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Myshkin

Authors Behaving Like A**holes

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Formerly What % of YA authors are actually big ol’ assholes?

 

I mean, I’m not well versed in this field, but it seems like there’s been a lot of assholishness going on in the world of YA for, well, ever. And now there’s this: https://www.google.com/amp/s/slate.com/culture/2019/11/sarah-dessen-ya-books-authors-brooke-nelson-social-media-attack.amp

So are all YA authors just thin-skinned assholes? Or is it more like 50-25-10%? And what exactly is the correlation between writing teen fiction and being an asshole? Does the field somehow appeal to people who are already assholes, or does working in the field carry with it the inherent risk of becoming an asshole? I beg of you, readers of YA fiction, help me get to the bottom (pun intended, maybe) of this (to me) mysterious problem. Also, please try not to be an asshole about it.

Edited by Myshkin

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Social media amplifies assholeness. And social media sells a lot of YA books. It’s the devil’s crockpot.

The lamest thing in that story wasn’t any of the YA dummies but the college issuing an apology for their student’s temerity in giving her own subjective opinion.

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9 minutes ago, john said:

Social media amplifies assholeness. And social media sells a lot of YA books. It’s the devil’s crockpot.

The lamest thing in that story wasn’t any of the YA dummies but the college issuing an apology for their student’s temerity in giving her own subjective opinion.

Interesting. So you posit that YA authors are no more likely to be assholes than any other authors, but that their assholery is more visible due to their greater interaction with social media platforms? This is an intriguing theory.

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Actually, thinking about it, it’s more like YA authors have greater exposure to the toxic environment of the social media asshole. They’re victims, bless ‘em.

Out of interest, is Jodi Picoult a YA author? I thought she was a regular person author, like romance and stuff.

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46 minutes ago, john said:

Actually, thinking about it, it’s more like YA authors have greater exposure to the toxic environment of the social media asshole. They’re victims, bless ‘em.

Out of interest, is Jodi Picoult a YA author? I thought she was a regular person author, like romance and stuff.

You are right about this sir; Picoult appears to be a RP (Regular Person) author, thus muddying the waters of my YA Authors = Giant Assholes theory. However we must look beyond the surface here to see that while RP authors obviously can be assholes, the tendency toward assholedom seems stronger in YA authors.

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17 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

Oh I dunno I can name a few SFF authors who have used their follower power to be assholes. :rolleyes:

Hmm, this is undeniably true. Perhaps I’ve come at this conundrum from the wrong angle. As I understand it a large portion of YA literature is of the SFF variety. So now the question becomes, is YA author assholishness a function of the YA field (that is to say, a distinct disorder unrelated to other forms of assholishness), or is what we are seeing simply a new strain of SFF assholery.

Edited by Myshkin

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YA authors are no more asshole ish than non YA authors. There are missteps and poor takes but no worse than say your average homophobic SFF writer. Or a romance author that tries to copyright 'Cocky' 

I do find it interesting that YA fandom which is predominantly teenage girls plus women of all ages (me) seem to come under greater scrutiny than say the hotbed of SFF fandom (which is rife with  adult white male bigots and assholes).

Also Sarah Dessen writes contemporary YA. Also Myshkin, really?

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Love it or hate it, one of the things I enjoy most about YA authorship, particularly women who write YA, is that they are a diverse group and highly supportive of each other, even if to a fault. Some of it is manufactured by publishing houses but a lot if not most of it is actual friends supporting friends. 

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The assholery of certain SFF authors, and the incestuous community that tolerates, encourages, cheers on, and joins in their behavior is unfortunately quite widespread and well known. I’m not denying that, nor seeking to minimize it. But the existence of assholes in SFF does not immunize YA against accusations of same. Nor, do I believe, does discussion of one group of assholes always necessitate comparison to another well known group of assholes. In this instance a group of YA assholes publicly dog piled on some nobody who dared voice mild criticism of one of their own. Friends supporting friends, to a fault, turned out to actually be a bunch of people with powerful voices bullying some no name grad student off the internet. Calling her a bigot, a bitch, and then a raggedy ass bitch. Accusing her of being an agent of the patriarchy, of suppressing female voices, and in one case making a direct link between her criticism and systemic child sexual abuse. The people who did this are assholes, and I’d like to talk about that.

Also, I’m not certain what contemporary YA is, but I shall look it up.

Another also, it is not my intent in this thread to drag the general YA fandom through the mud, nor otherwise denigrate anyone for enjoying YA fiction. This is essentially an Authors Behaving Badly thread.

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A lot of the bad author drama does seem to come from YA authors lately, I was just looking through the YA thread, I wonder if it's cause there is a lot more YA published today, or if these things go in cycles. I do wonder about the social media aspect. I wonder what the percentage of YA authors on social media is like compared to others.

The whole thing above gives me a "stop the goodreads bullies" vibe though, which is...not good.

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2 hours ago, Starkess said:

Defensiveness.

In that they are defensive about the idea of not being taken seriously as authors, and so any perceived insult may be met with an outsized reaction?

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6 hours ago, Starkess said:

Defensiveness.

It’s not exactly defensiveness in this case.  Dessen dug up an article from a student newspaper and quoted it out of context.  Her own comments aren’t so bad (apart from that one where she supports another YA author calling the student a bitch) and she’s now apologised BUT she did start the whole thing off for literally no reason so she probably deserves to have the backlash now switch on to her.

also this, if anybody feels like watching a YouTube rant on this topic.

eta - I love the fact that @Starkess gets three notifications for her one word post. Talk about incisive commentary. That’s goals. :P 

Edited by john

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So this morning, with less wine in my system, I did some further reading on this. 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/11/15/sarah-dessen-south-dakota-college-student-ya-novel-backlash-twitter/

Before we get into the responses from other authors, I have two thoughts: Sarah Dessen is a person with feelings and is protective of her work. Also, the Common Read is for incoming sophomores and the idea that someone joined a committee with that kind of agenda is also asshole ish. Particularly when it's not something they are even going to be involved with reading. Somehow being an undergrad English major makes them more fit than the rest of the committee in deciding? How presumptuous. It's one thing to be pro Read this book! and here are all the reasons why instead of being For the love of God anything but that! 

Quote

“She’s fine for teen girls,” Nelson said. “But definitely not up to the level of Common Read. So I became involved simply so I could stop them from ever choosing Sarah Dessen.”

As is pointed out in the WaPo article, a lot of the piling on is out of defensiveness of YA and their readers who are a demographic continually ridiculed or considered less than because *sniff* literature.

Anyways, I think the real discussion should be around social media platforms and outrage culture. I don't think YA authors have any greater numbers of assholes than any other genre of authors and I don't think authors have any greater numbers of assholes among their ranks than any other career. There are arguments to be made about being careful with one's platform but I also don't think Dessen's initial post was awful. On the other hand she is a popular author with a huge following so she should proceed with caution on this sort of thing given the tsunami of response that can occur. But who is providing Social Media 101 to anyone? Should authors and other high profile persons be required to have extensive PR social media training or can they sometimes just be real and vulnerable?

Secondly, the level of girlfriends supporting girlfriends that you'd give over drinks (referring to a detractor as a bitch etc) shouldn't happen on Twitter. That is asshole ish but again not limited to lady YA authors. But also same point about social media PR training. 

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