I Should Be Doing Stuff…

…but instead I’ve been watching this train wreck go down.

I really should try to wean myself off things like this, but the drama appeals to me.

The internet is supposed to be this mean, ugly arena in which every yahoo gets to spew bile, and yet when things like this go down, as with the Jacqueline Howett debacle and the Cooks Source plagiarism crapola, it nearly always generates this huge upswelling of popular outrage. Yeah, sometimes the response goes a little too far, but all the same I find it encouraging that people can still get worked up about such things.

Most of my anger is directed at WNEP – the bigots can’t help being the way they are, but a television station shouldn’t have given them a platform from which to air their views. There was no public good to be had from this – it was just sleazy reportage and sensationalism to get some attention, and never mind if anyone gets hurt. Well, they have their attention, lots of it. I hope whoever allowed this story to air is disciplined, and if that doesn’t happen then perhaps enough of their advertisers will cancel to make it hurt.

Plenty of interesting comments on the WNEP site, before they stopped allowing people to post. There’s a Facebook page to show support for Judy Mays/Buranich, and some great blog posts, such as this one and this one.

One thing I do think the commenters are probably wrong on though, is the idea that horror writers would be immune from such nonsense.

I remember that Sam Stone had trouble in her teaching job because she wrote vampire books in her own time, and the editor of Samhain horror film magazine had difficulties with some parents at the nursery where he worked one day a week as a volunteer, and I vaguely recall something about Peeping Tom editor David Bell getting suspended from teaching night classes for adults because he answered questions some of them asked about the magazine when out of class.

At Whispers of Wickedness one writer asked us to remove a story from the website, believing that he’d failed to get a job because the employers had googled his name and found he wrote stuff about children getting murdered. I thought he was being paranoid, but on going into the website found that there’d been several recent search engine generated visits to his story.

Erm, if any Norfolk based employers happen to be currently considering an application from a Peter Tennant, I should take a moment just to assure you that he’s not me. He’s somebody else altogether, a saint from all that I’ve heard about the guy, and you should most definitely give him a job (and then a pay rise).

Back when I was at Norwich Union, at least two guys assumed that I was gay because of the explicit gay sex scenes in my novella Confession of a Hollow Man.

One told me that nobody could write stuff like that unless it was from personal experience. With my usual flair for digging in even deeper, I told him that it was just a rumour being put round by all the young men I’d slept with, but that he needn’t have any personal concerns as though I might be gay I wasn’t blind (he was bald and he had a beard, and back then I could afford to be picky).

The other guy never discussed it with me, just with other people who laughed at him behind his back and told me all about it. Whenever he went in the toilets and I was standing at the urinals he would lock himself in a cubicle rather than stand next me. Yes, honestly. I and another guy, who had a gay brother and took umbrage at this idiot’s behaviour, would wind him up by standing around and discussing gay sex and the relative size of our penises, while he was locked in his cubicle, which was pretty hilarious, all things considered. At least it was at the time, but with hindsight I think I may have just realised why none of my female work colleagues ever went out with me.

Moral – we are what we write (or, as Vonnegut put it in Mother Night, we are what we pretend to be, so better be careful what we pretend to be).

And tomorrow, I really, really need to get that story about the millionaire Lottery winner who has an affair with Kylie Minogue out of my system.

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