Join 3,516 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Tags:

Cory, Cory, tell us a story.
January 31, 2012 8:36 AM   Subscribe

So, why do we hate Cory so much?

So someone posts something related to Cory Doctorow and the thread immediately goes into two minute hate meltdown. I'm not exactly Cory's greatest fan either but I'm always a bit bemused by the extreme reaction I see whenever he turns up on the blue (for another example here's one I did that went in a similar way). I know he can be a bit of a self-aggrandising dick at times and the Violet Blue fiasco was not great but there are others who have committed much bigger crimes but don't seem to get nearly the same reaction.
posted by fearfulsymmetry to MetaFilter-Related at 8:36 AM (316 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

I didn't post, but I was annoyed that the FPP author didn't mention Bradbury.

Also, I don't think CD writes well.
posted by michaelh at 8:39 AM on January 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm jake with the the hate.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:42 AM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


but there are others who have committed much bigger crimes but don't seem to get nearly the same reaction.

I know. Like Hitler.
posted by Gator at 8:48 AM on January 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


I don't think that "we" do anything.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:50 AM on January 31, 2012 [12 favorites]


If only we could do a post about Micheal Moore playing Cory Doctrow in a game of Hockey, we could have a post that contained everything I've thought twice about posting because I'd just get crapped on.
posted by lumpenprole at 8:55 AM on January 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


So someone posts something related to Cory Doctorow and the thread immediately goes into two minute hate meltdown.

Yeah, I clicked on that thread expecting as much and wasn't disappointed. Actually, I was disappointed, at MeFi -- certainly those who felt compelled to speak up.

I have no opinion on Mr. Docotorow. The mere mention of his name inspires nothing in me other than vague familiarity and, "oh yeah, he's one of those guys that the normally lucid folk at Metafilter seem to HATE so much for no reason that's ever been made clear to me."

It reminds me of Banksy actually, who I do have an opinion of (I really like his work -- he moves into mostly ugly spaces and leaves them more beautiful). But man, it's hard to post anything about him here without calling out the dogs. In Banksy's case, the best I can surmise is that the HATE is based on some kind of perceived smugness on his part, which is weird given his attempts at keeping himself anonymous. Or maybe, it's just his success. An artist (a genuine painter-type) in this day and age actually making a living at it ...

But I don't know if this holds true for Doctorow. He seems a little more verbose than Banksy, more likely to reveal his face, open his mouth and talk about stuff. I finally caught RIP (REMIX MANIFESTO) and there he was doing just that. Not that it angered me. I liked what he was saying.

Are some folks just jealous? Do they see (hear) these guys and think (without really thinking about it), "Why is that not me? I'm as good as that. It's not fair."

haters, by all means, do weigh in ...
posted by philip-random at 8:55 AM on January 31, 2012 [9 favorites]


FWIW I thought about posting that story for about 5 minutes, thought "nah, it'll be a totally hatefest and nobody will actually listen to it" and didn't bother. Good on Taft for posting it anyway.

(I didn't predict the title being the hat to hang the hate on though, that was a suprise)
posted by Artw at 8:56 AM on January 31, 2012


I've noticed we pretty much hate everyone, including ourselves.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:56 AM on January 31, 2012 [18 favorites]


Yeah, I agree with Stagger Lee. Sometimes 'we' seem some way because that 'we' is the loudest. Personally, I think just about any time the subject of a post is ignored in order to pile on someone associated with that post, "we're" doing everybody involved, including and especially Metafilter, a disservice. I mean, if you're going to continue a campaign against someone, at least explain why this particular thing fits into your worldview that this person is the worst thing since New Coke rather than just saying "New Coke, blech!"

That said, I think a lot of that explanation that I'd be looking for happens within this particular example. It still might be a knee jerk reaction, but it's not the worst I've seen.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:57 AM on January 31, 2012


because of reasons
posted by elizardbits at 8:57 AM on January 31, 2012 [21 favorites]


I hate him because he's rich, yes, richer than a king, and admirably schooled in every grace: In fine -- because he's was everything to make us wish that we were in his place? Wait, no: that's Richard Cory.

*curses bread*
posted by octobersurprise at 8:57 AM on January 31, 2012 [49 favorites]


I'll say this for Cory Doctorow: I may never even have heard of him, but at least he's not David Foster Wallace.
posted by Decani at 8:58 AM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Having not posted in the thread cause I don't really like threadshitting unless it's on JONATHAN FRANZEN VS. THE PHANTOM E-BOOOOOOK ... I do think Cory Doctorow is a tool and calling his book Martian Chronicles makes me want to jam a log up his butt.

Wait, no: that's Richard Cory.

I hear he owns half of this damned town!
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:59 AM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


In fact, I'd say that naming his book Martian Chronicles is designed specifically to piss me off. Cory, was I mean to you in 8th grade algebra?

(Yes, it is all about me.)

This is all news to me that he's disliked around here though.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:01 AM on January 31, 2012


I sometimes feel like it can be difficult to have a genuine conversation about certain writers because of their fanbase. I don't think the upfront comments here about the title reuse were a threadshit or a derail in any way, despite the snark, but it does feel like any conversation beyond "great story is great" would not be taken in good faith by people who really liked the story/Doctorow.

(I've been running across something similar on goodreads with John Green fans lately. Any critical reviews of his latest book are answered with, "You don't understand his deep intentions and what do you have against kids with cancer and John Green and nerdfighteria, anyway?!" And ironically, the answer is usually, "Nothing." But it's not easy to have a productive conversation in that kind of environment of discourse.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:02 AM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


My beef with Cory Doctorow is that if I want to mention E.L. Doctorow in certain circles, I have to say the whole name. Other than that, he's okay.
posted by rollick at 9:03 AM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'll say this for Cory Doctorow: I may never even have heard of him, but at least he's not David Foster Wallace.

Consider The Tiki Room. Brief Interviews With Copyright Enforcers. A Supposedly Fun Thing That I'll Never MAKE Again.
posted by maryr at 9:04 AM on January 31, 2012 [16 favorites]


I'll say this for Cory Doctorow: I may never even have heard of him, but at least he's not David Foster Wallace.

Oh, are you one of those blokes with opinions?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:04 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


What do you mean 'we', kemo sabe?
posted by empath at 9:06 AM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


I posted in that thread with my opinion that this was a stupid stunt. However, prior to this I really had no opinion either way on Cory Doctorow, other than I see his name pop up around here occasionally. I entered that thread to see what said dude was doing with Bradbury's Martian Chronicles only to see that he was using the title as a stunt. I found that rude, lazy and off-putting behavior that with just a little more effort could have been intended as the meta-commentary he originally intended.
posted by forforf at 9:09 AM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


why do we hate Cory so much?

cause we (the royal we) used to read boing boing
posted by nathancaswell at 9:09 AM on January 31, 2012 [13 favorites]


The axe grinding thing gets really tiresome. Totally okay to not like the piece or to tie in your dislike of the piece for your general " Eh, I don't like the way Cory does that" but if all you want to do is show up and make your same old disemvowelling jokes or rehash conflicts from years ago, you're sort of fucking it up for everyone else and frankly it's sort of embarrassing. Disclaimer: I like Cory just fine and I think it's tough to be so high profile and an activist without people getting their hate-on at the mention of your name, so I don't think that he much cares, but it just seems like lazy commenting and I prefer my comments less lazy.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:10 AM on January 31, 2012 [40 favorites]


I occasionally like Cory and BoingBoing is often terrific. However, his general posture, or at least that of his internet persona, is smug, self-satisfied glibertarian on a soapbox. And his writing is terrible thinly-veiled moralizing.
posted by Lieber Frau at 9:11 AM on January 31, 2012 [14 favorites]


MetaFilter: You're sort of fucking it up for everyone else and frankly it's sort of embarrassing.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:11 AM on January 31, 2012 [13 favorites]


I know embarrassingly little about Cory Doctorow but I'm aghast that he'd write a book and reuse the name of one of the seminal titles of SciFi, a book that I really loved as a kid. That was my main reaction to the post.

I'm sure Cory's a smart guy. If he wanted people to discuss his book on the merit's he'd have given it a different title. This title is calculated to offend and inflame and it shouldn't be surprising when that happens.
posted by alms at 9:12 AM on January 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


if all you want to do is show up and make your same old disemvowelling jokes or rehash conflicts from years ago, you're sort of fucking it up for everyone else and frankly it's sort of embarrassing.

But . . . that didn't really happen in today's post, right? Unless something was deleted, everything before even the first accusation of threadshitting was post-relevant, if snarky, discussion on his repurposing of the title.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:16 AM on January 31, 2012 [10 favorites]


if all you want to do is show up and make your same old disemvowelling jokes or rehash conflicts from years ago

I don't think there's too much of that in the thread (unless they were deleted, and rightfully so) - the anger was directed at the stunt title, not the author or his work or personal history.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:16 AM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


his middle name is efram. 'nuff said.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 9:16 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


CD (as quoted in-thread by Artw):

In spring 2004, in the wake of Ray Bradbury pitching a tantrum over Michael Moore appropriating the title of Fahrenheit 451 to make Fahrenheit 9/11, I conceived of a plan to write a series of stories with the same titles as famous sf shorts, which would pick apart the totalitarian assumptions underpinning some of sf's classic narratives.

Scalzi:

I think me and Cory and Charlie are well aware we work in a genre with its own history, and have fun with that fact.

And later:

You don't have to be sorry, at least not on my account. When one plays with titles like that, one recognizes the potential for people to be annoyed…It's also a way of making the point as an author that these things exist in your worldview and that you are as cognizant of them as the reader, and that you're perfectly fine in acknowledging this shared understanding. Some people like it; some people don't. I like it, so it goes into the books (and occasionally, into the titles).

One of those two explanations scans as pretty aware and thoughtful. A few of the comments in there are a little vitriolic, to be sure, but lots of them are just eye-rolly at a guy being intentionally provocative and looking a little lame for it. Perhaps “two minute hate meltdown” is a little strong.
posted by mintcake! at 9:17 AM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Dammit, missed an ital tag. Sorry.
posted by mintcake! at 9:18 AM on January 31, 2012


Has Cory ever written a story or are they all just moralizing vehicles for CD's worldview? This is actually a serious question.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:20 AM on January 31, 2012 [9 favorites]


It appears to be a thing of nerds, and Cory is on some nerd shit, so there's overlap.

It may be true elsewhere and it is not true for all nerds but basically: If there is a thing that is big among nerds then it will not do to just not be into it. If it is loved by a nerd then it must be adored, it must be not only what it is but also a tee-shirt and it must be referenced in webcomics and somewhere out there, someone will make an image which is reblogged on tumblr a bunch of times which features the loved thing, whatever it is, interacting in some way (pro, con) with one of those marital-aid-looking salt shaker guys from off of Doctor Who.

If it is hated then it must be hated loudly and at every opportunity. The world must know.

And not all nerds are like this, and not all people like this are nerds, but it is a thing of nerds for certain. Is it good? Is it bad? It is not for me to say. But nerd passions run hot, and sometimes those passions give you something really cool and sometimes those passions result in lots of yelling about a guy who writes about space lasers and/or probably elves.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:23 AM on January 31, 2012 [10 favorites]


Because he's the Pat Boone of internet nerds
posted by theodolite at 9:25 AM on January 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


If there is a thing that is big among nerds then it will not do to just not be into it.

I can't be the only one who finds these discussions silencing and derailing, can I? If you raise a criticism with a famous author, and state it passionately or loudly, you must be doing it because you hate that author, not because you actually feel that way. I'm not saying this is true for everyone (sometimes I assume genuineness when maybe snark really is at a statement's core), but that thread very quickly became "Why's everyone got to hate Cory Doctorow," and it seems to me that that discussion is less on topic than, say, the discussion about the place of title repurposing within the wider SF genre.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:26 AM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


There's a whole group of people well-known on the internet, that mostly write, and for some reason I get them all confused with the chap who played Wesley Crusher on ST:TNG. Yeah I know that's uncanny, it just happens. Shut up Wesley!
posted by fuq at 9:27 AM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


"no talent ass-clown" comes to mind.

I stayed out of the thread because that's my opinion of the guy. I can't say no-talent with an entirely straight face. He does have one good talent: self-promoting.
posted by k5.user at 9:29 AM on January 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


OnTheLastCastle, I like these two stories of his the most: Human Readable and Makers. 0wnz0red is pretty good too.

also, his collaboration with Benjamin Rosenbaum and his other collaboration with Charlie Stross are quite good.
posted by jrishel at 9:31 AM on January 31, 2012


I can't be the only one who finds these discussions silencing and derailing, can I? If you raise a criticism with a famous author, and state it passionately or loudly, you must be doing it because you hate that author, not because you actually feel that way.

Man, I don't know. If a person has a particular hate-on for a particular author, I never doubt for a minute that they actually do feel that way. I was really more offering thoughts on the original question of what it is about some dude that draws so much hate. "I think sometimes nerds seem to really enjoy loudly hating a thing" is a far cry from "There aren't any valid criticisms of the dude." I don't really have any opinions about Cory Doctorow other than bemusement that he's kind of a lightning rod for some reason. I don't know, I think the discussion about repurposing is a good one and maybe having the runoff of the other thing here will allow the repurposing discussion to thrive. One hopes.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:33 AM on January 31, 2012


I think nerds hate Cory because we get a vague feeling he isn't really one of us. He's got a strange fascination with steampunk, and goatse and various slashdotesque things, but it somehow feels like a sham. Metafilter isn't the only place full of CD hate.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:34 AM on January 31, 2012


I think we, the internet commentariat as a whole, could all benefit from the understanding that no-one cares what we hate. Do we hate Doctorow? Or Franzen? Or the Decemberists? Or XKCD? Or some other stupid thing? NO-ONE CARES. It interests nobody, it entertains nobody, it impresses nobody, it benefits nobody. And yet, for some reason, we often feel an urgent need to share these stupid, shallow feelings. I'm no stranger to this feeling, but I'll be damned if I understand it.
posted by IjonTichy at 9:39 AM on January 31, 2012 [32 favorites]




I can't be the only one who finds these discussions silencing and derailing, can I? If you raise a criticism with a famous author, and state it passionately or loudly, you must be doing it because you hate that author, not because you actually feel that way.


Well okay, maybe you people just need some serious pointers on how to give constructive criticism.

When I was marking essays, they never would accept "no talent ass-clown" under the comments section. :)
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:40 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I liked his Disney book. Down and Out in The Magic Kingdom, I think.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:41 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you raise a criticism with a famous author, and state it passionately or loudly, you must be doing it because you hate that author, not because you actually feel that way.

I haven't been back to the thread since there were about 15 comments in it, but the initial criticism was just about the title, which.... BFD, you know? No one is going to confuse this with a classic short story collection by one of the most celebrated SF authors ever.
posted by Hoopo at 9:42 AM on January 31, 2012


It interests nobody, it entertains nobody, it impresses nobody, it benefits nobody.

