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September 21, 2004
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Today's Comic


"... But who in the world are you?"

September 23, 2004

First off, a few random bits. If you've never heard Johnny Hollow or the Kimberly Trip (their website is down, this is the best link I could get), give them a listen. Simply amazing. Also, if you live in the Boston area, there's apparently going to be an S*P reader gathering this Saturday. I've been told I'm showing up since the organizer is my roommate.

Now, today's comic.

In case you didn't know, Anne Rice's newest book, the last of her Vampire Chronicles, is out and has been getting mixed reviews on Amazon.com. Some of the negative reviews are pretty... er... insulting, to say the least. This is nothing new, though. I never pay attention to Amazon.com reviews. I trust people I know better than faceless entities.

But what IS interesting is Anne Rice herself apparently replied to the criticism in a very blunt manner. And I do mean blunt. She picked apart the criticism, made a few statements of her own and posted her email and snail mail address so people could complain or SEND HER THE BOOK FOR A REFUND!

... whoa.

I've got some mixed views on this thing (but not mixed enough I can't make fun of someone). In honesty, I've never read any of her writings, despite urgings from friends, so I can't real talk about the validity or her claims or those of her displeased readers. But I think I'm conflicted on her actually responding to the reviews.

Now, I will be the first to admit, I've responding in some moronically enraged fashions to people bitching me out on forums, the S*P LJ, my personal LiveJournal or in email - going off in a fashion that makes Bobby Knight look calm and collected. But I never respond to reviews. I don't post links to them, either - whether they're good or bad. If the review is good, I feel like I'm being arrogant if I do. If it's bad, I'd worry about some of the more diehard readers going ballistic at the reviewer, which isn't right either (and I've seen a few webcartoonists do the latter for the express reason of "sicking" their readers on someone who dared to have a contrary opinion). I read the review and take what I can get. If it's obviously the guy's just flaming me for the sake of feeling superior, I shrug, look at my stats and smile at the six digits of readers I have. If the review is negative but actually backs its opinions up with some logic, I take what I can and walk away with it. But I don't really address the reviewer unless they email me or, as in one case, decided to start posting in the S*P LJ to promote their negative review (yeah, you won my heart over).

I just don't think it's a good idea to go off on people for reviewing you. No matter what you say, you'll look wrong. Countless people were telling me, "Anne Rice went batshit at her readers!" But when I read it, I didn't get that vibe, but people are going to say it automatically because she had the audacity to address her critics. It's easier to write her off as overreacting without really looking at what she's saying.

But I can also understand why she felt the need to address these opinions. There's nothing worse than reading reviews from people who start off, "I don't get it," or, "OMG this character totally would say that." Er, we're the authors - we decide that. Back in December of 2003, after I did the Gaming Night story where Davan and Branwen are trying to run games for Mike, I had a reader email and inform me that Davan was acting out of character since Branwen's introduction - that he was being too cruel. He promptly gave me a plot synopsis of how I could "save" S*P by having Branwen dump Davan for no reason and Davan and Mike build a strong friendship.

And, y'know, I get stuff like that a lot.

And it's frustrating to watch people completely misinterpret what's going on sometimes. Or to tell you that you're writing your character wrong. So, I can sort of see why Mrs. Rice chose to address it. I just don't know that I'd have done it and I'm wondering if it'll do any good or just further "justify" her naysayers. Either way, putting up her email and mailing address was ballsy on its own - but offering refunds?!

I don't know where I'm going with this. I'm just sort of rambling as I'm prone to doing. I guess the point of it all is: buy S*P merchandise.

Hey! Fuck you! It's my website and the moral of the story can be whatever I want. -R
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