Thursday, January 10, 2013
What's a Gay Chickenhawk; Award for Worst Book Review; Eisler on Objectivity; Bully Site Taken Down; Public Domain LGBT Pics
(Update: The web site to which I referred in this post that claims to be anti-bully is up and running again. I don't think it would be fair to link to them because I'm not linking to sites that are in direct opposition. I'd like to remain objective. But you can do a simple search for any of these web sites, and they aren't hard to find.)
I don't know about anyone else, but I always find these things like "gay chickenhawk" interesting, especially since I missed out on that time period in the seventies and eighties where there were so many symbolic slang references in gay culture. I honestly couldn't tell you the difference between what a red, yellow, or brown scarf means. And even though I'd heard the term "chickenhawk" I never really knew what it was until I looked it up.
According to Urban Dictionary, this is a chickenhawk:
A Gay term for an older man that constantly chases after younger men typically in their 20's.
The heterosexual female equivalent is the Cougar.
Wiki gets into it a little deeper:
It is sometimes used as a disparaging vulgarity within the LGBT community, or seen as a slur against people in that community. The label can be applied to a man who seeks partners with the look of someone young, regardless of their target's age.
And here's an interesting thread at Real Jock.
On to the Hachet Award, which is an award for the worst book review of the year. You can get there from here.
The prize was founded last year by literary website The Omnivore to reward the "angriest, funniest, most trenchant" review published in a newspaper or magazine. Its serious aim is to raise the profile of book critics and "promote integrity and wit in literary journalism."
"Book reviews are, in the main, too fawning and dull," said Omnivore editor Anna Baddeley.
What this award seems to be promoting are book reviews designed only for the sake of entertainment. I get that; I've been entertained by a few book reviews in my time. And I think if it's taken with a tongue in cheek attitude there's nothing wrong with it. There are a few reviews I've wanted to write about certain books I"ve read but I've refrained because I thought it would stir up too much of a crapfest.
However, I don't think book reviews are "too fawning and dull." Not the good or the bad. I think book reviews (for the most part) are honest and people/readers are only trying to help other people figure out whether or not to buy a book. I also think readers want to express their opinions about books they've read. I know I do.
BUT, there's one thing to always consider when writing an overly exaggerated bad book review: the odds are you're going to be helping a book and an author you don't like. I've seen it before too many times to fall into that trap myself. Which is also another reason why you don't see me writing over the top bad reviews often. That's how I found "Fifty Shades of Grey," and I highly doubt the reviewer was trying to promote it. And I saw one living hell of a gay book get slammed and roasted last year and that hunk of mess went on to become a bestseller and it pushed an obscure new author right into the most pitiful, sickening, foray of social media cuteness and awesomeness I've ever seen in publishing.
So I'm hoping this award isn't meant to be taken seriously, and that it is just for the sake of entertainment. But nothing would surprise me anymore.
Now here's a smart, simple post from the brilliant Barry Eisler. Though I've never read any of his books, I have been linked to his blog and I love the way he writes posts that make me think. I may not always agree with him, but I always respect him.
The primary function of America's establishment media is to launder government propaganda into something the citizenry will believe is objective news. The New York Times is a dutiful exemplar.
I think this is probably one of his shortest posts, but it gets into a very interesting topic: mainstream media. I've often posted about how frustrated I get with bloggers who don't utilize the who, what, when, where, and why factors when writing blog posts. I get even more frustrated with the mainstream when I see this happen. And it's really as simple as that. Objectivity is another story.
And speaking of objectivity, here's some interesting information about "That site that shall not be named," Stop the Goodreads Bullies. I've remained objective about this site since last summer, and I will remain so until the end of time. I've never complained about a review for one of my own books, and I rarely even read them. I don't get bullied and I don't think of myself as a victim. If you screw around with me online, I'll most likely ignore you because I don't want to give you any attention. If you do it face to face, you run the risk of me mopping the floors with you.
In fact, one of the things I have to do this week is figure out how to stop getting notifications every time someone leaves a review for one of my books on goodreads. I never got those notifications before, and now suddenly I'm getting them every single day. And please don't get me wrong. I appreciate all reviews and I thank people for taking the time to write them. I just like to step aside when it comes to reviews of my own books.
I actually hesitate to post anything about this bully web site now because so many are so passionate about it. But this is news, regardless of anyone's opinion. And to ignore news of any kind just because you don't agree with it defeats the purpose of freedom of speech. In any event, it seems this web site has been taken down for reasons I'm not sure about. There are a few articles I could link to, but frankly I don't trust the sources to be reliable.
For those who don't know, this is a web site designed to attack online bullies who they claim attack books and authors. And there's a strong opposition to this web site that's led to some interesting articles since the site was launched. It's also supposed to be reader based, and not for authors.
You can read more about it here, here, and here.
Now, if you're an LGBT blogger, you probably have as much trouble finding public domain photos as I do, and this might help a little. It's not something I'm raving about right now, but at least it's a place to go for public domain LGBT photos. And it seems simple enough. One of my issues with deviantart.com is that it takes too long to figure out what's free to use and what's not. And some of the most dreadful photos of all time seem to have the most protected copyrights. These highly protected amateur images always remind of the old saying, "You'll Die with Your Secret." Because if bloggers like me were allowed to use your images and link back to you, you'd be getting more attention and recognition. As it stands, no one really cares about your copyrighted photos. We can, and will, live without them.
All I know is that if I post a photo here that I've taken myself, please feel free to use it in your blog post as long as you link back to me. I'm not that grand that I think I'll ever become rich and famous for my photos, and if you can use one, have fun with it.
This article gets into more about how hard it is to find LGBT public domain photos. Check around, you'll see what I mean. I would also imagine it's just as hard to find public domain photos for any minority group.
Ever notice how news orgs like TV stations will show gay wedding cake toppers and all they have done is duplicate either a male or female figure and place them side by side so it looks like twins are getting married to each other! Or they just show disembodied hands holding each other! Or worse an image of gay people holding hands but looking away from the camera - implicitly reinforcing the idea of a stigma to being gay. It's sad, yet often they have few if any alternatives.
Photo above courtesy of this photographer. And a big thank you for sharing.