Not for the faint-hearted

The other day, as mentioned, I was pleased to see a little bit of life kick back into the old George RR Martin newsgroup, even if it was a bit of a silly debate about the author’s treatment of fans, interviewers, and his writing process in general.

I think we need to just find our centres here, and realise that he will either finish the books or he won’t. If he doesn’t, someone else will finish them or they won’t. The TV series will conclude or it will be cancelled.

None of these things are things we can control.

What we can control, is how we act towards the guy. If we happen to meet him in person, we can control whether we are giant self-entitled douchewaffles, or human beings. If we don’t ever meet the guy, we can control whether we contribute to a spiteful and mean-spirited online atmosphere that he doesn’t deserve. This man is not a registered sex offender. He is not a murderer. He is not a cannibal or a trafficker of infants. Okay, the characters in his stories are all of the above, but he personally is not.

He’s guilty of telling us a story. Shouting at him for slowing down is not going to achieve anything. And getting pissy when he gets pissy about the endless stream of whining shit he needs to put up with … yeah. Stay classy, people.

This was what the debate boiled down to:

1) Martin was asked by an interviewer about the fact that there are people who say the series will never be finished, and whether he wanted to talk about that.

2) Martin said that he got offended by people speculating about his health and his death, and said “so fuck you-” and flicked the middle finger, “-to those people.”

3) Martin later said that “I particularly dislike the question about who’s going to finish the books after I die. I told a Swiss journalist to F-off for that one.”

4) The poor new guy on the newsgroup was awfully affronted by this because apparently Martin was flipping off loyal fans, and also lying about who he had been flipping off. Because – again, apparently – his PR people had realised it was going to be bad press, and so he was obliged to lie and say that he was just talking to the reporter.

Which is not the case. But sure, you could feasibly anecdote it that way, since the reporter was there and copped the brunt of Martin’s ire about the question – undeservedly or otherwise. I would have liked to see the interviewer’s recovery, if he was worth his journalism degree he could easily have come back from it and made both of them look good.

Then we got bogged down in the endlessly satisfying debate about authorial obligation, the reader-storyteller contract, and so on. I tried my best to be nice but the poor new guy didn’t seem to want me to be. Apparently, I was brainwashed by “westeros.org”, apparently a prominent and heavily-moderated web forum.

I can see I’ve been away from Usenet too long. People are starting to forget their place!

Anyway, it was fun. I was inspired to make this comment on Facebook, which in turn led me to some of the people and places that our esteemed Usenet newbie was apparently used to frequenting.

People being jerks on the Internet

I mean, wow.

That link was filled with so much high-octane fanboy bitterness and over-entitled spoiled-brat whining and absolutely vile name-calling … wow, it’s a wonder he only had a jaunty jab of the middle finger and a smiling “fuck you”. They deserve so much worse. What appalling human beings.

So much hate. Where’s Wally?

No, really, what is the Internet?

There he is.

Makes me sad sometimes.

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4 Responses to Not for the faint-hearted

  1. I appreciate your call for perspective and restraint. You can write for days and days about fans being asses on the Internet.

    I’d like George to finish the books, but I don’t want him to put something out that’s crap. By all accounts, he’s a slow writer for a reason. The show puts on extra pressure, but I’ve already embraced the idea that the show and the books can be different things.

    Anyway, thanks for taking the time to put out this compelling article. So much hate instead of so much love.

    • stchucky says:

      Thanks Patrick, I appreciate it. This time around, the debate started because I have in the past made the occasional questionable-taste remark or speculation about Martin’s health, his prospects for finishing the series, and so on. So I was one of the ones he was giving the finger to, and I say “fair enough”.

      For the most part, I come down on the same side as you – I want him to finish, of course, but if there is too much pressure then the job becomes too much like a job, the joy goes out of it and none of us want to read that. And even more, Martin as an author (I am sure) doesn’t want to write that.

      So let him write what he wishes, take the tangents and scenic routes he wishes, and enjoy his life. He deserves this, and far more, for giving us even this much of his heart, mind and soul to pore over and love, hate, discuss and dissect. He does not deserve our bile.

      And if I have at any point fallen into the category he classifies as people who offensively speculate about his health and his death, let his jabbed middle finger and “fuck you” be a well-earned wake-up call that I should be a kinder person. I personally take no offense.

      • We’re in the same boat. I think there’s a spectrum of intent when people are complaining about George’s writing speed/his health. Because it’s something that could be made fun of, it is. Sometimes with the kind of negativity that deserves a well-earned fuck you, and sometimes without actual negativity, which still earns a gentle, playful fuck you.

        My boss has occasionally speculated on GRRM’s health, and I remind him that he and Martin are the same age. I also remind him that he and Bruce Springsteen are the same age. (There’s actually a spread of a couple of years, but I like to lump them together.)

        Of course, Springsteen is in awesome shape. So maybe I have no point.

        Anyway, thanks for the feedback, man.

      • stchucky says:

        (Sorry, couldn’t resist a lazy plug)

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