Homosexuality, Religion, and Reviews

Sigh. Dear Readers, not sure how this will be interpreted but I am sure that since I’m wading in I accept that I might get a face full of blowback and, unlike the author of the moment, I will not engage in rhetoric guaranteed to fan the flames of what is at the moment a very small fire.

On June 7 Eric Shaw Quinn released a new book, The Prince’s Psalm. It is a new, and for some, a highly controversial interpretation, of the Biblical story of David and Jonathan of Israel. “1 Samuel 18:1 & 3: “And it came to pass… that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.”

David not only slew Goliath, he won the heart of Prince Jonathan, heir to the throne of Israel. They were star-crossed warrior lovers whose passionate affair changed history and gave rise to the nation of Israel, a legacy that has endured for 3,000 years. Their epic love story stands at the center of a religious tradition that shaped the world.

But Jonathan and David were also two men torn between duty and tradition, driven by their undeniably passionate and physical love for one another. Who were they beyond the historical facts given in the Bible? What were they like—as men? This modern-day novel tells the story of Israel’s first king and the man who captured his heart.”  -Amazon.

On June 10 there were two 5 star reviews, on June 13 two 1 star reviews appeared, one of which was by a very confused woman who ordered an ebook version by mistake. This one was subsequently removed for very valid reasons. The other was by a woman who seems to believe, amongst other things, that there were NO GAY characters in the Bible.

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Now, to me, this person probably won’t ever be caught reading a M/M romance and probably thinks no one in her circle of family, friends, and acquaintance is gay but she is not actively saying anyone not hetero should die in the fire of hell she just wants to, well, probably she’d like to believe there are no gay characters in real life either but right now as long as they aren’t two guys from the Bible stories she has been raised with she’ll be okay.

Bless her heart.

Now sometime on the 16th a number of reviews appeared and I’m guessing this might’ve been the first or one of the first.

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Is nothing sacred anymore? No, not a lot. I always saw that Bible verse as David dissing his wife for leaving and praising Jonathan for being his brother and staying with him but not maybe there is another way to look at it. But that is a discussion that I’m not having here and now.

This review seems to be, again, more about the challenge to a long held belief than about rabid anti-gay speech.

Also on the 16th we see nine 5 star reviews. Nine out seventeen, ten if you count the 1 star on the same day. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?. Wonder no more.

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Wow. Religious intolerance. Gay bashing. ISIS. But wait- it gets better.

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Religious terrorists.  Where have I seen this kind of inflammatory rhetoric before?

Screenshot (359)Oh yes,  Anne Rice, the woman who wants to know the name of every reviewer who doesn’t give her books a glowing review.

Let’s look at the third review which was posted on the 18th.

Okay, this reviewer has a definite bias but I can’t decide if he  abhors homosexuality because of his religious beliefs or if he’s just a homophobe using religion as an excuse.  I’m trying hard to see where terrorism rears its ugly head but honestly I don’t, while none of these three   are going to embrace a different view soon or at all, I do believe Quinn would have this kind of review even if he made Jonathan into Johanna or if he made David into Davina. When you reinvent any part of the Bible- watch out. Someone isn’t going to like it and they may call you names. You are toying with their religion, you have taken a cattle prod to their sacred cow.

Also on the 16th Quinn’s friend and Dinner Party co-host, Christopher Rice, posted this on FB:

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Sorry for the weird break but Christopher, like his mother, writes one long wall of text. In between the release of TPP and the 16th there was Orlando. Rice writes that this isn’t about “a handful of hateful book  reviews from people who haven’t read the book” but this post is attached to discussion of those reviews. So we will leave Orlando, hate crimes, and assault weapons out of this. This is about book reviews.

On the 16th a 1 star review, nine 5 star reviews, and two FB posts, one by Quinn and one by Rice appeared. Both Quinn and Rice have a right to feel as much anger, fear, and betrayal as they want. But if it is not about a handful of reviews, what is this?

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Note to Sarah MacDonald- Amazon frowns on you using other family member’s accounts to do this sort of thing. This sort of thing being a downvoting campaign. Because 3 reviews out of 17 tanks the book with a 4.3 out of 5 rating.

Yesterday Quinn posted this probably after the third 1 star went live:

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If this is about hate speech and hate crimes then there is no need to upvote those 5 star reviews. Has Quinn and Rice succeeded in making a difference? Are their posts shining a big old spotlight on homophobia?

