Hey Goodreads ant--bully bullies: Be. Better.

So. That whole "You said something I disagree with on the internet" makes you a "bully" thing? 

I'm going to speak to it. Because NOT speaking to it? Goes against everything I think. Everything I believe. Everything I am. 

All right, so lookit. I went to J-school (Journalism School, for the uninitiated). I slogged through hundreds of hours studying the craft of journalism, the "objectivity of method" if you will. The way a newspaper works. Why we call things what we call them and what readers expect of journalists and their "papers" (a term I use loosely since what it means to be a "paper" is changing daily). 

There are standards, people. They exist for a reason because the alternative? Chaos. Anarchy. Comics where there should be funnies. Features where there should be hard news. Classifieds where there should be inserts. 

Anyway, this week, the Huffington Post-- one such paperless newspaper-- ran an "article" presumably written by the folks running the GR Anti-Bully blog. Unfortunately, the good folks at HuffPo did not attach a byline to said "article" which means, as any Journalism 101 student knows, the "Opinion" piece seemed to be an Editorial. Which is to say, an unsigned piece (generally written by senior Ed staff) that represents the opinion of the periodical. 

So then there was this big kerfuffle because HuffPo insists that the piece does not reflect their views, it's an Opinion. Capital O, natch. 

But the question remains....whose? 

In my opinion (yes, I will sign my name to it!), if you are writing articles for a newspaper (paperless or no) then your name-- actual name--  should be attached. PERIOD. The sum history of journalism expects it. Neigh, demands it.*

Otherwise? It's an EDITORIAL. 

And that, I think, points to the greater, arguably greatest, issue surrounding this whole GR Bully ordeal: the Anonymity of the thing. 

If you want to call people out for being anonymous "bullies" (face it, y'all are really using the term "bully" as a general catch-all term for douchebag or asshole... because "bully" as an actual term with an agreed upon meaning requires an imbalance of power and, this being the internet? and these being anonymous amateur reviewers? there's not really a power struggle going on. It's not as if Rupert Murdoch and his henchmen are disguising themselves behind peter pan avatars here) well, then, you better hold yourselves to the standard your want to hold others to as well. 

I get it. It's "Do as I say, not as I do," right? 

Riiiiiiight. Since that works so well. 

I get what you're trying to do, I do. But calling someone a bully for expressing an opinion (no matter how crudely) with which you disagree? Calling someone a bully and then using the exact same (if not arguably worse) tactics to "call them out?" On the internet? Anonymously? 

Let me be clear here: You are not being brave. 

You are not being bold. 

You are not swinging the sword of justice and righteousness. 

You are hiding behind a mask of anonymity-- the very same one you seek to remove from your "targets" and that? That makes you a coward. And, IMO, worse. A hypocrite. 

A brood of hypocrites, I suppose, since you claim there are many of you. 

More than that, you've become enemies to the very thing you claim to love, the very thing that the sum total of literature has and always will be about: the free expression of ideas, no matter how vile or offensive you may find said expression to be. 

Do all authors behave professionally on the internet? No. Do all surgeons behave professionally? Do all cops? All teachers? All politicians? All cab drivers? Mechanics? Lawyers? Food service workers? Salespeople? Postal Workers? 

Um, no. Because all those people? Well, they're PEOPLE. Broken, flawed, often capable of extreme ignorance and serious lapses in judgment. Gee, that sounds familiar... 

So, do you have the right to disseminate your information this way? Certainly. Well, baring libelous assertions, that is, which, speaking of slogging through yeaaaars J-school? Any j-schooler worth her snuff probably had to suffer through a Comm law class wherein she learned the ins and outs of what is libel and that legal quagmire and trust me when I say you do not want to dance in that shizz... but I digress.

Do you have a responsibility to yourselves, to your fellow book lovers and readers to try to BE BETTER? Yes. You do. 

So please, I beg of you. BE BETTER. 




*With few exceptions including those where a sensitive subject matter is discussed or there is real and imminent fear for a source's bodily harm. Yanno, like in a case of domestic violence. Which should obviously not be the case here, since we're talking about the internet. And people who seem to have no problem revealing ("uncloaking?") the real names of their subjects. 


4 comments:

  1. A. Fuckin. Men.

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  2. Thank you for posting this. I could not agree more! :)

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  3. Well, said, lady!! The whole website is a mockery to true bullying & makes me sad that adults are behaving that way!! And I'm truly disappointed in The Huffington Post for running the article/pandering the ridiculousness.

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  4. Great post, Lindz. I completely agree.

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Bonjour & Welcome