I like it. YMMV.
posted by stinkycheese at 9:43 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


But . . . that didn't really happen in today's post, right?

Not so much, thankfully. It hasn't been entirely devoid of non-content GRRR CORY stuff and old history, but it hasn't been ridiculous at least and I think we've only removed one comment. This is more of a fatigue thing where we've had to deal with it enough times previously with weird anti-Cory, anti-BB, anti-Teresa Nielsen-Hayden stuff that it's weird that it even is a recurring thing. So administratively it's a little bit of a sore spot even seeing it sort of kind of flaring up again, like a lot of other recurrent not-great-behavior scenarios on mefi.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:44 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well okay, maybe you people just need some serious pointers on how to give constructive criticism.

People on the internet are under no obligation to make their criticism "constructive."
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:44 AM on January 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think the thread today in the blue is fine. People were talking about why it was a stupid thing in their opinion to do.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:48 AM on January 31, 2012


It's equal parts envy and knee-jerk.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:48 AM on January 31, 2012



People on the internet are under no obligation to make their criticism "constructive."
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:44 AM on January 31 [+] [!]


Well we can be be needlessly rude and vitriolic but I don't think it's something to aspire to, and it's awfully tiresome to defend it under the banner of free speech.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:49 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's this post a double? We've had this conversation before, right?
posted by cjorgensen at 9:49 AM on January 31, 2012


No, there's definitely some "I can't believe that guy is so successful" going on in many threads here. So much so, that if an FPP popped up with a story about Cory Doctorow dedicating his life to helping the poor in Africa and donating every last cent to the cause, there'd still be some jealous idiot chiming in with how horrible a person he is.
posted by gman at 9:50 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure why a young adult novella merits a FPP in the first place.
posted by smackfu at 9:51 AM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well we can be be needlessly rude and vitriolic but I don't think it's something to aspire to, and it's awfully tiresome to defend it under the banner of free speech.

(Something something months of having this conversation on goodreads)

Theoretically, I agree with you, and personally I tend to try to approach things from a more reasoned standpoint. In practice, "I think this person is a no-talent assclown" is probably an okay justification for not liking someone on the internet, even if it's jerky. They got their message across: they don't like him because he's not talented in their opinion. We can tell them that name calling isn't the best rhetorical strategy or whatever, but I get tired of policing people's critical tone, personally.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:52 AM on January 31, 2012


if an FPP popped up with a story about Cory Doctorow dedicating his life to helping the poor in Africa and donating every last cent to the cause, there'd still be some jealous idiot chiming in with how horrible a person he is.

Previou posts have gone along these lines:

CD: Content only being available in DRM heavy walled gardens may be potentially a problematic trend because...
Metafilter: GRAAAH! CORY DOCTROROW! FROTH! MOAN! RRRRRRAAAAAAGH! (continue for 50 comments)

I don't believ anyone here is really all that keen on DRM, so yeah, I think it's the independant oif the content of the post. Like I said, I knew that thread would be a clusterfuck without knowing the title would be the bone of contention.
posted by Artw at 9:55 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure why a young adult novella merits a FPP in the first place.

As opposed to....?
posted by zarq at 9:55 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure why a young adult novella merits a FPP in the first place.

It's a thing on the web that someone thought was good and wanted to share?
posted by Artw at 9:57 AM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Most everyone hates something, and, for the most part, different people hate different things. So, given a sufficiently large group just about everything will be hated by some group of ones.

Metafilter, is a sufficiently large group.

Draw your own conclusions.
posted by oddman at 9:58 AM on January 31, 2012


I didn't know who Cory Doctorow was, aside from having picked up that he's a high-profile tech blogger, I guess? And now, from here, that he has something to do with Boing Boing.

My objections in the thread were based entirely on the subject of the post.
posted by gilrain at 9:59 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Cory Doctorow is no John Scalzi.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:00 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


So, why do we hate Cory so much?

Bad memories of ringing up huge phone bills by repeatedly calling the Cory Hotline?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:01 AM on January 31, 2012 [14 favorites]


Is this something which would require me to hate Cory Doctorow in order to understand?
posted by urschrei at 10:02 AM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


"I think this person is a no-talent assclown" is probably an okay justification for not liking someone on the internet, even if it's jerky.

I want to stop the slander against ass-clowns.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:08 AM on January 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


His fame greatly outweighs his talent. Which doesn't make him unique, obviously, but lots of other equally untalented writers don't get mentioned here quite as much.
posted by tommasz at 10:09 AM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hey, Ray Bradbury is still alive? Wow!
posted by chinston at 10:10 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


gman: No, there's definitely some "I can't believe that guy is so successful" going on in many threads here

I think it's worth pointing out that there's a bunch of overlap between BoingBoing's and MetaFilter's mission statements, and that it seems fair to say that many, many people here, specifically, could have successfully served as a BoingBoing staff tastemaker had they been in the right place at the right time. And then on top of that some see his success as an author as primarily being a result of BoingBoing's success (which is unavoidably true, no, for various values of 'primarily'?).

PhoBeWan: I sometimes feel like it can be difficult to have a genuine conversation about certain writers because of their fanbase. I don't think the upfront comments here about the title reuse were a threadshit or a derail in any way, despite the snark, but it does feel like any conversation beyond "great story is great" would not be taken in good faith by people who really liked the story/Doctorow.

While often the case with topics like this one, I'm not sure that applies in this context. Precisely because I've never noticed anyone on MetaFilter self-identifying as a Cory Doctorow fan per se, only replying that some of the harsh criticism is unfair (and occasionally misplaced). Maybe there's some confirmation bias going on here, but I've never thought of him as having a rabid fan-base, more just that there are a lot of people who enjoy what he writes (on boingboing and/or in books) enough to keep reading.

IjonTichy: It interests nobody, it entertains nobody, it impresses nobody, it benefits nobody.

Yes, yes, very unlikely, alas no.
posted by nobody at 10:12 AM on January 31, 2012


Lately he hasn't been as bad as he used to be, but yes- the self-aggrandizing self promotion really grated on my nerves.

He could never just make a post about something and let the creator of that thing take the spotlight for once. He always had to bring it back around to himself and how great he was. If he'd even once shown a little self deprecation or humility he might have come across better, but he really lived the smug superiority thing completely.

Also, unlike the other Boing-Boing editors, he used that platform to simply post links to his own work and appearances. Those really belonged on a personal website, not Boing-Boing (apparently the other editors didn't care).

I dunno, I guess I can understand that he's just trying to make some scratch by constantly putting himself in your face, but he did it in the most gauche and classless way possible.
posted by keep_evolving at 10:13 AM on January 31, 2012 [14 favorites]


> but he did it in the most gauche and classless way possible.

Oh, come on. He's not a Kardashian or something.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:16 AM on January 31, 2012


Hey, Ray Bradbury is still alive? Wow!

He's a bit cranky and given to strange pronouncements these days.

StarShipSofa got him to do a phone interview a while back, and the oldness was very apparent.
posted by Artw at 10:16 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why don't I like him? Whuffie.

Also, that I find a lot of his writing precious and twee and I think that his dialogue is often too reliant on the appearance of hipness (see also: Why I kinda hate Joss Whedon); I find a fair amount of his writing on technology to be naive and predicated on believing that his life and career are the new normal; I have too many friends who an order of magnitude less nerdy who keep getting way into him as their gateway to sci-fi (see also: Neil Gaiman and fantasy) and keep trying to proselytize to me about how great he is.

In short, I'm sure he's a lovely human being, but I do get a cringe pretty regularly when he's mentioned — and writing a story and calling it Martian Chronicles tweaks that cringe response (even though I didn't comment in that thread).
posted by klangklangston at 10:18 AM on January 31, 2012 [16 favorites]


But I like CD quite a bit more than Xeni, so take that for what it's worth.
posted by klangklangston at 10:20 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think tommasz' and keep_evolving's responses are a better explanation of what I meant with my no-talent (except for self-promotion) ass clown comment.
posted by k5.user at 10:21 AM on January 31, 2012


For those of us who've never heard of him, is it alright if we just scour his wikipedia page and find our own reasons to hate Cory? I call dibs on what he named his daughter - Poesy Emmeline Fibonacci Nautilus Taylor Doctorow.
posted by mannequito at 10:22 AM on January 31, 2012 [10 favorites]


he did it in the most gauche and classless way possible

Hey!
posted by gauche at 10:30 AM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


> it seems fair to say that many, many people here, specifically, could have successfully served as a BoingBoing staff tastemaker had they been in the right place at the right time

Look, I have no love for the guy but this is just naked envy. Lots of people could be doing lots of things, but they aren't because they didn't make that effort. It's fallacious reasoning, really.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:31 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know, I see Boing Boing the same way I see The Doors. It was the first linkblog I ever encountered, and I loved it for a time, but ultimately abandoned it once I found others who were doing it better. Still, I refuse to diss on it, because it had merit, and for all I know, still has. BB was my linkblog training wheels.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:34 AM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Misattribution of motives is me of the most vulgar and easily avoided acts in online discussion. Can we not take people at their word and accept that, at least for some, envy has zero to do with Cory Doctorow being an annoying dick?
posted by stinkycheese at 10:35 AM on January 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


Thinking we know people's motives and telling them to DTMFA are hallmarks of a free and open internet, stinkycheese.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:36 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


He does have one good talent: self-promoting.

He's a writer in the 21st Century, if he doesn't self-promote, he doesn't eat.
posted by octothorpe at 10:37 AM on January 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


I assume you don't hate all self-promoters, such as homeless people applying for jobs. Is it Adams' Cory Doctorow's enormous success at self-promotion that makes you jealous and angry?
posted by Hoopo at 10:38 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


stinkycheese: Can we not take people at their word and accept that, at least for some, envy has zero to do with Cory Doctorow being an annoying dick?

You're right, and I do believe some people here genuinely don't like him because of his work, or because of who he is as a person, even if I'm not really sure how they've come to the latter conclusion. It's the mentality in this comment that bothers me. I mean, how many fuckin' times have I thought to myself 'If only I had been in the right place at the right time...'? It's a completely ridiculous line of thought that will get you precisely nowhere in life.
posted by gman at 10:48 AM on January 31, 2012


Look, I have no love for the guy but this is just naked envy. Lots of people could be doing lots of things, but they aren't because they didn't make that effort. It's fallacious reasoning, really.

For the record, I like Cory Doctorow. I recognize his books' flaws but I seem to enjoy reading most of them anyway. And while I don't check in on BoingBoing nearly as regularly as I did, say, 8 years ago, when I do load up the page I rarely feel even a twinge of the distaste others project onto the site.

My point was really just to comment on why the envy might be greater here, specifically, over other places, given the 'best of the web' vs. 'directory of wonderful things' overlap. (Do they still use that tagline?) As to whether that envy is justified, that can be left up to the reader.
posted by nobody at 10:49 AM on January 31, 2012


MetaFilter really does hate anything that's popular and successful, always out of jealousy and bitter envy. Thus the endless threads hating on John Scalzi, Neil Gaiman, Monty Python, Edward Tufte, The Wire, Tom Waits, Alan Moore, Mythbusters, Calvin and Hobbes, Stephen Hawking, and Philip K. Dick.
posted by 0xFCAF at 10:53 AM on January 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


Don't forget the Muppets!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:54 AM on January 31, 2012


I gotta say - as a guy who finds Cory Doctorow insufferable as a person (for the aforementioned obnoxious self-promotey self-righteous crappy writing reasons) the outrage about borrowing a title from a Ray Bradbury book makes absolutely no sense to me.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 10:58 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Because it is clearly a stunt, and I wouldn't call it "borrowing".
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:01 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's actually a short story he's written with a title that's one word off of a Badbury short story collection, which itself contains stories with lifted titles. At best it's a bit cheeky. What you are seeing there is people bending over backwards to find outrage.
posted by Artw at 11:01 AM on January 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


(It isn't even the first title of the short story collection - originally it was "The Silver Locusts", which nobody will be stealing as it's rubbish.)
posted by Artw at 11:02 AM on January 31, 2012


many, many people here, specifically, could have successfully served as a BoingBoing staff tastemaker had they been in the right place at the right time

So true! I still rue the day I missed that casting call.

MetaFilter really does hate anything that's popular and successful, always out of jealousy and bitter envy.

That's just what Mitt Romney wants you to think.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:03 AM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's a lot of energy to spend disliking someone whose greatest sin seems to be self-promotion, and perhaps the possession of fame somewhat exceeding his talent.

That energy could be better directed towards hating someone truly evil, like Newt Gingrich, or the guy who invented uggs.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:05 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hat auto correct so much.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:08 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey, Ray Bradbury is still alive? Wow!

Under circumstances too odd to explain, last week I was shown a cameraphone picture of Ray Bradbury's living room. It was full (I mean full) of stuffed animals. Mostly tigers, it seemed.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:12 AM on January 31, 2012 [11 favorites]


It's equal parts envy and knee-jerk.

Doctorow? Or Margaret Atwood?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:13 AM on January 31, 2012


I wouldn't call it "borrowing"

HE STOLE THE TWO WORDS!
posted by Hoopo at 11:13 AM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Mod clarification request: Does 'weird' mean bad? I don't think of weird as bad at all, but in the context of your comments, it seems it could be a synonym?
posted by ignignokt at 11:14 AM on January 31, 2012


Bookhouse: “Under circumstances too odd to explain, last week I was shown a cameraphone picture of Ray Bradbury's living room. It was full (I mean full) of stuffed animals. Mostly tigers, it seemed.”

You can't just say that, man. Not without explaining it. Sorry.
posted by koeselitz at 11:19 AM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't have any strong opinions about Cory Doctorow, but I have pretty strong opinions about how disproportionate the hate-on MetaFilter has for him is. Reading through that thread it seemed (but, I guess maybe only SEEMED) like the salient offending part of the thing for many people was the author, and that they sought things to attack him with, and found them. Kind of a drag, honestly.
posted by dirtdirt at 11:21 AM on January 31, 2012


Weird means vexing, in this case. I find it vexing the way some things recur again and again on the site in ways that seem unproductive and that we've actually sort of had to talk about having not happen in the past. Weird as in I have trouble understanding why it happens, as in it's a source of frustration that seems to come from a mismatch between how I'd expect people to behave and how they sometimes do behave.

What I mean by weird is going to depend a lot on the context; weird is good a lot of the time, I don't mean to besmirch cultural weirdness (something I value a great deal personally) by associating it with behavioral weirdness (something that in the context of herding cats on the internet can be vexing to try and deal with).
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:21 AM on January 31, 2012


Burhanistan: "It's equal parts envy and knee-jerk."

I am not envious of Cory Doctorow. I do admit to a knee-jerk reaction to his appropriating the title of a work that meant a lot to me, personally, and is also generally recognized as a pivotal work in the genre.

Burhanistan: "> but he did it in the most gauche and classless way possible.

