Remixing Anne Rice: Gangster Boogie, Gangster Bully – Let’s Rub Some Funk on It

Anne Rice’s disdain for readers who leave negative reviews has grown to epic proportions lately, culminating in this terrific exchange (that’s sarcasm) with author Jenny Trout, wherein Rice called her a “gangster bully” after Trout tried to explain that defending a site that has been known to expose the real names, home addresses, and other identifying data of online reviewers is not a terrific idea. Rice has a somewhat narrow view of book reviewing, to say the least.

Anne Rice says in this Facebook comment Gangster bullies leave us alone. Let us alone to write our books and let readers alone to choose the books they want and enjoy.

 

That’s just a small snippet – read the whole conversation on Rice’s Facebook page if you have time and energy – but have something to drink standing by.

I think my favorite quote is,

“Writing is what we do for a living; reviewing is what gangster bullies do for fun!”

No, this is my favorite:

“…notorious gangster thug careerist reviewers who seek to victimize them for sport on Good Reads and on Amazon.

These bully thugs make a mockery of honest book reviewing.

 

Wow.

First, that completely sucks for Jenny Trout. On one hand, Anne Rice’s behavior has reached incredible proportions of asshurt entertainment.

On the other hand, it hurts to have an author whose books you’ve loved call you names and insult you when you’re making a perfectly reasoned argument. As Trout said,

 

Yeah.  

But we can’t miss an opportunity to remix haterade into fine, fine comedy. As I said to Trout, if you rub some funk on it (TM Evolution), you’ll feel better.

NB: if you’ve never seen the movie Evolution, the scene when they’re trying to get a prehistoric bird to stop terrorizing mall shoppers, the source of “rub some funk on it,” is hilarious. Orlando Jones and David Duchovny should do more movies together: 

 

Anway, back to Anne Rice remixes. 

By request, Freak My Geek has rewritten Gangster’s Paradise to better represent what reviewers do: 

 

As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I take a look at my blog and realize my writing is so deft
Cause I’ve been reading and reviewing so long,
That even my mama thinks that my reviews are the bomb
But I ain’t never crossed an author that didn’t deserve it
Me be treated like a punk you know that’s unheard of
You better watch how you’re writing and where your ARCs were left
Or you and your books might be found DNF’d

As a frequent re-writer of lyrics, I must say, that is WELL DONE. 

 

A crowd in a theatre giving a standing ovation

 

 

I made Jenny Trout a ringtone of the sample of Gangster Boogie from Mama Said Knock You Out, which, if you deliberately mishear the lyrics sounds a LOT like Gangster Bully, Gangster Bully!

I can’t share the ringtone here (I wish I could!) but if you’d like, you can download Mama Said Knock You Out, or the original, extra funky and SO excellent Gangster Boogie by Chicago Gangsters (1975)Gangster Boogie is some fine, fine funk. 

I think I need to crank that up and dance all morning.  

And as Sunita pointed out, she’s not even spelling things right: 

 

 

 

But that did leave the door open for more lyric parody:

Everything’s cool in the mind of a gangsta

Cause gangsta ass bullies think deep

Up 365, yo 24/7

Cause gangsta ass bullies don’t sleep

Damn right we don’t sleep. I was up until nearly midnight two nights in a row finishing a book.

Musical comedy remixes aside (and oh, they’re fun, so I’m not putting them aside for long), what’s particularly sad is that at times in the discussion, Rice makes valid points: reviews are indeed for readers. An author can’t go back and change the book once it’s out, and readers do have a more varied lexicon with which to describe what they did and didn’t like about a book.

I agree – I said as much this past weekend at the Chicago North Spring Fling in my workshop about reviews (which I’m also doing at RWA in San Antonio).

The problem is, Rice’s response is to label the readers whose reviews she dislikes as “gangster bullies” and blame them for the review existing in the first place. I don’t think Rice should like every review she receives, but she’s missing reality by a wide margin by blaming the readers who dislike a book and who are angry and disappointed and say so in a review, and namecalling those who question her support of a website that many find extremely offensive (and whose tactics embrace the very behavior they decry).

