Thursday, May 14, 2009

Important but Quite out of Character

Warning - this is something I do not normally do on this blog but it's important. Possibly for me it's the most important thing on the Internet. 

I am going to write about someone else's blogpost instead of fiction or theory or hidden reality. 

This is a public service message to those who mistake the Dreamtime for the Meatworld.

Ready. OK. 

George RR Martin is NOT your Bitch

Neil Gaiman said so, and in saying so highlighted the interchange that has bothered me so very much on every internet comments board I have ever read. 

Please note that I didn't do the "Highlight link" common to blogs on either the quote or Mr. Gaiman's name. I will give you the link but I'd like to make my comment linearly first, and then we can get all non-linear afterwards.

The Summary

Some poor gentleman by the screen name of Gareth asked Mr. Gaiman his opinion of a circumstance where Mr. Martin blogs about his work but won't cough up a release date to his readers for his next book. Gareth is in reality both polite and introspective about it, but he is frustrated. He was looking for a reality check to his frustration. 

Rather than reinforce his discomfort in the echo chamber of Mr Martin's comments section, he reached out to what he thought of as an accessible and open peer of Mr. Martin's for his opinion of whether or not his own frustration was reasonable. While it set him up to really be ripped a new one by the ravening hordes of the internet and indeed illustrates the ease of access we have to creators in the incredibly democratized internet world, it does in fact, show that he realizes his needs might not be the only needs involved. I know you're itching to see what he wrote. I'll link to it. I promise.

He asked Mr. Gaiman if the audience actually has too much input into an author's actions because of all the blogging and tweets. And if Mr. Gaiman's readers would think he was "slack" if he announced a book and didn't say anything about it for two years.

However he also asked quite reasonably but still, with a sense of entitlement, if all the blogging and the exposure to his fans meant that Mr. Martin had more of a responsibility to finish the story than someone who didn't engage the public.

Neil Gaiman responded quite accurately - No. George RR Martin is not your bitch.

Ok - that was important to me because I wanted to make sure that Gareth's very real attempt to get a reality check on his sense of entitlement was not dissed out of hand, because it's important ( although weird that he had open access to another famous writer to do it).

Because if you like Mr. Gaiman then you will be all in Gareth's face, and if you think artists are automatons you will be all in Mr. Gaiman's. And honestly, they both deserve more thought than that.

Now I'll post the link

My Personal Bit

Here in the House, the residents know that I have been waiting to send an e-mail to Mr Gaiman to ask his permission to use something of his in the Poppetropolis Project. They also know I feel odd about it, because I am intensely aware of the fact that I do not know Mr. Gaiman personally and that I have been more exposed to his work because of Lisa's than the other way around. I have not sent the email yet, at least partially because I know that he is swamped due to his blog and I have no wish to add to it. I will eventually, because I really wish to use that thing and since the internet is open and the Poppoetropolis Project will be there I would like clear permission to use it. But it almost feels like an invasion of Mr. Gaiman's space. I also have to send a similar e-mail to Cat Mihos, who I do know, but it's an odd request and it feels a bit "look at me" and I'm not comfortable with it, although probably in the end not only will both parties not mind, they will most likely forget it within 2 minutes of seeing and/or answering it. 

So it boggles me that everyone is so absolutely sure that the author or artist SHOULD do what they want or listen to them or work on their schedule. Things go the way they go. Gone With The Wind took 10 years to write and has a devoted following and fan fic. JK Rowling's whole life morphed in the decade that she started writing Harry Potter to the end when it was done. Things change in a decade. Susan Boyle started getting flak for dying her hair when she saw herself on TV and realized she looked old. 

Why do people think they own you because they see your image and care? Obama's donors who donate 10$ think they have the right to demand fealty to their ideas because their 10$ got him there. In some sense they are right, every 10$ counts but he needs to listen to the other guy who gave him 10$ that doesn't agree with you and the guy who gave McCain 10$ because that guy is still a citizen. There is a difference between "support" and "ownership".

There is a difference between "I love your work" and "Here we are now - Entertain Us"

And there is a difference between "You entertain me." and "Because you entertain me I can judge you, because you entertain others I hate you"

And of course there is the eternal problem of "He/She/It's a public figure so they asked for it." 

No. They didn't. 

Because IT changed and They are all swimming in the current of that change trying to navigate IT and still do what they are driven to do. 

They are still human and private. Their public lives were never meant to crawl inside their windows and strangle their private lives in the cradle so that their personal ups and downs could be judged by people who want more than what they already offer. 

Politicians should be judged on voting records, artists on art, your lover on fidelity, you favorite actor not so much. 

Artists don't exist to comfort, they confront. Someday Poppets may not speak the language Lisa does anymore, that will mean that she should make something else. I do not need Lisa to make Poppets just because they speak to me. I will wonder and wait for what she makes next. 

The exchange of cash only rents a prostitute for so many hours. Then that prostitute does whatever she/he/it will do without you. The book in your hand is a whore. If you demand that your artist do what you want, you are not a fan, you are a wannabe pimp, attempting to force the artist behave the same way as the whore in your hand simply because that whore pleased you for a few hours. 

I miss some of the sense of being humbled by people who work hard and have talent. I've met some very famous writers and am lucky that I can separate the work from the artist. But the internet causes such a sense of intimacy without knowledge of other people's craft, that it blurs things a bit and people might feel like they know. 

It's a short step from there to having them feel like they know enough to make judgments. I understand. I disapprove. 

I remember when artists were allowed to stumble and fail. It was how they grew.

You do not own the one you like, it is not your duty to destroy the ones you don't. 



Stacey said...

Very profound, Drinne. I also read that post of Mr. Gaiman's, and when I did so, I cheered inside - albeit a bit shame-facedly, since I have had the same thoughts on occasion as Gareth. :)

I'd love to add a well-thought out reply to this post, but my ideas are tumbling around in my head and would just come out sounding like jibber-jabber. Ha! Maybe later.

Jessie said...

"And there is a difference between "You entertain me." and "Because you entertain me I can judge you, because you entertain others I hate you""

This is so much what I needed. I am the bitch of them, totally. And they want more. And you know who is meanest? My family. My sister basically spat on my first book. Bunch of assholes.