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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Darin Strauss Rats Us Out

Remember Darin Strauss?  Remember how we all read his book and some of us came to the online book club and discussed his literary merit?  Well, dude is featured in an article by the Village Voice entitled, "Bloggers vs. An Author: No One Wins." However, in a very uncool fashion, Darin did not mention all the love he ultimately received here.  As the loyal LROD reader who pointed the article out to me said, the Village Voice doesn't "give any credit to the commenters who were civil to Strauss" or the fact that our book club probably sold a few books for him, "despite the fact that he never deigned to show his face around the site again."  

In the article, he claims to worry that people will think he's a jerk.  Maybe he isn't, but this seems to me to be jerky behavior.  If that part accidentally got left out of the article, he could at least write a letter of correction.  AFTER ALL WE READ & PROMOTED HIS BOOK.

Anyway, if you don't want to read the whole boring article,  just cut to page 3 &4 for a discussion of this blog, which is deliberately not named; I suppose they didn't want to return the publicity favor.  Guess we know what he thinks of us!

UPDATE:  Got an apologetic email from Darin, who said he did tell his friend, the Village Voice journalist, all about our friendly exchange and promotion of his book, but the dude chose not to include it.  Guess it would kind of ruin the title of the article.


Anonymous said...

Yeesh... This guy continues to push all the wrong buttons and yet wonders why people don't like him. If I had an aquaintance who whined about how tough he had it growing up, I'd expect to hear a little more than Darrin's "I grew up in a big house but I wasn't as rich as people thought I was...I was the only Jewish kid on Long Island (what???)...I was once in a car that ran over a girl on a bike (but it was her fault)." The smell of over-privileged, arrogant jerk just wafts off this guy. Luckily, he's at home in the Village Voice. Maybe he'll strike a chord with the other poseurs living in million-dollar apartments in the "bohemian" East Village.

This guy is about as real as a tee-shirt shop on St. Marks Place.

Anonymous said...

"To acknowledge a blogger is, of course, like giving rain to toadstools."

Grow, my little toadstool. Grow!!

John Bruce said...

The Voice piece says "The only thing missing, as so often is the case in fin de Bush America, is any intellectual engagement: No wider argument about his indictments of American culture or his writing; no discussion on whether or not Munchausen's-by-proxy is a real, widespread mental disorder.

"The state of publishing is such that you can get all these great things, but people don't talk about the work. They talk about you," says Strauss.

Yet the piece says, When Strauss sent one of his tormentors a free copy of Chang and Eng, imploring him to at least read some of his prose before blasting it, the player-hater spent a week ripping the work apart practically line by line on his site, refusing to find any merit in it or even to acknowledge that the prologue Strauss had written to the novel was the actual beginning of the book. Wait, there's no discussion of his writing, but a tormentor tears it apart line by line?

The tormentor would be me. The torment starts here.

Anonymous said...

you can hardly blame him. he was attacked FIRST, and then promoted as a nicey nice apology. it all cancels out.

it's a favor to you that the blog is not named.

Anonymous said...

how come lrod don't send out rejections?

Anonymous said...

Native_Ink (are you some Native American poseur? or what)

Once when I was driving to school a bicyclist made a sharp left turn right in front of my moving car, swerved so hard he fell off his bike, and barely missed getting killed by six inches. Thank God I was young and had good reflexes, If the same thing happend today I might have killed somebody on accident too.

You've never had this happen to you, you don't know what the fuck you are taking about. Some cyclists are all out fucking morons and have zero traffic instincts. I have infinite sympathy for what Mr. Strauss went through. I believe that what happened was not his fault, and any one who thinks it makes a good cheap shot is deserves all the writerly frustrations that he or she uses this blog to vent about.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it was a little rude to leave out the fact that you really did act like a decent human and tried to make up for the fact that he got a little bit ripped up in the comments section. I bought read the whole book, which I wouldn't have if not for this blog.

All publicity is good publicity, right?

It's interesting how bloggers are automatically assumed to be unpublished wannabes. Many of us, including you, LROD, have published quite a bit. But if we criticize the guy, we're assumed to be Bitter Bobs.

John Bruce said...

One thing that interests me about this episode is how he hasn't let it go. The blow-up took place in July, and the book club was in September, and the guy's doing a tell-all in the Voice in December. It reminded me that not only did he e-mail me under his own name, but he created some imaginary friends who e-mailed me from new gmail accounts to tell me how rotten I was to be mean to him! I've got to say that I've sorta-kinda had a life since last July, but poor Darin's still hiding under his computer desk! I do think he looks better without the Grecian formula and the mousse.

Anonymous said...

"got a little bit ripped up in the comments section"

Writer Rejected has control over which comments appear. It was WR's choice to allow the mean comments. The only reason why comment moderation is on now is because some commenters dropped hints about WR's identity awhile back.

Why would granting an interview cancel out the previous meanness? It was only done to save WR's face, not Darin's. Were it me, I wouldn't mention this blog by name either. It's like in animal training, reward good behaviour, ignore bad.

Writer, Rejected said...

