Now is as good a time as any to talk back — Haters gon’ hate, demmet

I’ve been getting a lot of negative comments lately, some on the posts I put up re book thoughts, and some on the posts re navel-gazing and other frou-frou reflections. And I know they’re not spam, because peepees and Russian folk singers are rarely mentioned.

Now. I love the people I’ve met through this blog, love the emails exchanged, love the tweets traded. I like reading your comments, and responding to them. I like conversations. I like having something in common with a girl on the other side of the world, and that commonality doesn’t have to be a similar taste in books—just the loving of them, see? I’ve had mini-debates on this blog, and elsewhere, re the posts, and I enjoy them. It’s daunting, yes, because I hate confrontation [haha], but I like those debates. It means someone is talking to me. It means someone is taking me seriously enough to pose an alternative perspective.

I have no problem with dissent. By all means, tell me why you loved the book I couldn’t finish, or that you laughed at an ending I thought so heartbreaking. Tell me if you have a different point of view on things: That mornings are better, that pandas are not cute, that the it’s only right that Dodos are extinct. Tell me that my post are too long and rambly—this last one hurts a wee bit, haha, but I’m still getting used to a society of a shortened attention span. Anyway.

But do that telling well. That is, do it civilly. Back it up, don’t embarrass yourself with a pithy one-liner about my poor taste and my skinny ass. Otherwise, you’re that guy who scrawls insults on bathroom stalls. . Do you really have to resort to name-calling? Do you get satisfaction in fantasizing about making me slobber all over my keyboard over your rudeness? I’ve taken the liberty of deleting the comments that mention, “You and your erotica, you just need to be fucked,” and the whole slew of, “You pretentious bad-taste snob” and all its glorious variations. Some of the comments have stayed, though—I don’t moderate the system—and I think I need to be examined for that.

If you want an argument, I can give it to you. I’m an intelligent person, prone to the occasional bout of idealism, but god damn it, I know I’m smart. And I try to write well. People have given me shiny things because they thought I wrote well. Also, I’ve found that I read well. There are certain conceits I carry within me, and I know that I can hold my own when you want geedee discourse.

Then again, I do realize how futile this could be. If you’re intent on thinking that I’m a snob of questionable intelligence, one who needs her sex life put under scrutiny, someone who writes “naive, poorly-written garbage,” this all’s a waste of time, no? Damned if I do, and you know the rest.

Bottom line: I don’t want to police anybody—that’s the last thing on my mind—but there’s no need to be nasty. Because, damn it, words hurt.

You got me. Satisfied, trolls?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go weep.

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28 comments

  1. your negative commentators are motivated by jealousy over your creativity, intelligence and passion for what you do-please do not let them get to you in any way-just delete there comments and laugh-I have had a few negative comments over the last year also from people who do not understand my sense of humor but I notice negative commentators never sign in with any ID -any coward can hide behind a mask-

    from your fellow QC blogger-

    PS if you have not read it yet try Wharton’s The Age of Innocence-

  2. *shakes fist at trolls* I’m sorry you’ve had such bad luck with them :\ I’ve only had someone come into my blog to harass me once, but it was somewhat recently. I guess the bigger and the most impersonal blogging gets, the more likely this is to happen. Anyway, you are clearly awesome and I kind of pity anyone who can’t see it. And this – ” Tell me that my post are too long and rambly—this last one hurts a wee bit, haha, but I’m still getting used to a society of a shortened attention span. Anyway.” – I feel you :P

  3. Trolls are pathetic. How sad must their lives be that this is what amuses them?
    Keep doing what you’re doing Sasha. I love your blog.

  4. Sasha, for every meathead with a petty vendetta know that there are hundreds of others who support you, your writing and what you do here.

    Even those of us who do not comment as much as we should.

