We’d had a few romance-positive articles in the news the last few weeks, including a New York Times article quoting Jane from Dear Author, but it appears the streak is over now that this article by a condescending LA Times reporter has been picked up by the AP so the derision can be shared across the land.
How appropriate that last night we at my giant table of loudness asked as part of the seder, “Manishtana ha lailah hazeh mikol ha leilot?” How is this night different from any other night? On any other night, or in any other industry, we’d be celebrating a profitable company in the light of depressed and sinking retail sales across the US in all markets. On any other night, or in any other industry, we might take a serious look at how a 60+ year old company run by mostly women, comprised of women writers operating their own businesses produce a continually-profitable market item for an audience of mostly women, and examine the subtext and subversive power of that circumstance. On any other night, or in any other newspaper, we might read the subject about which we’re writing instead of resting a few hundred words on prejudice, assumption and mistaken attitude without having actually read the novels we’re dismissing.
But on this night, and in this newspaper, and in the world of this sad excuse for a reporter, we examine the profit in the midst of economic loss, and the growth of an industry in a landscape of layoffs, and instead of asking questions, we denigrate, deride, and dismiss because after all, say it with me now, it’s just romance novels.
It also would have been enough just to report the facts without slanting them with attitude, but gosh, manishtana, such an easy target.
That said: daiyeinu (it would have been enough). Had Katiebabs left only her comment, it would have been enough. If Shiloh Walker had left only her comment, it would have been enough. If Della Jacobs had been the only response: it would have been enough. But no: we’re all pissed off and responding with level, fair, and firmly critical comments. Well played.
And now that we have blogs and national media attention and smart women saying smart things about a genre that is smart and profitable and about goddam ready for serious primetime, I say: enough is enough. Keep up the good work, everyone who tries to defend the genre. Articles like these, I hope, will become the exception, because it’s difficult to argue with smart women, savvy arguments, millions of dollars of profit, and an informed, unintimidated readership. Candy and I are trying our best to argue back with any questions that seem loaded with derision, and while we talk about what drives us nuts about romance, without exception we adore it and respect it and want it to continue to succeed.
That, and your presence here and on every other blog devoted to romance as a wonderous, powerful, viable thing, is more than enough.