451-1984/Author

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Posted on : 2/01/2019 02:50:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Inspired by Amélie Wen Zhao and in honor of a book that no one else will read. See also this and this.


451-1984/Author
by Dann Todd


Hey!

Author, Author, what did you do?
Can't read your book, no one should want to
You lack sophistication and craft and more
Your book will never be in a book store

Author, I got your number
Gonna make it stick once more
Author, here comes your number

451-1984
451-1984
451-1984
451-1984

Author, Author, I'll burn the galley
You don't know me, but you make me unhappy
I'll call you out, 'cause you've got some nerve
Your little novel has made me disturbed.

Author, I got your number
Gonna make it stick once more
Author, here comes your number

451-1984
451-1984
451-1984
451-1984

I shame you, (I shame you), I shame you
I shame you for offenses perceived
I shame you, (I shame you), I shame you
I'll shame you, until I feel relieved

Hey, Author, I got your number
Gonna make it stick once more
Author, I'll shame your opus

451-1984
451-1984
451-1984
451-1984

Author, Author, what did you do?
451-1984
I am offended just by looking at you
451-1984

451-1984
451-1984
451-1984
451-1984


Offered with apologies to Alex Call, Jim Keller, and Tommy Tutone.  And with deepest thanks to Messers Ray Bradbury and George Orwell.  Their works were never intended to be "how to" manuals.

Authors and Social Media

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Posted on : 1/31/2019 05:00:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , , ,

I had an interaction with an author a short while back via social media.

The author is an indie author.  They had put out something that was unrelated to their works.  It was something political.

The item considered a comparison between a socialist/communist dictator to Che Guevara as being positive towards the dictator.  I pointed out that Che Guevara murdered a whole ton of people.

The author responded by calling me a "crypto-fascist" and attempted to get a dogpile going in my direction.  No dogpile resulted.  The author also went into "whataboutism" mode by pointing out that the US government had killed a bunch of people in the 20th century.  (He is right on that count.  More context below.)  The author was either unwilling or unable to engage in a civil discussion about Che Guevara's history of malign actions against the people of Cuba.

I lamented the fact that our modern age offers enough access that we can learn all sorts of things about authors that most readers would never have known.  Nothing I offered was insulting.  The author asked me not to respond any further and I honored that request.

Some other person (also an author....I think)  came along with a response that was more pointed than mine.  That individual made some mildly insulting remarks towards the author while also questioning whether Che is worthy of laudatory comments.

And that was largely the exchange.

You may note that I haven't named the author, their books, the social network, or the socialist/communist dictator.

That is because, this incident aside, I like this author and I enjoy their books.  They only have two books out right not, but they are both great.  The third book in the trilogy is due out later this year.  I can't wait.

And I do not want anyone harassing the author.  Again, this incident aside, I like this author and I enjoy their work.

But I do want to talk about the author's ultimate response which was a couple of blog posts.  One was about indicating that they were stepping back from social media.  The other was lamenting the emotional drain that being in near constant contact with one's readers/fans has on an author.

Ironically, the first one was titled to give the impression that a discussion of that social media platform in particular.  No such discussion was forthcoming.

I'm sure that the constant contact with fans and the perceived need to continually create new engagement is emotionally draining. 

Everyone has to figure out how much social media they can take without harming their own well being.  

One helpful approach is to be well grounded in one's postings.  Kind words for Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, or Adolph Hitler (number 4 on the mass murdering dictator list) are going to invite a pretty significant reaction.  While Fidel Castro (and by extension Che Guevara) didn't have the same raw numbers in terms of people murdered, the percentage of the population that was murdered was certainly closer to that for the people that suffered under history's "big four" murdering dictators than to a true democracy.

The table below comes from the Power Kills website that is maintained by the University of Hawaii.  That website presents the research data of the now deceased Professor Emeritus R.J. Rummel.  Professor Rummel researched the number of civilians killed by government action; military combatants excluded.  I have extracted a few lines of data from the professor's database.


My point?  Cuba under Castro was a bloody mess.  His regime murdered at least tens of thousands of Cubans for the crime of dissenting from his communist regime.  We aren't talking about violent dissent.  We are talking about people that were insufficiently supportive by cutting corners on rationed goods or who participated in black markets for staples that most Americans purchase at a local grocery store.  And gays.  Castro murdered (and imprisoned) lots of gay folks for the "crime" of being gay.

Cuba under Castro was a far more bloody mess than it was under Batista.  That is almost always the case when comparing a non-socialist/communist government with the socialist/communist government that replaces it.

In fact, the Cuban government killed far more Cubans (domestic deaths) than Americans that were killed by the American government (again domestic deaths).  The US is clearly a much larger nation, yet the government killed far, far fewer people.  In an apples-to-apples comparison, the Cuban government was far more murderous (0.807% of the population vs. 0.016% in the US).

Looking at democratic governments, including the US, in comparison with totalitarian and communist regimes (kinda the same thing, IMHO), democratic governments are far less likely to start killing their own people.  Democratic governments, including the US, are far less likely to run around killing civilians in other nations as well.

We should all be decent to one another online.  Don't reach for invective and insults too quickly.

And don't offer praise for people that are undermining the human condition on a massive scale.  You will get called on it.

Edit - 6 September 2019

I've had limited exchanges with the author after the events above.  Mostly I've just "liked" and re-posted their promotional posts.  The third entry in their series dropped this summer. 

I'm about halfway through it and the author's performance remains excellent.  I said so in the same forum where we had that more heated exchange.

The author apologized for their behavior, acknowledged that I had responded to their behavior civilly, and thanked me for my support despite their self-described unacceptable behavior.  Supporting the work of someone with whom one has other disagreements was in some measure remarkable to this author.

For my part, I apologized for offering an opinion where it was not expected.

Neither one of us apologized for our opinions.  It wasn't required.

Again, I'm not calling out the author by name as that wouldn't be helpful.  But I do think it is helpful to note that given a bit of time and introspection, they came to regret the manner of their response.

I try to be a work-in-progress.  I think this author is trying as well.