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No. I did see a lot of “gonna downvote and report those haterz” and a lot  of  “gonna buy this book now” and “gonna give it 5 stars”. Let’s dwell on Laura’s insightful comment for a moment, yes, somewhere Quinn admits he is “trying to make a living” with this book as with his other work. And, hey, everyone has got to make a living. Let’s move on, sorry that my point is taking the long route.

There were a few comments from those who realize that you can’t expect universal acclaim when wielding that cattle prod.

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Can’t argue with Stacy, she got it right.

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He’s right, the target audience will see these reviews for what they are.

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And right again.

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Nope, because, Sabrina, you can deliberately or accidentally turn off the AVP symbol. And since you so conveniently brought that up, let’s look at these reviews.

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Author M J Rose writes that most helpful of all reviews, the one that could be posted to almost any book on anything and, look, no AVP.

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Screenshot (369)Four 5 star reviews without an AVP and one of them admits he hasn’t read the book. Are these not “fake” reviews? Or is that only reserved for 1 star reviews that might be written by conservative religious believers who might or might not have a problem with homosexuality? Where is the outrage for these reviews?

Oh, wait. I know the answer to this. Anne Rice has preached this gospel. Only 1 star reviews are fake. There is nothing wrong with a 5 star review if you haven’t read the book.

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Look familiar? I couldn’t find the ss with Rice saying a fake 5 star is acceptable because it doesn’t hurt the author. It’s on another laptop and inaccessible for now.

Look, reporting and downvoting will accomplish what?  Nothing, nothing at all. It won’t change anyone’s mind. It won’t promote any positive position.  There were a number of negative comments posted on those reviews, but only one that advanced an argument in favor of Quinn’s interpretation.

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I’m going to try to wrap this up now. I tried to see in those reviews what Quinn wanted me to see but I didn’t. I saw in Christopher Rice’s FB post the outrage, but not in Quinn’s numerous posts.  Instead I found the echo of Anne Rice’s complaints about 1 and 2 star reviews. I found the same lack of understanding that Amazon does not require you to read the book before you review it. I saw  the same thing we’ve all seen before, the rush to buy a book, down vote and report critical reviews, upvote the positive reviews and leave a review, any kind of review as long as it’s 5 stars because the author, the poor author, has found a new way to sell a few more copies of his book.

Losing It- Anne Rice Style

Annie has been on a tear ever since one of her faithful pointed out how mean people were being to Kate Breslin. Indeed Annie has been most indignant about anyone not reading that book before reviewing it. Then yesterday something must have backfired somewhere because she has been doing the Dying Swan and assuring her people that she would never, ever reveal in public something that was in a private email.  Inquiring minds might want to know just what is in those emails Annie seems to not want made public (if you haven’t visited her FB page do, but take something alcoholic to dull the pain) but not too soon because watching her whip her people into a frenzy is sort of fun in a train wreck sort of way.

Tonight Annie took to the comedic spotlight once again to ask her people their opinions on reviewing without reading, this is again part and parcel of the whole Breslin affair. She states in part,  “Lately, it seems, it has been suggested that Amazon does NOT require customers to have read a book before reviewing it. This is absurd, and misleading. Would any customer want to read a review of a pair of shoes, or a flat screen TV, or a brand of soap by some one who has never used the product? Of course not. Are we honestly supposed to believe Amazon cares less about books than other products? I’m not buying it! Amazon cares. It pioneered the authentic customer review and it wants to protect its integrity. Amazon has publicly stated that is has no tolerance for those who seek to mislead and manipulate customers”- Anne Rice Facebook page.

It’s hard not to point and laugh because the very last line of the article she links to is, ” Not for Amazon, whose spokesman said “we do not require people to have read the product in order to review”.”       

She might not want to believe it but there it is, “we do not require people to have read the product in order to review”.”    You do understand, don’t you?  So why doesn’t Annie? Better question, why didn’t she read the article? I don’t know, I do know it’s hard to get Amazon to enforce rules that they don’t have. Impossible even.  I also know that no matter how often Annie declares Amazon doesn’t allow you to review without reading/consuming/using products they sell, she can’t make it happen.

