At the romance panel at WORD Brooklyn a few weeks ago, one of the audience members asked why romance takes so much crap from everyone. Hope Tarr said she thinks it boils down, every time, to the fact that romance is written by women, edited and published by women, and read by women. As we said in the Bosoms, look in your pants. That’s why.
So grab your nearest alcoholic beverage, and play along as we look at the state of romance after an appearance in Bloomberg Business Week.
In an article that mentions bodice ripping not once but Twice, Spencer Morgan treats romance to a wonderfully assmunchy examination, citing high sales and profitable growth against the decline of publishing, and then making fun of knitting, romance readers, fans, the genre as a whole, quilters, military families, and your grandmother.
There’s so many crimes of douchitude in this article, I’m having trouble selecting the right lines to examine. Every other sentence is a steaming pile of misleading patronizing ill-informed supercilious twatbaggery.
What absolutely drops my jaw is that just after this article was published, TorStar, parent company of Harlequin, posted a 22% profit in their last earnings report, a large portion of which was due to Harlequin itself.
After a paragraph of one impressive statistic after another citing the growth and profitability of romance, Spencer Morgan then lets loose with the following:
To satisfy as many lust-filled imaginations as possible, the romance fiction industry has ripped the bodice from seemingly every niche group. Nascar and transgender-themed romances are finding their way to shelves already packed with Amish, Mennonite, quilting, knitting, paranormal, and military subgenres.
Yes. “Lust-filled imaginations.” Let’s play along at home with the “Asshat Reporter Writing About Romance Drinking Game.”
Romance readers are really only interested in fluffy literary porn to satisfy their sexual inadequacies and frustrations: 2 sips!
The most popular microtrends of the moment are Amish- and Mennonite-themed romances, which covered the best-seller lists last fall like a giant head scarf.
Oh yes, nothing says lust like Amish romance.
Open demonstration of lack of understanding that romance isn’t all sex: 3 sips!
Paranormal romance, which continues to enjoy a boost from Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series, remains a popular subgenre. Yet vampires, werewolves, and shape-shifters now have competition from knitters, which are part of the “home crafting romance” subgenre—itself part of the “small town” subgenre.
Yes, paranormal romance is popular. So, it seems, are half-brained articles by someone who wouldn’t know actual, insightful business and financial analysis if it bit him on the 10Q.
Stating the obvious: 2 sips!
Insiders insist that knitting is distinct from another ascendant microgenre: quilting.
The industry would seem challenged to find greater mundanity (bridge games? Wheel of Fortune reruns?), yet that’s what the public is demanding.
Not only are romance readers sex-crazed but we’re dumb and mundane, too: 3 sips!
You can begin beating yourself on the head with your liquor bottle now. I mean, really. Do you honestly want to piss off knitters, Mr. Morgan? Have you SEEN a knitting needle? They’re sharp. Which, I might point out (ha ha) you are not.
Then Morgan moves on to a quote highlighting this “mundanity” from…Debbie Macomber. Oh yes. 75 million books in so mundane, as are profits in the millions, a successful multimedia franchise, and one’s own line of knitting products.
Macomber even has a successful line of companion books—Knit Along with Debbie Macomber—on the joys of the domestic arts.
I don’t know about you, but I think he was sneering at “domestic arts.”
Open sexist dismissal of women: 3 sips!
Such substratification might suggest, as one book agent stated privately, that readers have gone insane.
No, but that agent has if word gets out as to whom exactly said that. Gotta hate it when readers clamor for a book that an agent might possibly get 15% for selling. Oh, profit and success, what complete lunacy you are.
Sneering at profit because said profit comes from lowbrow plebeian entertainment: 2 sips!
Twitter feeds, author blogs, and other forms of social media are providing limitless opportunities for virtual Ya-Ya Sisterhoods of like-minded readers to develop.
God help them if they discuss the joys of domestic arts.
Moar Sexism: 3 sips!
Well, at least Morgan can now franchise his own specialty: a complete lack of insight and thoughtful analysis about romance as a profitable industry.
Oh, wait. Journalists all over have managed to do exactly that (and, as one commenter pointed out, get paid for it) without his help, and this is yet another example. Presented with surprising profits and detail-specific examples of entrepreneurial success, Morgan went for patronizing, sexist, and ill-informed dismissal of romance.
Now that’s mundane.
Really, Bloomberg Business Week? That’s the best you could do?