Time Again for the Meatballs Chant

So I woke up late today, read my e-mail, and found out that my interview with Sarah Wendell has provoked some controversy which means it’s only a matter of time before somebody posts somewhere that I did it on purpose to improve page views. This is because the internet is full of conspiracy theorists, conclusion jumpers, and general all round shallow thinkers, none of whom are us. (That’s a joke. I have to say that here because I’m going to get flamed all over the internet about five minutes after I post this, so it’s good to point out the jokes to the humor-impaired. Yes, that’s mean. New here, are you?)

So here’s the gist of the storm: I did an interview with Sarah Wendell which I showed to her in its entirety and which she approved of before I posted. Neither of us saw anything wrong with it. We still don’t. Other people did which caused a kerfluffle.

Full disclosure: I’ve never heard of any of the people who kerfluffed, never been to their websites, never interacted with any of them to my knowledge, although I don’t think any of them are using their real names so I may have met them unwittingly.

The kerfluffle is over a perceived conflict of interest because Sarah is part of an author consulting firm with my daughter, Mollie Smith, and she also writes the Smart Bitches blog which reviews novels, although Sarah has not reviewed any of the authors on the Simple Progress client list. But she might some day, according to the kerfluffers, so there’s a conflict of interest which she’s been hiding from people. She’s been hiding it by putting her name on the Simple Progress website and by talking about it on my blog, so she’s remarkably bad at hiding things, but that’s not the point. The point is . . .

I’m not sure what the point is. Her name is on the site. She’s not reviewing her clients. She and Mollie aren’t promoting their business because it’s by referral only so there’s no point in promoting. Is there a potential conflict of interest? Yes. Is there an actual conflict of interest? No. Do a lot of people not know what conflict of interest is? Yes. Do I want to be part of this mess? No. Why. Because it just doesn’t matter.

I learned this lesson the hard way over the whole Cassie Edwards plagiarism mess during which I suggested that witch hunts were not the way to deal with legal issues and that possibly the people who were fox-trotting all over Edwards’s literary grave might be out of line in a general humanity sort of way. For that, there are still people who despise me. My favorite example didn’t even happen to me. Bob Mayer was at Thrillerfest several years ago while we were still collaborating. At the time we were fighting pretty much 24/7, so he’d had it with me anyway. Then the poor guy walks into a cocktail party, and some woman comes up to him and says something along the lines of “I think Jennifer Crusie is the scum of the earth because she loves plagiarism, so what are you going to do about it?” Bob said, “I don’t give a damn what she does.” To which said wingnut said, “Well, then, it’s your fault, too, and I’m never going to read you again either.” At which point he showed great restraint in not killing her with his little finger.

These people are everywhere, wrapped warm in their outrage and their sense of superiority which insulates them from any outside thought or reasoned discourse. A couple of years ago it was plagiarism. Today it’s conflict of interest. Tomorrow it’ll be something equally cut and dried from a legal point of view and equally distorted from the outrage-insulated point of view. This is the internet-mean-girls version of “SQUIRREL!” Yes, it’s annoying if you let yourself step in it, so it’s good to remember that most of this stuff is Meatballs Chant Territory: “It just doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter. It just . . .”

Full disclosure: I own a copy of the Meatballs DVD just for the chant, but I do not receive any monetary compensation from the Canandian Film Development Corporation, Ivan Reitman, or Bill Murray.

Take plagiarism, the issue that started when I disagreed with Sarah and Candy Tan on their handling of the Cassie Edwards issue (yes, the irony is strong in this one). Here’s how the argument went from my point of view. I’m quite sure the Other Side sees it differently. They always do.

Me: I think you’re all over-reacting about the plagiarism thing.

Rest of the Internet: But it’s stealing.

Me: First of all, I don’t think she knew she was plagiarizing because the stuff she took she considered research. She didn’t steal stories, she lifted out the parts of her research sources that described aspects of her story, so in her mind she wasn’t plagiarizing. If she’d paraphrased, she’d have been just fine. She had the same grasp of fair use that most college undergraduates have. “Somebody explain plagiarism to her” posts and comments are appropriate. “Burn the witch!” posts are not.

Rest of the Internet: But it’s stealing.

Me: Second, to really get anywhere with a plagiarism claim in court, you have to show damages, and she didn’t hurt anybody. She’s not in competition with the guy who wrote the ferret book (unlike Janet Dailey who was in competition with Nora Roberts when she pulled big chunks of prose from Nora’s books). In fact, you can argue that the ferret guy should be grateful because he got a whole page in Newsweek to make fun of romance writing which is a higher profile than he’d ever had before.

Rest of the Internet: But it’s stealing.

Me: Last, it just doesn’t matter. Well, it matters to Cassie Edwards because it kneecapped her career, so good job, internet mob. Nothing else changed except that Bob got mugged by a wingnut at Thrillerfest. Oh, and the Jennifer-Crusie-Loves-Plagiarism meme is still alive and well in the hearts of many. Was it plagiarism? Yes. Could the industry use a refresher course in what plagiarism is? Yes. Does is matter? In the Dailey-Roberts case, yes. In the Edwards/Ferret case, no.

Rest of the Internet: But it’s stealing.

Me: Did you ever read Les Miserable? Because all theft is not created equal, and I’m getting a real Javert vibe from you guys.

Rest of the Internet: Wait’ll it happens to you, then you’ll sing a different song.

Me: It has happened to me. Somebody took the dock scene from Welcome to Temptation, changed Phin’s gender, and published it as a lesbian-erotica short story. My publisher quietly contacted the short story anthology publisher, that publisher was appalled and offered to pull all of the books, my publisher asked me what I wanted to do, and I said that since the publisher was a small press (and therefore poor) and since the anthology had many worthwhile authors in it, and since the publication of the anthology was doing me no monetary damage, to ask the publisher to give any royalties from the short story to a charity that the anthology was published in support of. Why didn’t I pursue this woman to the limits of the law? Because it just doesn’t matter. She didn’t hurt me. Nobody was harmed in the execution of the plagiarism. Yes, she’s scum because, unlike Cassie Edwards, she knew what she was doing, but karma will take care of her. She just doesn’t matter.

Rest of the Internet: You love plagiarism. BURN THE WITCH.

Me: Bite me.

Full disclosure: There’s a limit to how long I’ll stay on the high ground. It’s not my natural habitat.

So let’s move on to the conflict of interest kerfluffle. Sarah joined Mollie’s business in February of this year. They devise internet marketing strategies for authors. They are not looking for clients; in fact, they only take clients by referral, usually through the agents of the authors they work for. There’s no point in publicizing the business to the world at large because it’s not available to the world at large, but they’re not hiding it, either, which is why Sarah’s name is on the website and why I put the disclaimer in and Sarah had no problem with publishing the interview as it was. Sarah does not review her own clients’ books, and in fact, most of the client list on the site is Mollie’s not Sarah’s. So there is no conflict of interest. The potential is there, just as the potential is there for me to some day plagiarize Lani Diane Rich and Anne Stuart, just as the potential is there for me to some day lose the fifty extra pounds I’m carrying, just as the potential is there for me to some day have a hot fling in the Gulf of Mexico with Bruce Campbell, but at the moment, these are all just possibilities, so no conflict of interest. So it just doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t . . .