ETA: I think authors, readers, even publishers and those who are the public face of different imprints are still trying to figure out how to navigate all the increased connection we have to one another. Used to be publishers sold to retailers who sold to customers – who wrote paper letters to authors care of their publishing house. (I know I’m not the only one who wrote letters to authors and knew how to spell “Dag Hammarskjold Plaza” at age 8.) Now we all talk to each other constantly, on several different platforms. And I think we’re all still figuring out how, especially since those platforms change almost daily (I am looking at you, Facebook).

So, since we’re talking about Anne Rice, I have a message for her, from my very favorite gangster, Nicely-Nicely Johnson from Guys and Dolls:

Anne, please sit down. You’re rocking the boat.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Amanda says:

    1) I just want to thank you, Sarah, for reminding me that Evolution exists. Please let the Netflix gods have it on streaming!

    2) What constitutes an “honest” review? Something tells me that any negative review, in her eyes, is dishonest.

    3) Somewhat related. As a reviewer, I feel guilty at times for giving bad reviews, especially if I’m reading an ARC or galley. But I suppose that’s the risk authors take when they send out books for review.

    4) Can we keep the “rub some funk on it” tag alive? Because I feel like we need to make this a staple.

     

  2. 2
    SB Sarah says:

    @Amanda:

    1. I LOVE that movie. Hubby and I were just talking about it. It’s not even remotely good but it is SO enjoyable. I freaking love it.

    2. I can’t tell, really, which are the reviews that are ok and which are the ones written by (hang on, have to look it up) “notorious gangster thug careerist reviewers.” I have no idea.

    3. I know exactly what you mean. It helps me to remember that (a) after the book is published (or released in galley form) it’s no longer in the control of the writer or publisher. They can’t control the conversation about a book: the experience of reading it belongs to the reader. Your honest opinion is the most helpful one.

    Because (b) readers are very smart. We can read a negative review and recognize that all things you disliked might be all the things we loooooove. As I say in my workshop, reviews help readers learn a language of book discussion that enables us all to more efficiently find the books we enjoy most.

    But writing reviews is hard sometimes. My review today of Big Sky Country is 3000+ words long because I had so many things to say to explain why I was giving it a poor grade when I’d spoken earlier about how much I’d enjoyed the first third. Different sort of guilt, because I was contradicting myself, but it took me a long, long time to write and organize all the things I had to say.

  3. 3

    Whenever I see one of these “Authors behaving weirdly” posts (and I see waaaaayyy too many of them), my hand twitches in the general direction of the whisky cabinet.

    Alas, it’s too early in the morning—and I wouldn’t get any writing done—so now I’m just shaking my head over Ms. Rice’s latest shenanigans and applauding Jenny Trout, and you for putting the Guys & Dolls earworm in my head.

  4. 4
    MissB2U says:

    What a great way to start my morning!  Thanks Sarah, I needed that.  Now, where did I put my funk…..???

  5. 5
    Vicki says:

    I often use the one-star reviews to help stay in my book budget. But some of those reviews actually make me want to buy the book. One person’s “ugh” is another person’s “wow.” And, if all the reviews are positive, I get very suspicious and end up waiting to buy the book. How can any book be so universally loved? It can’t, therefore, there must be something wrong with it and they got their friends and family to do all the reviews.

  6. 6
    laj says:

    Oh Sarah I love you!! Between the LLM review and this I am laughing my morning away. Thank you….you’re a star!

    Wild Cherry……takes me back….I’m going to put on my Hammer pants and dance….play that funky music…….love it!!

  7. 7
  8. 8
    Tam says:

    Oh dear, I’m torn between laughter and feeling sorry for poor Jenny Trout (whose Buffy analyses I love).

  9. 9
    Lynnd says:

    Thanks for doing this Sarah – I expect that you might get something from Ms. Rice labeling you as an Uber-gangsta bully – rock on!