Oh, come on. He's not a Kardashian or something.
"
THIS JUST IN: KIM KARDASHIAN AND CORY DOCTOROW SET TO MARRY ON MARS!

Rights to the ceremony have already been acquired by the E! network. Sources high in the network collaborate rumors that a new reality series based on the courtship and wedding of the two celebrity lovebirds is set to begin filming next month. The new series has reportedly been given the working title, "MARTIAN CHRONICLES: THE REAL WIVES OF MARS, PART I: LIVING WITH THE KARDASHIAN-DOCTOROWS".
Hoopo: "I assume you don't hate all self-promoters, such as homeless people applying for jobs. Is it Adams' Cory Doctorow's enormous success at self-promotion that makes you jealous and angry?"

Nope, it's really just his sleazy methods that bug me.
posted by misha at 11:22 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Cory Doctorow is no John Scalzi."

But Cory is a dear friend of mine, so I'm uncomfortable with the comparison, however it might flatter me.

I can't pretend to be objective about Cory because he is my friend and because my relationship with him gives me a different perspective on him than other people have. From my perspective, Cory has always been just a really great guy to me and to other people I have seen him interact with. He was kind and generous with me when I was starting out, cheered me on in my successes, and became my friend. One of the great moments for my writing career was in 2009, when he, Charlie Stross and I were all on the same Hugo Best Novel ballot together; it felt great to be able to share that distinction with the two of them, because they were and are important people to me.

It annoys me when I see people froth up about him here, because their perception of who he is (or at least his pubic persona) is so at odds with my perspective of him that I have a hard time reconciling the two. And obviously I get it -- I have a public persona too, and the way people see me as JOHN SCALZI is different from who I am as a person, and I just have to deal with it. But oddly enough it's easier for me to deal with people dumping on Public Persona Scalzi than it is watching them dump on a friend.

Cory doesn't need me to defend him, and in any event at this point it seems inevitable that Cory + Metafilter = Frotharama, so when it happens my "fuck you I will fight you all" impulse is somewhat lessened. But it's still irritating. Again, my perspective is different than most people's, but even so: A lot of MeFites have their heads up their asses about Cory. He deserves better than what he often gets here.
posted by jscalzi at 11:26 AM on January 31, 2012 [52 favorites]


Weird means vexing, in this case.

Aha. I use 'bizarre' in this way, which I feel is already negative. Thanks for the annotation!
posted by ignignokt at 11:34 AM on January 31, 2012


I'd be amused to see CD publish something under a different name and see how people react to it independently of knowing who wrote it.

And yeah... most of the complaints against him here so far seem pretty content-less and subjective.

Personally I'm pretty neutral on the matter, some public personal traits annoy me slightly, but that is true with about 98% of all y'all out there.. and yet somehow I haven't gone and gotten my shotgun yet.

jscalzi: I found your record introducing video pretty amusing.
posted by edgeways at 11:35 AM on January 31, 2012


I see Cory Doctorow as a very capable person who chose writing as a profession solely because he saw he could be a success as a writer.

I've never detected even an overtone, a hint, or so much as a tinge of inspiration in anything of his I've read.

Maybe if he were to write a book about how he's had a great life and made a good living writing things, we'd see passion, but I doubt it, because he'd have to break the habits of a lifetime.

On preview, I beg your pardon, jscalzi.
posted by jamjam at 11:37 AM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm not even sure how the title is a stunt. The story is not even a stand-alone product; it's a part of a short story collection that goes by a different title altogether. It's also actually descriptive in addition to being a nod to one of the greats of the genre.
posted by Hoopo at 11:48 AM on January 31, 2012


Cory is one of the most hard-working and self-disciplined people I've ever met, and for that I admire him greatly. I think he makes people uncomfortable because he refuses to soften his passions by coating them in self-deprecation and irony. Sincerity can be an odd thing to encounter in this day and age.
posted by crackingdes at 11:48 AM on January 31, 2012


a very capable person who chose writing as a profession solely because he saw he could be a success as a writer.

Lucky thing he chose to be a writer, then, eh?
posted by octobersurprise at 11:49 AM on January 31, 2012


Bookhouse: “Under circumstances too odd to explain, last week I was shown a cameraphone picture of Ray Bradbury's living room. It was full (I mean full) of stuffed animals. Mostly tigers, it seemed.”

The nursery is on the fritz again.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:50 AM on January 31, 2012 [12 favorites]


I hate Doctorow for the same reason French peasants hated Marie Antoinette.
posted by seanyboy at 11:51 AM on January 31, 2012


Oh, go play in Africa.
posted by Gator at 11:51 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hate Doctorow for the same reason French peasants hated Marie Antoinette.

He has his own pretend dairy?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:53 AM on January 31, 2012 [9 favorites]


There's a terrible film about him with a pretty decent soundtrack.
posted by Artw at 11:55 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Let them eat steampunk."
posted by Burhanistan at 11:55 AM on January 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


I have to admit, there was a period when Boing Boing started irritating me by being either steampunk stuff of highky variable quality or self promotional stuff. I dealt with this by stopping visiting Boing Boing.
posted by Artw at 12:03 PM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Cory Doctorow is the Paula Deen of bloggers.
posted by crunchland at 12:18 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah I should mention that I know Corey too, though not more than we've shook hands a few times and I got to guest blog on boingboing and he says nice things about me and about libraries to people. I think there's a weird combination or nerdliness and activism and success that is problematic for people. Like jscalzi [who I have also met and who is a mensch of the highest order] he's just super nice in person and I've always liked him because he's enthusiastic and he's got a lot of energy and is willing to spend some of that fighting against DRM and his other pet topics. I don't even agree with what he says all the time but I'm very happy he is out there saying it. So, from an activist perspective that's cool, though not always a way to endear yourself to people. I like his writing fine, but there are lots of people whose writing I like or dislike and that wouldn't make me go on a crusade for or against them.

So it's fine not to like people, it's entirely another to do some sort of "Start your engines!!" thing every time their name is mentioned. That's a particular sort of nerd rage that I don't really understand. Like there's a combination of him being annoying [I swear, we are all of us annoying both individually and collectively here] and at the same time popular to other people [or successful with boingboing? I'm not even sure] that makes people start with the "Eh he's not so great" but they're responding to popular opinion sentiment, not necessarily the sentiment of anyone in particular who said anything here on the site. We see this a lot where people feel they have to take people down a peg just because they're popular in the larger world even if they're not that popular here at MetaFilter.

So yeah that thread was mostly going fine but starting to tilt in the same old direction and I think it's worth pointing out that while there's no special "You can't dish on that guy here" rules, I'd argue that while there may not be an edict to be constructive with criticism on the internet in general, we sort of would like it if people could be constructive with their criticism here. There is a difference, to me, between not liking someone actively in your heart of hearts and having a desire to dislike someone or something out loud to an audience. MeFi is perhaps a bit too much of the latter and it's only times like these that we notice because there are people on both sides of the general dislike.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:19 PM on January 31, 2012 [9 favorites]


I've never detected even an overtone, a hint, or so much as a tinge of inspiration in anything of his I've read.

Even Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town? My mother was a washing-machine, my father was a mountain? Which we can't help but take as metaphor, maybe even cliche, until the literal reading is shown to be the accurate one? To my eye that easily passes the hint-or-so-much-as-a-tinge of inspiration test.
posted by nobody at 12:19 PM on January 31, 2012


Thoughts:

1) BoingBoing does kind of annoy me, and I thought the Violet Blue/TNH stuff really showed Cory not acting in a classy fashion.

2) That said, I solved this by no longer visiting BB. And it was quite some time ago, and doesn't have anything to do with his fiction writing.

3) Most of his fiction doesn't really work for me, but I did find When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth moving.

4) I'm not sure why like 15 people came into this thread to say they don't know who Cory Doctorow is.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:23 PM on January 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


the understanding that no-one cares what we hate
True that. I don't really care what any single person loves or hates when it comes to media. I don't care if you have never heard of the subject of the post. I don't care if you think X is so much better than Y. In the last case, it can be useful if you are suggesting another thing that people who like Y might also be into. But if you are just saying you like X and hate Y, um, why should we care?

People on the internet are under no obligation to make their criticism "constructive."
No, but criticism is more than just saying that you don't like something. It is explaining why. If you don't explain why, there is no conversation to be had and you have just stated your opinion. Which again, why should we care that you don't like it? We like it and your not liking it doesn't affect that.
posted by soelo at 12:29 PM on January 31, 2012


I did find When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth moving.

Oh, yeah, I forgot he wrote that - it was truly excellent. Eloquent and moving and shocking - this is probably the best example of the spark of inspiration the above commenter was seeking, and an excellent example of how science fiction isn't about technology tomorrow, but people today.

(It was a bit glittery-woo about Google, but it was written when people took things like "Web 2.0" seriously, so he can be forgiven. If Gibson can name-drop Braun and Nikon, Doctorow can name-drop Google. )

Still ain't reading no story titled Martian Chronicle, unless it's written by Bradbury.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:34 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sincerity can be an odd thing to encounter in this day and age.

Not really. I encounter it every single day, from every artist I respect.

And I do respect what Doctorow does for free speech issues and such, though in the spirit of constructive criticism: If you're not writing a 20s gangster character, the word "sez" really really really needs to not appear ever.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:37 PM on January 31, 2012


because their perception of who he is (or at least his pubic persona)

oh, tee hee hee
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:37 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, but criticism is more than just saying that you don't like something. It is explaining why. If you don't explain why, there is no conversation to be had and you have just stated your opinion. Which again, why should we care that you don't like it? We like it and your not liking it doesn't affect that.

To be fair, in this thread people asked why other people didn't like Cory Doctorow. "I think he's a hack" (or no-talent assclown, or whatever) is a valid answer (again, not my feelings, have not read him) to a question like that. And again again you reeeeeally don't need to explain to me how reasoned discourse is better. I think it's better, too. It's what I prefer to engage in. But creative public figures like authors sometimes elicit STRONG FEELINGS STATED SIMPLISTICALLY and I don't think a five paragraph essay is always necessitated in defense of one's opinions.

I also think it's extra complicated here because he's friends with people. There are authors who I am friends with and when I hear them criticized I go into a Mama Bear rage. But I also suspect my defenses of those friends have not helped anything--and probably wouldn't help cory, either? It's always the author's fault, and it can contribute to an environment where people feel like they can't have an honest conversation about the work, separate from the author, and I honestly think it probably makes things feel even more contentious here on MF when the topic comes up because everyone is prickly and there are FEELINGS.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:41 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


And I guess I'm not talking about metafilter specifically, though I still think that thread started off on an okay foot and to turn the conversation into "you don't like his use of this title because metafilter is axe grindy about cory doctorow" feels funny to me. But then, you guys, I have spent the last month embroiled in ridiculous goodreads drama and my head is super musey about these things right now and I am going to go for a walk outside because it's beautiful out and all of that.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:49 PM on January 31, 2012


Still ain't reading no story titled Martian Chronicle, unless it's written by Bradbury.

Ray Bradbury has not written a story titled Martian Chronicle, Martian Chronicles or The Martian Chronicles, so good luck with that one.

And TBH I'd respect you a lot more if you'd give the story the OP posted a try, if only for the reason that flooding the thread with comments about how awful what they've linked is without even taking a look at it is damn rude.
posted by Artw at 12:50 PM on January 31, 2012


I know next to nothing about CD, but if you write a book/story and call it "Kill a Mockingbird" or "Separate Peace" or even "Shining," then you deserve to have the shit kicked out of you, just like he does.

Also, can WE stop with all the fucking "we" talk? There is no we.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:52 PM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


We're going to hate Dr. Dre's next release, The Martian Chronic.
posted by SpiffyRob at 12:57 PM on January 31, 2012 [17 favorites]


I know next to nothing about CD, but if you write a book/story and call it "Kill a Mockingbird" or "Separate Peace" or even "Shining," then you deserve to have the shit kicked out of you, just like he does.

Dude, you just volunteered to go kick this shit out of Ray Bradbury.
posted by Artw at 12:59 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ray Bradbury has not written a story titled Martian Chronicle, Martian Chronicles or The Martian Chronicles, so good luck with that one.

And TBH I'd respect you a lot more if you'd give the story the OP posted a try, if only for the reason that flooding the thread with comments about how awful what they've linked is without even taking a look at it is damn rude.


OK. First off, I'm not an idiot, I understand that it's the title of the book. Way to score cheap pedant points.

Second off, there's nothing wrong with linking the story, reading the story or enjoying the story. No one ever said there was. So, sorry, cheap strawman points are denied.

Thirdly, the title is part of the work. A title has a number of functions, depending on the intent of the artist - and the perception of the audience. First, it separates the work from other works, so you can refer to it as a work. This title doesn't do a good job of that. In addition, a title entices the reader to read it... or it disinclines the reader to read it! I ain't gonna read "Hermaphrodite Bunnies Have a Nice, Clean Tea," because the author has invited me to make a judgement about the story - squeaky-clean furry pron genre twaddle. Titles perform other functions, true, but these two in particular have caught my interest.

Doctorow invited me to make a judgement about his story with the title. I'm sorry you feel I'm not entitled to make it.
posted by Slap*Happy at 1:02 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dude, you just volunteered to go kick this shit out of Ray Bradbury.

In 2008, the post-apocalyptic Fallout 3, which takes place in the irradiated remnants of Washington, DC, there is a robot in a house in Georgetown that, upon entering a command in a terminal in the house, will hover into the bedroom of the occupants' children and recite the poem for which this story is named. The robot reciting the poem is a reference to the story, as well as the content of the poem itself.[6]

This thread is now about how awesome Fallout is.
posted by cmonkey at 1:02 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


> This thread is now about how awesome Fallout is.

You know, the blaster gun from the wrecked alien ship does look kinda steampunk...
posted by Burhanistan at 1:06 PM on January 31, 2012


OK. First off, I'm not an idiot, I understand that it's the title of the book.

The second title of the book after it's initial publication. Though it IS the title of the TV show based on the book, which, TBH, I suspect has more bearing on whether people posting

Way to score cheap pedant points.

Except pedantry is all that seperates Bradbury from having commited the exact same crime.

Doctorow invited me to make a judgement about his story with the title. I'm sorry you feel I'm not entitled to make it.

The OP invited you to look at something cool he found on the internet. By repeatedly taking a dump on it without even looking you are, like it or not, make a judgement on his post and him as a user. That's what makes your intellectual incuriousity rude.
posted by Artw at 1:10 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Doctorow invited me to make a judgement about his story with the title. I'm sorry you feel I'm not entitled to make it.

Oh good lord. You are dangerously close to making the argument that books should be judged by their covers.
posted by Hoopo at 1:11 PM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


This thread is now about how awesome Fallout is.

Fallout 3 is an abomination.

...damnit. *Goes and puts a quarter in the Internet Hate Jar*
posted by IjonTichy at 1:13 PM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


his middle name is efram. 'nuff said.

