Friday, January 5

Preaching to the choir...

I've always loved that expression...

It was the first thing I thought when I read today's RTB column. Every romance reader already knows 1. outside the romance reading world romance novels are considered literature's pathetic little cousin, two or three times removed, 2. romance readers have been fighting this battle forever.

Instead of preaching to the choir and telling us "Let’s try holding up the mirror every time we see this meme coming into play."--no kidding--how about we look at the reasons why and continue combating it from within, or shut up about needing respect and realize we don't need validation from the clueless.

So how do we combat ignorance and stupidity? My first thought is education. But honestly how many times do people need to be told that 50% of the mass paperback market is romance? How many times must a person be told "Don't judge a book by it's cover?" How many times do we have to ask "Have you ever read a romance?"

I've reached the point in my life where I don't care what people think about my choice in reading material. Each and every time an uniformed critic slanders the genre they show their ignorance not mine.


ames said...

LOL You forgot to add "I am woman, hear me roar!" at the end of that post.

I agree though-we don't need to justify what we read to anyone.

Wendy said...

No matter how intelligent we are or how eloquent the argument there will always be people who disparage the romance novel. We could smack them upside the head and dump all the evidence in the world into their laps and they won't budge.

So why should we continue to beat our heads up against a wall?

I'm also of the school of thought that until we as romance readers respect ourselves and each other we have no right to ask non-believers to do so. I'm not suggesting we all have to get along and play nice - but honestly the flame wars have gotten more than a tad ridiculous. What does this say about "us" to the outside non-romance reading world? Nothing very nice I can assure you.

And neither here nor there, I tend to go the "education" route with non-believers. Lots of reader's advisory and discussion on how wide and varied the genre really is.

Suisan said...

Well, I just dropped by to let you know that I left a novel in comments, which not so succinctly, says just about everything that Wendy just said.

Emotions tend to run very high in this sector, which is never a good thing.

Tara Marie said...

Ames, I was in such a rotten mood this morning--LOL.

I'm also of the school of thought that until we as romance readers respect ourselves and each other we have no right to ask non-believers to do so.

Wendy, I completely agree. I was running short for time when I posted to my blog. And the flip side is being able to have discourse and differences of opinion like adults. But of course I've heard the same things about any number of genres so, I don't think we're alone in this behavior.

Suisan, my annoyance with the initial RTB column was that she's implying we're not already doing this. Since when aren'te romance readers defending their choices.

Sam said...

You know, it's really strange, but I have NEVER heard anyone disparaging a romance book. OK - maybe I don't have deep, important literary conversations. But I've never had someone point to one of my bodice-ripper covers as I was reading and ask me how I could read 'that'. Never. And I never had to argue about statistics and numbers to prive that romances outsell just about everything.
I tell people what I write, and no one has turned up his or her nose at me. I keep waiting. Now I have all these great come-backs, lol.

Maybe I look too ornary and no one dares put down my reading material??? LOL!

Sara Dennis said...

I don't actually think that she's saying we don't already defend ourselves. Or even implying that.

She's saying, rather than asking the same rebuttal questions over and over (have you ever -read- a romance novel, for instance), that using something like Godwin's law would be a succinct, non-defensive way to answer.

It may be that people in the romance community just aren't familiar enough with Godwin's law, or haven't seen it used enough, to see the comparison.

Tara Marie said...

Sam, you're very lucky. I've heard it in my own home--LOL. The darling hubby loves to poke fun at romance. I've gotten looks at the library and heard snide comments in chain bookstores, so there are clueless people out there.

Tara Marie said...

Sara, I understand the concept but have never actually seen it used.

I pulled this from wikipedia...

There is a tradition in many newsgroups and other Internet discussion forums that once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically "lost" whatever debate was in progress.

If I'm understanding this correctly that as soon as someone degenerates the conversation down to insulting Harlequin et al the discussion will stop. Why don't I see this happening?

Sara Dennis said...

I think that's why Diana proposed it. Because it -doesn't- happen.

At the moment, when someone on a forum or mailing list or blog says 'romances are all crappy bodice rippers', that person is usually dogpiled until the community -does- look like a bunch of overdefensive authors.

If we had something like Godwin's Law, theoretically (and it'd take time for this to be an accepted reaction, but...) that would stop the dogpile and people who were interested in -real- discussion and debate could go on to do that.

The critical point there being that it'd take time, though, I think. It's not going to happen overnight.

Suisan said...

Yeah. I don't see it happening either.

And actually, invoking Godwin's Law doesn't work either.

Because then you get, "You F&*&king ignorant a$$! There WAS discrimination in the first post, and you can't get me to stop pointing it out by simply pulling up some old tired hack phrase. Discrimination leads to Naziism and that leads to the death of innocents. How dare you belittle my comments by using Godwin's Law!"

Very refreshing.

The real thing is to recognize the ancient arguments and try to a) point out that these are ancient and we've fought this one before, or b) make a few comments if you are so moved before the thing all disintegrates into a train wreck, or c) walk away.

Sometimes I can get to c. Sometimes I hover at b for a long time.

Oh. And I hate Nazis. Just for the record.

Sara Dennis said...

I believe that, Suisan. But if Godwin's Law is invoked and the "idiot" argues against it, he's proved himself unworthy of arguing any further, right? So then you move on. Let said idiot rant himself out because you know he's not going to change his mind.

I have seen Godwin's Law work. Someone says blah blah blah just like the Nazis, gets a response of Godwin's Law, and the original Nazi-spewer stops, reconsiders, and comes at his argument from a different place. I can't give you ratios of works to doesn't work, but it doesn't always fuel the fire.

My hope would be that doing the same sort of thing with romance novels would work the same way, and save us some chest-beating.

Suisan said...

Sam very clearly hangs out with considerate and educated readers.

I apparently hang out with idiots.

(At least on message boards and uunet groups.)

Amie Stuart said...

Agreed....and I've been reading romance for *gulp* about 20 years now. My personal motto is, in the long run does it really matter? (or is it worth beating my head against the wall). That would be a no, only because as you said, there will always be detractors

Tara Marie said...

Sara, you apparently visit message boards with more introspective posters, most boards I've been on would degenerate down to the lowest common denominator.

Suisan, I too am surrounded by idiots--LOL.

Amee, it's the "is this the hill I want to die on" thing.

Sara Dennis said...

Quite possibly. :) Anyway, no more harping from me. Thanks for the reasonable and reasoned back and forth.

CindyS said...

I guess it'll be no surprise when I say I'm lost. I don't get into arguments anymore with people about romance. They either get it or they don't. I don't try to convert people to reading romances and I just roll my eyes when someone says something blantantly stupid. Oh. And then I pop the popcorn and wait for someone to call the other a Nazi. Makes me laugh ever single time.

I should mention that I'm not trying to mock anyone. I just realized a long time ago that there are people who are willing to look at their opinion of something logically and others who will hold their breath until they turn blue. I like to talk openly with others about my passion and one sure way to not hear from me is to have someone start spewing nonsense. Then I just walk away.