Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Negative Reviews

Gosh, there's been so much drama lately in the YA blogsphere concerning negative reviews. I know what I'm going to say isn't anything new; it's been discussed and talked about for months on thousands of blogs.

But, seriously, guys. Negative reviews do not equate to bullying.

In my creative writing course, we do a lot of critiquing. And sure, some of the things that my friends and peers have said about my darling work really stung. I mean, every writer sees their work as pretty much perfect, right? It hurts having someone say that there's something wrong with it.
But, these authors have to realise that there is no book that is universally loved. Every book will be hated to some degree, will be critiqued, will be torn apart by seemingly vicious bloggers. But on the flip-side, every book will be loved, will have posts gushing about how hot so-and-so is, will be praised.

I honestly don't understand this hate towards negative reviews. As with any form of art, the artist needs to develop thick skin to keep afloat in this business. If you can't do that, then, sad to say, this isn't the business for you.
I'm sure stars like Rhianna, Lady Gaga, and the plethora of pop stars (sorry, I don't really keep up to date with pop music) don't have a public hissy fit each time they get a negative review, whether from a professional reviewer or someone with a blog.

Which brings me to the question: why are these authors so hostile towards negative reviews written by bloggers, but not by professional reviewers? Is it because bloggers aren't paid, and therefore aren't qualified to offer an opinion about a book?
I'm a huge fan of Roger Ebert. He's a professional movie reviewer, and at times, he can be pretty harsh. He gave Deuce Bigalow: European Gigalo zero stars and said, plain and simple, "Mr Schneider, your movie sucks." (http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050811/REVIEWS/50725001). So why is it acceptable for him to say that, without being called a bully? (Granted, Schneider did have a small hissy fit when Patrick Goldstein negatively reviewed this film...)

That some people equate criticisms to bullying is also offensive and just low. Bullying is a horrible thing. I've been bullied by people I thought were my best friends. Years later, I'm still suffering. The wounds never close--in fact, they open up at the mere mention of my bullies, bringing back years of trauma and insecurity and mental pain so intense it turned into physical pain.
And I promise you, what those so-called bullied authors are feeling from those mean little reviews is nothing compared to what I, and thousands of other people who have gone through such an experience, feel.
You know what constitutes as bullying in a review? If it goes something along the lines of this:
"So-and-so is a horrible sucky writer. Ze should kill zirself for producing such disgusting trash. I wouldn't even use it as toilet paper because it offends my butt."
See? That is closer to bullying than using snark and gifs.

It seems off-putting that we've come to such a point that we have to coddle these authors, give them an endless supply of praise even if we don't mean it. Where's the honesty in that? If all books end up being rated 5 stars, then it makes the star rating absolutely useless and defunct. What's the point in that?

The road we're heading is seriously depressing. I hope it'll go away on the 22nd of December of this year, being just a case of temporary insanity brought upon the trauma and pressure of the impending supposed doom of our world.
A girl can dream, right?

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