Well, spelled backwards it's marfe. So, clearly not 'nuff was said.
posted by chillmost at 1:15 PM on January 31, 2012


then you deserve to have the shit kicked out of you, just like he does.

No, you do not. If this is your opinion, fine, but I'm just going to broken-record this to say that from a mod perspective no one "deserves" really shitty nerdrage treatment. Happens sometimes and we try to keep it in line but if you feel that you're justified in kicking the shit out of someone because you don't like the way they title the things they wrote, I'd suggest keeping that data point to yourself.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:20 PM on January 31, 2012 [15 favorites]


I don't hate Cory -- I've enjoyed a number of his books. I do think he's somewhat overexposed. For example, I've read two books in the past month that name-drop him in the text, which I found obsequious and off-putting (Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, and I think the other one was one of Lauren Beukes' novels).

Nobody likes being marketed to all the time, and MetaFilter especially has a lot of antipathy towards SEO/ linkbait marketing, which is what a lot of Cory's activities feel like. He comes across as one of those people who's always selling, and it's not surprising that it raises some hackles.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 1:22 PM on January 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


nerdrage

It's like 28 Days Nerdier in here.
posted by Hoopo at 1:22 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


By repeatedly taking a dump on it without even looking you are, like it or not, make a judgement on his post and him as a user.

Ah. Sorry, no. This site hasn't worked that way since I got here. You find something, and people comment on it. The comments often go in directions the submitter could not forsee, or that other users dislike. I've had posts called terrible. I had one just this week (and it was pretty terrible, to be fair).

I've also had a post where a voice actor mashed up Ledger and Hamilton's acting style with a monolog from "the killing joke" where a commenter said he disliked Mark Hamil's portrayal of the joker, found it too much like standard scenery chewing. Was he taking a dump on my post? No. Do I agree with him? No. Would he be taking a dump on my post if he didn't even listen to it? No. He said he disliked the acting style. That, in and of itself, is enough participation... he has an opinion on what was posted. Negative opinions of the content of the post do not reflect on the one who posted it, unless being called out explicitly as a terrible post.

No-one has called this out as being a terrible post, except for perhaps yourself... but that's because you don't like people saying negative things about authors you like in the comments.
posted by Slap*Happy at 1:24 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


"It's bad" is not anymore helpful to me than "I hate it." "No talent" doesn't mean much more to me.
posted by soelo at 1:24 PM on January 31, 2012


I actually flagged ArtW's initial comment in that thread as a derail, because seriously, how is that comment going to make the thread more likely to go the way you want it to go? And it was actually going fine up to that point (as in, people were talking about the thing the post was about, and not just spewing "Cory sucks amirite lol") anyway. Complaining about threadcrapping, especially when there hasn't really been any in the thread -- who actually thinks that's useful?
posted by Gator at 1:37 PM on January 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


He does have one good talent: self-promoting.

I was fairly late in following him on Twitter, because of his Metafilter reputation. But I did; and he doesn't. Not nearly as much as some other writers I follow. Maybe he did once, way back when his critics were all hypersensitive to self-promotion on the Web because it was all so new and we'd never been exposed to it from writers before. But in 2012, he really doesn't seem exceptional in this respect any more.

If you're not writing a 20s gangster character, the word "sez" really really really needs to not appear ever.

Sez someone who must not have read many representations of the Australian vernacular.

The second title of the book after it's initial publication.

Actually, it was the first title in the US and the rest of the world, and only the second title in the UK.
posted by rory at 1:44 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've remembered why I hate Cory Doctorow so much.

Back in the day (2002), I was really enamored of the whole creative commons thing and really wanted to make an MP3 podcast version of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. Guess I wanted to be part of the CC mashup culture.

But the CC terms at the time wouldn't allow me to make this podcast version. There could be no mashup of this piece of work without the express permission of Doctorow.

So - I recorded the first episode (an amateur affair) of the thing, and emailed the man asking if the terms would allow us to do what we wanted, and if not asking if we could make the (free) podcast. It was going to be awesome.

No answer.
Emailed him again with more specifics, and no answer.

Now of course, I've no right to expect any reply, and if I'd been emailing some crusty old sci-fi writer with his head in his corporate masters ass, I'd have understood it. But this was Doctorow. He loved freedom, and making new things from existing things. In my head, a project where science fiction was podcasted would have been right up his alley.

But he didn't answer. And I twisted that lack of an answer around to face the mirror of his creatice commons license, and I came to the conclusion that for Doctorow "Creative Commons" wasn't about freedom from stupid copyright laws - It was a way for him to publicise his books to a naive netterati.

That may or may not be true, and it's probably true to a degree and untrue to a bigger degree, and it left me with the feeling that he doesn't believe the things he's made his career on.

I've seen little in the last ten years to disabuse me of this notion.

On reflection, the angst I have against the man may not be founded on very much. I recognies that. But you asked, and this is my answer to why, deep down I don't really trust or like Cory Doctorow.


(next: How Charles Stross managed to piss me off)
posted by seanyboy at 1:47 PM on January 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


Self-aggrandising writer of often agenda-pushing but always very mediocre fiction with a Disney fetish.

Basically, the 4 things in the world which really annoy me.
posted by Pinback at 1:47 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


He does have one good talent: self-promoting. -- Come on. Who among us, if we had the eyeballs that BoingBoing gets, wouldn't take advantage of that pulpit?

I've met Cory, too, in a similar situation to Jess. We met at SXSW 2002. I found him to be incredibly smart, and very energetic. I don't really get why people get annoyed that he rides his hobby-horses on his blog, because isn't that what blogs are for? Compare him to, say, Jason Kottke, who people seem to universally adore, and tell me what the intrinsic differences are. Cory is maybe a little more intense, and opinionated, but I don't really see why that's a bad thing.
posted by crunchland at 1:49 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, can WE stop with all the fucking "we" talk? There is no we.

I'll put that on the list right after the "you deserve [insert violent rhetoric]"
posted by edgeways at 1:49 PM on January 31, 2012


No-one has called this out as being a terrible post, except for perhaps yourself... but that's because you don't like people saying negative things about authors you like in the comments.

I don't think it was a terrible post, but I'll admit that I think the fact that it was a long, multi-part podcast rather than an actual story one could read contributed to the problem, because without a significant time investment there really isn't anything to discuss but the title.

And I'm speaking as someone whose initial reaction was "YA sci-fi novella! awesome!"
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:05 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I went ahead and did my own audio book version of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom; I didn't ask for permission. I didn't read it before I recorded it, and by the time I'd got to the end I was rather disenchanted but muddled through anyhow. It really wasn't well plotted or characterized and while the concepts were kind of fun I'm not sure the logical conclusion would be the same one he envisioned. He's done better work. The recording's still up and people still listen to it.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:12 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think it was a terrible post, but I'll admit that I think the fact that it was a long, multi-part podcast rather than an actual story one could read contributed to the problem, because without a significant time investment there really isn't anything to discuss but the title.

Call me old school, but I would have thought the default position should be "I'll talk about taht if I get around to checking it out", not ripping it a new one.

I actually flagged ArtW's initial comment in that thread as a derail, because seriously, how is that comment going to make the thread more likely to go the way you want it to go?

Oh! I said I liked something and not to worry about the kneejerk neagtive comments! Sorry I disapproved of your circlejerk for bullies and haters. Obviously shitting on stuff without looking on it is "best of the web", not, you know, providing links that may be of interest.
posted by Artw at 2:12 PM on January 31, 2012


Call me old school, but I would have thought the default position should be "I'll talk about taht if I get around to checking it out", not ripping it a new one.

Criticizing the title of something is not ripping it a new one.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:14 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Heh.
posted by Artw at 2:15 PM on January 31, 2012


"Something Wicked This Way Comes"? Arrogance! Who does this clown think he is, Shakespeare?
posted by Hoopo at 2:17 PM on January 31, 2012


I dislike Cory because I have an ex of mine who thought that he walked on water and healed the sick in between blogging, and the ex talked about Cory quite a fair bit. It's completely personal and irrational, but it's there. However, I'm also not commenting on Cory threads because my dislike is irrational and personal, and I feel no need to comment.

(And somewhere else in the internetosphere, I'm sure my ex is writing a screed on how he hates the Seattle Sounders FC, because this girl he dated once just LOVES them, etc. blah yadda yadda.)
posted by spinifex23 at 2:17 PM on January 31, 2012


seanmpuckett : Looks like he noticed last november.
posted by seanyboy at 2:18 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why does everything have to be all Fandom Wars? I'm not even going to give my own opinion of Doctorow and his work here; I'll just say that there are good reasons to enjoy his fiction and prose, and to be supportive of his stances on IP rights and what-not, and to enjoy BoingBoing. And there are good reasons to find his literary work not for you, and to disagree with his activism, and to avoid BoingBoing.

But the bullshit "You must not have a SOUL if you like/don't like this thing" has been tired since the heyday of Usenet. It doesn't make anyone come off as a passionate warrior--it makes them come off as Comic Book Guy in a huff.

So some people like Doctorow and others don't. Some people thought the reference to Bradbury was cheeky and fun, others thought it was a jerk move. Did that really merit a call-out?
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:34 PM on January 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


So when did Bradbury become untouchable?

I enjoy his fiction and all, but as someone alluded to above, his politics and opinions can be dubious at best. It's important genre fiction, but it's certainly not above criticism.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:41 PM on January 31, 2012


I came back from winter break with a full mustache. Last week one of our fine arts faculty (and former chair) noticed it and asked me, in all earnestness, if I was trying to be steampunk. For this I blame Cory Doctorow.
posted by hydrophonic at 2:45 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't dislike Doctorow since I don't know the guy. I do dislike his writing. Actually I wish to revise and extend that statement; I dislike the way his writing is hyped up by people who should know better as, say, the second coming of Orwell (see Little Brother for example) and being suckered into high expectations for what is at the end of the day rather bland and mediocre work.

But I haven't posted in a BB or CD thread in forever so I don't think I'm part of the problem. Yay!
posted by Justinian at 2:48 PM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


So when did Bradbury become untouchable?

I enjoy his fiction and all, but as someone alluded to above, his politics and opinions can be dubious at best. It's important genre fiction, but it's certainly not above criticism.


I would posit that Bradbury is not usually considered untouchable, and that having a title that is a cheeky reference to another story is not usually an unforgivable crime (I've linked the McAuley "Little Lost Robot" before and nobody has batted an eye) but this is a special case.
posted by Artw at 2:49 PM on January 31, 2012


That's a particular sort of nerd rage that I don't really understand.

As an Australian, I think a recognise the feelings that motivate this, indeed, I would argue that it's something that's endemic to Australian culture, namely Tall Poppy Syndrome - but I would say this is more in regards to the intensity of the feelings about CD, rather than their validity.

I do think, more broadly, CD's success has been largely built from engaging and expanding fandom culture (which, even though I'm very enthusiastic about lots of things, as a culture often seems to me a bit icky and extremely inward-looking), and that when people try to engage with him critically, they find that a critical discourse around anything enmeshed so strongly with fandom culture is both very difficult and typically unwelcome, and so instead the criticism adopts the syntax, tone and general religiosity of fandom culture - which I would argue is not conducive to productive discussion in general, being all sound and fury etc.

Faced with the intractability of fandom, you end up with this low-level, banal fandom discourse, taking Cory on his own terms, some might argue. The result is uncharitable, rabid slugfests between opposing fans. It certainly feels like Cory attracts the lion's share of ire, but other fandom cult figures like Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman,Dr Who, to a lesser degree Joss Whedon and many others all get the obbroprium.

In some ways I feel like Cory becomes a scapegoat here for all the negative thought people have about fandom figures in general. A jaundiced comment on Gaiman, or other popular figures would probably would result in more of a smackdown here. Knowing that CD is an "acceptable" target, I think this disillusionment and scorn with some aspects of fan-culture and these kinds of figures in general becomes intensified and more vitriolic than it otherwise would.

It's not pretty, but understandable. I don't want to get in "well you shouldn't have worn that short skirt" territory here, but I also feel sometimes that the fans who won't engage with genuine critical comments and dialogue, and are instead dismissive, insular, and throwing accusations of immaturity and philistinism don't help things. Paradoxically, I think, they engender the very things they deride. ArtW, I think criticism of your initial comment is coming from that background.
posted by smoke at 3:08 PM on January 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


I dunno, I think if you think the thread was going to be less of a hatefest whatever anyone said about it you're kidding yourself.
posted by Artw at 3:20 PM on January 31, 2012


I think we, the internet commentariat as a whole, could all benefit from the understanding that no-one cares what we hate. Do we hate Doctorow? Or Franzen? Or the Decemberists? Or XKCD? Or some other stupid thing? NO-ONE CARES. It interests nobody, it entertains nobody, it impresses nobody, it benefits nobody. And yet, for some reason, we often feel an urgent need to share these stupid, shallow feelings. I'm no stranger to this feeling, but I'll be damned if I understand it.
posted by IjonTichy at 9:39 AM on January 31 [6 favorites −] Favorite added! [Flagged]


THIS, a thousand times. Flagged as fantastic. Nerd hate is the least interesting, most tedious thing available online.
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:23 PM on January 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


I dunno, I think if you think the thread was going to be less of a hatefest whatever anyone said about it you're kidding yourself.

I don't think assuming the worst out of the participants and labeling their opinions threadshitting helped the level of discourse.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:30 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Your favorite internet personality sucks.
posted by Mngo at 3:31 PM on January 31, 2012


I don't think being an ostrich about one of MeFi's more obvious quirks helps anything either.
posted by Artw at 3:35 PM on January 31, 2012


I dunno. I feel like we've disagreed about this before, artw. I don't think disliking the topic of a post, or something about it, is necessarily threadshitting or griefing. Honestly, I think the assumption and often very loud statement that it is actually derails conversations far worse--like here, when we find ourselves discussing whether or not we hate cory doctorow, and why. But obviously some other mefites feel differently about it than I do. 'scool.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:38 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, this is a known pet peeve of ArtW's. Regardless, popping into a thread to declare people's comments threadcrapping is itself threadcrapping. Flagging and MetaTalk remain viable options that do not clutter up a thread on the Blue.
posted by Gator at 3:43 PM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hah. I didn't even bother with the thread because I knew the bash brigade would be out in force as usual, and I'm tired of being reactive to that. I have no particular special feelings towards the man -- other than Canadian-fellow-feeling -- but it's just depressing, predictable and embarrassing what happens every time he's mentioned here.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:44 PM on January 31, 2012


Well, I have to admit, I'm rising my bar for what constitutes worthless noise at the beginning of a thread bit by bit. Expressions of kneejerk hatred with a thin pretext make the list, I guess.
posted by Artw at 3:46 PM on January 31, 2012


For what it's worth, I both recognize (see above) that there's this vexing tendency for people to be grumpy to an outsized degree about some things and wish that that were not so much the case, and think it's not helpful to preemptively predict doom and bad behavior in a thread.