Full disclosure: I have never met Bruce Campbell and have certainly never had fantasies of having a fling in the Gulf of Mexico with him.

Full disclosure: Okay, okay, there might have been some fantasies BUT THOSE ARE NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

But shouldn’t we be morally outraged at any plagiarism, any potential conflict of interest? You know, that’s up to you and your god. If you want to spend your time, energy, and emotional intelligence haring after perceived injustice, you fit in well with much of the internet community where someone somewhere is always outraged over something. But since about 90% of these outrages always turn out to be the $16-dollar-Pentagon-muffins-that-weren’t-really-$16, I tend to save my energy for stuff that’s important. What’s important? My family. My friends. My dogs. My stories. My business contracts and obligations. My blog. Real injustice. Bad government (I’m lookin’ at you, Congress). Finances. Health. That kind of stuff. So somebody plagiarizing an obscure book on ferrets or failing to disclose that there’s no conflict of interest in her two jobs? Uh, no. Those are Meatball Chant Issues because nobody gets hurt, nobody loses money, nobody is damaged, at least not until the internet mobs pick up their pitchforks. Those people who yell, “But it’s the principle of thing,” walk away unscathed after they’ve savaged somebody who didn’t deserve it, having sucked the energy out of everyone around them, leaving wreckage in their paths. You know what really makes me mad? Internet mobs. I’d rant about them, but in the larger scheme of things, they just don’t matter.

And now somewhere somebody is saying, “Jenny Crusie doesn’t think plagiarism is important!” and “Jenny Crusie thinks that conflict of interest is okay!” I’d be outraged over that, but that, too, just doesn’t matter.

However, just to cover my bases:

Full disclosure: I am close personal friends with Anne Stuart, Lani Diane Rich, Patricia Gaffney, Cathy Maxwell, and several other authors who may or may not be annoyed that I didn’t mention their names here. I am lets-have-lunch-and-dish-inappropriately-because-I-trust-you-completely friends with Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jayne Anne Krentz, Alisa Kwitney, Kristin Hannah, Toni Blake, Laura Resnick, Susan Holloway Scott, Dale Burg, Gail Parent, John Saul and Mike Sack, Bob Mayer, Susan Wiggs, Pam Regis, and several other authors who may or may not be annoyed that I didn’t mention their names here. I am represented by Writers’ House and the Jane Rotrosen Ageny, I write for Jennifer Enderlin at St. Martin’s Press and have written for Shauna Summers, Malle Valik, Birgit Davis-Todd, Sherie Posesorskie, Gail Chasen, and several other editors who may or may not be annoyed that I didn’t mention their names here. My daughter runs an internet marketing firm that I have no association with beyond being a client and make no profit from. I am 5’8″, weigh 195 pounds, am 62 years old, have no church affiliation although I was raised a Lutheran, which I think explains a lot. I’m a Virgo with Scorpio rising and a Cancer moon. My mortgage is too large, I’m having trouble sleeping, and last night I looked up from my work to see a three-dachshund-and-a-poodle gang bang happening on my bed, although I did not take part aside from yelling, “HEY STOP THAT!” My favorite quote from literature is “All right then, I’ll go to hell,” my favorite site on the internet is Ravelry, and the song that makes me happiest is John Hiatt’s “What Love Can Do” although Dusty Springfield’s “I Only Want To Be With You” runs a close second. I’m a moderate liberal Democrat who votes across party lines. I’m divorced, have no wisdom teeth, am a stage three cancer survivor, have an incurable blood disease, and really need to get my blood pressure down. I like Sharpies. Any views expressed in this post are those of the author and should not be attributed to anybody else. Anyone who disagrees with these views in a reasonable and adult fashion is welcome to comment here. Anybody who comes here to get off on his or her outrage can bite me.

I think that should cover it. And now, back to work.

204 thoughts on “Time Again for the Meatballs Chant

        1. I get a pitchfork and join the mob, but I am busy being outraged over REAL injustice, not fictitious injustice that would allow me to indulge in hypocritical self-justification and ego stroking without any risk to myself. Also, I am not an asshat.

        2. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

          For those that dont know whassofrigginfunny, Ms Blake is of the Pagan persuasion. (That sounded funny in me ‘ead, ‘ope it sounds so to youse.)

  1. I love you Jen Crusie with all of my heart.

    Is that a conflict of interest since I’ve read all of your books and am a fan?


      1. jennifer crusie you are the first romance author i read and enjoyed and although i’ve since found others—thank you all for your talent—you, j.c., are still my all time favorite. i love to laugh and don’t do it often enough. so many many thanks.

  2. Well I, for one, am OUTRAGED.

    Americans spell “kerfuffle” with two Ls?

    I just don’t know what to do with that information. I mean, it’s the principle of the thing.

    1. I was startled by the introduction of ‘fluff’ into kerfuffle, too. Americans spell so many words in funny ways…. 😉

  3. LIKE. There’s a check-mark “like” button for the comments, but not for the post. Have been caught in one of these myself recently and it astonishes me the things people can get upset about.

  4. I like Sharpies, too. Especially since they came out with all the different colors.

    As for the rest…. I grew up in a small town. The more I see of internet, the more I have bad flashbacks to my childhood. Brava! Jenny.

        1. Remember Jenny’s a fiber freak…..it is the colors! All the juicy, wonderful, non-party affiliated, plagerism loving colors!

    1. THANK YOU for making my day! Sometimes I get stuck in my own little world, and my own little mind, and think that this sort of thing doesn’t happen to the rest of the world. I’m sorry you had to actually explain this but thrilled that I had a good laugh. (Hopefully, no one has typed or thought that before I managed to post it…)

  5. *bows down to Jenny Crusie*

    I started reading your blog to see what other authors were writing about. I’ve read two of your books, which I thought were brilliantly conceived, but this takes the cake. This is a witty tongue in the face to the silly internet trolls haunting everyone.

    It reminds me a lot about what Neil Gaiman had to say about people downloading his books illegally, and how he thinks that copyright can be too strict at times. I applaud you, and I’ll certainly continue to tune in to your blog.

  6. I will NEVER READ JENNIFER CRUSIE AGAIN because she HAS NO WISDOM TEETH. It’s disgusting and appalling. Does RWA know about it?!?

  7. I think you are awesome, and I’m thrilled that you’ve been thinking about You Again again. I had no idea there had been a kerfuffle, but everything you said here makes absolute sense, and your detractors should get lives.

  8. I hope the dogs enjoyed themselves before you rudly interupted them. Other than that, I’m 100% behind you.

  9. Yep, some people need to unstick their righteous indignation button before they break something. You would think there are enough really outrageous things happening out there in the world to keep people entertained; but no. They usually steer pretty clear of the truly ugly stuff. Think what we could do if we could harness all of that energy and point it in a productive direction. We could put an end to all human suffering if people got this worked up over things that really matter.