  5. There’s something very sad about people who post comments like that.

    That’s what they do for entertainment? They insult some stranger online? It’s extraordinarily pathetic. A while back I was in a long queue for a show. Some passing guy stood there and gave the finger to the queue. He stood there for ages, for the duration of the queue, occasionally changing hands as the current raised one got tired.

    What kind of life leads to that? How badly must things have gone wrong?

    These people have stunted lives. They’re pathetic. Really, they deserve pity though you’d have to be a better person than me to extend it to them. Somone sits at a computer, logs on to a website and posts some random abuse. If they’d seen that as their future when they were children they’d have wept.

    As the saying goes, happiness is the best revenge. These people have to live with their own bile. That’s a fairly terrible fate. Their comments say nothing about you, but plenty about them.

  6. teadevotee · · Reply

    More power to you, Sasha, I totally support what other people have said. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but no one is entitled to express it in an obnoxious, confrontational, aggressive way.

  7. I think your blog is great and I love your choice of books. It’s shocking that people can actually take time out to write such crap on other people’s blogs.

  8. I forgot to add, though I don’t often comment I do read your posts and enjoy them. A large part of what I enjoy is the personal nature of your responses. Frankly, if the books we read don’t evoke a personal response what’s the point of reading them?

  9. “Hell is other people.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

    I was just dealing with this on my blog, actually. Clearly, awesomeness has it’s price.

    There is nothing I am going to say that your adoring fans haven’t already said above, so I’ll just agree with everyone. Love your blog, eff those haters, and keep strong and carry on!

  10. I think theimportanceofbeing has it right…eff em. There are a lot of people who love your blog and while the occasional moron may pop in to visit, it’s your house and we like to visit.

    Your response is rather calm and measured too. I’d be firing up my internet chainsaw if it was me. Bonus points for class.

  11. Don’t let the haters get you down! I’ve only had a few negative nellies come my way, generally because they didn’t agree with my feelings about a book (which really? I may not be entitled to much, but I’m allowed to feel however I like!), but of course these people just lambaste you with a grenade of ill-chosen, generic words of hate (often misspelled) and off they go on their merry way. Just know that obviously most of us don’t feel that way!

  12. It’s almost unavoidable in the blogosphere, I guess. Personally, I hate debates. I mean I appreciate the cerebral aspect of it (I like to think I’m smart too), but I already get enough of it from work that when I go to my blog, the last thing I want to see is a comment that forces me to explain myself as if I’m in a court hearing. I prefer civility. We can skip the “unpleasantries” even when we’re making negative comments. It’s perfectly rational for us to have different opinions about books, and I like to think that there’s no absolute truth in these things. Just because what I love is something another blogger hates, it doesn’t mean one of us is wrong. So why don’t we just keep conversations hate-free, right? Some may think of it as being hypocritical. But I believe we can still be nice and really mean it even when our views conflict with that of others. Being nice doesn’t make you untrue. It just means you’re a nice person.

    Anyway, I hope you’re feeling better now Sasha.

  13. just another comment to offer my support of how wonderful you are and how much I enjoy your posting! :) I don’t always agree 100% of course, but I always love your well-written and thoughtful analysis as well as the introduction to new authors.

  14. I used to be a reader of your blog. Here be some points I thought I’m never going to give you the pleasure of having, but because I knew this kind of demise would befall you in the future, and because you are here now experiencing it and I feel like you’re still not waking up to the why of it, for once I would indulge you.

    When I first discovered your blog, you were already past your phase of reviewing books like it’s your job, like you’re a critic whose words should be revered, and I told myself, after browsing through your old entries, thank fuck she’s done with that stage. You would’ve been a monster. So there you are, a young writer, a promising young writer, as your mentor(s) usually call students who adore them, starting to make a name for herself in Manila, trying to carve a place in the so-called esteemed literary circle. You feel courageous, you have swagger, you know you’ve already got one foot in the door, having joined workshops at seventeen, what better way to have your genius validated than start a book blog? I can’t blame you. The ego needs a place where it can grow unfettered, but it’s hard to do that in real life, not when you’ve got other Palanca-wielding writers around you, whose heads barely fit the doors of Mag:Net. Enter the internet: oh what a wonderful place to be. Here you can find a space for yourself where you can grandstand all you want.