So, I hear where you're coming from, Artw, but at the same time I do think it was not a good way to express it and I'd honestly have nixed it if I'd seen it right away instead of well after when it had already been a point of discussion.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:48 PM on January 31, 2012


Nerd hate is the least interesting, most tedious thing available online.

Worst. Hate. Ever.
posted by gauche at 3:50 PM on January 31, 2012 [10 favorites]


Well, if out of that my comments the problem then fuck me is your idea of an ideal comments thread bleak...
posted by Artw at 3:53 PM on January 31, 2012


Sooo....anyone have any spoilers for the new Alien movie?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:59 PM on January 31, 2012


The space jockey doesn't make it.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:00 PM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


Man, MetaFilter talks about this dude like Pitchfork does Lana Del Rey. Yikes.

I don't know Cory Doctorow and I think that of his fiction I've only ever read his sysadmins story, which is probably not enough from which to draw a conclusive opinion. But I do find the phenomenon of Cory Doctorow interesting, because it points to something -- and I think this is the something that is most off-putting to his detractors -- we all kind of know about artists in The World That's Coming!, which is that they'll get on the map (or not) due to some degree to their ability to navigate social networks, on- and offline. This makes people uncomfortable -- particularly (I'm sorry) nerdy people, to whom none of this sort of thing usually comes naturally -- because a lot of us read "networking" as a euphemism for less gentle terms that basically mean manipulation and being kind of sleazy. And shit, sometimes "networking" is a euphemism! But something like networking has to happen. It has to. In the absence of a star-making apparatus like a record label or a book publisher or a studio, who the hell is supposed to make those connections and get the work out there if not you? All the old paradigm meant was that once you successfully "broke in," someone else would do the legwork for you. But make no mistake: Legwork was getting done. And today those industries are in ruins. What will you do now?

So that's a thing, but it's not the thing that's most interesting to me, and that thing is something that troubles me...not just w/r/t Cory, but regarding the whole magilla. Over and over, people in the thread have pointed to their personal like or dislike of the man, and some of those people have come out and said that their feelings about him mean that they can't judge his work objectively. You don't hire an architect because you think he's a cool dude, and while you might choose not to hire one because he's sort of an asshole, well, while you could be saving yourself some aggravation, if he's really good at what he does, the person who's really losing out is you. What's important is whether he can make a good building. I am afraid that could get lost in the nightmare future world of tomorrow. I am afraid that's getting lost now.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:07 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sooo....anyone have any spoilers for the new Alien movie?

Dammit, Brandon, it's not an Alien movie, it's just a movie set in the exact same universe as Alien. How many times do we have to go over this?
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:10 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


/hamburger
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:11 PM on January 31, 2012


He broke my duckhunt gun and his house smells like vegetables.
posted by Divine_Wino at 4:16 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bradbury not on Martin Prince's ABC of science fiction, although Martin has heard of of him.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:19 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like Cory Doctorow and I like boingboing; even though I don't read it much anymore, I found myself linking to the Robert Anton Wilson week boingboing thing the other day in ask.metafilter. Almost half of that was really best of web.

Here is some data that was interesting to me:

Alexa ranks
metafilter & slashdot ~1700
boing boing ~ 2400

Google trends
boing boing ~ 2 X slashdot ~ 4 X metafilter

Google trends has changed their algorithm; the last time I checked, they had slashdot and metafilter dead even. That was a few weeks ago and I did not load up their number for boing boing.

Anyway Cory is successful enough that some people are going to dislike him just because. There are around 40 million people in the country who hate Barack Obama. I doubt it bugs him although I noticed he still has a metafilter account but he hasn't posted here in years. Jim Rome has an ongoing schtick where he says "this show needs more of me and less of you" which is not even related, but metafilter could not possibly be harmed by a little more Cory and a little less anti-Cory snark.
posted by bukvich at 4:25 PM on January 31, 2012


There are around 40 million people in the country who hate Barack Obama. I doubt it bugs him although I noticed he still has a metafilter account but he hasn't posted here in years.

Barack Obama has an account? Holy shit. How many favorites does he have?

Does he know about the taters?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:27 PM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


him = Corey

metafilter user 13383

If Obama has an account Matt would have to kill us if he told us.
posted by bukvich at 4:33 PM on January 31, 2012


I dislike him (as a writer, no direct comments on his worth as a human being) because he writes terrible books. And I've even unintentionally double blind tested my evaluation of his work.

The last time some of his trash was posted I started reading the short story and hated it by 40% of the way through, then checked back and yep, it was more of his YA empowerment-techno positivist*-samey-wank.

*And I am more or less do believe technology can solve everything. His work is just so bad it makes me regret my own beliefs.
posted by Chekhovian at 4:37 PM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


At work at the bookstore today, a customer asked me "Do you have Great Expectations?"

It took a huge amount of restraint not to answer "I used to. But not anymore."
posted by jonmc at 4:40 PM on January 31, 2012 [19 favorites]


Artw: "The second title of the book after it's initial publication. Though it IS the title of the TV show based on the book, which, TBH, I suspect has more bearing on whether people posting

Hey, now. That's not necessary. ArtW, I have this extremely old copy (published in 1958, 8 years before I was born) of Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles. The anthology never went by any other name in this country. Please do not insult me, or other Americans, by assuming that our only familiarity with the work is through the TV show.

I don't hate Cory Doctorow, the person, at all. I've never been to Boing Boing and I don't even know the man. I DO think that he has different scruples than I do in what he is willing to do to promote his work. The FPP was about his podcast which goes by the same name as Bradbury's work. It is absolutely not hating on Doctorow to say, "I don't think that it's cool to use that title, and here's why." I don't think that thread is about nerdhate at all.

Now, this callout said, "Hey, why do people hate Doctorow?" So I came in and responded to that question.

You don't have to like what I've said, but I, and others who agree with me on the title of the podcast, are not thread shitting, insulting other users or derailing the thread. We are not doing anything that breaks the guidelines of the site.
posted by misha at 4:42 PM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


"...that having a title that is a cheeky reference to another story is not usually an unforgivable crime"

I'm not comfortable with the hyperbole and absolutist statements here. I'm not interested in Cory Doctorow, have never read Boing Boing, and so wasn't interested in that thread. But the story title did bother me, as it does a lot of people.

I don't doubt that there's a weird hate-on for Cory Doctorow, here and elsewhere. It's evident in this thread. But that certainly doesn't mean that everyone who was annoyed, slightly or greatly, by the title is some sort of mindless anti-CD zombie. Nor that those who dislike him must necessarily be "envious". Or love him are, well, whatever they might be. Does it really make sense to paint with such a broad brush in such a provocative and unhelpful manner?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:46 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I could be indifferent about Doctorow if he was only into singularitanism or steampunk, but I cannot forgive the promotion of both.
posted by balistic at 4:46 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, if I had been hated simply from writing on BoingBoing! Heavens, how I should have respected myself, then. I should have respected myself because I should at least have been capable of being hated; there would at least have been one quality, as it were, positive in me, in which I could have believed myself. Question: What is he? Answer: A dickwad; how very pleasant it would have been to hear that of oneself! It would mean that I was positively defined, it would mean that there was something to say about me. "Dickwad" -- why, it is a calling and vocation, it is a career.
(apologies to Dostoevsky)
posted by perhapses at 4:51 PM on January 31, 2012


singularitanism or steampunk, but I cannot forgive the promotion of both

This, x1000.
posted by Chekhovian at 4:56 PM on January 31, 2012


I think "Metafilter hates Cory Doctorow" is more meme than reality. The talk about how hated he is seems way out of proportion to actual posts by people who hate him considering that it's supposedly some defining charachteristic of the site.

By the time of the first accusation of "griefy, threadshitting comments" noone had even been particularily negative and were just commenting on how the title is weird. Maybe the CD hate meme is so strong that people just automatically read all comments about CD in a loud screamy voice?

I had just listened to the story a few days ago and enjoyed it, but it totally does have a weird name. I'm not mad about the name, it just seems like a weird thing to do. I prefer to that the choice to co-opt an earlier title is referencing some of the themes of the story.
posted by Winnemac at 5:06 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think being an ostrich about one of MeFi's more obvious quirks helps anything either.

No, but bringing that stuff up in MetaTalk instead of at the beginning of a not-yet-doomed MeFi thread is really the way to go. Any sort of MeFi comment along the lines of "This will wendell" or "Gets popcorn" or other pre-dooming is generally obnoxious. Give the thread a chance to not suck or ask yourself what benefit there is in pointing out "Hey guys this is not a thing we do well!" early on in a thread.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:25 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can only speak for myself. But I hate Cory Doctorow because he stole my woman, shot me in the gut, and left me in the desert to die.

I carry a grudge when it comes to things like that.
posted by Trurl at 5:33 PM on January 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


My only beef against CD (and BoingBoing) is leftover from the Violet Blue thing. Not even a VB fan - just found their behaviour during that whole escapade to be distasteful, and it put me off.

Envy or whatever has nothing to do with it. In fact, I consider people in positions like CD has to be the best resource any random subculture specialist will ever get, and we should cultivate and appreciate them. In this case, though, it would have been nice to see them acknowledge how crappy that whole thing made them seem, and maybe even a real apology to VB would have been nice. You know - act like adults.

I'd been a BB reader from way back at that point, and it really threw me to see that level of henpecking from those guys. Problem easily solved, for me: I avoid anything and everything that mentions any of them. Before, I'd been a cheerleader, so that was a pretty big shift.
posted by batmonkey at 5:36 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Can we get something straight?

"CD" means compact disk.

"BB" is a small, copper colored projectile used to put a kid's eyes out.

Stop trying to confuse me.
posted by HuronBob at 5:43 PM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Gator: "but there are others who have committed much bigger crimes but don't seem to get nearly the same reaction.

I know. Like Hitler.
"

Yeah. That Mein Kampf. That's not writing, that's just typing.
posted by Splunge at 5:44 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


"CD" means compact disk...Stop trying to confuse me.

Then lets also avoid the whole disc/disk debacle.
posted by Chekhovian at 5:45 PM on January 31, 2012


I let go of my Cory Doctorow hatred a few years back. It felt good, like releasing a bubble of vitriol into the universe to float away, never to vex me again.

Most people who engage in Cory-bashing are those who have been actively involved with the internet for a decade or more. Cory was more inescapable back then, more jargon-y, more self-promotional, more... Cory Doctorow-y.

I suspect that time may have mellowed him out a little, as it has all of us. And no doubt marriage and having a child take up a chunk of his time that would, back in the early days, have been dedicated to doing things that were destined to annoy me.

Nevertheless, I think of him and grind my teeth a little whenever I see someone use a phrase like "gobsmacked," "jaw-droppingly," or "my new novel." And any time I put on a pair of sunglasses I think to myself, "I wuz robbed," and I smile a private little smirk.

It's a big world. There are a lot of reasons to hate people. Cory means well, and we are on the same side on most issues (like privacy and DRM). I try to save my hatred for people who really deserve it, like Kim Jong Il, racists, and Nickelback.
posted by ErikaB at 6:00 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: there are a lot of reasons to hate people.
posted by Scientist at 6:10 PM on January 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


If this is your opinion, fine, but I'm just going to broken-record this to say that from a mod perspective no one "deserves" really shitty nerdrage treatment.

Amen to that.

Right now Doctorow is promoting an official pardon for Alan Turing. If that's self-promotion, I'd like to see more of it.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:13 PM on January 31, 2012


I hate Cory Doctorow for the same reason I hate Glenn Beck. I don't watch or read his work, I don't care about his work, and yet I am surrounded day after day by people who won't shut the fuck up about his work.

Randall nailed it.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:33 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm very, very thankful that Cory is not a fan of Die Antwoord.
posted by crunchland at 6:35 PM on January 31, 2012


I'll offer a few very concrete reasons why I dislike Cory Doctorow. Many years ago, when I first discovered Boing Boing, I was delighted because it introduced me to a few cool new things that I was unfamiliar with. But then I noticed it began to get very repetitive. I also noticed a number of other things I didn't like about that site, and Doctorow was the prime offender. For one, I found his habit of telling you something was cool or beautiful or awesome was grating and a bit superior. (It stands in stark contrast to, say, someone like Jason Kottke, who I think does a wonderful job of showing you why something is cool without having to tell you, yeah, this is cool.)

As others have noted, I also found Doctorow's self-promotion to be very tiresome. And I also found his "legal analysis" deeply shoddy and extremely one-sided — very clearly aimed at promoting an agenda. Doctorow, I noticed, had the habit of simply assuming one version of events (the side he preferred) was true and utterly dismissing any alternatives. (This is the same reason why I didn't read Consumerist for very long — I felt they always took even the most outrageous consumer complaints at face value.) It wasn't the kind of analysis I was interested in. (I also recall one time, having gotten in trouble with another author for using their copyrighted work without permission, he merely cited the statutory reference to fair use under American law, as some kind of incantation protecting him.)

Finally, I read a couple of his short stories and walked away very unimpressed. Now, incandescent, white-hot hatred? It would take a lot more than this for me to reach that level of emotion. But dislike? Yes, definitely.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 6:45 PM on January 31, 2012 [12 favorites]


Oh, and with regard to his current stunt: it's a fanfic title. Does he write fanfic?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:47 PM on January 31, 2012


I think we, the internet commentariat as a whole, could all benefit from the understanding that no-one cares what we hate. Do we hate Doctorow? Or Franzen? Or the Decemberists? Or XKCD? Or some other stupid thing? NO-ONE CARES. It interests nobody, it entertains nobody, it impresses nobody, it benefits nobody. And yet, for some reason, we often feel an urgent need to share these stupid, shallow feelings. I'm no stranger to this feeling, but I'll be damned if I understand it.

Yeah but this only holds if we agree with its opposite too: no-one cares what we love, either. At least, most no-one does. If Chris Sims wants to write essays about his hatred of Twilight or his love of Scooby Doo, I'm gonna read it, because either way he makes his passions interesting, but the average person hating or loving something is going to have near-zero impact on me.

And that's what I think leads to a lot of hatred of nerd icons. I don't give much of a shit about Doctorow (though I think he's a pretty poor writer), but klang mentioned Joss Whedon above and I've got to say, I have lots of wonderful nerd friends, but it's kind of tiresome hearing Firefly and Dr. Horrible allusions in every single conversation I've ever had with them. I don't like either show, but it's not like I identify myself by my dislike, only there's something really irritating about people who turn their love for something into infinity pop culture references when you don't care about the thing being referenced.

I've got to remind myself to avoid doing this myself, because I quote Arrested Development and Achewood and The Big Lebowski with friends and feel smug and hip about it even when I know other friends of mine haven't seen/read/give a shit about these things. It's kind of shitty to turn a conversation into an allusion festival, not in small part because when you turn a social gathering into a recitation of memes, you're assuming that everybody likes the memes involved, and if they don't, then they start REALLY not liking that thing in question.