  10. I loved the interview. When I read your comment that others didn’t like it, my first thought was, “Bite Me.” And then I saw that you did, too. 🙂 “Those” people just need more to do. Like volunteer somewhere and see what real problems are.
    I opened my desk drawer to count how many colored Sharpies I had, but I was distracted by….shiny things.
    Keep on writing. We’re on your side.

  11. It is refreshing to read your take on the Cassie Edwards issue. I assume you know that Sarah, Jane, and many commenters made a production of it. Likewise, Sarah, Jane, and many fcommenters have acted just as Mrs. Giggles. I believe most rational readers are just disenchanted with the “do as I say, not as I do” attitude. There is no doubt the impact that Sarah and Jane have had in promoting romance within the publishing industry. There is no doubt that they will speak their minds regarding books, no matter what business relationships they may have. But there is some doubt if Sarah and Jane would be so understanding if the roles were reversed (and they outed a blogger’s business relationship).

    Sarah referred to three links – none made any direct allegations. In fact, Kate posted a comment at Mrs. Giggles that her Tweet did not name Sarah so Sarah jumped to conclusions – the very issue that Sarah is accusing Kate. The comments that followed on all websites include support on both sides of the fence. But why does there have to be a fence? The issue has been outed and its time to move on to enjoying romance.

  12. Clearly these people believe that world domination is next on your agenda, and you have a darn good shot at it, otherwise they wouldn’t rush around casting *their* nasty aspersions to the four corners of the internet (hmm, distracted now by the actual shape of the internet…)

    Personally, I love your blog, especially ones like this.

  13. This situation reminds me a bit of a story/joke my mom once told me. A woman is at a cabin on a lake with her husband, and one afternoon decides to go out onto the lake in the fishing boat to read her book in peace and quiet. The local sheriff or whatever spots her, and says, “I’m going to have to fine you for fishing without a license.” The woman says, “I wasn’t fishing; I was reading.” “Yes, but you have all the equipment.” The woman, very calmly, says, “Well, then, I’m going to have to report you for assault.” “But I haven’t assaulted you!” “Yes, but you have all the equipment…”

    All the equipment for conflict of interest? Sure, as with nearly every encounter in this day and age. Actual conflict of interest? None.

  14. I like Sarah and you a lot, have advertised on SBTB, regularly read and comment here, you once linked to the e-versions of my books and I invoked the generous help of St. Anthony to find your missing purse. Although we’ve never had dinner, it could happen maybe sometime in the future if we’re at the same conference. I’ll buy! Oh wait, we’ve had lunch together several times, if by together we mean we were in the same hotel ballroom eating lunch during RWA Conferences.

    I have actually shared meals with Sarah and several bottles of champagne.

    Conflict of Interest? Apparently not enough for me to make your long list of disclosure.

    I must admit that I’m struggling to find the C of I in the whole Sarah-interview-you-SimpleProgress-Mollie thing.

    Are people kerfuffling because they think that Sarah has a conflict of interest in that she runs a book review-discussion website and is also part of an Internet marketing business for authors, or because you’re the mother of the other principal of said Internet marketing business and you helped announce/promote Sarah’s book?

    C) Both of the Above D) Neither of the Above E) Who the hell knows?

    Just think, today I was the guest poster in the Bettyverse about calm, conflict resolution, communication tools, seeing to each other’s heart, etc. I come over here and, somehow, this issue just hits the snark button.

    Deep Breath.

    Unfortunately, I’ve come to understand that some people wait for something to come up on which they feel they can pounce. It happened today over at Joe Konrath’s blog, too.

    I’d put the lid back on the teapot, Jenny. This tempest isn’t big enough to bust out.

    Alastair said:
    Americans spell “kerfuffle” with two Ls?
    I just don’t know what to do with that information. I mean, it’s the principle of the thing.

    This from a man who probably unnecessarily adds a u to perfectly fine words like color and honor.

      1. Oh, I like that word. It sounds like yarn….a yummy merino, cashmere blend yarn in Sharpie colors (I have no affiliation with Sharpie or their company other than buying them at Target ((I have no affiliation with Target or their parent company other than buying Sharpies there ((( see the no affliation quote above))) on a full moon)) which I love) that would make a wonderful wrap. Okay, I have a headache now and need to go find some yarn.

  15. SHARPIES! (sorry, but that’s my SQUIRREL word)

    The post was excellent. And dead on. Thanks.

  16. Really amazing post. Bill Murray would probably approve.

    Also, contains one of my favorite quotes from you, so far – “all theft is not created equal.”

    P.S. I had NO idea you were a breast cancer survivor?! You are AMAZING! Please hang around for at least 30 more years because a world without you in it, would be substantially more depressing.

      1. Holy crap! I’m so sorry you had it and very, very happy that they found it. That’s really young to have colon cancer.

        Puts these kerfuffles in perspective. Internet kerfuffle — pain in the ass, but it isn’t colon cancer.

        1. My pal Ellie, who started The Artisans’ Guild with me 12 years ago (thus providing me with a day job marginally more reliable than writing) has a husband who was diagnosed with brain cancer a few years ago. He survived the cancer (barely) and the roto-rooter surgery to get rid of it (even more barely), and ever since, when something stoopid irks us, we say, “Well, it’s not brain cancer.”

          Perspective, Internet Crazy People. Perspective.

          1. Yep. Perspective is important in all areas of life, not just Internet kerfuffles.

            For the record, although kerfuffle is the correct spelling, I sort of like kerfluffle, too. Maybe it’s the softer kind of kerfuffle.

      2. Thanks for explanding on that Jenny, because out of all that you said, it was the C word that jumped right out at me.

        I’m glad to hear it’s history.

      3. Also didn’t know, and so very glad you made it. That’s the one that finally got my aunt after she’d been in remission for 15 years — long enough to see her little boy grow up, so I try to count that as a blessing.

  17. There was a very funny recap to the plagiarism kerfluffle. I can’t remember the author, but it involved a Greek chorus and lots of thunder and foot stomping. My friends and I still use one of the lines and, if I’m remembering correctly, it’s by you. Anytime a rant goes on too long, someone asks, “Did Cassie Edwards run over your dog?”. The ranter usually stops and laughs so we owe you a debt of gratitude for that (and the great books, of course).

    I just realized that if I got this all wrong, I’m going to sound a little crazy. So, please, if my memory is faulty, set me straight.

    1. Oh, I loved that parody. And now for my shame, I can’t remember the writer.

      The “run over your dog” line was the comment I made on SBs that got me flamed, although never by Sarah and Candy.

      1. Oh, thank you, colognegrrl! Yes, Gennita Low and if you google her name and Cassie Edwards, the parody is still there. It’s lovely snark and so funny. And Jenny Crusie and Nora Roberts are featured, although Nora not as much as Jenny. I’d link it, but now I’m literally typing as I go out the door.

