Weekend Edition: Author Anne Rice's Media Hoax

It all started last week when The Guardian ran an article about author Anne Rice's latest crusade: STOP THE VICIOUS BULLY BOOK REVIEWERS ON AMAZON. You remember Anne Rice, don't you? She wrote some erotica and vampire books some twenty years ago, give or take, and then caused a kerfluffle in the publishing industry when she went through a very religious period and turned away from the genres that made her so famous in the first place. It's my understanding that Rice has since returned to the mainstream fantasy genre and has now set her sights on righting the wrongs of the Amazon website.

The petition Rice wants you to sign would force the online retailer to remove anonymous reviews. While the premise didn't exactly sound feasible in a world where it takes all of five minutes to set up a fake Facebook account, I could certainly understand the sentiment behind it. After all, if there were these roving bands of anonymous bullies out there on Amazon, as Rice claims, somebody should be putting a stop to that, shouldn't they?


Excuse me, not just any old bullies, but "gangster bullies of Amazon." Okay. Shit just got real. Thankfully, Rice provided The Guardian with real evidence of how she herself had been a victim of this roving band of Amazon bullies. Because I am a person who loves empirical proof, I quickly clicked on the link which led me to the Stop the GoodReads Bullies Website.

And now we have a problem. Because unless this website has changed ownership since the last time I visited a year or so ago, these people - a collection of disgruntled self-published authors - are as full of hate and vitriol as the book reviewers they purport to stop. But I continue to read on, giving Rice the benefit of the doubt. This is what I find.....screenshots of the "bullying" of Rice in action:


Hmmmm. Have I become terribly jaded or is this not the horrible attack I was expecting? Rice certainly thinks it is because here is her reply:


There were various other examples similar to this exchange. Again, not one of them shocking or - that I could see - in any way attacking Rice. In fact, the only nasty comments I could find came from the Stop the GoodReads Bullies Website itself, confirming that its ownership is indeed thriving and intact. 

This bothered me, as hypocrisy usually does. I couldn't help but wonder if perhaps Ms. Rice had inadvertently been led astray as so frequently happens to passionate people who have good intentions (the road to hell is paved with those...I should know). 

And so I toddled over to Rice's very active Facebook page and left her a message.


I don't think she appreciated my observations.  


Decoded, she is saying:

1. Don't distract me or my minions with logical questions.
2. The Stop the Bullies people are nice to me so that's good enough. (Hitler was nice to Eva Braun, too.)
3. And if they are mean and awful, well, sometimes it is justified.

I should have realized I wasn't going to be able to have a rational conversation with her and simply shut up. But I am dumb this way.


And from here it somewhat turned into a donkey road to hell. I'm still feeling like a pillar of saintliness for not sinking into name calling.



And as it turns out, I'm quite pleased I didn't sink to such low levels. Because here's the thing: in the week since The Guardian article has come out, the Rice media machine (and by that I mean the two college kid interns she likely has working for her) has done a stellar job of making sure that Rice's CRUSADE AGAINST THE GANGSTER BULLIES OF AMAZON is on every news media outlet across the country. From the Christian Science Monitor to Fox News, the name Anne Rice is on everyone's lips. And thank goodness for that! Because if it weren't, we might have missed this important tidbit:



Connected? Noooooo.

There is absolutely, positively no way a formerly best-selling author would ever, ever stir up a media shit storm about a social cause like on-line bullying on the world's largest online book retailer just to draw attention to her nearly forgotten name before announcing her new novel? 

No. Fucking. Way.

Is there?





23 comments:

  1. Oh Michele. You are sooooo cynical. Those two things cannot possibly be related!

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    1. I know, right? The worst part is that it took me the better part of a week to figure out that they were. Fat, dumb, and happy is I. (insert eyeroll)

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  2. I think there are definitely authors who think that those who are critical of their books must IPSO FACTO be not legitimate reviewers. (And needless to say, those who praise their books are brilliant and insightful....)

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    1. Franzen popped into my head here, muhwahahahaha. But at least in Franzen's world, no one else is even a legitimate writer either. So it equals out.

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  3. This is one of many reasons why I love you. All of that aside, if she continued to write good books, she wouldn't need to pander to the media. I wandered away from her years ago after she went off the deep end.