    When I first discovered your blog, I thought, oh hey, she knows some good writers, she reads the same stuff I do. And then, reality check: oh but of course, we are moving in the same world, meet the same people, may have been at the same place at the same time once or twice. Bayaw. Things are bound to catch up. That’s the problem with our world: it’s too small. Writers, artists, musicians – almost everyone knows each other, it’s incestuous. So after the excitement of the discovery of your reading list has abated, what else is left? I lingered to read what you thought of these books. And everything fell flat.

    My irritation is rooted more on your delivery than the content. I don’t care of your opinion of the book – people are different; I can’t expect you to have the same views or ideas. Besides, that makes up for a boring discourse. But I’m annoyed at how you tend to make big things out of every little thing. How you talk like you’re the one who discovered this book, this writer, and OH HEY EVERYBODY LISTEN TO ME! Then again, I can’t fault you for that, can I? This is your blog after all. So I left. I said, she’s young, let her be. I can’t be accused of being ageist because I’m not much older than you, but there is just something so hipster about the way you go about your reading (and writing), it disgusts me.

    Another thing: you and your erotica. So what? Just read the damn books. Write about them, gush about them, get off on them, who cares? Why get rattled by trolls, why get bothered by people judging you? You started it. The moment you opened your mouth to say, hey, I’ve been reading erotica, you should’ve been prepared for the reaction. Why should there be drama each time someone disses you for reading it? Just accept it. You’re a person who also reads smut.

    Haven’t you learned anything from your workshops? The moment you write something and submit it for others’ perusal, or had it published, or just plain showed it to others – it’s immediately open to interpretation. Everybody has first dibs. And there’s nothing you can do about it. Ergo: tough shit.

    The problem with you is you get hung up too much on how smart you are. And you always have the need to tell us. We get it. You read literary fiction; you’re smart. You get deep novels; you’re smart. You also read poetry; you’re smart. But do you stop there? No. You want to say, I’m smart but I also fall for stupid stuff, I also read things that are out of the norm, say, like – wait for it – erotica. So that makes me the Sasha Grey of book blogs. The femme fatale who gets to mix both intelligence and sexuality. Woah, we’re so impressed! Not. But that’s what you were going for. And frankly, it gets old. It’s gotten old a long time ago.

    You and your notebooks, your post-its – we get it, you do freaky shit like this that a lot of people find adorable and extraordinary. You’re the kind of person that gets Tumblr worship. You’re indie and cool, you have a new way of describing things, you’re a fictionist, for Chrissakes. You probably thought you were so original, having referred to your musings as navel-gazing – but wait. I know what you’re thinking. You hate this term. You’re not a hipster. You’re more of the real thing. Allen Ginsberg’s long lost niece or something. And I say, yeah right. The reason why I stopped reading your blog a long time ago was because you stopped being real. You’re doing books a disservice. You only have this blog so people will see how smart you are. You probably take pride in displaying your bookshelf with all its serious titles, with some stray book here and there – probably Hornby – just to give that undertone of irony.

    And being chummy with publishers? Yeah it rubs me off the wrong way. Oh, not only me. A lot of people. Who talk about you when you’re not looking. A lot of us have a hard time getting those titles but it’s so easy for you because your blog more than makes up for the ass-kissing. How can we trust the integrity of your reviews if you don’t pay your own way?

    You boast of having read a lot of books, but a look at your tags shows a lot of these are abandoned and skimmed. So what does that say about you as a reader?