  18. Dear Jenny– The kerflufflers (kerflufflees?) are jealous. They wish they had your life.

  19. Jeez, Louise. I suggest that these people so concerned with conflict of interest examine the interaction between lobbyists, the legislature and big business and then worry about book reviewing.

    I loved this whole blog entry. I actually LOLed at the absurdity of the whole kerfluffle and thought about the newly revived ad campaign “where’s the beef?” Too bad Clara’s not around today.

    Thanks for the sharp, witty, and immensely entertaining post. I really love some good righteous snark.

  20. “Yes, that’s mean. New here, are you?”

    Oh, Jenny, honey, I dig ya the most. You’ve elevated snark to a high art form.

    Which I need, because when I reported back to the middle school I teach at in August, our principal had put it into the faculty handbook that “Sarcasm is an inappropriate method of communication and not to be used at any time.” Have you met the average 12-year-old? Sarcasm is their native language. How am I supposed to talk to anyone?

    1. Maybe he was being sarcastic? Umm, probably not.

      Glad that’s not in my faculty handbook– I’d be long gone by now!

      1. Nope – my principal was totally serious when she put that in the handbook. She’s well-known for having absolutely no sense of humor (I heard her say once, “Jokes just waste time, what with everyone laughing & not getting any work done”).

        She also send out a calendar every Monday with the list of meetings for the week & when they start, a daily email reminder for when the meetings start that day, she’ll have them do an overhead announcement that the meeting is about to start, and then starts each meeting with “Thank you for being on time.” If I knew where she lived, I’d change the time on every clock in her house, but each to a different setting, so that not a single one was accurate.

  21. I heart you. I just worked in the writing lab today and pointed out some plagiarized sections to a very grateful student. He got it. He wanted to do it right. I am sure he will now. Or mostly will. Because most people want to do things the right way. In a few weeks I’ll lead my own students through the winding trails of research and fair use.
    This whole interview business was a non-issue. And the older I get, the more I realize most things really are non-issues.
    But I’m kinda bummed not to be mentioned on the list anywhere…. 😀

    1. Funny you should mention that. I was standing around naked with a librarian and an average Jane just discussing intelectual property rights and how not to violate them. The Jane jsut wanted to share a recipe she found, but didn’t want to do the wrong thing. We should encourage these thought. Maybe not while standing around naked, but one does as one can.

  22. Ha ha. Loved the “covering the bases” I think you’re lookin’ good now. Not that you don’t always look good…but you know what I mean (just, you know, covering my bases.)

  23. I laughed so hard at this post I scared the cats. And they’re USED to me laughing hard at stuff they can’t see. No doubt this is a conflict of interest too. At least if you’re a cat. Or catty, perhaps.

    And I am highly offended that my name didn’t make it to any of your lists. I offered to buy you dinner once. Or possibly twice. (I’m a stalker; I don’t keep track of these things.) Doesn’t that count?

    I love all your full disclosures. You Bruce Campbell-loving hussy. As far as I am concerned, you are the funniest, smartest, snarkiest woman on the planet. And anyone who doesn’t like that can bite me.

    1. Deb said: and I am highly offended that my name didn’t make it to any of your lists. I offered to buy you dinner once. Or possibly twice. (I’m a stalker; I don’t keep track of these things.) Doesn’t that count?

      It might count with the police, sweetie:)
      That’s okay. We have a nice picture of all of us from Nationals this summer. There’s photographic proof that Jenny and Krissie were nice enough to sit still while someone recorded the moment.

  24. So…..to recap………1. Jenny Crusie does think that plagiarism is a serious issue, she’s just intelligent enough to realize that there are levels of seriousness and therefore should be dealt with according to it’s level. 2. Jenny Crusie thinks that conflicts of interest are important if there is an ACTUAL conflict, not a POSSIBLE conflict, or a PERCEIVED conflict, but an ACTUAL HONEST TO GOD CONFLICT!!

    Well, I’m good with this, I’m down with this, I understand this, everything is AOK with this. And why do you ask am I okiedokie with this???? Well, I’ll tell you – BECAUSE IT MAKES SENSE!!!! Duh.

    Clearly some people do NOT have enough things in their lives to occupy the cobweb infested recesses of their minds. Interesting post Jenny, I enjoyed it immensely!!

  25. This is one of those posts that I read straight through (even the massive list of authors) and every few lines thought, “God, I love this woman!”

    And my husband has now been warned that the high ground is not my natural habitat, either.

  26. I often wonder at times like these if the people who are kerfluffled (with the extra l because it look’d better and rolls from the tongue easier. Otherwise you sound like you have a mouth full of cotton balls) where was I? Right … These people who are kerfluffled understand why; or do they just know that they’re supposed to be, but don’t know when to stop?

  27. A while back I heard about a website that a woman devotes to how much she hates a particular entertainer/host/whatever. What a sad miserable person she must be to spend so much of her life always thinking about someone she hates. What a waste. I can only believe that people who start flaming internet kerfuffles over things that really don’t matter fit in the same category – they must be sad, miserable people. I’d feel sorry for them if they weren’t doing their best to make other people miserable as well.

    1. “It’s a sad, sad story when a mother will teach her daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger…” (Dixie Chicks -is there anything in my head that they haven’t said better??)

  28. I’m stunned. I really enjoyed the interview. I really, really enjoy your writing and your very interesting turn of phrase (I have all your books, two of which have autographs thanks to the CBs).

    When I read the first part of the post, I thought WTF??? The second thought was that way too many people in this world don’t have enough to keep them busy. (And I loved your full disclosures.)

    Good for you for standing your ground and telling the naysayers to “bite you.”

    Now to the real question – what the heck is a Virgo with Scorpio rising and a Cancer moon?? (Yes, I know that astrological signs exist…) And how can we blame you for being born as that – whatever it is??

    McB – I don’t think that people who are kerfluffled have any idea that they are in that state… or country…

  29. I was unaware of this kerfuffle until this morning, when you and Sarah posted about it. I find both of your blogs to be honest and funny and up front. I wish I could huff and puff and blow the kerfufflers’ house down, because it’s made of straw.

  30. I didn’t mind the people raising the issue of whether or not there could be a conflict of interest (or a perceived conflict in the eyes of an outsider). What irked me was the way they reacted, with such joy in being nasty. It wasn’t that they were fired up about the issue, don’t think they gave a damn; what filled them with glee was the potential of being able to cut someone else down. It was like a cross between middle school girls during lunchtime and a shark’s feeding frenzy. Ugly.

  31. Ohmigod. Scorpio rising and moon in Cancer? That explains so much! To hell with the kerfuffle — this was a very enlightening post.

  32. I feel compelled to link to Just Say No for the benefit of anyone who hasn’t read it yet.

    In the interests of full disclosure, I did not write that particular piece and I do not know the author, nor will I receive any sort of compensation, monetary or otherwise, for placing that link. I do, however, comment there on occasion, so clearly there is a grievous conflict of interest at work here.

