The Problem With Some Literary Criticism

Have you ever heard someone mutter, “How could someone give _____ a book deal?” I know you have. Or they’ll question why anyone would read a book by ______. But those criticisms all miss the mark.

I have no issue with disagreeing with the views of someone. I have no issue with disagreeing with the content of a book. But once we get into this discussion as to who deserves to have their name on a book we delve into a discussion that really boils down to censorship.

Don’t like Bill O’Reilly? Don’t read his books. Don’t care for Bill Cosby? No one is forcing you to read his work. And this is the same in every case. Politicians, celebrities, whomever. If you feel so strongly about someone having a book, then speak out about it. Tell why you feel the way you do. Heck, write a book of your own. But we tend to criticize countries and governments and societies that censor their books, let’s not mistakenly aim to do the same because we have negative feelings toward someone.

E.L. James Launches a Twitter Q&A, and it Goes Exactly how You’d Expect

Horribly.

Let me first say that I have no reason to criticize her. She’s made a career out of writing. One which you and I would both trade for in a heartbeat if we could. Don’t sit there and shake your head because you know I’m right. I also have no reason to care about her writing style, the quality of her writing, or which genre she chooses to write in. Sure I’ve said I won’t ever read her books, but that has nothing to do with her in particular. I have no desire to read any erotic books. Just a preference.

Yesterday when I got home from work I just happened to check the Twitter trends, and before I could even read the top headline I already knew it would be bad. E.L. James has been read by tens of millions, right? But we’re all aware of the heavy criticism her books have received from the start. And we’re all aware that people are at times embarrassed to say they’ve liked or read her work. Which simply makes a Twitter Q&A a very bad idea. Here are some tweets she received.

I’ll admit that she did have some Twitter users come to her defense, but the ratio of people being critical to those who came to her defense was likely 10-, 50-, or maybe even 100-1. Honestly, it could have been even more. It was that bad. Someone somewhere made the decision for her to do this, and that person has probably lost their job.

What do you think of this Twitter Q&A debacle? I think it was a mistake to do it at all. Sure some of the tweets were entirely out of line, but EVERYONE knows the criticism she’s taken for her books. Who did her team think would take advantage of something like this?


On this day in 2014 I published The Bad Review.