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September 7 2010

How To Make An Ass Out Of Yourself On The Internet In One Tweet

Wouldn’t you think if you were a known author you might be a bit more measured in your comments in public?  Perhaps I am giving too much credit to people that write novels, but that would at least be my thought process.

While going through my holiday weekend, a long time friend of mine retweeted a message on Twitter with the purpose of making sure I saw it.  The message was fairly random, and I still have no clue what prompted such a comment, but here is what it said.

Attn bloggers:making lists is not writing.Listing things in order is what they have slow kids do to determine if a helmet is needed.

This message came from Christopher Moore, an author who has made it on to The New York Times bestseller list according to his website.  Why do I say “according to his website”?  Because I’ve never heard of him, but hey, congrats to him for making the list, it’s no small feat.

However, as someone who has written somewhere near 500 lists, I took offense.  I didn’t take offense at saying it isn’t writing, but I felt that the additional little stab about it being “what they have slow kids do to determine if a helmet is needed” was a bit over the top.

So, being me, yeah, I had to respond.

@TheAuthorGuy as a professional blogger who has been assigned over 500 lists in his career, don’t knock work you don’t know, sir.

My thinking was he should at least be aware that there are people out there who work on lists, but whatever, I went to bed and figured it was over with.

Oh no, he had to respond, and instead of going, “Oh, okay” or just acknowledging it, no, he had to continue his thought process.

@seanpaune I didn’t say making lists wasn’t work. I said it wasn’t writing. Thanks for making my point

Huh?  Because I used the word “work”?  Who knows, we’re communicating at 140 characters at a time, it isn’t like we can engage in deep thought.  But, oh well, now he’s annoyed me.

@TheAuthorGuy Well next time a magazine such as Time or Wired runs a list, I’ll be sure to notify them of your disapproval.

Again, I’m ready to move on, I have this thing called “work” to do.  Oh, and no, I wasn’t working on a list, I was writing an opinion piece at the time, but again Mr. Moore had to see how far in his mouth he could stick his foot.

@seanpaune Lazy editing is lazy editing. It’s how editors fill space without having to think. Enjoy your helmet.

Okay, where do you start with this one.

  1. Speaking as the Editor-in-Chief of a technology site, and the former Managing Editor of another site, I can tell you there are a lot of reasons we publish lists.  It has nothing to do with how we “fill space” or “lazy editing”.  It has to do with the fact that they are popular with readers, are often the articles that receive the most comments and we actually get requests for them.
  2. If they were space fillers as Mr. Moore seems to think, then by golly I have been paid really, really well to just fill up space with filler content.

Do I even need to address his comment about me enjoying my helmet?  Yep, he just called me “slow” in a roundabout way.  So, yeah, perhaps I got a tad bit personal in my next response

@TheAuthorGuy the world really needed more vampire novels. Guess it makes it easier for you to spot lazy …

What can I say, if you imply I’m special and belittle my work, I might just have something to say about yours.  I rapidly sent another message.

@TheAuthorGuy BTW, I put out about 2300 non-list posts in the last 12 months. Danny my laziness.

Yes, yes, my phone and auto-correct doomed me by changing “Damn” to “Danny”, but I happened to be walking out the door at the time.  At some point you would think this guy might rethink attacking the livelihood of someone when he has obviously not thought things through.  There are reasons lists get made, but whatever, he wants to continue making an ass out of himself.

@seanpaune This is where you want to make your stand, on the literary integrity of list-making?

Did I at any time suggest that lists had literary integrity?  Nope.  Did I suggest he didn’t know what he was talking about?  Yep.  So, yes, I sent another message.

@TheAuthorGuy excuse me, but you decided to attack lists and somehow I’m the crazy one for defending? Did a list kill a family member?

I was at the point of wanting to know what exactly prompted this guy’s anger towards lists.  Yes, yes, my tongue was firmly planted in my cheek, but anyone who knows me knows I can’t be serious for long stretches of time.  But, instead of an explanation, I get some sort of acknowledgement that “I won”.

@seanpaune Okay, you win. I can’t figure out who Danny is.

Not that I was looking for a declaration of winning, and bringing up an obvious typo from a site the restricts you to 140 characters … woo, you got me there Mr. Moore.  By this point I was at the gym and couldn’t be bothered to care any more.

I understand Mr. Moore is a “humor” writer (he named a female vampire character “Abby Normal” … excuse me while I hold my sides from the laughter … okay, done), but comparing people who write lists to “slow kids” was just insulting and in poor taste on so many levels that I can’t possibly conceive how any professional author of any repute would think that was a wise comment.

I have made it my stock-and-trade on this blog to comment on stupidity I see in the world, especially in the entertainment industries, I have even called decisions “stupid”, but I don’t believe I have ever suggested that someone is “slow” or suggested that enjoy wearing a helmet.  Mr. Moore doesn’t like lists, and that’s his right.  However, when you just randomly come out with a declaration such as this, you have to expect someone to take you to task over it.  Every time I say something on this site, I am fully aware that someone may comment with an opposing opinion, and some of them I agree with, some of them I don’t, but I expect it because I put myself out there.  If you do something similar, you have to expect someone to comment back, but responding by insulting and antagonizing them?  Classy, Mr. Moore, classy.

Not only are you a best selling author Mr. Moore, but for crying out loud you’re 53-years-old, aren’t you above schoolyard insults by this point?

Oh, wait, I’m arguing with someone that thinks “Abby Normal” is the height of punny humor.  My bad.



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