  33. I respect the hell out of you and this post just added more respect to the pile. That’s pretty much all I’ve got to add, but it’s a LOT of respect. 😉

  34. There are idjits who spend their time on the internet flaming anyone and anything; it’s just too bad that they are so miserable that the most fun they have in life is putting others down and causing a perfect stranger pain.

    You Rock, Jenny! Life is too short to give a rat’s patooty about asshats!

  35. Favorite quote from your post: “Full disclosure: There’s a limit to how long I’ll stay on the high ground. It’s not my natural habitat.” So true and one of the MANY reasons I love you.
    Picasso may have said – “Good artists copy. Great artists steal.” Not that that makes plageurism okay – but people, give it a rest.
    In the interest of full disclosure, it makes me feel like a hypocrit to say that. Why? Because I recently wrote a blog in praise of an author – then I read a second series by her and found out she recycled some of her scenes. And I was stunned. I like to approach my blog with the old – if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything, motto so I didn’t want to dis her on my blog. However, I felt I owed the few people who add books to their tbr lists from my blogpost the new truth I’d found, so I emailed them directly.
    She doesn’t deserved to be publicly hanged. She didn’t steal from someone else. She stole from her own books. I just don’t want people to buy her books on my say so.
    Truth be told, I enjoyed them, recycled scenes and all.
    Plaguerism, conflict of interest, it all requires thinking and mob mentality people don’t want to think.
    I dearly love your truthful, put them in their places, snarky post!

  36. Internet mobs. Never was any rule that said they had to exercise good sense. Starbuck’s used to sell Iced Green Tea Lattes with Melon Syrup. Delish! Would you believe that there were at least three ongoing Internet threads of people outraged by this???
    Them: Milk in my green tea? That’s disgusting!
    Me: Un, latte? If you don’t want milk in your beverage, don’t order a latte.
    I got flamed for that comment and banned from that thread. On another thread…
    Them: Melon syrup in green tea? Appalling.
    Me: Tell them to hold the melon syrup if you don’t like it. They will do that, you know.
    More flaming. Banned again.
    Them: Ice in green tea? What’s the world coming to?
    Yeah, why bother. You have the right attitude, Jenny. They’re just a bunch of exploding spleens (apologies to anyone who’s actually had spleen-as-an-organ-issues) and are not open to rational discourse. Really, it doesn’t matter.
    As for why I was on those threads, I was madly searching for a source of the melon syrup used by Starbuck’s in their Iced Green Tea Lattes. Silly me.

    1. In the interest of complete honesty in ARGH country, I make my iced tea with green tea. There, I’ve confessed, and I feel sooooo much better.

      1. Cathy, my favorite iced tea is the shaken iced tea lemonade from Starbucks made with Tazos Zen green tea. All kinds of yum!

        I don’t like iced black tea. I drink hot black tea for my caffeine kick in the morning but use half and half and Splenda. I’m used to that taste and it doesn’t work for me over ice.

        1. Wow, that makes me thirsty just reading about the shaken iced tea lemonade. I’ll bet you could make a Zen green tea/lemonade slurpy in a blender for those hot days gazing at the ocean. Of course you might want to add a little kicker for interest for the grown ups.

  37. Crusie, you write the best damn rants ever. Ever. In the entire history of rants.

    I am SO GRATEFUL to these fluffers — oh wait, kerfluffelers? What is that, like, Danish porn? Whatever, I’m grateful to whoever provoked you this time. They’re fucking idiots for thinking they have the moral or intellectual high ground necessary to take you on, but I genuinely appreciate the results of their deluded ineptitude.

    You rock, woman.

    DISCLOSURE: Jenny Crusie once hugged me. That was before she knew who I was, so it doesn’t count. Then she hugged me again after I identified myself. But that was YEARS ago and it was at an RWA conference and probably she was distracted and besides everyone knows that being in close proximity to that many people makes writers crazy. Still. These things must be disclosed. That is, if you’re willing to subscribe to mean girl group think.

    But now I’m worried. Because I have so many interests. And damned if some of them don’t conflict with each other. Like, you know, eating chocolate. And losing weight. Sigh. I have a feeling the FTC is going to be all over this in the very near future. Hide your children.

      1. Well, that depends; there are things that can be done with a Danish that are thoroughly inappropriate, if not actually blasphemous. Won’t somebody think of the pastries?!?!

          1. I was very unladylike and snorted. Sorry.

            Full disclosure, first time La Crusie responded to me on line I danced around the house with joy.

  38. You’re smart and wonderful.

    And you’re right, that stuff people are foaming at the mouth over doesn’t really matter. (See “smart” comment above.)

  39. That was a great interview and it certainly made me want to read the book, so screw those idiots. And Meatballs is one of the best films ever. Many of life’s great lessons can be found in that movie.

  40. Your recaps are brilliant. I nominate you to take over the World News…

    Because you don’t have enough projects on your plate already. 😉

  41. I can’t believe people have time to gather the troops and crash the internet barricades. I’ve not read any of the kerfluffle posts and don’t intend to. Are they writers? If they are, picture me scratching my head. I write and I don’t have time to get all fluffy about something that doesn’t matter. Back to work!

  42. Jenny Rocks!

    But, since we’re on that disclosure thing, I’m in the Read Her Grocery List and Comment on her Blank Blog Club, so my opinion might be opinionated.

    Also, I prefer my Sharpies to be Ultra-Fine Point in vibrant colors. (And yes, my opinion on Vibrant colors may vary day to day.) And, I like Bill Murry, but need to re-watch Meatballs, because I forgotten the chant.

  43. I suppose if you wrote a book called Bite Me people would confuse it with Bet Me. Unless it was a sequel to Bet Me, which would actually be hilarious.

    In fact, yes. Yes! Go for it. I want it second most after a Nadine book. (Internet kerfuffles are not even on the list. Not even down there among the waffle irons and warming pans.)

  44. Life’s too short to stuff a mushroom. Let’s get worked up at the stuff that really matters! Internet jerks! I’m with ya Jenny.

  45. Bruce Campbell is wonderful, I’ve been a fan ever since Briscoe County Jr. No wonder why I think that you are the best evaaaar.

    Wait, Bob didn’t kill the wingnut with his little finger? Isn’t that in conflict with being Bob?

  46. Dagnabbit; now I have to finally view Meatballs.

    I’ve been watching the kerfuffle but not commenting. I used to teach junior high and high school, then worked with a group of women who behaved as if they were still sophomores. Too much finger-pointing and bitchiness makes my stomach roil.

    Sharpies have their place, but I’ve recently discovered Tul pens in subtle colors with discreet fine points.

  47. And this from twitter on or around 26 September Via @chuckwendig from @thecontentfarm: HOW TO WIN AN ARGUMENT ON THE INTERNET: 1. Turn off computer. 2. Have sex with significant other.

