Like others today, I’ve been watching actions and reactions about something that happened last night when an author sent a thoroughly inappropriate series of emails to an agent. The agent posted these emails, with name included, and it became something of a joke. At the author’s expense.
I first want to direct you to two other fantastic posts that are probably better written than this. I think Myra McEntire’s came first, and then Kirsten Hubbard’s. EDIT: Oops, and Saundra Mitchell’s, which I hadn’t seen until after posting.
And I just want to say that while I don’t completely agree with either of these wonderful women, I do find both of their posts incredibly beneficial, and courageous. It couldn’t have been easy to write, or post, those blogs, but they did so anyway, because they felt like they needed to say their peace. So please consider going over there and showing them your support and thanking them for stepping up and saying something.
I just have a very different perspective than they do, and that’s okay. I’m not saying they’re wrong. Just the opposite. I think its very important to stand up for what you’re thinking and feeling, and express that.
I think the main point in where I deviate is comparing the bullying of an adolescent girl, with the reactionary amusement at the expense of an adult man. I have a very different view of what “being bullied” entails. Maybe this is because I’ve been bullied, I’ve been harassed and tormented. Not just in school, but in my professional life too (not as a writer though, thank God). I think I can’t see the two as similar (or see how one is a testament to the other) because the situations are very different. And I think that comparing the two situations is like comparing apples and cement.
Teens who are bullied in school aren’t generally the provokers, from my experience. Someone comes after them. This particular author provoked the situation by disrespecting the agent, demeaning her because of her gender, and insulting her clients.
Kids who are bullied are bullied constantly, not just for a day or two. This situation over blogs and Twitter will have blown over in a day or so. People say that once something is on the internet, its out there for good. And that’s true, but its not something that’s going to be at the forefront of people’s minds. But this writer also has a publishing career, has been published by some bigger houses, and I don’t necessarily believe that one agent’s opinion can seriously blackball him from an entire community. James Frey still has a career, and he was humiliated in a much broader, more public forum.
And the main one – one is an adolescent, still going through the process of development. The other is an adult male, who may or may not have his own share of issues, but is still an adult male at the end of the day. The responsibility for his actions, and their consequences, should solely rest on HIS shoulders. And I feel like putting the two of them into the categories of BULLY or VICTIM makes him somehow less culpable, because its saying that someone else was MORE inappropriate.
Phoebe Price (that’s the girl who killed herself) was the inspiration for Carrie Jones and Megan Kelly to start the Young Adult Authors Against Bullying. I strongly urge everyone to go there and consider what they’re saying. And I absolutely agree with people taking a stand to state how they feel. But I feel like comparing this situation to Phoebe’s story is a very large leap. And its unfair. Because it places the Author in question into the role of Phoebe Price, and it places the Agent into the role of the girls who caused her death. And that’s a very radicial, sensationalized version of what’s going on. The situation on Twitter should stand on its own merits and faults, not be instantly compared to a much more tragic, horrifying event.
But I do urge everyone to think about what bullying means to you, what it means to stay silent (or not), and to really THINK about how you feel about the situation.