Jane Baxter, the obnoxious younger sister of William Silvanus Baxter, is not allowed to say "damn." And so she substitutes "word." Propriety is maintained, but Jane sees the truth that poor William cannot see. So besotted with Lola Pratt is he, that he can see nothing at all, and certainly not truth.
Booth Tarkington's ageless Seventeen: A Tale of Youth and Summer Time and the Baxter Family Especially William could serve as an object lesson for some of today's beyond merely obnoxious self-published authors.
Apparently, I have arrived, because my little blog, which almost no one reads except the 'bots from Russia and Latvia and Romania and Indonesia, has been found by the twits at Stop the GoodReads Bullies. No, I won't link to their site. I'd rather drink black coffee than link to that cesspool. But the STGRB jerks have apparently started quoting at least one post from this blog.
Should any of them care to read beyond the single post from 27 February 2012 in which I analyzed a few reviews on Amazon and came to the conclusion that some of those reviews were probably written by shills, family members, friends, or sock puppets of the authors themselves, the STGRB terrorists might discover that I am about as far from a supporter of the Big 6 or any other traditional publisher as they'd be likely to find.
As a self-published author myself -- three reprints of traditionally published books as well as original e-publication of a shorter non-fiction piece -- I am 110% behind the self-publishing community.
But what I don't and won't support is crappy writing, nor will I defend anyone who attacks a reviewer.
Every reviewer out there is a potential customer, a potential buyer of my book, a potential reader of my book. (Buyers and readers are not necessarily the same thing, of course.) To piss off one reader is to potentially piss off a whole bunch of 'em, and I don't think any author can afford to do that.
Jane Baxter is the reviewer who sees with unbiased eyes what is really going on. Through her eyes, Tarkington allows the reader to see William's folly when William can't. As authors, we all desperately need our Janes. (And if the crackpots at STGRB think that's some kind of evidence that I'm "part of" Dear Author and/or have some bizarre connection to Jane Litte, well, enjoy your fantasy.) As authors we desperately need those honest eyes, those brave and courageous souls who are willing to tell us we're making fools of ourselves.
Several years ago, one of the members of my critique group was writing a contemporary romance about a shy young woman from Phoenix who met up with a brash New York City police detective on the trail of a notorious drug lord. The shy miss and the brash cop fall instantly in love and have a night of wild, wild, really wild sex. And the next morning, after yet another "session," she suggests they go to her brother's bicycle shop, borrow a couple of bikes, and go on a long, long tour of Phoenix.
So I told the author, in the public arena of our critique group of five or six members, that bike riding didn't make sense for a woman who is aching at 6:00 a.m. and then engages again. I mean, it is going to be, um, really uncomfortable riding around on a bicycle for crying out loud, and she got mad at me! She just didn't want to admit that, oops, she had made a mistake. She had made a silly mistake. Even though within the context of the story there were various other ways to accomplish what the bike ride would have done -- leave the house unoccupied for several hours and provide the cop additional evidence that the shy young miss is in cahoots with the drug lord -- the author insisted vehemently that it had to be the bike ride.
The more the other members of the critique group agreed with me, the more the author defended her stance, to the point that we gave up.
And that's what so many of these melting down authors have done: They've decided to defend the indefensible and they're making fools of themselves.
Booth Tarkington would have understood them completely.