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    1. Since I never read her work to begin with, I missed out on all that stuff from years ago. I'm schooling myself now - wow. Checkered past much? I found a few responses she has made to reviewers who were less than enthusiastic about her work and good grief. The woman has some issues. We will leave it at that. My answer is to just continue with life...way too many good books to be read.

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  4. You know what they say, any publicity is good publicity as long as they spell your name right.

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  5. I've been disappointed by how Anne Rice goes about her business for some time. She's no stranger to "bullying" (I use quotes because this is the media buzzword of the day) reviewers whose opinions she doesn't like, not anonymous reviewers either. I'm not surprised by any of this. Kudos for trying to use logic, though she's only going to believe what she wants to believe.

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    1. I honestly had no idea. I've never read her work before. I just happened upon her FB page a couple of months ago and was somewhat impressed with her passion on gay rights issues. And then this...something just wasn't ringing true here. Sure enough ---- I know I shouldn't be surprised by this kind of thing, but I am disappointed.

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  6. If you want empirical evidence of what happened, read the Amazon forum thread. No one from STGRB was involved.

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    1. I made it about 24 pages into the Amazon forum thread before giving up, Pam. I just didn't see anything of note. At least not what it was being made out to be. I didn't see death threats, I didn't see curses, or anything of the like. Maybe if I had just kept going to page 25?

      But my point here was that Rice played all of us the fool, regardless of what side of the argument you support. She did this to get her name back in the news so that she could tout her new book. And that is pretty crappy.

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  7. Well done, Michele! I confess that I do love Anne's vampire chronicles and have totally fallen in love with her new werewolf series. However, I recognize that personally, she's more than a little hypocritical, as you pointed out. One would think that she would not have to stoop to such levels because her name recognition is always going to be high thanks to Interview with a Vampire. I guess not.

    (BTW, I am THRILLED you posted this debate!)

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    1. I'm completely happy to hear good things about her books - I've never read any of them and have no desire whatsoever to criticize her writing! I was just disappointed she chose to go down this donkey road to hell. I became interested in her when I saw on FB her avocation for gay rights (and had even *nearly* bought that new werewolf series)...and then....this. Bah. Now I can not, and I mean NOT, throw money her way. Boo. I hate it when an author makes me not buy their work (do you hear me Orson Scott Card? Because Ender's Game rocked and now I cannot read the rest because you are an ass). Ha!

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  8. You get a million high fives from angels for keeping your cool!!

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    1. In the interest of pure honesty, Audra, I had to hit delete about 218 times. Ha.

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  9. Thank you so much for this. And I agree, you didn't wonderful keeping calm in the face of provocation.

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    1. Ah well, what appears to be calmness in the face of provocation is really just stunned disbelief. ;) But thank you.

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  10. Ah egos. Aren't they a funny thing? It saddens me when people can't see that maybe they aren't on the right side of things and admit to be wrong.

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    1. It's hard to see when you might be wrong. I had to think long and hard on this one before I said anything because I wanted to give the idea that just maybe the Rice petition might be correct, that anonymity on Amazon might be a bad thing. I don't use a pseudonym myself, after all. But in the end, I just keep coming back to the old "slippery slope" thing. I believe that it is largely D-List authors who want this policy changed and I think they want it changed because they dislike negative reviews. And in the end, this isn't going to change negative reviews. If they want better reviews, write a better book. (I tried to think of a nicer way to say that, but there just isn't. It's the truth.)

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  11. Great article. I think you hit the nail on the head and came off as a rational and discerning person. I hadn't really been following this until now. Thank you.

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    1. I think the majority of sane, rational readers aren't really following this. It's a little insane once you start digging into it and fall down the rabbit hole. These folks are just a little nuts, I've got to tell you. My advice is to stay far away from them and go back to your normal reading, LOL!

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  12. I don't understand this whole thing at all. I didn't read all the comments, but has anyone realized that Anne Rice is not even HER real name? Ironic, no? And what about those folks on the stop the bullies site, I don't see where their names are listed. I post on amazon and GR but the people I hang out with are nowhere near "gangster bullies." LOL at minions though. That's exactly what they sound like.

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Fire away!