The Best Of: “Messages from ‘Hell’” Reviews Posted or Declined, etc.

It’s not usual to have experienced it in person. I don’t know, I’m one of those people who tends to have a very serious facial expression in general unless I happen to smile. And I am very quiet, so perhaps disconcerting to those who don’t know me although I wouldn’t call myself physically intimidating. Personally, I just don’t get this kind of behavior wherever it occurs, but I’ve observed people are far more likely to do it online. I think it is revealing.

When I worked in law enforcement, and it was usually third shift in the more overtly difficult area of the city in which I lived, it was no surprise to be called any and everything when you’re taking them down, then “downtown” to be booked. Some officers might unexpectedly hit the brakes while the perpertrator was in the backside of the cruiser.Yes, if they can’t catch themselves in time, they hit the security divider.

That was nothing I ever did, or thought acceptable, but it happened. Even though it could be very irritating, I either ignored them, or sometimes you knew it’s the drugs, the alcohol or psychological problems talking for them. Online? Well, those can be contributable factors also, but sometimes it is just because people thoughtlessly can do so, sometimes they try to hurt you in some way, as they perceive it, as a way to imaginarily elevate themselves. The circle of life. I wouldn’t return an equally nasty reply ever, “Life’s too short”, but here’s a brief presentation of the irony of educated idiocy.

No. 3

From an author whose work I accepted early when my review site had newly opened, although the work was “generally” religious or spiritual in nature I felt I could objectively review it. I later changed my requirements specifically because of this example, with included multiple insults regarding my ethnicity and even my name. Now I decline all religious works fiction or non-fiction. As these messages are in the public domain, here is the original post, and here is the replies on the review thread.

““A reviewer who calls himself Red Haircrow reviewed the book last week as well, and gave the book only 3 or 4 stars (depending on which review site.) He doesn’t like spiritual books, and readily admits he was probably not the right reviewer for this book…
…thanks Red Scarecrow for taking the time and energy to review a book that clearly falls outside the realm of the sort of book you enjoy and want to review!”

“Wow, do we have a language barrier problem here possibly?”

 

My reply:

I was surprised by the comment and tone, but I was not personally offended. Thank you for the correction yet I found it quite interesting you chose to use mockery both in your post at your website, and it was your first response here as well: “Language barrier? Way off base. Distortion, etc.” And I’ll understand if you “leave it alone.” My trademark quote is “I welcome questions. I hate assumptions.” I make reply as long as I believe it serves a point, but following this… I’ve said what I needed to say regarding this issue.

This continues to be case in point of why I do not accept certain material. Not because I don’t read it at some time personally, but the mentality of too many of the individuals tend towards judging others first in an ethnocentric way and that’s their initial response: to believe their own way, thoughts are inherently the correct one and the other person obviously has gotten something wrong. I speak and understand English as well as you do.

My guidelines, my requirements and my “About Me” section are all there for a reason. Even from the very first, if you’d read those, as suggested, you would have known not to mock someone’s name just because you assumed it was made up. And since you had no typo’s in your post and had written it correctly before, ending your comment with “Red Scarecrow” after you said I was afraid to read religious material because I didn’t like it? If you choose to say it was a complete mistake on your part, okay.

And to completely clarify for you: Flying With Red Haircrow is a professional site that accepts requests from those who meet the requirements and guidelines.

No. 2

From an author whose book was initially accepted, yet after this randomly send message, well…you’ll see in my reply.

Dear Red,

I noticed that you stopped following me on twitter. I hope you have not pre-judged my book. I read that you hate the pope and religious stuff.

My novel may smack of religion, but it also gives religion a helluva smack, as well. I’ve got to use religious ideas to confront the bullshit.

You might say that my book ridicules religion – by exposing the how distant religion is from love, which is truth. Love has to be the truth, otherwise, what else is there?

You may like reading “Hitler’s Pope”.

I hope you still read my book. I believe that in the end you will see what I am up to, and approve.

Sincerely,

 

“—-“

My reply:

I never began following you on Twitter in the first place. The number of people I am following has remained unchanged for several months. I have not had the time to go through my followers to follow back those I wish to, and I consider it imperative before I do so. I don’t auto-follow.

You have made a number of unfounded assumptions and accusations in this email about me which are entirely unwarranted. I do not have to explain anything to you, yet I choose to do so at this time because this attack is so strange it deserves the kind of honesty I give everyone.

The tweet you read and chose to focus on was one made to a long-time personal friend who I know quite well, who is Pagan and she knew just what I meant and was referring to: a past conversation between us. If you wish to be exact, I said I hate the Pope and Christianity, not religious stuff. Christianity is not religion. It is a religion among thousands of belief systems.