It's fun to bond over shared media. My dad's brothers are all huge Airplane! fans and it's fun being able to reliably stoop to quoting of favorite lines during family events. And it's nice to be able to drop moderately obscure Monty Python lines with Girlfriend and giggle, because, again, shared memories bring people together. I just think that people should be more careful about forcing shared loves upon people who don't actually love something.

Now, I do think that this phenomenon is why people who become famous ought to be a lot more careful about being famous, because Cory's written some smug, self-satisfying things, and apparently he never stopped to ask himself "wait, if i write this will it make people i don't know into douchebags?". It's not surprising that he didn't, since it's not an instinctive thing to want to ask yourself, and maybe it's unfair to assume he be responsible in that regard, but I kind of feel like when you have a big audience, you need to start seriously considering what you say to that audience, down to the subtler nuances of how you communicate yourself.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:52 PM on January 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


While you might choose not to hire one because he's sort of an asshole, well, while you could be saving yourself some aggravation, if he's really good at what he does, the person who's really losing out is you

I don't think this is true at all. Not hiring/reading/tolerating people who are assholes is a Good Thing, and it makes the world a better place in the long run.

Just like I don't agree with the idea that a genius should be allowed to be rude to people who aren't at his/her level. One of the things that annoys me in the tech industry is too many people will tolerate assholes just because they're good at their job, even though usually this hurts the company in the long run (since that person becomes isolated and depresses everyone else's productivity).

(I don't think Doctorow is an asshole, btw, just a bad writer. Harlan Ellison, for example, is a good writer and an asshole, and I would not hire him to write something for me because of it).
posted by wildcrdj at 6:53 PM on January 31, 2012


"CD" means compact disk.

"BB" is a small, copper colored projectile used to put a kid's eyes out.


"CD" means cross dresser.

"BB" means big breasts, probably fake

Haven't you ever been to YouTube? If you have, you may not have been using the right keywords. Wait, let me think that over before I hit "Post Com
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:56 PM on January 31, 2012


Don't even think about arranging a meetup around him.
posted by unliteral at 7:04 PM on January 31, 2012


running order squabble fest: " If this is your opinion, fine, but I'm just going to broken-record this to say that from a mod perspective no one "deserves" really shitty nerdrage treatment.

Amen to that.

Right now Doctorow is promoting an official pardon for Alan Turing. If that's self-promotion, I'd like to see more of it.
"

I was under the impression that this had already been done. I haven't checked, but cite please? Seriously.
posted by Splunge at 7:05 PM on January 31, 2012


Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell: "(I also recall one time, having gotten in trouble with another author for using their copyrighted work without permission, he merely cited the statutory reference to fair use under American law, as some kind of incantation protecting him.)"

Oh right, the Ursula Le Guin thing. Scalzi has probably dropped out of the thread; I wonder what his feelings on that were? SFWA-which Scalzi is now president of-took Le Guin's side in the kerfuffle, I believe.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:05 PM on January 31, 2012


it's a fanfic title

I don't understand what this means. What criteria does it fit that put it in the category of "fanfic title"?
posted by Hoopo at 7:09 PM on January 31, 2012


Okay, I see that the petition is there. But I can't vote on it as I'm not a British citizen. I didn't see anything about CD on it but okay. Whatever. Hey Brits, sign the damn petition!
posted by Splunge at 7:16 PM on January 31, 2012


Splunge: I was under the impression that this had already been done. I haven't checked, but cite please? Seriously.


There was an apology, but not a pardon. There's an e-petition for the pardon here.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:19 PM on January 31, 2012


"I wonder what his feelings on that were?"

I had no memory of it until you mentioned it, and at the time wasn't really paying attention to it until after it had been resolved (I don't actually track every kerfuffle Cory is part of). It does seem it was resolved relatively amicably.

I won't comment on the SFWA response at the time because I don't believe it's appropriate for a current president to publicly monday morning quarterback the actions of a previous administration. I will state in a general sense SFWA stands for the principle that creators should be able to control their work to the extent allowed by the law.
posted by jscalzi at 7:26 PM on January 31, 2012


Dang that Revolutionary War! I can't sign the Turing petition!
posted by batmonkey at 7:55 PM on January 31, 2012


TBH I think if you put the equivalent amount of time into, say, signing a petition in favour of gay marriage, you'd pretty much be square with him.
posted by Artw at 8:03 PM on January 31, 2012


What criteria does it fit that put it in the category of "fanfic title"?

A fanfic title is much like a porn title in that it is largely intended to get people in the door and may or may not have anything to do with the content. They're a cheap trick to stand out in the crowd of titles.

Other fanfic titles:

The Lord Of The Ring
The Legends of Urthsea
Return to the Ring World.
Rama Returns
The Mountain of Madness
Slaughterhouse Six
Fahrenheit [insert three numbers here]
Frankenstein's Monster

and of course....

The Stand part II: Electric Boogaloo
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:18 PM on January 31, 2012


I honestly don't really care one way or the other. I read Down and Out (I am also a Disney hoor) and wanted to like it, but between the "whuffie" and thinking, "Dang, you guys are getting really worked up over...really small shit," I wasn't into it. I mostly haven't felt like I'd like anything else he writes either from the sound of the plots. Which is a shame since he puts a lot of it up for free. I did, however, REALLY like Shannon's Law, which I actually understood and it had an inventive plot and fit wonderfully into Bordertown. Go figure.

But you know what? I haven't heard too many stories of Cory Doctorow kicking puppies or abusing women (other than Trurl's story, of course) or scamming charities or anything truly awful. Just sounds like he gets on people's nerves, plus he's popular so that annoys people more. Eh, that's not really different from most writer-fame-level folk, so I don't see what the point of getting worked up about it is.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:35 PM on January 31, 2012


Rory Manarich what you wrote seems almost exactly why Jerry Garcia eventually refused to speak to the audience ever and rarely did an interview unless he was way too fucked up to know any better. He said he didn't feel worthy to handle that responsibility, or something close to that.

If I recall right the last time he spoke a word to the audience was around 1971.
posted by bukvich at 8:40 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hate him because people here hate him and I just kind of go along with things...
posted by planet at 8:47 PM on January 31, 2012


I think Cory Doctorow is cool because he lives in a balloon.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:48 PM on January 31, 2012


I guess I just don't see it as a cheap trick at all. There's no "trick" here. It's just not a particularly great or creative title (in either case if you're honest about it, but mostly Doctorow's). It's a nod to a classic. This is not a story that takes place in the same universe as Bradbury's. It's not an anthology, it's a short story contained in an anthology of a completely different name by a completely different author 60 years later. I just can't see there being any confusion between a short story in some random YA book and Ray Bradbury's anthology. Or anyone stumbling across this Doctorow story thinking its somehow related. I don't see what is shitty about it, what the "dick move" is here, or any conceivable repercussions there could be for Bradbury or his fans with Doctorow using this title.

I'm not sure whether I like Doctorow or not. I was until today about as indifferent to him as anyone ignorant about *all* of his work can be. This story's OK I guess. But this is completely ludicrous over-reaction and I'm losing a lot of respect for a lot of people here over this whole thing. Which I expect probably means about as much to you as this sad nerdrage fanboy smackdown means to Doctorow. I sincerely hope though that you guys are just pretending to be this outraged and are really just having a laugh or something.
posted by Hoopo at 9:02 PM on January 31, 2012


He's a bad writer and I don't like it when bad writers are published alongside good ones due solely to their social clout.
posted by shii at 9:03 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Chrysostom: Oh right, the Ursula Le Guin thing. Scalzi has probably dropped out of the thread; I wonder what his feelings on that were? SFWA-which Scalzi is now president of-took Le Guin's side in the kerfuffle, I believe.

Oy, that was even worse than I remembered: "was fair use under 17USC, the American copyright statute." Groan. Just a citation to an entire chapter of law (not that a specific statute would have been much better)—really struck me as a false appeal to knowledge. "Look at me, I can throw around legal-sounding citations!" I don't expect everyone to be a lawyer, but if you're going to opine on the law (as Doctorow does frequently), then I expect better.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 9:05 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Compare him to, say, Jason Kottke, who people seem to universally adore, and tell me what the intrinsic differences are.

You know how Kottke has occasional posts on introversion, with this one as the wellspring? Well, Cory's not like that. At all, at all, at all. I've known him for over a decade, I enjoy the rare occasions I'm in his company, and yet I have disagreed fiercely with him* and been disagreed with fiercely back.

Putting that aside for the moment, I think smoke makes a very good point upthread about Cory in relation to the expansion of fandom culture over the past decade, and I'm reminded of Maura Johnston's ongoing argument that tech fandom has become a kind of digital kudzu, overwhelming other online discourses. And thinking about it, MeFi has been surprisingly resistant to that trend, even though it's pretty much a peer to BB, perhaps in part because IT'S EASY TO SKIP THAT STUFF.

* Most recently about the iPad, where I suggested that its potential to open up computing to a broader base was more significant than its 'openness' from a Makers'-guild perspective. I feel pretty vindicated about that one.
posted by holgate at 10:11 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't hate Cory Doctorow (and I might not be able to tell him apart from a hole in the ground) but I do like, and have a great deal of respect for, Ray Bradbury.

Ray Bradbury, incidentally, clearly doesn't like people re-using the titles of his works. So under ordinary circumstances where the writer you're borrowing from doesn't know or care, pulling this kind of stunt would be fine. But if you know Ray Bradbury minds, which Cory apparently does, and you decide to do it anyways? Well, then you're just deliberately being an ass, seems to me. "Using someone else's title" is not an inherently crappy move, but deliberately (and unnecessarily) disregarding someone else's clearly-expressed feelings pretty much is.

So yeah, I don't know if he's always a douche or not and so I'm perfectly willing to take jscalzi's word for the fact that most of the time, Doctorow is a stand-up guy, but in this particular case? Guy's being an ass, and specifically, being an ass to Ray Bradbury, who I happen to think is awesome.

And yet, for some reason, we often feel an urgent need to share these stupid, shallow feelings. I'm no stranger to this feeling, but I'll be damned if I understand it.

To be honest, I think part of this is simply that the modern world doesn't leave people a lot of other outlets for negativity. You're supposed to think positive at your job, love your family no matter what, be nice to everyone you meet, and blah blah blah sweetness and light and blah blah and where do you dispose of all the crap that builds up inside, all the vitriol that just accumulates over the course of life, of endless weeks of things that don't go terribly, exactly, but also just don't seem to ever go quite exactly your way? Well, you can explode with disproportionate rage at that asshole that just cut you off in rush hour traffic I mean jesus fucking christ did you see that he didn't even bother with a fucking turn signal FUCK YOU DUDE I HOPE YOUR CAR EXPLODES IN A BALL OF FIRE. Or you know, you can recognize that maybe road rage is not the healthiest outlet either, even if it's still fairly common and socially accepted, and so instead you can go safely dump it on something on the Internet, which is nice and safe so long as that method of punching people over the tubes remains un-invented.

The above point may also explain why some of the least-filled-with-hate people I've ever known were also the most likely to spend their Friday nights out at something that could loosely be called a 'concert' wearing steel-toed boots and random strips of spikes, and then come back at 7am the next morning bloody, massively bruised, with broken bones and a big beaming smile on their face. Everybody needs an outlet for their vitriol.
posted by mstokes650 at 10:31 PM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Neil Gaiman has blog. He talks about his works all the frickin' time on it. Where's all the hate for him? That's exactly the same kind of "self-aggrandising" that CD does.
posted by BurnChao at 10:56 PM on January 31, 2012


Well, then you're just deliberately being an ass, seems to me.

No, this is only true if you are ignoring someone else's reasonable preference. The reasonable part is key. Bradbury doesn't have a leg to stand on here; re-using titles and such has a long history and there isn't anything inherently wrong with it. Bradbury is also being a bloody hypocrite unless he is a secret time traveler and wrote under the pseudonyms "William Shakespeare" and "Walt Whitman", among others. Unless you think he independently came up with "I Sing the Body Electric" and the like.

There are legitimate reasons to bag on Doctorow (though as per the point of this thread it is way overdone on Metafilter) but re-purposing a title similar to one used by Bradbury is not one of those reasons.
posted by Justinian at 11:18 PM on January 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


Neil Gaiman has blog. He talks about his works all the frickin' time on it. Where's all the hate for him?

Right here.
posted by fleacircus at 11:30 PM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


"I think Cory Doctorow is cool because he lives in a balloon."

I think BoingBoing is a pretty cool guy. Eh lives in ballon and doesnt afraid of anything.
posted by klangklangston at 11:39 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


No, this is only true if you are ignoring someone else's reasonable preference. The reasonable part is key

Dunno. There's roughly an infinite number of possible titles. It's not like you have to go out of your way to avoid his.

So what you have is a fairly minuscule request from a seriously accomplished author. One of the first to blend true literary aspects into science fiction, and a man who introduced the world of science fiction to so so many people.

Sure you're within your rights to blow him off, but its not like he's asking you to donate a kidney or something.

When he's dead you can "re-use" or "tribute" or "place yourself in the position of being compared to a great master" all you like. In the meantime show some respect.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:45 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Neil Gaiman has blog. He talks about his works all the frickin' time on it. Where's all the hate for him? That's exactly the same kind of "self-aggrandising" that CD does.

The difference is that Gaiman rights good books, even great books.
posted by Chekhovian at 12:08 AM on February 1, 2012


Little known fact:

Cory appeared as a child actor in one episode of the 1970s sitcom based on Ray and Bob Heinlein's life as roommates together. Ray had to take care of the kid, and the kid figured out how to dub VCR remix copies of the PBS Martian Chronicles. Bob was selling them thru tiny ads in the back of Analog when Ray boarded the cluetrain and sent the kind back to Toronto.

Bob HATED that.
posted by mwhybark at 12:15 AM on February 1, 2012


Man, I miss Strangers, mwhybark.
posted by cgc373 at 1:11 AM on February 1, 2012


You guys do realize that there's little doubt he's reading both this thread and the one on the front page? How do you suppose you'd react if you read this level of discourse about you?

Frankly, I'm sort of embarrassed for Metafilter.
posted by crunchland at 2:37 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


In other words, if you're going to criticise someone make sure you do it behind their back?
posted by seanyboy at 3:03 AM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


That's one way to look at it, I suppose. Another might be to consider the amount of pixels we've devoted to hating this guy and the thing he's chosen to devoting his life to. But because he's sufficiently famous enough, we're all ok with it. I can only say that if I came across a page full of hundreds of comments telling me how much I suck, I don't know how I'd react. How would you?
posted by crunchland at 3:19 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


You guys do realize that there's little doubt he's reading both this thread and the one on the front page? How do you suppose you'd react if you read this level of discourse about you?

This isn't the "light saber kid" or the "leave Brittany alone boy". He chooses to be a public figure, so he gets to reap this whirlwind. I'll promise to forego all future criticism of him if he would just start writing better books, or least try to write better books.

