|'You're being very undude right now.'|
It’s tough being the new kid at school. All the other kids know where the classes are, which kids to avoid, which teachers you absolutely do not cross, and which ones are push overs. And there is the thorny issue that new kids get duffed up, either as a sort of hazing by local fuckwits, or as a calculated establishment of pecking order by sly, cruel, mischievous little shits that make everyone’s life miserable.
It’s one thing to beat a kid up on his (or her) first day at school, it’s quite another to carve your name into their forehead with a straight-edge razor. It's the worst sort of grandstanding, designed to cultivate an infamous reputation. It is ugly and unnecessary.
These thoughts occurred to me today after reading a review of a debut author, a tiny subset of people I identify with strongly.
A tangent. To quote my Great Aunt Daph, ‘If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything.’ Aunt Daph was a kind, even-handed woman and it's safe to say she never reviewed books. I doubt she read a single genre novel in her life, but I’m willing to bet any number of playground black eyes she could have delivered a more reasonable and constructive review than the review of Barricade at Arcfinity by Christopher Priest.
I expect more from the elder statesmen of genre. That I expect them not to be bullies is a bare minimum. Just because you’re smug and articulate doesn’t make it any less predatory. That you leave the playground with the blood of others staining your shirt is not a badge of honour. It hubris and fuckery.
‘Would I have benefited more from a thoroughgoing kicking from my elders and betters? We’ll never know,’ writes Christopher Priest.
I’d argue yes, it might have taught you not to do the same some years later.