    Now you and all your friends – and oh, excuse me, fans, too – are one in saying that we have stunted lives, we’re pathetic, et cetera. But I’m just laying it all out for you, mehn. Your foreigner friends might think you’re a breath of fresh air, but as someone who actually knows you in person, let me be the first to say: no, you’re not. Yes, you are obnoxious. And elitist, too. You just work very hard at sounding like you’re not, but you actually are. Your half slip is showing, ma’am, and on most days, I just let you go on with your merry life thinking you’re the shiznit, while I smirk behind your back.

    Intelligent people who always tell people they’re intellient usually aren’t. You can do with a little humility every now and then, Sasha, your writer’s ego can take it.

  15. Wow. I think this means you’ve “made it.” You know, in a bloggy kind of way.

  16. I think the words stunted and pathetic came from my comment C.

    For clarity, I’m neither a friend nor a fan. I’m simply someone who reads this blog. I’m not a friend because I don’t know Sasha. I’m not a fan because that’s not the basis I read this blog on. Some of Sasha’s reviews interest me. Sometimes I have a comment to make. I have my own blog and there are people who often comment there. That doesn’t make them my fans. It makes them readers of my blog. I value them, but they’re not my followers.

    The difficulty with your argument is the nature of the criticisms that get posted here. I’ve seen some of them. The pathetic and stunted comes from the nature of the comments. You set out an argument, in perhaps excessive detail, as to why you have issues with the blog. That’s meaningful feedback that Sasha can take or leave as she sees fit. It’s potentially constructive (whether it’s actually so or not I’m not in a position to say).

    When someone turns up though to post “YOUR BLOG SUCKS AND SO DO YOU” (often with full caps blaring) I don’t think that’s meaningful feedback. I remain happy referring to such people as stunted and pathetic. You chose to apply those terms to yourself. I only applied them to people who post driveby insults. If you do post driveby insults I do wonder why you haven’t got anything better to do with your time.

    Criticism is more than merely being critical. Blind support is useless, but blind hostility is equally so.

    There’s a lot of book blogs around. I like Sasha’s because it’s so personal. I find that interesting and it makes it a fresher read. You don’t. That’s cool. People don’t have to like the same things and a personal tone makes it more likely some people will dislike it. The thing is, there’s tons of blogs (some very good) that I don’t read because for one reason or another (sometimes something quite petty) I don’t like them. I don’t read them. Life’s too short.

    One final aside, lots of book bloggers get offered books for free or in advance. It’s very common. I’m not sure why you think it’s something unique to here. If you’re having trouble locating books thebookdepository.com has free international shipping. Really, it’s not that hard.

  17. Jennifer · · Reply

    I saw this post on your Tumblr this morning. I’m sorry that you have to deal with such ridiculous immaturity. It angers me to know that some people actually find amusement in leaving behind nasty, hurtful comments. As others have said above, don’t pay further heed to these people and their “bathroom scrawls,” so to speak. You’re a great writer.

    1. respect to your question: “How do you approach your daily tasks?”I try to be as regimented as possible with my content creation.First thgeo…bnfire I do anything else, I write one solid article and send it to my newsletter.I find that if I don’t do that first, then I just get bogged down in a long list of activities that never add value to my operation.Great points on mindset BTW.MarkMark recently posted..

    2. Simply want to say your article is as astonishing. The clarity in your submit is simply nice and i could think you are a professional on this subject. Well together with your permission let me to grasp your RSS feed to stay updated with coming near near post. Thank you a million and please continue the gratifying work.

  18. C, I forgot to say, your post absolutely drips with envy.

    Try not to be a bully, in the long run you’ll hurt yourself far more than your targets.

  19. What Max said, both to Sasha and to C. I couldn’t improve upon it.

  20. The fact that one of those long, rambly as fuck negative comments is from someone you know tells me that someone you know resents you like hell and needs to get a blog. It’s cool, C, you can get a Tumblr too. Maybe someone’ll like one of your posts.

