Friday, January 05, 2007

A thought or two (or three) on respect.

My comment on this post on Romancing the Blog:

Romance gets knocked. It just does. I'm not sure that's going to end soon. Just about any creative work which is produced in high numbers is going to be perceived the younger step-sister to the "real art" of that genre. Illustration is not considered to be as "artful" as portraiture. Same with Commercial Art vs. Fine Art.

We all know that deep down. And we all know that N. C. Wyeth was a tremendously talented artist AND he was an illustrator. Obviously there are examples of greatness and mediocrity on both ends of the same spectrum, whatever the art form.

However, I think taking the argument "to the streets" so to speak is going to be quixotic enterprise until the gushing and "I must support my friend every time someone says something bad about her work" mentality stops. The circle the wagons thing is truly disruptive to any sort of conversation about our genre or about the books themselves.

I appreciate your offer, Diana, to champion the cause of blogging, but the truth is that the attacks on bloggers has already happened in the larger media, and for the most part ebbs and flows and remains a mild undercurrent. For the most part bloggers don't really care that much. If there's something I want to talk about, with some exceptions, I just write it anyway. People are welcome to comment or not to as they see fit.

Discourse at some point gets hopped up with emotions, but emotions seem to run very high in both the Sci-fi and Romance community. It gets tiring, honestly.

I agree that a lot of the times that Harlequin comes up in conversation, the "original poster" really has no idea what they are talkng about, and is using Harlequin as a short-hand lingo for formulaic, awful, hastily churned-out dreck. And that's not fair to the larger romance writing community.

But come on. You really think you're going to change the minds of the larger reading public. Really?

Really, REALLY, really?

I don't see it happening until there's a whole lot less emotion and a whole lot more honest discussion about what works and what doesn't. I sepnd a lot of time online talking about horses. Y'all wouldn't believe the fights I've seen over at Arabian Horse breeding messageboards over what bloodline represents the "true Arabian". People insult each other, call their horses names, threaten lawsuits, etc. And it's all over whether my horse is "purer" than your horse. Yee gods. It's a horse. Enjoy it.

But people get so caught up in trying to make everybody else experience the world exactly the same way, that eventually it all dissolves into a wrestling match.

Until the Romance publishers slow down their publishing to focus on a fewer number of "truly great" books (which no one really wants them to do within the community), then a while lot of chaff is likely to go out there. That's OK. I like a lot of the chaff. But I reserve the right to call it fluff. (Mmm. Marshmallows.) The larger literary community is going to keep right on denigrating the entire genre because all they can see is the chaff. They just are.

In the meantime, I don't really care what they all say "out there." I'm trying to find a great Historical set somewhere interesting with some great dialogue and an intriguing interpersonal conflict between the two main characters.


sybil said...


Did I post the law recently? I forget why. This is older than dirt. Or at least the BBS... and someone is always coming up with some cleaver play on it.

Tis fandom...

But nope, romance isn't going to get any respect from anyone until we learn to respect it. And I don't see that happening anytime soon.

I cringe everytime I time I hear karens make that comment about romance authors being women so they can't handle crit. But then some dumbass comes along and proves her right.

So what do you do... nice response btw *g*

Suisan said...

Seriously, why WOULDN'T Harlequin be the Stand In for any metaphor about Romance Novels, the Romance Industry or Romance Authors?

Anonymous said...

Hi Suisan - It's Sam - I'm commenting annonymously because I'm sick of signing into blogger and losing my posts. I swore it wouldn't happen again...
Anyhow, I laughed when I saw your post over at Tara Marie's - and maybe I do hang out with a nice crowd - or maybe they Want to say something snide to me but don't dare....LOL.
OK, can I suggest an interesting historical series? It's a time travel back to ancient Greece. And it's not really stictly romance, because there is a threesome, but nothing is explicit ever ever.
Anyhow, check out this site & see what you think:

Mailyn said...

Until the Romance publishers slow down their publishing to focus on a fewer number of "truly great" books (which no one really wants them to do within the community), then a while lot of chaff is likely to go out there.

Amen sister! That's what I keep telling my friends who think Romance is all crappy. I tell them that they need to read the good ones and forget the rest. Until the romance readers become pickier if you will well, what can you do? Keep looking for the damn good ones I say! ^_^

Tara Marie said...

It's a nice concept to stop the naysayers in their tracks, but how realistic it would this be.

I worked on a Quarter Horse farm as a kid, the horse world as a whole is an ugly place--LOL. My niece works as a horse manager for a very, very high end boarding facility and it ain't pretty, but she gets free board and a very good salary to put up with the BS.

Suisan said...

Hi Sam! Looks quite interesting--I'll down load it over the weekend. (Once I download I have to start reading IMMEDIATELY.)

Mailyn--Are you saying that some Romance isn't great? You're a meanie. Humph.

Tara--People in the horse industry only have time to muck stalls, gossip, ride, gossip, and compete against each other while gossiping at shows. Very nasty small little world. But there are a few nice people sprinkled in here and there. (But even the nice ones are, hoo baby, opinionated.)

Rising Rainbow said...

You know it's all about good ol' human nature. It doesn't matter the genre' or the breed of horse or whatever you're talking about. There will always be those people picking things apart. There will always be those people rallying the cause. And, of course, there'll always be all of the degrees in between.