All I have is the information you provided below in your request about your book, and it does not include any reference to religion, so I had no idea regarding that until just now when I read this message. I can appreciate passion for one’s work, but this is the primary reason why I don’t accept religious directed or referencing works, not because I may not find it of interest in some way, but because too many people present an egocentric view where their opinion is the right one. Just as you are now asserting.

I do not judge a book even after I’ve read it because that isn’t my way, and it’s not mine to judge, therefore I certainly would never pre-judge a work. In fact, I do not read any other reviews or critique regarding a work before I start reading for review purposes. I prefer to remain uninfluenced.

I do not use curse words when I am speaking and do not appreciate them being used in addressing me. You do not know me, nor have any frame of reference to suggest what I might say or do, and especially what I might like to read or approve. I sense an attempt at sarcasm within “You may like reading “Hitler’s Pope”, likely referencing the country of my birth. Besides the general attacks you’ve made, that appears to be a personal one.

I did have your book in queue, however I will be removing it now. As with all files received, it will be perma-deleted. As with all exchanges, this message and my reply will remain in my database.

No. 1 in Sheer Gall and Unprofessionalism

This one takes the proverbial cake. I received this message from book review site when I wrote asking about a message I received supposedly from them, but it had a “bad” link it, and used curious language. I just questioned if it was originally from them, or had someone possibly misused their accounts. Phishers and hackers are very active. This is the reply I received, and if that’s not enough, I’ve added subsequent messages.

Their emails:

(there were more as they seemed to keep thinking of new insults to send my way as they occurred to them):

There is no onus on me to be professional when it comes to dealing with your kind. I treat people in accordance with how they are. If you are an asshole you will be treated like an asshole.

I have come in contact with apples like you before, extremely paranoid people you are.

Have a nice weekend chief.

Honestly, it would be enlightening to provide a link to their website, but would serve no purpose except to cause a problem, though I was almost comically surprised at the depth of their unprofessional and level of pointless insults (being called “chief” because I’m Native American?) and assumptions, yet they claim to be professional.

There have been others, to be sure, if I decline a review and the author chose to send a reply expressing their displeasure, surprisingly often enough making some kind of negative personal comment. For whatever reason they think it’s justified, the publishing and writing networking world is interconnected and interlocked in many ways. And I believe it never serves any interest to behave in such ways. I keep dancing though, as I mentioned in “Counting Coup With a Pen: Online Life.”

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Blog Post, Writers and Writing

2 responses to “The Best Of: “Messages from ‘Hell’” Reviews Posted or Declined, etc.

  1. Hi Red – I’m one of the authors that you seem to equate with hell in your post above.

    I’ve apologized to you more than once for any slight or slur that I delivered to you. I’ve explained on multiple occasions that none of either was meant from me at any time, and I take complete accountability for the fact that my message came across to you in a way you found offensive. I have never heard back from you any level of accountability for any of this miscommunication, yet you continue to post rants that misrepresent me, my book, and my views.

    Since graciousness and humility seem to have no coin with you, I take this opportunity to tell you sir, that you are completely mistaken about my intentions and the message I’d like to share with readers. You have made grossly misguided assumptions that ignore completely the actual content of the book itself, and focus instead on the category of books that you choose to drop my book into, and the category of people that you have decided to drop me into.

    For clarity, perhaps readers would go to your own blog posting about the book, read the review itself, and read the comments in their entirety, rather than simply the snippets you choose. I have pasted below my final comment in that thread (in its entirety) as a good starting point. And once again sir, I wish you the best of luck to you on your upcoming memoir.

    Tony and Red both, thanks for the comments.

    I’ve really tried hard in all my comments here to avoid any discussion of religion. I agree with you Red – one must be quite careful having discussions of religion online, because there’s so much room for assumption and misinterpretation.

    My sole and only purpose in posting comments here (and Amazon earlier) was to provide the reader with the author’s viewpoint of what I was trying to do. I was concerned that your reading (and thus interpretations and assumptions) about what I was trying to do was so very counter to where my head was really at when I wrote the book, that I wanted to give your readers that perspective.

    That’s all – no discussion of religion at all.

    Two things, I’d like to offer your readers a free eBook copy of this book so they can take a gander for themselves. If they’ll contact me and refer to your website, I’ll send them a coupon they can use to download the format of their choice. Here’s my website if they want to do that: http://neilhanson.com

    Second, I’ll paste here the “Notes to the Reader” that appear in the very front of the book. This should make my intentions quite transparent I think. These comments do talk about religion a bit, which my comments have stayed away from. However, I think these comments will help your reader understand where my head and heart were at when I put the story into words.