    (If you’re single, welllll… there’s always toys 😀 )

  48. I enjoyed the interview but missed the kerfluffle entirely. (Or kerfuffle, if we must remove an “L”.) These internet ranting crazies need new hobbies. If they insist on running a witch hunt, I say aim for the lobbyists. Attacking the potential for something nefarious that could happen and if did happen would in no way affect them seems seriously misguided.

  49. And furthermore…
    “All right then, I’ll go to hell.” And tore it up.

    Had to google that, and I LOVE it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I can see me using it (properly attributed of course) in some book, sometime. What a hero.

    Meanwhile, I vehemently defend you whenever I hear those rumours of baksheesh from the Pot Stickers Marketing Board and the Friends of Clarice Cliff.

  50. I read and enjoyed the interview. Because I was procrastinating, I also Googled to find the home page of Mollie and Sarah’s business.

    I thought, “Cool.” I also thought, “I’m putting that book on my Christmas list.”

    Little did I realize my interest had been aroused by a conflict-of-interest ruse! Oh, me. Taken for a ride again by talent and interesting content and wit and intelligence. I’ll never learn.

    Thank goodness.

  51. Sigh. Hugs to you and Sarah. And, to humanize the “other side” which always helps (I think) I refer to one my favorite xkcd comics and remember times when I’ve gotten sucked into the internetz vortex http://xkcd.com/386/

    It happens to the best of us :D.

  52. I will echo the previous comments… you are AWESOME!!!

    It’s sad that the internet mobs can pounce at a blink of an eye on something so innoculous but … it is what it is. Best way to deal is to do what you and Sarah have done. State the obvious and then be done. Let the others sort themselves out. Pet your puppies, eat chocolate and ignore the flame wars ensuring on your behalf.

    While the Gennita Low parady of the whole Edwards thing was very funny, it’s kinda funny that she’s involved herself in this whole mess as well. Some people revel in the scandal and she’s jumped right into the pool.

  53. Wow…came here on a shiny object escapade and was given a doggy orgie! Woot! LOL! Love your rants!

    So now back to the day job…or actually…back to writing under the radar at the day job. *looks over shoulder*

  54. We can’t seem to make the link to the Gennita Low’s fabulous parody work (don’t know why – the URL is correct). Anyway, Google will work if you want to read it – Gennita Low – Plagiarism: A Play or Brain Plaque. When you get to her site, just scroll down. It’s even better than we remembered.

  55. Well, you know what they say, “If you can’t say something nice then come over here and sit by me.”

    Really though, Jenny, I agree with your take on the the whole hullabaloo. As I did on the Cassie Ewards set-to. Moral relativism works for me.

    I did consider the irony/karma for Sarah Wendell as this conflict thing blew up for her. I was uncomfortable with the mob attack on Edwards and it did cool me on the Smart Bitches blog for a while. But by and large I like Sarah’s approach and her blog and I really dislike the nasty glee of her attackers in this situation. (If people are going to take the low road then I want to be entertained, they just irritated me.) Like you, my bottom line is whether any harm has been done to her blog readers before any potential conflict of interest was disclosed. I’m not harmed. Quite the contrary, in fact. I got to enjoy your rant and revisit Gennita Low’s great parody.

    Thanks for reminding me once again how much I like the way you think and how glad I am you share your thoughts with us.

  56. *sigh* I love a good rant. I’m hopelessly repressed, which is probably why I’ve been married so long to the Sultan of Snark. I can point at my husband and say, “What he said” without feeling like I’ll be struck by lightning.

    And now I can say, “What Jenny said.”

    Or “Bite me.” I’m good at that one.

    My feeling is the same as when my kids were young – you have to pick your battles. Sometimes, as in this case, the battles are foist upon you, which sucks. Life’s too short to spend it tilting at windmills.

    I hope you don’t mind if I’m outraged on your behalf about the stolen dock scene. Now THERE’S a windmill I’ll be happy to tilt at!

  57. So, it’s “kerfuffle” not “kerfluffle”? Can I just refer to this as a “brouhaha”? In any case, thank you for letting me know what the kerfuffle/kerfluffle/brouhaha was all about.

  58. Dang. Everyone has come up with something clever and pithy. So I’ll just say, “Yeah, what they said.” (Because I’m too tired to paraphrase, and too brain-dumb today to come up with anything original) [Full disclosure: The use of the word ‘today’ might be misleading, as it implies that I’m reliably intelligent. Not true. I’ve noticed brief spasms of brightness here and there, but those moments fall into the really random and unexpected gift category–much like the pleasure of spotting a firefly dance over your azaleas]

    So. What they said.

    P.S. Do NOT lose 50 pounds for any other reason than to lower your blood pressure. You look good. And no–I didn’t mean ‘for your age’ or ‘for your weight’. You look good. Period.

  59. You are fabulous, Love your post – Go gettum!! Kisses to Lyle (Also the name of my husband!)

  60. Asshattery gone amuk.

    Way to vanquish it, Jenny.

    Full disclosure: I know Jenny, I love Jenny, I would live in her attic if she’d kick Lani and Alistair and the killings out. Or I’d live in a tiny house down near the river (except for when it floods or when she sells the place).

  61. Is the possibility of you plagiarizing Lani, losing the weight and having the fling equal?

    Also, Yay Sharpies!

  62. Wow. That seems to have been simmering for a long time to come out so, um, voluminously. For what it’s worth, that was how I interpreted your stance on plagarism too – “it’s wrong, but not so wrong *in this instance* that we need to annhiliate someone when a polite reminder will do.”

    Re: Everything I learned about love I learned from Romance Novels, I thought it was almost comical how much you guys tripped over yourselves to point out the potential-but-not-existing conflict of interest in the Smart Bitches’s book thread. I’m not frequenting much of Romancelandia-online these days (aside from here) so I’m not sure what got people in a knot, but it can’t have been a lack of disclosure. But seriously, if you can’t pimp out your friends, what’s the world coming to? As long as I know that there could be some “my liking of the author could factor into my recommendation”, I have the info I need to make my own choice. I actually bought Sarah’s book (excellent cover, btw) and truly LOL’d when I read the part about her beating people about the head with Bet Me by way of passing it on. (I couldn’t do that because my lender copies all wound up being hardcover bought at library sales, but I get the point across.)

    If you do wind up having a steamy romance with Bruce Campbell in the Gulf of Mexico, don’t be shy about blogging it. Or maybe that should be your next short story…

  63. I have your books in the same bookshelf as other authors. Does that count as conflict of interest? (They do merit their own shelf however if that helps)

    **Side note – Wanted to read Sarah’s book before the rant. Now it is imperative to do so to ensure that it was worthy of this great rant. So all the people who are complaining – excellent way to to sell another copy!

  64. So sorry you had to go through any ills at all! 🙁

    But you are a trooper and an inspiration! So, thank you for sharing and writing about your life lessons.

  65. I read the Sarah interview. I know you even put the ‘doing business with us will not garner you exposure (or whatever) on the SBTB site’ (o.k., that’s a huge paraphrase) disclaimer in there.

