Tea or Coffee? Top Five Ways to Alienate the British

APOLOGIES IN ADVANCE TO MY ENGLISH FRIENDS.

Xenophobia thrives on the net. Well, it’s not always chauvinism:  sometimes it is mere mischief. I don’t do social media, so I don’t encounter much hostility. What I detect in comments is often in the mischief category. Sometimes I let it pass, sometimes I delete.  Do you know who is exasperated by my blog?  English bloggers!

Yes, this makes me laugh, too. I am an anglophile. I have taken four trips to London, where I spent my time in awe at Ai Weiwei exhibitions and on self-guided tours written up in my guidebook. Yup, I’ve been to the art museums, the Dickens Museum, Buckingham Palace, strolled in very green parks, shopped at bookstores, eaten fish and chips, and been impressed by the efficiency of Heathrow security. (In Chicago I was patted down for holding a Kleenex!)

In spite of the fact that I venerate English literature,  English bloggers sometimes complain in comments. And that, I conclude, is  because of my flippancy.  So here are the

TOP FIVE WAYS TO ALIENATE THE BRITISH.

  1. Be flippant about Virago Week or Virago Month. I am a Virago fan, but I once wrote, “Every time I turn around it’s Virago Week.” That did not go over well.
  2. Suggest that a line be drawn between marketing and reviewing. English bloggers informed me that of course they were promoting books. Yeah, I knew that.
  3. Write a post about correct usage of indefinite pronouns. Who got angry?  You guessed it, the English.  The U.S. and Canada seem to be on the same page:  many Americans and Canadians added their own pet grammar peeves.
  4. Suggest that Anne is the worst writer of the three Brontes. Wow, what an outpouring! Okay, one American was also angry.
  5. Suggest that the British should “deal with” the fact that Americans are now contenders for the Man Booker Prize. It’s not that I personally like it, it’s that the writers’ petitions and letters have been ignored.
Illustration by Pierre Mornet

So are the English xenophobic? Or am I a xenophobe?  Honestly, at this point, who knows? At least I’m not leaving mean comments at their blogs!

But don’t we all agree that the British writers of the nineteenth and twentieth century are incomparable?

Deal with it!

The Blogging Scene in the Marketing Age

I’ve had at least six blogs, and deleted two of them.  I don’t remember the title of the first.  Blogging was THE trend in the early twenty-first century. It was an amateur effort, in the best possible way, in the true sense of the Latin origin,  amare, to love, and amator, lover.

It didn’t last.  It couldn’t.  The cowgirls and anarchists faded from the scene.  Publishing companies co-opted bloggers.  Blogging turned from a labor of love into a publisher’s marketing opportunity.  The naive bloggers became shills.

Mind you, there are many sophisticated bloggers.  My personal “circle” of bloggers, such as it is, prefers books published before this century, and  distinguishes between reviews and marketing.

But I miss the early blogs, which were an “alternative” to the media. I don’t see that anymore.  Remember when writers and editors of book reviews attacked bloggers for ruining criticism?  The review publications have terminated the blogs they established in imitation of saucy blogs, because the  new bloggers’ second- and third-rate imitations of their criticism provide no competition.  (And, yes, there are some brilliant bloggers, as I’ve said before.)

Overall, I haven’t seen so much brown-nosing in years.

Where do we go from here?  Words are disappearing faster than I can turn a page.