I do know one part of her statement is correct, “Amazon has publicly stated that is has no tolerance for those who seek to mislead and manipulate customers.” There is only one person seeking to mislead and manipulate. Only one person urging her people to report reviews that are within the TOS of Amazon.

When last I looked her people had either not read the article either before they agreed with her or are too scared of being banned to tell her because, “Comments welcome. (Remember those who repeatedly and insistently misrepresent my position or the position of others on this page will be banned for disrupting. All honest expressions of opinion are welcome. This page has always welcomed differing opinions.)” Anne Rice Facebook page. Because like that Amazon rule, her welcome of differing opinions is nonexistent.

 

EL James Celebrates, Chuck Wendig Pouts, Annie Rice Spreads Hysterical Rhetoric (as usual)

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity” – Martin Luther King.

Hello, Dear Readers, how are you all today? I’m feeling a little ranty, so be warned. Did any of you participate in the #AskELJames Twitter yesterday? You did? You didn’t? Well, it was a rousing success. What? You’ve heard just the opposite? I know, but really, Dear Readers, what has the internet been talking about for the past 24+ hours? Here’s a hint:  Not Anne Rice.

Once again, threats of physical violence are not acceptable so all those who felt the need to leave one attached to the hashtag managed to make James the object of sympathy, so think about it.

I haven’t been all that involved with the whole 50 Shades furor because I just plain hated her writing, if you want to call it writing. James has had an interesting rise to infamy. She started by writing fanfic and indeed  50 Shades is a Twilight fanfic ripoff. Not only that but she seems to have left the fanfic community on a father sour note. There are more accounts of her fanfic days out there but I’m going to borrow a page from James’ style of research and just not bother.

What has bothered a lot of people is that James seems to like to ignore, avoid, and block those who wish to engage her in a discussion of the inaccurate portrayal of BDSM, the abusive nature of Christian and Ana’s relationship and what a lot of readers define as rape. She also likes to send inappropriate messages and engage in a little jeering and belittling* with her fans. This Twitter exchange highlights a response, to a DV survivor yet. Charming.

So. When #AskELJames appeared a lot of people had a lot of questions and a lot of snark to post. Hey, it’s not like EL hasn’t done the same. S lot of posters have been saying she should have known better, that her PR people are probably looking for their next position, and that there just wasn’t any excuse for what happened to her.

What happened to her is people are still talking about a woman who can barely write her name. Do I think she got spanked? Hell no. She’s probably laughing her ass off and high-fiving whoever thought that campaign up. People are still talking and it seems to me it’s all about what happened to James and nothing about what James has done to others.

Now we come to Chuck Wendig who wrote this post about poor, beleaguered ELM James and then this post where he pouts and whines and get sympathy because what? Oh, I guess people pointing out where you totally ignored James’ behavior and the people she has attacked is more than you can handle. A more graceless, self absorbed post I have seldom seen. Not once, not once did you acknowledge any of the legitimate issues people have had with James, not once did you point out her behavior has fanned the ire of members of the BDSM community and DV survivors. No, no, you just couldn’t be bothered.

What was it, Chuck? Did you just not bother to do any research or are these people not as important as a woman on top of the best seller lists despite her inability to write a decent grocery list? Let me give you a clue, Chuck, those people read books and now I’m betting they won’t be reading you.

“Today I peeled back the Internet curtain and looked into that #AskELJames hashtag and thought, “Well, there’s some ugly stuff going on there and it’s against a woman,”” C Wendig, Online is IRL. You know, I had to reread that line a couple times before I actually figured it out, “and it’s against a woman”, so you chose to leap on your keyboard and ride to the little woman’s rescue. “To that society, women must shout back and louder, until a woman’s voice is as unremarkable as a man’s.”– Caroline Criado Perez. So the next time you decide to ride to the rescue ask yourself if you would do this for a man and if the answer is no,  then shut up.

BTW, congratulations, you have gotten the STGRB’s seal of approval for your post. If that doesn’t make you realize your colossal mistakes and missteps then nothing ever will.

Dumbass.

Then there is Annie, what can I say? That isn’t profane, that is. If ever there was a menace to authors and reviewers online it is Annie, who never lets the facts get in her way. Annie has been trying ever so hard to silence those that she doesn’t like and won’t bow down to her. She’s even found herself a couple mind numbingly stupid stooges to do her dirty work so she can claim willful ignorance.