    Who the heck is Bruce Campbell?


    1. Oooo! A n00b! Welcome to the Cult of Bruce. The kool-aid is very refreshing. ;p

      Bruce Campbell is (in certain circles) the God King of B-list movie actors. He currently plays Sam Ash on Burn Notice but many, many, MANY moons ago he immortalized the role of (not ironically) Ash in The Evil Dead. This film is not for everyone. The production values alone will squick you out more than the actual gore. But, there are few finer flicks and only one Bruce Campbell.

        1. He’s also a witchhunter on Charmed and about a hundred other things. But I really came to love him after I read If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor; 232 people on Amazon have reviewed it and it has a five star rating.

        2. There’s also a great little Army of Darkness iphone game that’s free and great fun, if anyone’s interested. I think Bruce Campbell did the sound clips for it.

        3. AOD is the sequel to ED… he has a boomstick AND a chainsaw. Cinematic genius… maybe not. But I can never resist a Bruce with a boomstick >:)

    2. Forget all that; “The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.” with Bruce as the titular hero was his best role. And it was a steampunk Western! From 1993!

  66. “Hi, my name is Bruce. Would you like to come back to my room overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and see my boomstick?”

    Best. New. Fantasy. EVER. Thank you, Fake Aunt Jenny!

    Crap. I’ve been spelling “kerfluffle” wrong all this time? Eh. Whatevs. I LIKE the extra L. ;p

    Teh Internets never cease to amaze. But srsly, whatevs. I’ve got three under seven… my energies are needed elsewhere.

    1. “I’ve got three under seven…” God Bless You. I’m sending many ‘energy’ vibes your way.

  67. I am outraged because you are taller than me and weigh less…. But I will still read your books and will still wait patiently for Liz to come out (in book form – and if a closet I am okay with that too.) Great – hope I didn’t start a controversy for you now!!!

    Also I am a little confused – normal yes- but so what if Sarah reviews her clients materials…. Wouldn’t the point be to help her clients suceed more than they already are?

    And last and most important….. If you loss 50lbs I believe you would be too skinny for your height………..

  68. Huh. Love the rant, they’re always fun. But, my real take-away? “Oh yeah, the dock scene. I really need to go read that again!”

    Love you! 🙂

  69. Well, if anyone’s still following anything over there, the COI has now taken a back seat to internet trolls, mean girls, e-stalkers and to quote someone else, the third gender: nuns. So I wouldn’t worry about how to spell *kerfuffle or kerfluffle* I don’t think anyone will even notice… 😉

  70. Great comeback!! Though I don’t think you really needed to (since the outcry of COI is basically crap). There’s always some1 in a crowd who MUST be petty and these cries of “conflict of interest” are just that.

    How are you doing with the new house?

  71. Oh hell. I don’t have time to comment. Suffice it to say that I’m highly insulted that Jenny didn’t mentin my name in her disclaimer. I don’t care that we’ve never met and she doesn’t know me from Adam. It must be a conflict of something.

    Can I steal the whole of WTT Jenny? Because really it is brilliant…

    1. Just because I’m sure she’s busy, NO you can’t steal the book. But feel free to read it as often as you like. Or review it in a blog. or…

  72. So good to read a post and comments like this. A little calm sanity goes a long way today. Congratulations and many more on the cancer, Jenny. Puts things right into perspective. Our area has just had a major hundred-year flood (the second in five years; why,no, we aren’t at all worried about global warming, why do you ask?) and FEMA people are using the meeting room at the library where I work. Thank heaven they’re here, and we will be needing them for a while. Yet we get complaints, generally from people whose houses stayed on their foundations and did not flood to the eaves. (Just a guess) Have to wonder how they’d handle real trouble. Btw, if the kerf(l)uffle became a brouhaha, how would Alastair spell it? 🙂

    1. Where are you at, Mary Lou? We just had a five hundred year flood – but I’m betting it’s not another five hundred years before we see another like it. And people are building right next to the river again. Now that seems like a conflict of interest to me, but what do I know?

  73. Hey, I do know him. He was Italicus on Xena. I didn’t know his name.
    Sorry I was lazy. I should have googled him last night. It’s not like
    I wasn’t sitting at this silly machine then.

        1. If Sam Raimi worked on it, Bruce Campbell is not far away. Didn’t he babysit Ted Raimi? Who I liked in the short-lived SeaQuest DSV.

          Autolycus now reads dirtier that it sounded when I watched Hercules and/or Xena. But then I’m stressing the “auto” syllable and not the “cus” syllable.

          1. Baby brother Ted was also Joxer the Mighty on Xena… Pure. Comic. Genius.

            Sam, Bruce, and Rob Tapert (creator of Hercules & Xena) grew up together in Michigan… is it sad that I know all of this off the top of my head?

  74. If there’s one thing I think life is trying to beat me over the head with, it’s that there is no moral high ground, and that I sure as hell have no right to be standing on it come the Great Flood. Mind you, neither has anyone else I’ve ever talked to, so I’m learning to get comfy down here in the ambiguous lowlands, and not be so narked by anyone who hasn’t yet noticed the lack of a view.

    I loved the kerfluffle summary.

  75. Thanks for my daily gafaw, now where do I get my kerfluffle so I too can wear it on my chest like a scarlet A.

  76. So many issues are on a spectrum, and some people just can’t deal with ambiguity. So, Conflict of Interest, Bad! And I don’t know what is supposedly so good.

    But, people help each other out with interviews and promoting books all the time. If an author doesn’t get the word out, the readers might be missing something fabulous. So . . . even though there’s been this huge outpouring of outrage, maybe Sarah’s book will get a few more readers who just want to see what all the fuss is about.

    Yahoo! is really turning into a kerfluffle-monger, though, isn’t it? I rarely click on the “Paris Hilton Hates Mice” headlines, but I still get them all the time. When I do click, it’s always something ridiculous . . . and often something from a blog, and something where I suspect the only conflict is inside the blogger’s head. I’m about ready to dump them . . . .

    Keep doing what you are doing! The interview was interesting, and it sold one book for Sarah, at least. I’m grateful to be kept informed.

  77. Is it only my computer or did your screen also run out of the nostalgic-looking frayed-on-the-edges paper background after so many comments? Is it a first warning we’re going to break the blog again? Or is it the first foreboding of the end of the world according to the Mayan calendar? Or is it an indication for Jenny to start a new rant?

    Also, it took me a while to understand that “three under seven” is not a secret code to keep out non-mother-tongue readers (maybe it reminded me too much of Star Trek’s Seven of Nine…) out of this but I finally caught on.

    1. I still have fray on the edges. I think it’s infinite until the blog breaks, but I don’t think we’re close yet. I think it was at about 300 that it went belly up last time.

      Once I get some sleep I’ll put up a new post. About something. Insomnia is a deep-thought killer.

    2. lol! Sorry, didn’t mean to exclude! ;p Although, I do refer to the offspring as the Collective (resistance is futile) and call them One, Two, and Three of Three, respectively.