    A couple of conventions that I use herein warrant mentioning upfront.
    First, I refer to something that I spell out as “G-d” throughout the story. I describe why I do this later in the story, but for now, I would ask this of you: When you see this word, please understand that I use it to refer to something that is beyond my ability to understand well. If you are Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, you may infer your own particular understanding of what this word means. If you are Hindu or Buddhist, you may infer a different understanding of what the word means. Please make no assumptions or pre-judgments about what I might mean by the word, and instead, paint the word with your own beliefs. I think that you’ll enjoy the story more that way.
    In fact, if you are Atheist or Agnostic in your view of the world, this word should work for you as well. Use it to refer to whatever in the universe appears as mystery beyond understanding to you.
    Second, I user gender references interchangeably when referring to this thing I call G-d. This might feel a bit confusing at first, but it is quite intentional. While I apologize for any difficulty this might create for the reader, it is an important convention that allows me to stay true to the same convictions that lead me to use the term G-d. Again, more on this later in the book.
    Finally, thank you in advance for the indulgence of an open mind as you read this story.

    Then, nearly the last paragraph in the book wraps up a similar message:

    It is my sincere hope that reading this story might help some of those who consider themselves certain to receive the blessing of uncertainty. I truly believe that it is only through humility, respect, and tolerance for the views of others that I can approach Truth. So long as I worship at the alter of certainty, Wisdom will be locked tightly away from me.

    Most of all, best of luck to you Red on your upcoming memoir – I look forward to hearing more about it!

    Neil

    • My post contains links to both the original post and the review with the message thread, so clearly anyone who is interested can read for themselves. Nothing is hidden or suggested to be, as clearly stated in the posting. Since it is the public domain, as stated, there was no need for me to include each and every post because they can all be freely accessed.

      I’m sorry if you wrongly assumed again that any apology was needed, solicited or anything else. Just because I posted this, doesn’t mean there was grievance, again, as clearly stated in my original posts. My post is not a rant, though that might be a term you use generally, it’s one that suggests to be upset or a lack of logical progression. Nothing further from the truth. Please stop trying to equate what I do to your personal knowledge since you don’t know me personally.

      If you read on the thread on the review, there is a final message from me stating I was never personally offended only surprised, so don’t know how you missed it (you said I never replied back to you) since you replied to this one barely an hour after it was posted, which would suggest bookmarking.

      I’m sorry you choose to remain within a mindset of distinct fundamental attribution error. You fundamentally have misinterpreted what I’ve stated all along, misinterpreted what you wrongly think are my emotions or intentions, and continue to do so. I’m sorry if you see everything as a personal attack, when I have no interest or need for any such behavior and your continued defensiveness coupled with attack is unfortunate. You seem to wish to be offended and often insults. Life’s too short. I do not behave that way, never will, and will not respond in like kind.

      For clarity, perhaps readers would go to your own blog posting about the book, read the review itself, and read the comments in their entirety, rather than simply the snippets you choose.

      It’s there in the post, and I already had that information included. Obviously, you missed it.

      I have never heard back from you any level of accountability for any of this miscommunication, yet you continue to post rants that misrepresent me, my book, and my views.

      Not true, if you’d only looked at the posting yourself.

      “Since graciousness and humility seem to have no coin with you…”

      You don’t know me at all, and I’ve never made a personal comment about you, but you do so again about me with no knowledge base.

      “You have made grossly misguided assumptions…”

      I didn’t make any assumptions in this post, which can clearly be seen. I believe a person’s conduct speaks for itself, and yours has again.

      Since you seemed to have missed it, I will post it here again for you, lasting posting on the thread https://flyingwithredhaircrow.wordpress.com/2011/07/01/peace-at-the-edge-of-uncertainty-by-neil-hanson/. I think it’s important you read a post through before you say untruths about it.

      “Red Haircrow
      25/08/2011 at 15:25 (Edit)

      “I was surprised by the comment and tone, but I was not personally offended. Thank you for the correction yet I found it quite interesting you chose to use mockery both in your post at your website, and it was your first response here as well: “Language barrier? Way off base. Distortion, etc.” And I’ll understand if you “leave it alone.” My trademark quote is “I welcome questions. I hate assumptions.” I make reply as long as I believe it serves a point, but following this… I’ve said what I needed to say regarding this issue.

      This continues to be case in point of why I do not accept certain material. Not because I don’t read it at some time personally, but the mentality of too many of the individuals tend towards judging others first in an ethnocentric way and that’s their initial response: to believe their own way, thoughts are inherently the correct one and the other person obviously has gotten something wrong. I speak and understand English as well as you do.

      My guidelines, my requirements and my “About Me” section are all there for a reason. Even from the very first, if you’d read those, as suggested, you would have known not to mock someone’s name just because you assumed it was made up. And since you had no typo’s in your post and had written it correctly before, ending your comment with “Red Scarecrow” after you said I was afraid to read religious material because I didn’t like it? If you choose to say it was a complete mistake on your part, okay.

      And to completely clarify for you: Flying With Red Haircrow is a professional site that accepts requests from those who meet the requirements and guidelines. It is not about like or dislike. Reviews for books I personally like/dislike, read and self-purchased are on my personal website.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s