Sep 15, 2010

Some thoughts on bad taste

I just read Pat's post about how he debates whether to give up blogging. Now, I appreciate uncertainty as much as the next attention-whore, but what really struck me as strange, is how self-congratulatory the post seems to be. Instead of giving some specific reasons for wanting to retire, Pat goes on to list his many achievements. I know how sour-grapish this makes me sound, and I'd be the first to give the guy the credit he deserves. As a blogger, Pat has achieved a lot, and it would be petty to deny his accomplishments.

However, in recent years I gradually realized how fake his supposed modesty and down-to-earthishness are. So much attention is dedicated to his many successes that at some point one has to ask oneself how can someone be "just another guy", and at the same time insist on listing every little thing he's achieved? I mean, am I the only one seeing something contradictory in this sentence?

And although I've never taken myself very seriously, it's nevertheless heart-warming to realize that I have earned the respect of so many people, both in and outside the industry.

Especially followed by things like these:

Being on a first name basis with most editors-in-chief and big-name editors on both sides of the Atlantic means something, no question. But one of the most rewarding aspects of running this blog for so long is that I'm now on a first name basis with some of the SFF authors I've admired the most for years and years. People like Guy Gavriel Kay, Robin Hobb, L. E. Modesitt, jr., George R. R. Martin, and many others, have helped me enjoy this adventure on a more personal level.

In my own small way, I helped launch the careers of new SFF writers such as Scott Lynch, Naomi Novik, Brandon Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie, Brian Ruckley, Patrick Rothfuss, Carrie Vaughn, Peter V. Brett, and many more. The beauty of running this blog remains that it allowed me to discover so many talented authors and bright new voices in both the fantasy and science fiction genres. No, I don't deserve much credit, but I'm glad of the exposure I was able to provide for each of them.

And particularly this:

Jon Sprunk left this very nice and probably underserved comment on my Facebook page: "I consider you a voice of reason in a wasteland of useless chatter." It appears that quite a lot of people echo the sentiment.

Even if we accept that the guy just got carried away (and that's something I completely understand, although I'd be up-front about it myself), the last is a total slap in the face of all us bloggers, and completely unnecessary in a post about his supposed retirement. And so, when I read his Swan Song??? post now, all I see is a "show me some love" demand that is anything but honest in its intentions. If you want to quit blogging, you focus on your gratitude to your audience (and not as an aside, put after all the others like publishers, writers etc.), not on how awesome you are, and how great yet humble you are.

I am sorry, as I realize that people might take this post the wrong way. I still respect Pat for what he's done and achieved, and I do give him credit for his contributions to the SFF field. But I don't for a second think that he has ever contemplated giving up blogging. This post is in a very bad taste, and I firmly believe that masturbation is something to do in private.


  1. I agree with you 1000% Roland. On everything you said above.

  2. Who died and gave you the almighty power to decide that someone else isn't blogging properly? Who the hell cares if he's listing his achievements, I'd be damn proud if I had done all that, and would have no shame talking about it. That's what a blog is for.

    I've certainly never heard/read Pat outwardly say a bad thing about anyone, and if that one person thinks that Pat's blog is "a voice of reason in a wasteland of useless chatter." it's because it is. Take you for example, more interested in bashing a fellow blogger than actually blogging.

  3. Yes, I am really more interested in bashing than blogging. What with my ONE comment on someone else's behavior in the 91 posts I've done in three months...

    Also, you are quite right - everyone should be proud of achievements such as Pat's. It's the fake modesty that bothers those with the eyes to see it.

    Thanks for dropping by though.

  4. At first I didn't notice it, because I didn't take the post very seriously to begin with. You could be right, but I think you can read it different ways. Being on a first name bases with many industry people doesn't mean so much, when everyone is calling you "Pat" anyway. Also helping launch careers in a small way sounds very boasting from one perspective, but if he had any influence, then he certainly might put it that way.
    And to Jon Sprunk's statement: we don't really know what Jon Sprunk referred to or with what Pat associated it, but it's no surprise that Pat gladly takes the title "voice of reason" if someone offered it.

  5. Good point. Unfortunately, this kind of attitude isn't an exception with Pat, and personally, as someone who used to admire the guy, I have no conceivable reason to bash him out of spite. And the fact is that I am not the only one who saw it that way...