    But hey, maybe if you spend less time giving us a diatribe about how cool and hipster-y someone is (is that a bad thing, nowadays?), it’d be easier for someone to click that little heart next to your post and like it, or hell, even re-post it. Talk about how big of a dick you are in your first Tumblr post. I’ll like the hell out of that one.

  21. teadevotee · · Reply

    Seriously, C, if you dislike the blog so much, why DO you read it? And why write a comment which is so utterly full of self-righteous, I’m-so-much-better-than-you-are-ness? That comment, not Sasha, is obnoxious. No wonder she’s fed up.

  22. I always read your posts, because you have a unique voice, and it’s clear that you’re passionate about books and reading. Keep doing what you do, and pay no mind to the haters.

  23. “Your foreigner friends might think you’re a breath of fresh air, but as someone who actually knows you in person, let me be the first to say: no, you’re not. Yes, you are obnoxious. And elitist, too. You just work very hard at sounding like you’re not, but you actually are. ”

    FUCK YOU IN THE FACE! AS SOMEONE WHO ACTUALLY KNOWS SASHA, SPENT TIME WITH SASHA, SHARED A LOT WITH THE PERSON, I LOVE SASHA! SASHA IS NOT ELITIST. SASHA IS NICE! SASHA IS KIND! SASHA IS FUNNY AND WEIRD AND QUIRKY AND HONEST AND IF YOU DON’T LIKE HER THAT JUST MEANS YOU’RE A BAD JUDGE OF CHARACTER AND A TERRIBLE PERSON WITH TERRIBLE EGO ISSUES OF YOUR OWN! IF YOU’RE GOING TO CRITICIZE SOMEONE’S WRITING STYLE GO FOR IT HELL IF I CARE, BUT LOOK AT YOU, YOU ANONYMOUS SCHMUCK. YOUR OPINIONS ARE TAINTED WITH MALICE. SO, OH, THERE GOES THE CREDIBILITY OF YOUR OPINION. OUT THE FUCKING WINDOW. BECAUSE AS ANY INTELLIGENT PERSON KNOWS, CONTEMPT EMPTIES THE MIND OF ALL REASON. SO GO FUCK OFF YOU TERRIBLE HUMAN BEING WITH TERRIBLE HATE. GO READ SOME I HATE THE WORLD SHIT AND GO FUCK YOURSELF!

    ” I just let you go on with your merry life thinking you’re the shiznit, while I smirk behind your back.”

    COME ON SASHA, GRAB MY ARM RAISE YOUR CHIN TO THE SKY AS WE SKIP OFF AND LEAVE THIS BACK SMIRKING CRAZY PERSON TO ROIL IN HER OWN BILE. ICE CREAM. MY TREAT. CUZ U ARE THE SHIZNIT! WHO’S A SHIZNIT? YOU ARE! TRIPLE HIGH FIVE! WOOHOO!

  24. waps, were you drunk when you wrote this? :)

    sasha, waps: i’ve learned that the best way to deal with so-called attempts at discourse that lack good will is to ignore them. discourse is great. but there can be no genuine engagement without good will. as it is, i feel there’s a real danger, for all of us, to get sucked into the hate shit. napag-usapan na natin ito. you’re right, waps: we’re people who’ve always tried to be good. which is to say: why stop now? which is to say: we’re way better than this.

    so. just let it go, guys. we’re still writing, we’re still here. people will try to bring us down, but the best response will always be to do what we do, and to do it well. there’s so, so much to do. isang yosi, exhale, tapos let it go na lang, let it go.

  25. yes really really drunk, but you’re right kael. basta, whatever happens, sasha, we believe in you and will always have your back. ’nuff said.

  26. Negative comments always say more about the commenter; it’s really hard (maybe impossible) not to take them personally, not to feel them, but they always reveal more about who’s speaking than about you. I hope you’re feeling like this bout of nasty-ness is a long way behind you, and I’m looking forward to more of your bookchat!

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