    As far as I’m concerned, Anne Rice jumped the shark, both in terms of writing and in terms of her interactions with readers a long, long time ago and this is not the first time she has gone after reviewers or told readers that they were reading her books wrong (Google never forgets)  She lost me as a reader in the early 90s around the time she published Lasher.  My reaction to that book was “WTF was that” and I believe that I made those comments to many of my friends who also read Ms. Rice at the time – there was general agreement.  Most of them weren’t sadistic enough to go on to read Taltos, but, being optimistic, I did (borrowed it from the library). The only reason that book did not hit the wall was because of my deep seated respect for library books.  Believe me, my friends and I griped at length and in great detail, about how awful those books were for us (it was pre-internet so this was done over glasses of wine).  I have never picked up another Rice book and, given her actions towards readers and reviewers who question her self described genius since that time, I have never had any desire to do so.  Frankly, I think it’s all just a publicity stunt on her part to draw attention to herself and whatever new release she has coming out.  It comes as no surprise that she has a new book coming out in October – hopefully her antics this time will backfire.

    For me as a reader, it’s really sad when a favourite author loses their creativity or muse (or whatever they want to call it), but at least I know that, in most cases, I can reread and enjoy the books I have on my shelf forever with good memories.  When an author does what Ms. Rice is now doing, then I’m just left with nothing but disdain and the only course of action I can take is to remove that author’s books from my shelves because seeing those books will just make me angry every time I dust those shelves.

  10. 10
    HM says:

    @Lynnd that sucks when the author so taints their own work by bad actions. I’ve discarded books for other reasons (not reading them anymore, winnowing my library, etc) but I’m also actively avoiding authors that badmouth readers and fans. I see no point in supporting them when they put down their readers.

    @Sarah, thanks for giving me what looks like a great B-movie to watch. I love Orlando Jones!

  11. 11
    Chris says:

    I have a reason to make this cross stitch pattern now! http://www.etsy.com/listing/93277060/pattern-only-damn-it-feels-good-to-be-a?ref=shop_home_feat_1

    Thanks, Anne!

    Also, I forgot about how much I loved Evolution. Thanks!

  12. 12

    I sympathize with poor Jenny. It sucks to see someone you admired behave badly, and all the worse that it was directed at her.

    I just don’t understand why Anne Rice’s publicist (she must have one, right?) hasn’t stepped in and told her to put a lid on it. The more she talks, the worse she looks and she’s alienating fans left and right, especially in advance of a new release. I remember devouring everything she’d written when I first discovered her in college. But now instead of remembering that heady book-hangover feeling she gave me, I’m going to remember this behavior first and foremost. Sad, really.

    Rice turned me off last year when she set her pack of facebook fans on a tiny blogger with something like 25 followers because the girl didn’t like her book and turned it into a craft project. Honestly, Anne, your writing has made you a millionaire (probably several times over). Getting butthurt because someone on the internet somewhere doesn’t like your book is ludicrous. Go home and roll in some money. You’ll feel better.
    http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2013/04/29/how-not-to-respond-to-bad-reviews-the-anne-rice-edition/#.U1_vsFCkr7c

     

  13. 13

    Whenever I see an author reacting link this to a negative review it makes me wonder if said author knows that the book isn’t as good as it could be.  It doesn’t make that type of behavior—the vilifying of reviewers—alright or even understandable.  If you’re going to put your creative property out there, you need to develop a thicker skin because people are going to not like it.  Years ago, it wasn’t so easy for bad reviews to get out, but in the era of the internet, reviews are just a click away—some of them are going to be bad ones.  That’s just a fact of life.

  14. 14

    Good lord!

    Speaking as someone who’s both a) got a lot of book reviews on Goodreads and b) has started writing stuff of her own and is strenuously avoiding looking at most reviews of her own stuff, all I have to say about this is oh god please pass the whiskey. ;)

  15. 15
    Emily says:

    She’s seem old and out-of-touch to me. (I apologize to older readers who are her age and don’t think she’s that old or are more with it themselves.) She probably remembers bucolic days before the internet when readers blindly read or bought books without being able to always access bad reviews. I still sometimes purchase a book or two, or check even more out of the library without reading reviews.