Perhaps that's the core of the beef I have with him, his self-contended hackedness. He doesn't seem to care about the "Art" of his writing.
posted by Chekhovian at 3:52 AM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


seriously though the only reason I ever heard of him in the first place is because mefi people complain about him all the time. the only boinging that interests me involves a cat and a penguin and a rabbit and a whole lot of KISS makeup.
posted by elizardbits at 3:56 AM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


You really stink, girl!
posted by Burhanistan at 4:16 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


He chooses to be a public figure --- Wait a minute. He has a blog, and he's a writer. What makes him any more a public figure than the rest of us?
posted by crunchland at 4:16 AM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Frankly, I'm sort of embarrassed for Metafilter.

It feels like nerd rage is a pretty embarrassing thing all round, in most situations. I can't quite decide whether the low point here was the Marie Antoinette comparison (seriously, wtf?), the attempt to rules-lawyer jscalzi into defriending him as a necessary corollary of his role with the SFWA, or the suggestion that the difference between Doctorow and Gaiman is that the latter rights [sic] great books.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:21 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


The cringeworthy part for me is that Metafilter spends so much of its collective energy slagging the guy off because people here deem him to be unworthy of his success. Look, he chose a path in life that worked for his goals, and he promoted the shit out of it. Kudos.

I suppose he receives a shit ton more wasted words here because many of his interests are similar to those of people on this site. Yeah, I guess I feel the same way about certain travel writers, but fuck me if I'm gonna repeatedly expend the energy writing about how much I dislike them. They were in the right place at the right time. Maybe they had the right connections, whatever.

You think he gives a flying fuck what random people on here think about him? He's selling books, he's making money off his website, and I don't think he's killed anybody in the process. It's not hard to see how the attitude here could be perceived as envy.
posted by gman at 4:26 AM on February 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Yeah, the Cory hate is really, really, really sad. It seems unmotivated and completely out of proportion to anything he could have possibly done to anyone here.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:19 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


the suggestion that the difference between Doctorow and Gaiman is that the latter writes great books.

That wasn't my point, rather it was it CD were a better writer his other misbehaviors would be overlooked in exactly the same way that the indiscretions of professional athletes and other successful figures get overlooked, provided of course that they're "winning".

And no I'm not criticizing Gaiman, in fact I wish CD would emulate him more in both his approach to writing and self-promotion.
posted by Chekhovian at 5:19 AM on February 1, 2012


Eh, I don't read Boing Boing, and have little knowledge of his writings but the argument "you can't hate on a dude merely because you find him irritating. He has to have done something objectively awful, like goering or pol pot or somebody, otherwise you're only expressing envy and ought to shut up about it," makes no sense to me. You can't rationally argue people out of their petty hatreds, and everybody has a few. A lot of people think he's a pompous git, a lot of people think he's perfectly lovely. Inasmuch as people know that when they decide to post about his doings, I don't really see what else can be done.
posted by Diablevert at 5:30 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


> This isn't the "light saber kid" or the "leave Brittany alone boy". He chooses to be a public
> figure, so he gets to reap this whirlwind.

Anyone who becomes a public figure of any kind is going to get large amounts of shit thrown at him by shit-throwing monkeys of one troop or another. That much is well and widely known. But just knowing it does not, to my mind, either justify the shit-throwing or excuse the monkeys. They remain what they are as long as they do what they do.
posted by jfuller at 6:58 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


On the topic of allusions, someone missed a trick when this thread wasn't titled either "What We Talk About When We Talk About Cory Doctorow" or "My Cory Doctorow Problem—And Ours."
posted by octobersurprise at 7:10 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


does not...either justify the shit-throwing or excuse the monkeys

I've apparently failed to make it clear enough that it is his poor writing that justifies the shit throwing ...that he is a public figure just makes it a communal defactory defamation experience.

Out of curiosity, how would you rate PZ Meyer's review of David Brooks's magnum opus on the shit throwing scale?
posted by Chekhovian at 7:20 AM on February 1, 2012


Chekhovian That wasn't my point, rather it was it [sic] CD were a better writer his other misbehaviors would be overlooked in exactly the same way that the indiscretions of professional athletes and other successful figures get overlooked, provided of course that they're "winning".

You mean more successful, then, rather than better? That's a different thing. Professional athletes' "indiscretions" are overlooked a) because they tend to be very wealthy in themselves, and b) because they tend to make larger and wealthier entities yet more money. This tends not to apply to science fiction writers, and certainly doesn't apply to Doctorow. Kobe Bryant and even very successful science fiction writers are not really operating in the same ballpark. A successful writer in those terms is Dan Brown - whether you think that makes Dan Brown a better writer than Neil Gaiman is really your decision.

If your personal opinion is that you don't like someone's writing, and that this subjective opinion justifies "shit-throwing" - well, that's unfortunate, and it's an attitude that makes discussion of books and writers online significantly worse, but it's your choice. Given that you went straight from:

I dislike him (as a writer, no direct comments on his worth as a human being) because he writes terrible books.

Pretty much straight to:

Perhaps that's the core of the beef I have with him, his self-contended hackedness.

I'm not expecting the high ground to need resurfacing any time soon.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:33 AM on February 1, 2012


The cringeworthy part for me is that Metafilter spends so much of its collective energy slagging the guy off because people here deem him to be unworthy of his success.

That goes both ways though, right? Now you're spending energy defending the guy (or belittling his 'attackers' or whatever). Personally, he never crosses my mind unless I see him mentioned online (almost always here on the blue).

Besides, 50% of what's written here is slagging off something or other. Might as well be a worthy target.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:58 AM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Besides, 50% of what's written here is slagging off something or other.

This seems low. Especially lately.

Also, this is not a great feature of any community.

Yes, I'm as guilty of it as anyone.
posted by gauche at 8:03 AM on February 1, 2012


rosf

You're correct in that I should have said his apparent self-contended hackedness. For all I know he could be desperately insecure about his writing, then I'd feel somewhat bad about all this shit throwing. That he's been writing essentially same book with the same characters for the entirety of his career and all the reviews tend to hit upon the same criticisms...well it leads one to think that he is not really trying to change, but you never know.

"indiscretions" are overlooked a) because they tend to be very wealthy in themselves

And you're correct that my terms were somewhat lazy, to clarify: by "winning" I meant successful completion of one's purpose, either through good books or victorious basketball games or whatever. It be easier to overlook the various annoyances of the CD persona if his books were good.

Ah-ha...we've answered it, the point of this Meta! To restate, why do we all hate him? There are plenty of other hack writers out there, Dan Brown, Mercedes Lackey, etc...but Cory is hack writer and an irritating auto-publicist! The double dose must make him rise above the other contenders...

Now that I think about it, wasn't Michael Crichton trending that way before his untimely death? Writing bad novels while simultaneously advocating for his conservative ideology?
posted by Chekhovian at 8:14 AM on February 1, 2012


running order squabble fest: "the attempt to rules-lawyer jscalzi into defriending him as a necessary corollary of his role with the SFWA"

I was curious how Scalzi squared the circle in this instance-Cory was kind of dick, and the SFWA took a position I'm not sure Scalzi would support. I wasn't trying to "rules lawyer" anyone, I wondered what he thought about it.

Thanks for the unjustified drive-by insult, though.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:23 AM on February 1, 2012


My apologies. I was surprised that none of the references to the event included, for example, this from Doctorow:
I'm very sorry about it. I've considered her one of my heroes since I read The Dispossessed as a young teenager, and the last thing I wanted was to cause her distress.

[...]

I did this with the understanding that reproducing, for the purposes of commentary, a single paragraph originally published in a noncommercial venue, was fair use under 17USC, the American copyright statute.

Ms Le Guin disagrees, and though I haven't heard from her personally, my understanding is that she disagrees on the basis that taking the whole story can't be fair use. I have taken the piece down. The last thing I wanted to do was quote Ms Le Guin against her wishes, and had I known sooner that she objected to being quoted, I would have removed it sooner.
Which I guess is as kind of dickish as you want it to be.

However, I am reassured that your intent was purely disinterested and scientific. In which light, I still think it is itself a little dickish, after someone has said "I feel weird about being brought in as a evidence in the case against a friend of mine", to ask them to speak ex cathedra about a situation in which you think the body they represent censured the aforementioned friend. However, it's well within the tone-deafness parameters of Internet discussion, so let's leave it at that.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:48 AM on February 1, 2012


Fuck, man. Stop trying to pick apart everyone's motivations like you have an inside view into their head. It's obnoxious.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:49 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


THIS, a thousand times. Flagged as fantastic. Nerd hate is the least interesting, most tedious thing available online.

Actually, saying "THIS, a thousand times," and all variants of "this!" is the least interesting, most tedious things available online.

success

Does everybody mean like, "internet fame" type of success? Dude's not JK Rowling, and I don't see headlines like "David Fincher to direct Little Brother movie" anywhere. Judging by questions on Ask, probably most people in this thread make as much or more money than he does.

Anyway, the whole "you're just jealous of success" thing is exactly what Metafilter's Own Scott Adams trotted out and then we collectively laughed him off the stage. Except Scott Adams actually does have enough money to be flying around right now in a private jet full of coke and hookers. (Not that piles of cash don't make him less of an insufferable idiot.)
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:39 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks, Burhanitan - that's good advice. Although you picked an odd time to try the negative reinforcement there: Chrysostom said that he was simply curious, I accepted his correction and apologized for the over-reading. I still think the way the story was told was partial (which has been confirmed in text with "Cory was kind of (a) dick") and the request for comment by Scalzi right after he had said that this was an irritating position to be put in was tone-deaf, although jscalzi handled it gracefully. That conclusion exists independently of motivation - it's just an opinion on how it came across.

However, if you want to pick some people up on behaving as if they had an inside view into someone's head, you've picked a good place to start. How about:
This title is calculated to offend and inflame and it shouldn't be surprising when that happens.
or
I see Cory Doctorow as a very capable person who chose writing as a profession solely because he saw he could be a success as a writer.
or
And I twisted that lack of an answer around to face the mirror of his creatice commons license, and I came to the conclusion that for Doctorow "Creative Commons" wasn't about freedom from stupid copyright laws - It was a way for him to publicise his books to a naive netterati.
or
Perhaps that's the core of the beef I have with him, his self-contended hackedness. He doesn't seem to care about the "Art" of his writing.
Assuming an insight into people's heads is a very easy trap to fall into when looking at these things, and thanks for the warning against it; it's best, I find, to focus on what people have actually said or done. Otherwise you do get into these awkward rhetorical corners where you see it as perfectly reasonable to state with no figleaf more fulsome than the word "seems" that someone, for example, agrees with you about their own abilities as a writer (for how could they not?), and therefore is continuing to write out of sheer perversity or cold-hearted mercantilism. Which is sort of odd.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:45 AM on February 1, 2012


Running order, did you overdose on Adderall or are you just purposely trolling?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:51 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


> Out of curiosity, how would you rate PZ Meyer's review of David Brooks's magnum opus on the shit throwing scale?

That is not good. He refers to it in the first paragraph as a "novel" and ridicules Brooks' character before he gets into any substantial criticism of his book and I quit reading at that point.

This is in spite of the fact I was on the hunt for some good Brooks bile after reading his neofascist New York Times op-ed yesterday.
posted by bukvich at 9:55 AM on February 1, 2012


I only vaguely know who this Doctorow person is. I'm willing to bet that puts me in the vast majority of humanity.
posted by jonmc at 10:11 AM on February 1, 2012


It's interesting to me that so many of Doctorow's obnoxious qualities are present in his detractors. I think the guy comes off as a smug, pandering hack, but goddamn if the anti-Cory crowd isn't just as insufferable.

I guess the real lesson here is that everybody is terrible.
posted by Zozo at 10:19 AM on February 1, 2012


threeway handshake: I'd say neither - I'm noting problematic statements. Burhanistan spotted me speculating about motivations without factual grounds (which Chrysostom was kind enough to provide subsequently) and pulled me up on it. That helped me to notice that there was a theme running through some of the comments here which seemed to be doing the same thing. It's a thing that happens with reading, I guess.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:20 AM on February 1, 2012


Not a fan, but people should do themselves a favor, stop indulging the hatred and go try and put their energies towards making better art than his.
posted by steinsaltz at 10:31 AM on February 1, 2012


Not a fan, but people should do themselves a favor, stop indulging the hatred and go try and put their energies towards making better art than his.

Why? Do I have to take up an improv career in order to have permission to shit on Dane Cook?
posted by Diablevert at 11:06 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why?

Because only professionals in a certain field can criticize other participants in that field!
posted by Threeway Handshake at 11:09 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


crunchland: "Cory Doctorow is the Paula Deen of bloggers."
So BoingBoing is made of excessive amounts of butter?
posted by Dr. Zira at 11:12 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Eh. I don't love Cory, but definitely don't think that he deserves to have his name dragged through the mud like it has here. As far as I can tell, he's a perfectly decent guy.

Personally, I stopped reading BoingBoing a few years ago, partly because I didn't particularly care for the vast majority of what Cory had to say there. I wasn't interested in his novels, and found his particular brand of political activism to be akin to flogging a dead horse, and perhaps a bit impractical/unsympathetic at times. Unfortunately, BoingBoing started trending toward featuring this content heavily.

However, I think that the big problem came from the fact that Cory seemed to be unable to separate his personal ambitions from his job as editor of BoingBoing. Although there was nothing particularly wrong with the fact that Cory, Mark, and Xeni treated BB as their own personal weblog for quite some time, this approach to editing became really problematic when BB started exploring its ambitions of becoming an online media empire, beyond its original "Cool stuff we found online" format. It was transparently obvious that, at some point, BoingBoing was attempting to become the next Gawker. At that point, Cory should have stepped back from the helm, or at the very least, separated all of his personal writings onto a separate site.

Then, there's the unrelated issue that even though BoingBoing's essence was preserved in spite of all of the above, it was missing Cory and Xeni's tastemaking skills. The new writers and editors that were brought on started posting about topics that didn't terribly interest me, incessantly shilled for Make magazine, and ultimately lost my attention.

Even though I'm sad that BoingBoing isn't what it used to be, I certainly don't blame Cory for any of it; he's under no obligation to please us, and has every right to write about whatever the heck he wants to. Every public persona is bound to make a handful of harmless gaffes over the course their career (which is where Martian Chronicles probably falls). Whenever Cory's name shows up in the blogosphere attached to something ridiculous, I can't really muster any outrage beyond rolling my eyes, mumbling "Oh, Cory...what have you done this time," and flipping to another more interesting story.

If you want to read a really good internet tastemaker who doesn't like to talk about himself, I'd recommend switching to Kottke.
posted by schmod at 11:16 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you're going to ask people why they have a subjective reaction to someone/something, it seems a bit disingeuous to chastise that person's answer as being too subjective.
posted by seanyboy at 11:48 AM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


crunchland: You guys do realize that there's little doubt he's reading both this thread and the one on the front page? How do you suppose you'd react if you read this level of discourse about you?

