Friday, January 20, 2012

Reviewer Cassi Jumps to Conclusions

Once upon a time, GR reviewer Cassi aka Snow White - who was a frequent participant in the train wreck covered in our last two posts - reviewed Ashfall by Mike Mullin. She gave it 4 stars originally, then dropped it to three because:
I'm adjusting my review to reflect that the author of this book was very rude to me on a social network. ...I'm not going to hash out all the details of my encounter with him BUT he was rude, judgmental and did not apologize. For me that is enough for me to not be as generous and no recommend his book. So I'm lowering my rating to 3 stars for bad manners and moving on with my life. 
The author sees this and writes:
I apologize--I didn't realize I was rude to you. That was not my intention. In fact, I have no idea what I did. If you don't mind telling me, drop me an email at [email redacted by us] lease. I'd love to know so that I don't inadvertently offend anyone else. 
Cassi reponds:
You called me prejudice on google+ and I told you that I was offended there. You should have apologized when it happened. I am not prejudice and you were being judgmental.  
Curious, we proceeded to Google+ to see what all the fuss was about.

Mr. Mullin posted a link on his Google+ account to a news story on a gay advocacy site. The site's headline for the story was "Lesbian Couple Saves Dozens of Campers from Norway Massacre". Just the type of story a gay advocacy site would find relevant for its audience. Perfect. Cassi, however, is much put out:
I studied journalism and think the headline is in bad taste. People are people. No matter color, sexual orientation, nationality or religion. Those things should not be used to get hits or increase newspaper sales. Yellow journalism.
A gay advocacy site is highlighting the heroism of a lesbian couple, and Cassi finds this to be "yellow journalism"? Mike responds with some general comments about prejudice faced by gay people:
We know that all that it takes to perpetuate racism (and presumably homophobia) is to not discuss race. Without a headline and picture, the reasonable assumption would be that the couple is hetero, since most Norwegians are. People are not just people +Cassi [last name redacted by us] , they're a diverse amalgamation of many identities. Implicitly privileging one possible identity (heterosexuality) is perhaps the most common and insidious form of prejudice gay people face.
We don't necessarily agree with all of this, but as we said, it's polite and on topic for the discussion. Cassi is not to be placated. She responds, in part, as follows. Our comments about her comments are in blue italics, just so's you all know.
They did that to get hits which I think is unfair to gay people. They are not sideshow attractions to draw more readers and to create a controversy. [It's unfair for a gay advocacy group to try to highlight issues that might be interesting to gay people to draw hits from gay people? What twisted logic is that?]... I have no issue if the article said "Margaret & her partner Alicia did such and such." [The original news article that this blog post was based on did just that, and the headline never used the word gay or lesbian.] (I did not read it [Clearly. And it's pretty stupid to argue about what an article did or didn't say who you have no clue WHAT the article did or didn't say.]  because I do not encourage yellow journalism). I am not saying that the article should hide who they are but it should not USE their sexuality to create a controversy where there shouldn't be one. [Good, because neither the original article or the blog post did that.]
Mike persists in the face of folly:
If you don't put anything in the headline, it's the same as if you put "Heterosexual White People" at least in the U.S. and Norway, because that's the dominant group. I can feel and sympathize with your anger at being called out on prejudice. It's a hard thing being confronted with your own biases. I know. I've been there.
Cassi gets defensive - "I am not prejudice. I have seen first hand newspapers using someones sexuality." - and relates her experience with her cousin passing away and what we think is her dissatisfaction with how that was handled (her explanation is unclear). But now we can see that this is a sensitive issue for her and perhaps that is why she previously jumped to conclusions and reacted badly. Then she says:
I think I have lost all respect for you. Actually calling people prejudice when you don't know them at all?
Kind of like the GR posse of YA reviewers - of which Cassi is one - calling authors stupid, morons, pieces of shit, cheats, etc. when they don't them at all, except by their words. Well, all Mr. Mullin has to go on are Cassi's words. Live by sword, die by the sword (...what, you thought we'd get through a whole blog post without using an adage?...silly reader)

Cassi has one final post later on whinging about how she didn't know that headline came from a gay issues blog (which was entirely her own fault, we would like to point out). Instead of apologizing to Mr. Mullin or acknowledging her error, she makes the incredibly ironic statement, "I hope he learns not to judge others quite so quickly and jump to conclusions based on very little information." Like Cassi just did with the headline issue?

Finally, back to Cassi's statement in her review on GR that she told Mr. Mullin she was offended: no, she did not in any of her posts on Mr. Mullin's comment thread ever say that she was "offended". 

Logic fail for Cassi. 


It seems that Cassi is aware of this post and has written, "...someone is trying to bring me into the drama because I changed a Mike Mullins ranking..." and "he called me a homophobe". Wrong, wrong, and wrong. First, Cassi was already heavily involved with the GR drama. Second, we are highlighting Cassi's actions because the hypocrisy and jumping to conclusions demonstrated here are reflective of the behavior of some GR reviewers that we find appalling. 

Finally, Mr. Mullins never called her a homophobe. He said that he was calling her out on her prejudice and confronting her with her biases. There is a difference between having an unconscious or unrealized prejudice or bias and being a "homophobe". Big difference! But this is yet another example of someone's words being altered and that someone being criticized for supposedly writing those altered words. It's called the straw man argument.

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