Actually, I only started moderating comments a couple of weeks ago when things really started getting rough. The Darin Strauss affair was pre-moderation.

Anonymous said...

Exactly WR, you only started moderation when your ass was on the line. When Darin Strauss was getting ripped on, no moderation.

So how are you innocent exactly? How does giving him a piddly interview make up for displaying a commenter free for all? Why do some people wonder why he's still mad?

And John, do you have crush on this guy or what? Dude, he's married and looks pretty straight to me. No wonder they compared some bloggers to toadstools, the behaviour displayed around here some times in beyond the animal kingdom.

Anonymous said...

I wrote you that the LROD Book Club was a bad idea. I see you've dropped the picture/link to it. So I guess it's defunct. I guess so. I guess this is how you handle things: ask for people's opinions on a matter, then proceed in silence. Well, it's your blog, your agenda.
I didn't want to read Strauss' novel. He doesn't want to read mine. I don't want to read what's in Ploughshares or Glimmer Train or any other "literary" magazine. None of their editors want to read my work. And so on. The modern literary world and I are not on speaking terms. We don't appreciate each other.
I also don't want to read John's work, and I'm sure he doesn't want to read mine.
Though I WOULD like to take a look at your work, w/r.
Seems MFA people read what's current. They check out the competition; read what their friends or acquaintances or enemies write; find out what's "hot." I'm seeing a lot of heavily-researched novels. About Robert Frost or Siamese Twins or trench warfare. On and on. People with no experience in life can stay at their computer or go to the university library.
The alternative is to write bizzaro stuff (show off their brilliant imaginations).
What a dearth.

Writer, Rejected said...

JAB: Oh come on! A few people said the guy had a smirky author photograph! I hardly think that's so awful. A bunch of non-famous writers poking fun at a famous writer is common place. To make up for it, we read his book. I can't censor the fact that not everyone liked. If you recall, I was ultimately won over by his writing. I think the guy's got talent.

I also have emails from him saying how nice it is that I was able to turn a negative situation around. I think if everyone at the book club LOVED his book, he would have remembered the whole exchange quite differently. But I'm not going to censor people's opinions.

As for the book club, there didn't seem to be much interest. I took the notice down because it was still publicizing Darin's book and an event that happened in September. I'm not going to force a book club, but if another book came up and it seemed relevant, I would certainly revive the book club.

Why is everyone so crabby lately? Is it the holidays? You all know what this site is about. You know how it works. Nothing has really changed as far as I can tell.

Anonymous said...

I like the anonymous who says that the "modern literary establishment" and he/she aren't on speaking terms. He/she is an outsider, a purist--the kind of person's whose dignity cannot not be bought or sold. The kind of person who sees absolutely no irony in his/her post.

Anonymous said...

Where does he/she use the word "establishment"?
Where does he/she claim that he/she (this political correctness is a pain in the ass) is a "purist"? Where does she say that her "dignity cannot not (sic) be bought or sold"?
I don't see irony in the post. Just a statement of facts. This person doesn't want to read John's work, and John is not a member of the establishment.
Your post says loads about you. For beginners, you really should take care, if you attribute a quote to someone, to get it correct. And could you resist reading into someone's words things they didn't write? Because you come across as projecting your own biases. Could you proofread? Could you learn the meaning of the word "irony"?
To your credit, you do admit that you're a jellyhead.

Anonymous said...

Jellyhead Fred did say "I like the anonymous who..." so even if JF can't get a quotes or meaning right, he is yet capable of affection.

Writer, Rejected said...

See posting for December 15, 2008, 8:35 AM

The quote is: "The modern literary world and I are not on speaking terms. We don't appreciate each other."

I believe this is the origin of Jellyhead's comment.

Anonymous said...

1. "And could you resist reading into someone's words things they didn't write?"

--You're right. I'll leave from my future criticism any comment on a writer's unexamined assumptions.

2. "Could you proofread?"


3. "Could you learn the meaning of the word "irony"?"

--Okay, I'll go slow for you. Here's a quote, a real one, from the post above: "People with no experience in life can stay at their computer or go to the university library." Keep in mind the context, deary. We're on a blog, ahem, which it takes a computer to read. But besides that: People with no experience in life? This stuff is irony, no?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for going slow for me, deary.
I'm done, no?

Anonymous said...

We can only hope.

Anonymous said...

to jellyhead and his anonymouseketeer line-editing critic:

why don't you two go back to editing your precious indie journal Scrotum Legion Colonists' Jargon Dipoongy Town Review Online Quarterly Review of Stream of Consciousness Flash Poetry with Enormous Line Breaks

take your circle jerk elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

I found the article so annoying that I mocked it my blog and I took umbrage at the rather creepy part where he doesn't shut up about kiling the girl as if that's supposed to elicit sympathy.

I said he sounded like a sociopath. He commented. He kept commenting. Not once did he say that he was sorry that she died or that he was guilty over the hell he put her family through. It was all about HIM and how HE was being unfairly slandered. ANd how hurtful that was to HIM.

Now I actually think that he's a sociopath.

Anonymous said...

