Reality just ain’t what it used to be, is it? Especially on the Internet.
They say it’s all a matter of perception, that it’s what you make it. Einstein claimed it’s an illusion, albeit a persistent one. Philip Dick snarked that even when you stop believing in it, it doesn’t go away. Well, here’s an effort to rearrange reality worthy of Dr. Who or Thanos .
Once again, another shitstorm arises when a po’ widdle awefur decides to market their newly-minted bouncing baby book on Goodreads… yet doesn’t bother to read the site’s rules on how to go about it. So when things inevitably go south, it’s none of their fault they didn’t know what they were doing- they just didn’t, you know, bother to learn the rules first. And then lied through their teeth about it all to boot.
Kinda sure at least some of you know what I’m referring to. Lauren (Pippa) Howard sent out some ARCs of her soon-to-be-released book to a few select GR readers. Lauren gets literally two “low” reviews, a 2-star and a 1-star- on GR here and here (2-stars= liked it, btw) and goes ballistic because she knows they don’t even have a copy of the book (see previous statement). Even though she’s deleted her OP, you’ll get the gist of it. These ratings prompted some immediate venom from a couple of her “friends”.
Oddly enough, she didn’t seem to have any problem with this nor the avalanche of 5-star reviews/ratings from people who haven’t read the book despite rating/reading the book when you didn’t have a copy was what she’d been complaining about. To be fair, she’s not the first to do this; it seems to be a staple of SPA behavior right before they go off the rails.
What people constantly seem to keep forgetting about GR is that it’s a READER networking site. Period. Not saying it’s perfect- far, far, far from it- but that’s their purpose: for READERS to discuss books. In most any way, shape or form they like. It’s nothing more sinister than you asking someone in a bookstore about a book and them telling you what they think of it- good, bad, ugly or if they’d even want to read it in the first place and why. That’s what the ratings and shelves are for, even if the book ain’t out yet- to gauge people’s interest in it. How that’s so difficult to understand, I’ve no idea.
Lauren claims that the shelves used by two GR members led her to conclude that she was being threatened. Here’s the screenshot of them. Don’t know about you, but while they’re not the most tasteful remarks I’m not noticing a threat against anyone here.
Here’s the screenshot where Lauren flat out states she’d been threatened. Cue violins and white knights on Arab chargers.
But then once the rules are explained to her, she quips that it’s all to blame on a bout of PMS. Yep, she went there.
What’s really disturbing about all this is in the rush to defend Lauren, no one bothered to perform any diligence. At all. Not a single, solitary person championing her cause ever bothered to ask to see links to the offending posts. Everyone and their sister, including blogsites like DailyDot, Salon.com, and yes- Stop the Goodreads Bullies (duh!)- took it all at face value that Lauren was being told she should be “raped, sodomized and murdered” without asking to see a shred of evidence of it. This is wholly due to Lauren herself spreading the lies around (see post #34). In fact, when asked if they’d seen proof, some went so far as to delete all comments. But that didn’t stop others like this GR supporter or Anne Allen from declaring that they had seen evidence of it.
Meanwhile, Lauren was all over Twitter with her dying swan routine, about how she’d been bullied and threatened.
And here’s her Twitlonger attempt at spin doctoring.
Now all this becomes really puzzling because just yesterday Lauren (sorta) apologized on her Tumblr blog- before she deleted her account- admitting the threats never happened but she never lied about it (she just made statements based on things that never happened) and for good measure throws DailyDot and Salon.com under the bus for supporting her. Here’s the screenshot (thanks to Reyna’s Mom for the retorts).
Existential Question of the Day: if you post an apology and then delete it, have you even apologized?
This despite, again, her Twitter feed where she openly admits to being at least partly to blame and not knowing the rules on GR.
Here’s another equally salient take on the whole thing at .38 Calibre Reviews. The only certainty in all this is that Lauren’s story keeps changing… which simply means she’s a liar.
While Lauren is a problem- mostly for herself and her supporters- she’s just another symptom of the self-publishing disease known as Speshul Snoflakiness. Which also means she’ll ultimately fade into the background where she belongs, soon to be replaced by another dumbass and we’ll be right back at it again. What really bothers me about all this is the frightening, truly appalling lack of any type of responsibility from those supporting her and not just those on GR. I’m not normally a vindictive person, but I really do hope those fools at DailyDot and Salon get their asses handed to them over this. Both sites’ll probably try to pass it off as Op-Ed pieces, contracted from bloggers and outside of any types of journalistic standards. And that’s the problem- because both pieces read like thinly-veiled attacks against GR. Why? What’s all the venom and rage directed at this site about? And why be so eager to talk about this issue without looking into it first? Why the rush to take a stand when you don’t even have a leg to stand on- ya really hate GR that much? And how soon before it’s gonna happen all over again?
So here’s some free advice, make of it what you will. Next time someone comes to you crying about how this new awefur (usually themselves) is being abused/threatened/harassed on Teh Internetz/Amazon/Goodreads and you need to take a stand and come help protect them from Teh Bullies… respond with these simple words:
“Got any links? Got any screenshots?”
Then watch the expressions on their faces when they realize they’ll have to actually justify their behavior. Cuz reality’s a bitch.
ETA: please read the followup post “Addendum” for a bit more exploration of a few things.
Special thanks to- ETA: Soon, The Holy Terror, Issendai, Mahala, TinaNicole, Derrick, Reyna’s Mom, Barbara*Lindt Ninja* and all the peeps at BBA for their assistance.