I guess it’s understandable in a way that Annie would want to rush  to James’ defense, she did thank her for making erotica more acceptable and thereby making A N Roquelaure more profitable. Ever the champion of hysterical, overwrought, incendiary accusations having little to do with reality this link takes you to a solid rebuttal of her latest foray into the reality only she inhabits, and this is not the first time Annie has used inflammatory language to garner sympathy for her Holy Cause, read this. And this link points out that Annie, for all her holy fervor, doesn’t really look into the James furor, she just takes the word of someone who wants to curry favor and runs with it.

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity” – Martin Luther King.

ETA: “jeering and belittling

Annie Rice and the Brunel University Study

Granted it is a small study but interesting. Brunel University conducted a study of 555 Facebook users and found that users with low self-esteem were more likely to use the “relationship status” to create interest in themselves and narcissists were more likely to boast about their achievements and/or their fitness regimens to generate the attention they crave.

At 73 Anne Rice isn’t posting about bench pressing or marathons but she does spend a lot of time posting links to her 5 star reviews, stgrb, and how she is fighting the battle against us careerist gangster bully thugs, or trash as she sometimes describes us. The latter always gets her at least two comments about how brave and wonderful she is.

““Although our results suggest that narcissists’ bragging pays off because they receive more likes and comments to their status updates, it could be that their Facebook friends politely offer support while secretly disliking such egotistical displays,” Marshall said.” quoted from article.

Oops, well Annie will just ignore the above much like she ignores everything else that doesn’t suit her goals.

 

 

Anne Rice Is Against Pseudonyms and Alias’ on the Internet, Except When She Isn’t

[reblogged from Alexandra’s Adventures in Books]

As many of you are aware, Anne Rice supports a petition to have Amazon disallow pseudonymous reviews and postings and require real names.

It’s important to note that on Amazon while users may elect to have a display name for reviews and forum posts, Amazon knows the customers’ real name, and typically also address.  Therefore they are not “anonymous” in the true sense.

From Anne’s Facebook page, Todd Barselow posted this comment promoting his petition for Amazon to disallow pseudonymous reviews and postings on February 7,

 

“I will look forward to this. I just glanced at that petition to Amazon that I penned last year and people are still signing it and commenting on it. It has better than 9k signatures now.
https://www.change.org/p/amazon-com-protect-amazon-com-users-and-indie-publishing-authors-from-bullying-and-harassment-by-removing-anonymity-and-requiring-identity-verification-for-reviewing-and-forum-participation”

 

Anne Rice’s response to Todd,

 

“I’m glad you posted this, Todd, but we need to warn those signing it that they will be held up to ridicule in the Amazon Forums. They are defamed there and people are invited to spite them and punish the signers by removing reviews from their work. And Amazon does not take down this sort of post even though it violates their guidelines.”

https://www.facebook.com/annericefanpage/posts/10153129926295452

Anne Rice signed the petition to require reviews and forum posts be posted under verified real names,

“Anne Rice PALM DESERT, CA

about 1 year ago Liked 25

My experience with the gangster bullies in the Forum has been very bleak and ugly. I post there under my own name. They blatantly violate your guidelines with personal insults and harassing posts. If you would only apply your own guidelines this would greatly help. I feel a lot of these people are obsessive abusers who have found some sort of dark home on Amazon tormenting writers. I urge you to take action.”

 

Interestingly enough Facebook does have a policy that requires user accounts be under real names.  Although certainly some get away with using fictitious names, Facebook has been notoriously stringent in it’s enforcement of the rule.

Recently a regular poster to Anne’s Facebook page, Granny Goodwitch, has run afoul of this TOS rule of Facebook’s, having her user account closed.  Anne has posted numerous posts on her Facebook page bemoaning the enforcement by Facebook that user accounts be real names, and calls it “harassment”,

 

‘Good Morning, People of the Page. It is a somewhat gray day here, and unseasonably cool for Palm Desert in May. I’m not at my best today, and will post when I can. I’m deeply distressed that Granny Goodwitch is no longer able to appear regularly on our page, and confused as to why she is encountering difficulties with FB. Just don’t get it. —- I think this will be a quiet day for me, reading “The Yearling,” and trying to “feel better.”‘