    She’s also old enough and famous enough that probably a lot of the people around her (her editor, her agent, her publists,) are younger people who lack the experience and the gumption or whatever to go up against her. She seems like someone whom it would be very hard to tell things to and one would need a deft hand to get her to agree to anything.

    I like bad reviews. Some books deserve it. And people need to be able to tell the truth.

  16. 16
    LML says:

    Last night I was missing Tess Monaghan so I “went” to read Laura Lippman’s web site.  One of her posts linked to a Forbes article by Suw Charman-Anderson entitled How To Read A Bad Review: Advice for Authors and Buyers.  Both Lippman’s post and the article are from mid-2012; I do not know if the article received much internet attention at the time.  I found it practical and interesting.  Someone should forward it to Ms Rice.

  17. 17
    LaineyT says:

    LMAO, I’d also completely forgotten about how dumb (and by dumb I mean awesome!) Evolution was.  My only complaint about this clip is that it doesn’t include any Julianne Moore.  Talk about casting AGAINST type.  She was at her goofiest, best in this movie. ;)

  18. 18
    Lulu says:

    Sometimes reviews I have read on goodreads and Amazon are so awful that they have no redeeming qualities whatesoever, so I feel a little sympathy for her, but this behavior is kind of ridiculous. Seems ironic that Rice is calling people bullies, but she’s the one doing the bullying.

    It’s wonderful drama though.

  19. 19
    Jody W. says:

    It’s almost like Ms. Rice is trying to tear the roof off the mother sucker. She must know that we need the funk. We gotta have the funk.

  20. 20
    Jenny Trout says:

    Honestly, between my new gangster cred and that awesome ringtone, I’m having a pretty amazing week. And it’s only Tuesday! :D

  21. 21
    LauraL says:

    @ Emily, I agree with you. Madame Rice is a bit out of touch.

    After seeing her give an otherworldly, weird interview years ago, I always picture Anne Rice sitting in her mansion in New Orleans writing her books with one of those feather pens. I have to admit I’ve never been a fan, possibly because my mother, who didn’t always have both feet in reality, loved her books to distraction.

  22. 22
    Jennifer says:

    This is the first time I’ve commented here and I’m picking this post because I’m sitting at home and have no one else to express how frustrated I’m getting reading the thread of posts from the link to Anne Rice’s FB page (I got sucked in).  It’s killing me how I’m seeing her contradict herself from post to post.  I also want to know what makes her the queen of determining all things “authentic,” as I’ve seen her doubt someone’s authenticity and then definitely state that another person must be “authentic.”  Also, she keeps using the same phrase over and over again “censor and silence and destroy authors,” but then never explains how a troll “review” has the magical power to achieve this.  This is the type of person you can’t argue with because they are so rigid in their mindset they aren’t open to seeing the other side.  There are genuine bullies in this world, and working in the mental health field I see people on a daily basis dealing with it.  I feel like much of this is confusing the issue of what an “authentic” “bully” is.  I could go on about this.  Clearly I have feelings, and no one to vent them to currently :)

    Also, I’m hoping Evolution is on Netflix streaming because I so need to watch that next time I go to see my dad.

  23. 23
    DonnaMarie says:

    As you should Jenny Trout.  Your sense of humor and intelligence will take you far.

    Anne Rice has been a self absorbed bully for a loooooonnnng time now. Sad is the author who surrounds herself with sycophants rather than honest beta readers and an editor.

  24. 24
    Ducky says:

    When I was a teen I went through an Anne Rice books phase. Now I wouldn’t touch any of her books with a ten-foot pole, never mind actually spend money on one of her books.

    On principle I refuse to reward this kind of author behavior financially.

