Saturday, February 12, 2011

Another Attack on the Internet

No, I'm not talking about a DDOS or similar high-tech shenanigans. I'm talking about a rhetorical attack on the very democratization of public expression that the Internet has enabled. The most blatant example of this kind of polemic is something David Brooks wrote last summer. Today's example is a scathing blog post by self-published novelist Sylvia Massara (via Floor to Ceiling Books). In a rant about some negative reviews one of her books received in the blogosphere, Massara writes:
Oftentimes, the people who set up these kinds of blogs have never written a thing in their lives, except maybe a grocery list. Most are avid readers who think they are qualified to review someone else's work. So it's very sad when they go about damaging the image of upcoming small press and indie authors with the rubbish they write.
Yep, exactly the kind of respect-my-establishment-authority prattle that Brooks was pushing. The odd wrinkle here is that Massara is self-published, and not a novelist whose first book is being released by a publishing house. In effect, she is an insurgent swimming against the mass media tide as much as any blogger. Why, then, does she attack those who should be her comrade in arms (not to mention her best and possibly only means of wide publicity)?  The answer lies in her site's Useful Links & Resources section, in which she promotes her LinkedIn page with references to her "writing and publishing industry colleagues." She also lists a business she runs which provides some basic services to writers. So,  Massara apparent part of the establishment and all those scummy, "unprofessional," pajama-wearing bloggers should kiss her behind or fear her wrath. Of course, her wrath, in this case, consists of raising a storm of negative online publicity for herself that has probably cost her fans and the ability to solicit online reviews in the future.

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