 

https://www.facebook.com/annericefanpage/posts/10153360877000452

 

‘Signing off, ladies and gentlemen with this message about Granny Goodwitch and her targeting by Facebook. ‘Tis a mystery why FB has taken down Granny’s page, and subsequent pages that Granny has tried to launch. —- Granny, as many of you know is a Pillar of this page, providing links to fabulous stories about archaeology, science, and a whole spectrum of interesting topics. She is a lovely person, an inspiring person and a person of great warmth and love. I’ve met her at signings, and I truly love her for the love she has shown me and so many others. — What can we do to reach the powers that be at FB, and discover why this is happening? Yes, I know there are rules about names, apparently, but they do not seem to be logically or consistently applied. I know of people now posting under pseudonyms on FB. This is all a puzzle. What was the purpose of targeting Granny Goodwitch? —- If any of you have contacts at FB, if any of you know any way to appeal to the management, if any of you perhaps work with or for FB and can shed some light on the sudden targeting of Granny Goodwitch, I would so appreciate it. I think a lot of people would appreciate it. Please, if you can, help us to solve this mystery. I will check back in the morning for comments.’

 

https://www.facebook.com/annericefanpage/posts/10153366610185452
“Our beloved Granny Goodwitch is once again banned from FB. She is clearly being harassed and we do not know why. Much confusion and mystery surrounds what is happening. I have received word that some others who post on this page are being harassed. If anyone has any information as to this, who is doing it, why, whether it’s an individual or a group, etc. please let me know by email. (See “About” for email.) I promise you complete confidentiality as to your identity, and your email information will only be seen by me and my lawyer, and those authorities at FB who might do something to correct this injustice. Remember even the best internet sites can be abused, manipulated, and misused.”

https://www.facebook.com/annericefanpage/posts/10153382170515452

And as further evidence of AR’s blatant hypocrisy, she’s posted an article about reasons people use alias’ on the internet,

https://www.facebook.com/annericefanpage/posts/10153376767560452
Something people tried to explain to her when she started supporting and promoting the removal of pseudonyms on Amazon, and she called “bullies” and “trolls” and “thugs” for doing so.

 

Here’s an article on the Anne Rice – Todd Barselow connection,

 

Thanks To Anne Rice Todd Barselow Has Made All Of You His Bitches

Anne Rice and Reality- drifting ever farther apart

Sigh. Time to exercise the pigeon.

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Anne Rice is at it yet again, it seems that she is fascinated by yours truly. People flock to me like pigeons to popcorn so I can see why the poor dear keeps posting about me, all this charisma is a heavy burden. But let’s see what else she’s posting about, shall we?

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Um. Wow.  Of course the negative reviews are fake????? Bullies patrol the site day and night? Oh, honey, you need to get a grip.  Beauty’s Kingdom isn’t garnering the landslide of five star reviews you think it deserves and you want to blame a group of people that don’t agree with you because, after all, it’s much easier than facing the fact that your book just wasn’t that good.

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That’s right, report the downvoters because they are obviously fake. Wait- how do you know who they are? Oh, that’s right, you have a little list of people who don’t kiss your ass feet and, what, give their names to your minions and tell them to go forth and report? Amazon hasn’t listened to you about the real name issue and they deleted your whole thread that was nothing but post after post of links to stgrb so now you are just pointing to various posters/reviewers and repeating to your fans to report, report, report.

Get a hobby- here’s an idea- write a book.

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You investigated them? This from the woman who used to say that she couldn’t know everything posted on stgrb because it was too dense. Not to put too fine a point on it, Annie, but I wouldn’t say that anymore because after reading parts of your latest offering I have absolutely no trouble believing that. And since you can’t even read past the latest post on that site anything you claim about “investigating” the Top Reviewers Forum can be viewed with a very large dose of skepticism. And we all know that you conveniently ignore anything that doesn’t suit you, too, so you wouldn’t be a reliable source for anything.

Okay, one last thing that has been explained to you more than once, no one is required to use the same name on every site they use. There is nothing wrong with using one name on Amazon and a different one for GR, BL, FB, Twitter, and wherever. Nothing.  People use different names different places for a variety of reasons but evidently the only reason you can think of is, well I’m not sure what you’re thinking. Are you?

 

You’re losing it, Annie.