Bloggers are stupid and they suuuuuck!!
There’s a piece at SantaCruz.com that’s getting a lot of attention from bloggers today. Usually I’m one to stay far away from a topic when bloggers get worked up en masse, but this one caught my attention.
Daniela Hurezanu took herself a little trip to BookExpo America earlier this month and got her Serious Bidness panties all bunched up. A quick Google search reveals that Daniela is a book translator. Her short piece at SantaCruz.com bemoans the dearth of Important Literary Fiction on display at BEA. She reacts with bosom-clutching horror at the “outrageous combination of colors” on children’s books, too. I’d hazard a guess ole Daniela doesn’t know much about children or how their fascinating little brains are hard-wired to learn and grow as a direct result of all those bright, offensive colors. But what do I know? I’m just a dumb old “mommy blogger”.
Oh, yes. The heft of Daniela’s wrath is directed at folks just like me. Here’s the whole cheery paragraph in question from the post, titled “Book Expo’s Sorry Turn”:
BEA is a major event for the publishing industry also because there are many other concurrent events that are organized around it. Such an event was the Book Blogger Convention, which took place the day after BEA ended. Book blogging has become a subculture whose members are mostly women between 20 and 50 years old, often known as “mommy bloggers” because they are housewives who blog about romance novels, horror/vampire stories and paranormal novels. Many of them have hundreds of followers on Twitter, and the result is that they have the power to establish new trends. And the publishing industry has started to take them seriously. They receive review copies from publicists, and the authors court them assiduously. At the Book Bloggers reception I met many girls in their early twenties who already have hundreds of followers on Twitter. As far as I could tell, I was the only person at the convention who doesn’t tweet. All these 20-year-old bloggers form a community that is replacing the traditional book reviewers; they know each other, read each other’s blogs and blog about the same books. So, in a paradoxical way, this subculture is even more limited in its interests than the mainstream media. Though, in theory, the Internet is a space of infinite diversity, in practice many communities reproduce the patterns that exist outside cyberspace. The main difference between the new book bloggers and the old book reviewers is that the former don’t have any literary “prejudices.” They are children of pop culture and the mass media, and have transferred their interests onto the realm of books. Their electronic chatter will soon cover whatever is left of book reviewing.
Well, Daniela, you’ve opened yourself a little can of worms. You’re going to be getting all kinds of responses and posts dedicated to you, so here’s one more.
I’m a book blogger, but I don’t have hundreds of followers. I’m not doing this in order to get more followers. I do have hundreds of followers (800+ if we’re counting) on Twitter, but the vast majority of those are because I’m a kick-ass, spunky conservative chick who loves to make fun of pretentious liberals like you. Any followers I have because of my thoughts on books are purely a happy addendum to that group.
I’m 34 and happily blessed to be a mommy, but I’m not a mommy blogger (my kid is off limits on the Internet; there’s little that makes me more uncomfortable than bloggers with hundreds or thousands of followers parading their kids around to strangers). I blog about the books I read, not to bring attention to myself or to get swag from publishers, but because I love to read and I love to write. I’m an aspiring author, and if you don’t understand how writing frequent blog posts can help one’s writing in general, then you don’t know much about writing.
I’m also pretty highly educated, Daniela. It’s grotesque to get into an education pissing contest on the Internet, but I’m smarter than you’ve pegged me to be. I have an English degree (from one of the toughest English programs in the nation), a history degree, and an elementary education degree. I’ve been a professional journalist and a teacher, both of the elementary and high school variety. Right now, as a stay-at-home-mom (your nose just crinkled in disgust at that, didn’t it, Daniela?) I keep my mind sharp by devouring all the news I can on politics, theology, and culture, and I read a lot. A Lot. I read young adult books, cozy mystery books, theology books, books about contemporary trends and issues in Christianity, books about womanhood, cookbooks, gardening books, and lots of those garishly-colored kids’ books. Having a smart and eager-to-learn preschooler necessitates that. (I’ll give you a moment to recover from the thought of all those hideous things in my house.)
If the book industry “takes me seriously,” as you are so repulsed by, it’s because they like to see my thoughts on the books they’re publishing. Publishing, like any other industry, owes a lot to word of mouth marketing. It costs publishers next to nothing to send me a book for free. But if five or 10 of my readers are convinced to buy their product because of my recommendation, then I’ve made money for them. Works out to be pretty cushy, eh? I refuse to be a slobbering fangirl about a book just because I got it for free, either. I’m honest, which is all that’s asked of me or any other blogger.
The last bit of Daniela’s screed bears repeating:
The main difference between the new book bloggers and the old book reviewers is that the former don’t have any literary “prejudices.” They are children of pop culture and the mass media, and have transferred their interests onto the realm of books. Their electronic chatter will soon cover whatever is left of book reviewing.
Oh my word, how sanctimonious can you be? No literary prejudices? Daniela, do you think we’re all stupid? Do you think we can’t recognize a good book from a bad one? Do you think we’re not smart enough to be discerning just because we have icky blogs? Oh, honey. Again with the Giant Snob Elitism. I’ll tell you what kind of books I can discern to be not worth the paper they’re printed on, or my time: literary fiction (totes ur fave!), which is full of such miserable, unhappy, amoral characters that they kind of make me want to slit my wrists and slowly bleed to death in my whirlpool tub. Discernment, for the win.
I’m not a child, nor am I a child of pop culture or the mass media. I’m a grown woman who was raised to be a discerning reader by parents who were and are discerning readers. My interests have not be “transferred onto the realm of books.” My interests have ALWAYS lain primarily with books. And that is true of just about every book blogger I read, whether she’s 17 and in high school or 55 and experiencing the empty-nester phase of her life. Blogs are good things, Daniela. Smart people blog. It takes a smart person to be able to read a book and then discuss it intelligently. Sorry you don’t – or can’t – understand that.