  78. For me, the cut between frayed/non-frayed runs at Sue G.’s comment about the kidlings.
    Right through the middle of it. I wonder what that means.

  79. We’ve been warned. It’s like one of those old Sci Fi movies where the warnings go unheeded until it’s Too Late. First, the frayed edges disappear without a trace. Next, the cherry at the top of the blog will turn into an apple (or vice versa, depending on whether or not you can see the stem). And then, keep an eye on the monkey.

    1. I always keep an eye on that monkey.
      But you’re right. I’ll go do the grocery shopping and feed the dogs, and then I’ll think of something to blog about.

  80. Sadly I only found and started reading your books two weeks ago but I LOVE THEM. I love reading books that make me laugh out loud. Thankfully your blog does too. Unfortunately, we live in a world that contains mulitudes of stupid people. Alas, it is our burden to carry.

  81. Since my husband and I are Bruce Campbell fans and I was laughing my ass off, I brought him up to date on the blog. His response?

    “Jenny should just tell them to mind their own f@#king business. It’s her blog and she can put whatever the f#@k she wants on it.”

    I agree.

    1. Did your husband say that or Bruce Campbell? Was it before or after the fray disappeared? Do others see it too? The next thing we’ll see are giant beans. And we’re doomed.

      1. Snort. LOL I almost sprayed tea all over the computer. Sorry, it was my husband. And guess what? I still -have- fray! Do you think that will keep the beans away?

  82. I LOVE this post! Thanks Jenny! I actually read it aloud in the car because I pulled it up on my phone during a road trip this past week. You can’t please every one all the time, as long as you make yourself happy who cares about the naysayers?! Keep it up and thanks for the laughs!

    By the way the hubby and I especially liked this part: Full disclosure: I have never met Bruce Campbell and have certainly never had fantasies of having a fling in the Gulf of Mexico with him.

    Full disclosure: Okay, okay, there might have been some fantasies BUT THOSE ARE NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

  83. Dear Jen…there I’ve already disclosed my Age W/my opening greeting!
    And since I’ve gone that far, I might as well tell you that I am a 75+ year old woman who can think of no greater pleasure than reading another of your books. I must admit I’ve only read one so far, but that situation will change soon I have only Social Security (read Social Senility) as income, and so I have to save in order to buy reading material, but I do have my favorites. I have read almost all the classics (War & Peace twice) but I have read “Dogs and Goddesses” four times already. I guarantee the next book I buy will be one of yours. I have been reading excerpts from your books on another site, and I know that you will not disappoint an old lady. These feelings extend to your co-authors, but I don’t have the time or the strength in these arthritic fingers to list everyone. I have been reading since the age of four, and as far as plagiarism is concerned, I have lived long enough to know that there is nothing new under the sun, it’s only expressed differently.
    I read almost all other genres of fiction, at the present time, James Patterson and Rita Mae Brown are some of my favorites. Especially her Sister Jane Hunt Club Books.
    As a strongly rooted Virginian (Roanoke) myself I can identify with her from the first page…..as I can connect with some of your books from the first page (I love Agnes, by the way..she did exactly what i would have hoped to do, when confronted by an idiot with a gun in my kitchen (ask my ex. ’nuff said)..
    As I said, I am very elderly (my mother is 95 & still going) and my greatest hope is that I can continue to keep my vision and my mind intact to enjoy more of the efforts from people like you and your partners for the rest of my life. God (and I don’t mean Sam…hhmmm.) Well anyway

  84. Internet mobs… only reinforces my theory that some people just have way too little to do and much to much time to do it in.

    Great post.

  85. Wow…coming in late here, but I have a really good excuse. 2 nasty ticks on my head…I know eeeewyh (or how ever it’s spelled) Recovering from the laergic … sheesh … alergic … crumbs … allergic reaction and antihistamines. That’s what you get for hugging your dog…but, better me than her. I realised I shoul’ve (I’ll concentrate harder) should’ve introduced myself first time on, next time when I’m coherant and can spell again. As for the kuffufflle, it must hurt, but these people should just get on with their knitting. What matters? Starving millions matter.

  86. Dear Ms. Crusie,
    I read your blog and your books because they make me smile and laugh. Thank you!
    Some people spend their whole lives on what does not matter. I was glad to learn what does when I did, though I can wish that I was taught it as a child. Thank you for knowing what really matters! Thank you for giving all those shallow angry people a piece of your mind!

  87. The notion that Jenny and Sarah didn’t disclose up one side and down the other about your connections is pretty silly, so the specific situation here is one where I agree with Jenny completely.

    However, I’d add a little nuance to this:
    “A couple of years ago it was plagiarism. Today it’s conflict of interest. Tomorrow it’ll be something equally cut and dried from a legal point of view and equally distorted from the outrage-insulated point of view.”

    Things can have both a legal and an ethical element. I’d consider this to be particularly true of both plagiarism and conflict of interest. For both, it’s legally very difficult to go after someone for it (as Jenny’s post indicates, you have to show some kind of damages), and yet people are given a hard time for it because stealing someone’s ideas or hiding a possibly-relevant connection strikes us as morally wrong even if we can’t quantify the harm done.

    My alma mater expelled students who were “convicted” (by a jury of classmates, not in an actual court of law) of plagiarism, even though the only harm they’d generally done was to their own education. Beltway folks who don’t note in every article they write about X that their significant other has some connection to X get crucified despite there being no law requiring such disclosures. I don’t think these social penalties arise solely out of Mean Girl (or Boy) mobs; I think there’s a broad swath of behavior that we have no desire to create legal liability for, but of which we still disapprove.

    The internet mobbing unfortunately has made the expression of disapproval in the absence of full information way too easy. The latest episode I’ve seen of this was a community college professor who was so unfortunate, when she got a call from the New York Times, as to initially refer questions about a student dispute to the college. I hope the NYT reporter feels some sense of guilt or responsibility about what got dumped on that poor woman. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/14/nyregion/professor-of-philip-garber-nj-stutterer-defends-actions.html

  88. I also was raised Lutheran and I also think it explains a lot.

    What? That wasn’t the point of this post? Whoops.

  89. Coming late to the party because I was away visiting “world’s most perfect grandchild”. I wish I could make the incredibly-righteous take a dose of their own medicine — and then I try to remember not to become incredibly-righteous about kerf(l)uffles and save my outrage for stuff where I can make a difference. It’s hard to do, however 🙂
    I’d also like to point out that Lobbyists as a target of outrage are just people who represent a viewpoint that isn’t ours. Disclosure: I was a lobbyist and don’t think I’m evil. But then, my pov is good, right? Also I met Jenny once and gave her a challenge coin and she signed a book for me. In the meantime, since I don’t know Meatballs, I offer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQGrQPZMLK8 which has Kevin Kline in pirate dress. This version has the lyrics which are really important in a patter song.– if possible try to see it in a copy with good sound. Hmmm, wonder if it was legally-shared 🙂

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