Tuesday, April 7, 2009

This is somehow going to bite me in the ass, I just know it.

Maybe by the time it matters, I'll put this post on private for a couple of months and hide it in a closet, like when nosy relatives visit and you don't want them to see your privates, but for now I'm gonna let it hang out.

There is a site I read on a fairly regular basis, less so now than when I first found it, but I'm still there a few times a week. This site's authors claim to love romance books. They also review romance books. And they occasionally kibbitz with authors and other review sites to talk about books. But, their way of showing their love is to "take the piss." [A British expression that captures what I mean more than any Americanism I can come up with].

In taking the piss they find popular romance tropes* and mock them. They take the cliche, the stereotype, the hooks that have blown readers out of their chair time and again and mock it to the nth degree. While this does highlight how ridiculous some of our cliches can be when carried to the extreme, it also serves to undermine the taste and choices of the readers who love these books.

It is said, "sarcasm is the lowest form of wit." I have to admit, when I first got to the site, I snickered right along with everyone else at how 'witty' the authors were. But, like too many things in life, once you see past the shiny surface, there's something ugly underneath. Those who can, do. Those who can't, heckle.

I can't be entirely sure what prompts this ugliness - perhaps that old saw of building themselves up by tearing others down? Perhaps envy? Perhaps they really are ashamed of their reading choices and want to prove they're better than the average reader by showing how smart they are not to be taken in by the popular crap the rest of us fall for?

One thing is for sure, these authors could never, ever be agents or editors. While they seem to respect the writer (really) they don't seem to have much respect for the reader. I've seen them recommend books they gave a D to because, "I have to admit I couldn't stop reading it and hey, the writing sucked and the set up was totally ridiculous, but you know lots of other people loved it, so you'll probably like it too." Seriously? What does that say about your opinion of your reader?

Truthfully I don't think the site will last much longer in its current state. I give it nine months... two years max. I just don't think they like the genre enough to continue reviewing. And it shows.

* - "trope" is a word I've only ever seen online and in conjunction with romance blogs. Ever. Click the link if you need a definition like I once did.

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