  25. 25
    SB Sarah says:

    @JodyW:

    It’s almost like Ms. Rice is trying to tear the roof off the mother sucker. She must know that we need the funk. We gotta have the funk.

    This made me laugh so hard. Aw yeah.

    @Jennifer:

    There are genuine bullies in this world, and working in the mental health field I see people on a daily basis dealing with it.  I feel like much of this is confusing the issue of what an “authentic” “bully” is.  I could go on about this.

    First: welcome! I’m happy you decided to comment because you’re absolutely right. The upside of all this talk about bullying is that we have ways to begin the conversation about how intimidating and physical & emotional assault are used to influence and push people to do things they don’t want to do. The downside is that any assertion gets labeled as “bullying” if the recipient doesn’t like what they’re hearing. I know just what you mean when you say you’re frustrated with the misapplication of the term.

    Also: you read the whole thread? Dude. Do you have some chocolate? You’ve earned very very good chocolate reading through that entire thread!

  26. 26
    Jennifer in GA says:

    I’ve never made it all the way through an Anne “You’re interrogating the text from the wrong perspective” Rice book, let alone left any sort of review, so I’ll just say this-when I leave a review, I don’t get a flying flip what the author thinks at that point. The book has been written and put out in the world, so LET IT GO.

    I’ve only commented on an author’s personal life in a review three times; two of those books were memoirs about the author, and the third was expounding on my theory that Meg Cabot MUST have a ghostwriter to help her churn out her books at such a crazy pace (this was back when she had four new books from four different series all out in one year, and there was cuh-ray-zee continuity issues). But I digress.

    Authors like Anne Rice need to CHILL OUT regarding reviews.

  27. 27
    jenG says:

    I’ve been feeling bad about reviewing on goodreads. Cause on one hand, I want to keep track of the books I’m reading and my perception of it, but on the other, I hate that my stars are used in the overall tabulation of that book’s rating.

  28. 28
    Bona says:

    The thing is that no book is universally praised. Even great Literary books dissappoint somebody.
    I fail to see why certain authors -and in my personal experience, fans- can’t accept the idea that somebody out there did not like his/her books. It stings, I know, but that’s life.
    As in the Wikipedia, in any part of the Internet, I tend to assume good faith on the part of others, so when I read a bad review I assume that the reader is not a bully or a terrorist or somebody who just wants to mock the book or the author. But just somebody that didn’t like the book.
    Secondly, when somebody says something that sounds strange to me, I tend to look for de citation neede. That’s what happens in this case. What kind of reviews does this author consider dishonest? All the bad reviews? If it’s so, it’s not a very realistic POV, really, because not.all.books.are.for.everybody.
    I write reviews, I’m candid about what I think of a book. I want the freedom to express whether I liked a book or not. I wouldn’t like to be called a bully if I say that I didn’t like a book. But it looks that freedom of expression is another right we have to fight for and defend in the internet, now as always.

  29. 29
    Bona says:

    @Amanda Weaver
    Thank you for the lik to How To Read A Bad Review: Advice For Authors And Buyers. It’s very helpful for readers, as well as for authors.
    Lot of wonderful ideas there, I loved the final sentence:

    Bad reviews can be valuable, but it’s important not to get over-involved with them, and you certainly should never, ever respond to them. Readers will forgive a bad review, but they won’t forgive bad behaviour by an author.

  30. 30
    Raine Delight says:

    *blinks* Wow what century is Ms. Rice living in? Seriously bad reviews=gangster bullies (oh wait sorry spelled it wrong. ‘Gangsta’)? I write so any bad review I read so I can see what worked for some, what worked for others, etc to help me pinpoint items I may need to work on. Yes I have had reviews where it ripped me apart but I cried, had a drink (or three), ate some chocolate, then got back to writing the next day.

    But to call ALL reviewers gangster bullies is just stupid. You don’t have to like the reviews, Ms. Rice but you do now that you are just causing readers to flee from buying your books with that attitude. Seriously…you need to just chill. Go watch Evolution and maybe crack a smile.

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