Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.
I'm sure Bakker's books, too, are great art by the way. Arthur? You aren't wrapped up in your sexuality or ethnicity, right, so I am sure you can teach me how to look at those books rationally.
I don't think you are nearly as smart as you think you are, and I also think you are so wrapped up in you sexuality and ethnicity issues that you can't think of anything else. [...] You don't really seem to care about what a story is doing, as long as it involves marginalized groups, which I have always felt is a massively blinkered way at looking at art.
I'd offer some kind of commentary here, but I don't think I especially need to. Maybe I could just link this whole thing and count all the boxes you ticked. Not that's an I-WIN button or anything, but how do I engage with a post that boils down to a long screech of YOUR TONE, MY GOD, YOUR TONE? Oh, well, maybe I'll just point out that being able to consider things without being "wrapped up" in "sexuality and ethnicity issues" is a luxury. I could also point out posts where I review works without making ethnicity or gender a primary focus, but that'd require some degree of rationality for you. That appears to be in short supply. If I was Bakker, I'd be pointing at you and muttering something about moral outrage.
Which is a tragedy, because you are the last person I would listen to about gender, sexuality, or race issues.
I will just have to live with this, somehow. It's not that not listening to me is a mark of moral or ideological failing, but what do you think your declaration that you can't take me seriously will accomplish? Dive into comments at Bakker's or Pat's or Watts' blogs and you will find hundreds of like-minded individuals falling all over themselves to declare the very same. It's not as though you are one of a kind, a visionary, or some sort of rebel.
I'm just highly bemused that Bakker's blog posts have become dominated by his objections to how valse argues and its implications when on the other hand the way he argues makes him look like a total crank. Even posts where he seems to be trying to say "Ok, I admit it, sometimes I can look like a self-aggrandising crank" make him sound like a self-aggrandising crank.
On top of that, I was reasonably positive about Bakker's first trilogy when I reviewed it, aside from the loopier setting elements and the fact that he couldn't decide whether he was writing about Generic Fantasyland or the Crusades with the serial numbers filed off. But then the discussion on the comments here prompted me to realise that actually the books had some pretty glaring issues I'd entirely failed to analyse, which prompted a long process of actually thinking about the stuff I was reading rather than consuming it uncritically. So seeing Bakker behaving as he has behaved lately is kind of a "there but for the grace of god" moment for me in that less than five years ago I might have been shooting off tone arguments left right and centre too.
I...I can't take this anymore.
I, too, have been reading Bakker's blog, but I have not been seeing any of this "pity party" that everyone else has been going on about here. Not a hint of it. What I have seen is someone who is no longer interested in valse's arguments (since, as he and others have made pretty damn clear, there really is nothing like a structured argument that can be properly reasoned and/or refuted in your complaints, is there, valse?), but is interested in the way she argues and its implications.
And then I come over here and I find you all crowing and sneering and congratulating valse on making a direct it, when it's crystal fucking clear that this is exactly the problem he is diagnosing.
valse, you are an asshole. I don't think you are nearly as smart as you think you are, and I also think you are so wrapped up in you sexuality and ethnicity issues that you can't think of anything else. When I read your blog, I see a whole lot of strutting and preening and yelling that cloaks some fairly dull commentary. You don't really seem to care about what a story is doing, as long as it involves marginalized groups, which I have always felt is a massively blinkered way at looking at art.
And the worst part? People here agree with you because you confirm their prejudices. If you wrote exactly the same way you do now, but were, say, a libertarian Baptist instead, everyone here would loathe you, and they would pick out the exact problems with the way you write that Bakker has. But because they agree with you, all that is pushed by the wayside. Which is a tragedy, because you are the last person I would listen to about gender, sexuality, or race issues.
(Oh, and when Bakker made the first of these new responses, why did you come over here and crow about it? Why the need to gloat?)
Bakker is a dick. But I find him more bearable than you.
(And in case anyone is wondering, this has been building for a while, but it was Shimmin's "Bakkker" that pushed me over the edge.)
I'll take you up on the swishy cloak. Maybe a false mustache too? Twirl twirl, swish swish. In the meantime a reader helpfully linked me to this post from Bakker. Something about writing serial rapists.
But yeah, I have no interest in Bakky as such and everything about the site is so offputting that I don't read it unless someone prompts me to. As always the comments are the icing.
I do like that he sees Valse as a kind of sinister mastermind single-handedly manipulating the world into not buying his books (even the vast majority of it that doesn't care about the internet, as Michal pointed out). We should get you a swishy cloak.
Bakker's meltdown may be simply embarrassing, but Peter Watts' vicarious defense of him is... something else. One-upping Bakker, at any rate, albeit with much fewer words.
I found the first book of the sequel series in a charity shop, bought it, had it sat on my shelf for some months, and then sold it again because I couldn't bring myself to care. I begin to think his japery on his blog is the first even moderately attention-grabbing writing he's done for years - for all the wrong reasons.
I haven't really followed the meltdown, so actually reading the link was...pretty bizarre. I'm kind of tickled by the thought of someone reading that without any context. Imagine if this was the first thing you ever read on Bakker's blog? "I'm e-stinky"? "I like the lay of your sausage, kid"?
He's posted two new blog posts since the last one which deal more or less exclusively with the subject and the issues arising from it - which makes it six posts in a row - but I wanted to bring everyone's attention to this charming story, because I cannot work out whether it's meant to be a capitulation or some sort of really oblique attack and I'm hoping the hivemind will help me work it out.
But training a teenager resembles too much real work and would require communication either verbally or then in writing, the first of which is unpleasant and the latter a bit too time consuming for Facebook status updates, or for searching Youtube for videos of that cat who likes to be in boxes.
(A joke, of course. I cannot in seriousness endorse the use of tacky modern inventions like the computer, the pen, or the opposable thumb)