It's plain stupid that you think he's a sociopath based solely on how he talks about the girl he accidentally killed. If you can trust one of the anonymous commenters way above, it sounds like this is an acccident that can happen to any of us. Sheesh. I'm betting that you are related to the girl who swerved infront of his car. Sorry for you loss man. We have to move on eventually.

Sociopathy cannot be diagnosed from a reaction to a tragically accidental death. Take your arm chair psychology elswhere, perhaps to the circle jerk brothers.

Writer, Rejected said...

Here's the comment I submitted for the Voice article. I'm not sure if they'll post it:

"As the blogger host of Literary Rejections on Display (LROD), one of the blogs mentioned in this article, I wanted to briefly note that after a few comments about the author's photo being allegedly smirky, Darin Strauss left comments about our criticism not being valid since we hadn't actually read his book. This was a good point, so I publicized his book for more than a month, had a good number of LROD readers go out and buy copies, and then we read and discussed Darin's book, in an online book-club forum.

While not everyone loved MORE THAN IT HURTS YOU, many people appreciated it. I, for one,, found him to be talented. I even had some very friendly private emails with Darin about these events.

All this is to say, the article sensationalizes the meanness of the "unpublished individuals" in the blogosphere who "wear rejections slips as badges." In fact, most of us at LROD are published, just not as well known as Darin Strauss; hence our jealousy. As for rejection slips, if we wear them as badges, it is only on the lapels of frustration and defeat.

If you'd like to read the exchange, google Literary Rejections, and you'll find my blog. There's even a convenient "Darin Strauss" label for easy access to the events described in this article. You can judge for yourself.

Thanks, Writer, Rejected"

Anonymous said...

It's a nice letter, very civil, but I doubt they'll let it through because they really don't want the blog named by name. Or else the would have done so themselves in the article, no? (to take a phrase from anonymous and jellyhead, aka the circle jerk brothers, apparently. I love the evolution of monikers in the comments)

Anyway, I think it best that the incident pass as author vs blogger with no names firmly attached. It's one of those things you could regret down the road.

Unfortunately, journalists have to sensationalize everything to retain and attract readers (or at least they have to do it to get enough readers) so even though you may have had nice correspondence with Strauss, your side is not going to be heard or fairly represented by the VV. It just wouldn't make good news for them.

Good luck with the other stuff.

Anonymous said...

The comment from "hey you" should definitely not be screened out, w/r, despite its crudeness. Nor ignored. There is so much malignant idiocy in the world today, and sometimes we wonder, Who are the people behind it? Well, there's one, above (visiting a literary site!). He (it's a he) should be examined in a lab. We need answers.

Anonymous said...

In response to Tim2, I don't know the girl and for all I know it COULD have happened the way he claims, but he's too earnest to claim that he's COMPLETELY INNOCENT of all charges. The article itself is creepy, but the fact that he continually DEMANDS an apology from me for hurting HIS feelings without even a sign he cares about the feelings of the family really sends up a red flag.

You're right. It is armchair psychology, but it's the same armchair psychology that we all engaged in when OJ Simpson "accidentally" happened to be in the same area when his wife was murdered. And Ted Bundy had the same reaction when everyone was "falsely accusing" him of murder.

Maybe it is an accident that can happen to any of us, but any of us would feel guilty about the accident and feel sorry about what kind of hell we put the girl's family through. Darin Strauss only cares about his reputation and his own hurt feelings.

If he's not a sociopath, he's definitely a creep.

Writer, Rejected said...

Hey, hey, hey....let's put a curb on the name-calling.

I think we can express our feelings without stooping to debasing the language: creep and sociopath is definitely not cool. Let's kick the discussion up a notch. We don't want to become the very thing we are accused of being: meanies and sour-pants.


Anonymous said...

I agree with some of the other commenters that you should leave the Darin Strauss issue alone. cut your losses and don't worry about it anymore. Named or unnamed.

Also, I think the gist of heynonny's and hey you's comments is that this off-topic, limp dicked sparring between jellyhead and anonymous is out of place. Let's focus on Strauss and W/R here.

Anonymous said...

John writes, "One thing that interests me about this episode is how he hasn't let it go."

If I remember correctly (and I do), John dedicated many a blog entry on his own site to attacking Darin, and quite a few of them were weirdly, disconcertingly personal.

And didn't the anti-MFA anonymous once say that he was done with LROD and that it was time for him to move on? Or am I confusing the anonymi here? In any event, his anti-MFA tirades are boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooring. As usual, he has no idea what the hell he's talking about. These are par-for-the-course rote generalizations of the under(or un-)published. Why don't you dust yourself off and step out of your cave every now and again? It's good to get a little oxygen to the brain.

Anonymous said...

I didn't read the whole article, just page 3 and 4, but it certainly made the author look a lot better than the angry jerks who usually post on blogs.

Anonymous said...

Darin: Is that you in disguise creepily defending yourself in the third person again? I hate to be cynical, but it sounds like you. I bought and read your book for the LROD book club, so I'm familiar with your voice.

Student09 said...

Darin was my creative writing teacher. I learned a lot, he was always kind. I'm sad to see some of the meaner posts on here

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