no lives—who have nothing better to do then try their damndest to crush someone else’s dream. She should be overwhelmed with fear, anxiety, excitement, and sitting on pins and needles as her release day approaches for her first book. Instead she’s been bombarded by troll shit. And it was probably started by a GoodReads Librarian, that’s a kick in the head, ain’t it? Read her posts, you’ll see. I guess that’s what you get when you have nearly an ‘all volunteer staff’ and anyone can become a GoodReads Librarian. Which means any bullying troll can have all the ‘power’ they desire to make someone’s life miserable and never face a consequence over it. There’s a good argument for making them PAID POSITIONS, isn’t it? If there’s a PAY CHECK on the line then maybe this stuff won’t happen so often.
For us creative types, we writers/artists it’s especially disheartening when trolls target us. We psyche ourselves up to an unbelievable level just to get up the guts to put ourselves OUT THERE and to ask someone to PAY for our STORIES even if it’s just $0.99. These are our ‘babies’ after all, we work on them, we develop them, we nurture them. It takes a very special type of person to put themselves on display that way. It takes an even more special type of personal to keep at it with all that happens Out Here and not let it drag them down into the troll muck.
It’s one thing to get a bad review, been there, done that more than once. It sucks but it’s also Part and Parcel of the Game. You, as an author/artist/filmmaker/hotel owner/whatever, have to take it. And you have to take it in stride with grace, and, not go all ape shit–in public–over it because that will only make you look bad. If the bad review is also an honest review–and you’ll be able to tell if it is or isn’t–then maybe there are relevant points in it. Maybe there are things you can learn and apply to the next book/movie/painting/whatever.
Yet, it is impossible to ‘review’ something you’ve never read/watched/used/eaten/stayed at and so forth. That’s what “review” means; your HONEST opinion of something AFTER you’ve experienced it. A “Review” should never be allowed under any other circumstances. It shouldn’t even be offered and in a Civilized Society I suppose it wouldn’t.
Listen up, GoodReads/Amazon/Shelfari…. “Book shelves” titled things like; Author Should be Sodomized and Should be Raped in Prison should NOT be allowed on a site that wants to be taken seriously in the book world. Like the “autistic boy letter” it may be covered by Freedom of Speech but it’s also covered by Common Sense 101: You’re An Asshole and Should Be Treated Accordingly…Get Out. When sites like GoodReads/Amazon/Shelfari go out of their way to ALLOW such behavior they only smack themselves in the face and belittle their own worth to the Book Community.
At least I think Amazon is starting to catch on to that fact on their actual site, which is nice. If you go to “review” ON Amazon or Kindle the review will state if you are a Verified Purchaser. If those words don’t appear in the “review” or if the “reviewer” is not a known Amazon Reviewer you can probably kick the “review” to the side if it’s bad and chalk it up to one more jerk. Now if they’d just institute that on GoodReads and Shelfari, along with paid librarians, maybe some of the other crap would stop on those sites as well.
If you believe such behavior shouldn’t be tolerated please!….. Sign Here!
It never fails to amaze me how far some of us will sink to feel important on some level, like we matter, we count.
You do matter. You do count. All on your own. You don’t have to be a dick to get those things. They’re yours because you’re (supposedly) human. It’s not how loud to scream it’s the words you say and what you do with your voice, your Freedom of Speech, that show the world who and what you truly are. If you want everyone to think you’re a loud, vulgar, vile, ignorant, arrogant, self-important, self-obsessed, cowardly little individual that’s up to you.
If not then….
Posted on 21/08/2013, in Uncategorized and tagged amazon, autistic boy letter, bullies, cowards, freedom of hate speech, freedom of speech, goodreads, goodreads bullies. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.