Frankly, I'm sort of embarrassed for Metafilter.


If it makes you feel any better, crunchland, I would be happy to talk to Cory Doctorow about how I feel, and I really didn't write anything here I would not say to him personally if the subject came up.

I'm seeing a staggering amount of people talking about "The Hate" and how Cory is really just this guy, you know, and isn't it sad people have to hate on him...but not really many comments at all with people just saying they hate him for no reason. Almost everyone who has come into this thread to discuss "why we hate Cory so much" has said they don't really care about him personally one way or another, and given specific reasons why they don't like a particular thing he has done.

I'm actually stunned by how many people, including the mods, are ascribing Hate and Envy to what was actually a really good discussion of literary appropriation on the Blue, and trying to put us on a guilt trip.

Really, "I'm sort of embarrassed for Metafilter?!" Are you fucking kidding me, crunchland?
posted by misha at 11:53 AM on February 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


Plus if you're going to quote me out of context, fuck you. I wasn't making any statement of CD's intention. I was specifically talking about my reaction to a tiny thing and how I was probably overreacting to it.

this is either stupidity or mischievousness on your part.
posted by seanyboy at 12:03 PM on February 1, 2012


I'm actually stunned by how many people, including the mods, are ascribing Hate and Envy to what was actually a really good discussion of literary appropriation on the Blue, and trying to put us on a guilt trip.

There's very much a cult of personality here, and many people here either personally know him, or are big big fans of his. People saying bad things about your friends or heroes will rile them up and saying "the hate" and "envy" are among the easiest retaliations.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:04 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jesus fuck, public statements and publications are going to be discussed publicly. That's why they have "public" right in their names.

Like every other goddamned writer and websiteer and activist on the planet, Mr. Doctorow can choose whether to read his bad reviews or not. One of the worst aspects of Fandom Wars, to me, is the "You're going to hurt my woobie's FEELINGS!"

I have every confidence that Mr. Doctorow's life is unaffected both by the realization that some strangers on a website think he's hot shit, and other strangers on a website think he's just plain shit. That's what putting your thoughts and ideas out in public leads to, people having opinions about them.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:10 PM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm actually stunned by how many people, including the mods, are ascribing Hate and Envy to what was actually a really good discussion of literary appropriation on the Blue, and trying to put us on a guilt trip.


What? I think both of us [definitely cortex, maybe I wasn't clear enough] don't think that the usual grar-fest was what was going on in that thread [though I still dislike the pre-dooming statements] but the ongoing "here is a subject MeFi loves to hate" is a larger concern and what I was primarily talking about. I don't know what people do or do not envy or hate and that's between them and their own moral compass. I just know how they express their feelings here and yes, sometimes I find that problematic and personally embarrassing.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:14 PM on February 1, 2012


Why not just say "haters gonna hate" and then close this thread, instead of leaving open the invitation for people to give reasons why we say bad things about this guy, and His friends and minions being left feeling insulted and angry?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:18 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are plenty of other hack writers out there, Dan Brown, Mercedes Lackey, etc...but Cory is hack writer and an irritating auto-publicist! The double dose must make him rise above the other contenders...

You shut up about Mercedes Lackey. She is the best magic horsey writer ever!

(No, but really, as I said in the original thread, I had pretty much the same reaction when I found out the first in Misty's new trilogy was titled Foundation. It offers the work for comparison in a way that will inevitably cause it to come up short. I think it's lame, fundamentally, but whatever.)

Why not just say "haters gonna hate" and then close this thread, instead of leaving open the invitation for people to give reasons why we say bad things about this guy, and His friends and minions being left feeling insulted and angry?

I agree. There's no other way the conversation can go at this point. "Why do you hate public figure X?" will only and inevitably lead to answers that one side feels is reasonable and the other will feel inclined to dismiss as haterade. "But Cory's a good guy" won't really convince anyone who doesn't like his writing or his public persona to like it, and it seems much more divisive to leave this up and provide a forum for this contentious and loaded discussion.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:24 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah but this only holds if we agree with its opposite too: no-one cares what we love, either. At least, most no-one does. If Chris Sims wants to write essays about his hatred of Twilight or his love of Scooby Doo, I'm gonna read it, because either way he makes his passions interesting, but the average person hating or loving something is going to have near-zero impact on me.

Uh, doesn't "the average person hating or loving something" basically describe Metafilter?
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 12:33 PM on February 1, 2012


oh hey you guys are still arguing about this huh
posted by nathancaswell at 12:34 PM on February 1, 2012


Also, can WE stop with all the fucking "we" talk? There is no we.

THERE IS ONLY ZUUL

(seriously, this much nerd in one thread and nobody makes the reference? This is why we can't have nice things)
posted by phearlez at 12:40 PM on February 1, 2012


Zuul? No-talent assclown.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 12:44 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


this is either stupidity or mischievousness on your part.

Could be both!

But fair enough - to put the quote in context:

That may or may not be true, and it's probably true to a degree and untrue to a bigger degree, and it left me with the feeling that he doesn't believe the things he's made his career on.

I've seen little in the last ten years to disabuse me of this notion.


So, you think it's true - but more untrue - but it left you with a feeling - just a feeling - but also a notion - which has not been disproved in the last ten years - not that it's true - although it is. That seems clear.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:05 PM on February 1, 2012


A customer just asked me where our "memoiry" books were. Come clean, that was one of you fuckers trying to drive me crazy, right?
posted by jonmc at 1:08 PM on February 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


No, this is only true if you are ignoring someone else's reasonable preference. The reasonable part is key. Bradbury doesn't have a leg to stand on here; re-using titles and such has a long history and there isn't anything inherently wrong with it. Bradbury is also being a bloody hypocrite unless he is a secret time traveler and wrote under the pseudonyms "William Shakespeare" and "Walt Whitman", among others. Unless you think he independently came up with "I Sing the Body Electric" and the like.

So, after studying your Shakespeare, you came to the conclusion that Shakespeare was the sort of person who would have a real problem with stealing inspiration from earlier works? Or perhaps you can link me to an article describing that time when Walt Whitman excoriated someone for pulling a line of his poetry to use as the title of something else? Again, it's not that stealing a title is unreasonably dickish, it's that stealing a title from someone who minds is unreasonably dickish. If you can show me where Ray Bradbury did that, then you can lay the hypocrisy charge.

Otherwise you're pretty much opening it wide up; I can personally decide that any preference of yours, is, to my mind, "unreasonable" and proceed to ignore it with a clear conscience. The fact is, if you ignore someone else's stated preferences you're being disrespectful, whether you think their preference is "reasonable" or not; in most cases deciding that they're being unreasonable is just compounding it with another layer of disrespect. "Not only am I going to ignore your feelings on the subject but I hereby declare your feelings invalid." Does this work out well for you in your personal life?
posted by mstokes650 at 2:10 PM on February 1, 2012


The fact is, if you ignore someone else's stated preferences you're being disrespectful

That's not true at all.

My stated preference is that you paypal me $20 as soon as you read this. Are you going to? Do you feel you are showing me disrespect by refusing?

The reasonableness of a request is the very heart of the matter.

Does this work out well for you in your personal life?

So far so good!
posted by Justinian at 2:38 PM on February 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


Why? Do I have to take up an improv career in order to have permission to shit on Dane Cook?

No, but I'd prefer a tombstone that mentioned an improv career to one that celebrated shitting on comics or authors no one will remember by 2025.
posted by steinsaltz at 2:43 PM on February 1, 2012


Why not just say "haters gonna hate" and then close this thread, instead of leaving open the invitation for people to give reasons why we say bad things about this guy, and His friends and minions being left feeling insulted and angry?

Because leaving open a soon-to-be 300+ Metatalk post filled with vitriol is how Metatalk works. In acidus veritas.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:57 PM on February 1, 2012


> how would you rate PZ Meyer's review of David Brooks's magnum opus on the shit throwing scale?

An odd couple, aren't they? Op-ed page columnist writes novel and is reviewed by biologist-cum-blogger playing lit crit. I honestly didn't find much to take away from the review (gold standard: Erich Heller on Kafka) but the intense dislike of reviewer for both novel and author is not too much beyond standard for the age. I wouldn't give it more than 5+ out of 10 on the ST Scale (gold standard: various chans, and the usenet talk.* hierarchy before them).

But frothingly negative book review writers are not exactly what I meant by shit-throwing monkeys. They concern me less because they are avoidable. The chance of my reading either a novel by a op-ed columnist or a fiction review by a biologist-cum-blogger, without special prompting, is vanishingly small (and I got out of the habit of visiting salon back when you couldn't view the site without registering and had to watch an ad to get even so much as a day pass.) By contrast the chance is quite good of my finding myself on metafilter (which I have visited regularly for a decade and which is at least notionally a cut or two above either usenet or Encyclopedia Dramatica), starting to read a discussion thread about a writer of fiction, and finding many sub-tweet-length comments of the LOLOMG DAVID BROOKS SUXX0RS variety (substitute Cory Doctorow, Apple products, Comic Sans, and a long and growing list of other trigger topics). When I visit the monkey house on purpose I am not dismayed to see monkeys. If I come home to discover a couple of troops of howlers loose in my parlor and library brachiating from the bellropes and chandeliers, that is when I am most inclined to go for the dogs and the shotgun.
posted by jfuller at 3:32 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, but I'd prefer a tombstone that mentioned an improv career to one that celebrated shitting on comics or authors no one will remember by 2025.

Because if you're not a comic and you hate on a specific comic, you must be a nobody?
posted by nathancaswell at 3:36 PM on February 1, 2012


I don't hate Cory, but I stopped reading BoingBoing because he annoyed the hell out of me. It started with the incessant self-promoting posts about Little Brother, which, seriously, there were dozens of them per week, I mean, okay, we all need to promote ourselves, but there's a point where it becomes less about one's self promotion and more indicative of one's tiresome need to always be in the spotlight.

Even when Cory's not talking directly about himself, he often manages to insert himself into the story, e.g. Check out this jaw-droppingly clever spoon sculpture sitting next to the cash register at this coffee shop in Toronto (which happens to be in a neighborhood I love so much that I set a novel there). Yeah, it's his blog, blah blah blah, it's still fucking annoying.

There seems to be no trend or meme that he will not latch onto and dry-hump until long after it's dead: Steampunk, remixed subway maps, 3-d printing, the list goes on and on. Again, I don't hate the man, but holy living fuck is he ever annoying.

Maybe he's a decent guy, and I'm sure he means well, but his public persona is smug, shrill, and pedantic.

He's also a shitty, shitty writer.
posted by Ratio at 3:59 PM on February 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


Maybe he's a decent guy, and I'm sure he means well, but his public persona is smug, shrill, and pedantic.

I bet you could find lots of people like that, but I can't imagine where.
posted by jonmc at 4:26 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


jfuller Brooks' book is represented as non-fiction. The guy calling it a novel, i.e. fiction, seems to think that is the lowest possible insult.

Did you read Brooks' op-ed yesterday all the way to the end? He called for mandatory universal government service for the express purpose of forcing the upper class to mingle with the lower class while doing their service. He left out the "for the good of the fatherland" part. Well, he left out the word "fatherland". There is not much I am in the mood for now more than some quality Brooks snark and I was unable to get into the third paragraph of Myers' review it was that wretched.
posted by bukvich at 5:32 PM on February 1, 2012


It's a novel. It's supposed to be a novel whose didactic theses are supported by up-to-date science.
posted by grobstein at 5:43 PM on February 1, 2012


And after further review I must crawfish a little bit here.

Brooks' format is some kinda psycho case history on a statistically composite fictional couple. So perhaps the label "novel" isn't wildly off. Brooks doesn't call it a novel anywhere that I could see and Amazon does not call it a novel.

I'm sure it's bad but I don't think I would call it a novel. I hope Meyers was paid well to read that book and write that review.
posted by bukvich at 5:48 PM on February 1, 2012


There seems to be no trend or meme that he will not latch onto and dry-hump until long after it's dead: Steampunk, remixed subway maps, 3-d printing, the list goes on and on. Again, I don't hate the man, but holy living fuck is he ever annoying.

hahahaha. Ratio nailed it.

I feel bad for the guy now. I'm going to read his books.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:16 PM on February 1, 2012


I have a confession to make: I don't hate Cory Doctorow. There. I said it. Finally, I feel like I can get on with my life, again.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:19 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, but I'd prefer a tombstone that mentioned an improv career to one that celebrated shitting on comics or authors no one will remember by 2025.

Well, if it turns out the most significant thing I've done in life is crab about people on metafilter, then yes, my life will have probably taken a wrong turn somewhere.

But look: "I dislike this" is just as valid an opinion as "I like this." I believe that threadshitting is a real thing and can be a problem, Metafilter is a goddamn bonzai tree we must sometimes prune for health, beauty, and peace, yada yada. But this ain't the Thanksgiving table and we aren't each other's mothers.* "If you can't say something nice, get out of the thread" would, I think, be a terrible standard to become the norm. Hatreds can be irrational, but I don't think that means they shouldn't be expressed, for so are loves. If that means that when a post comes up about a controversial figure that they threads' full of strong opinions pro and contra, then so mote it be, as the wiccans say.


*(Mostly. I'm pretty sure.)
posted by Diablevert at 7:03 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Really, "I'm sort of embarrassed for Metafilter?!" Are you fucking kidding me, crunchland?

I'm pretty sure crunchland isn't kidding you, and neither am I. I'm firmly with crunchland in this: this thread, the one that inspired it, and all the ones just like that one that came before embarrass me as a member of this site.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:42 PM on February 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


My stated preference is that you paypal me $20 as soon as you read this. Are you going to? Do you feel you are showing me disrespect by refusing?

No, I'm not going to (though I briefly considered if the amusement value of your reaction would be worth it). But yeah, if you genuinely feel that everyone owes you $20 every time they read your that post (or is just me?), then yes I'm disrespecting you by not doing so. I just happen to consider "respecting Justinian's feelings" to be worth [significantly] less than $20 to me. Cory, similarly, apparently doesn't feel respecting Ray Bradbury's wishes is worth whatever benefit he gets (or thinks he gets) from naming his story Martian Chronicles. Clearly he values "getting along with Ray Bradbury" possibly even less than I value getting along with random MeFites I've never met. Or he values naming his story Martian Chronicles really highly for some unfathomable reason.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:49 PM on February 1, 2012


That's a weird definition of respect and disrespect but if it works for you, well, good.
posted by Justinian at 9:09 PM on February 1, 2012


Chekhovian: I've apparently failed to make it clear enough that it is his poor writing that justifies the shit throwing ...

The problem is that the shit throwing you and others engage creates a problem for other users of the site. You, Slap*Happy, gilrain and others completely and effectively derailed the discussion in this thread by jumping in early with a completely bullshit argument that it's always unethical for any author to refer to or mention any work by another writer in their own work, and repeating it over and over again. You made it impossible on a practical level for any of us who had actually read the short story, or listened it, to have any conversation at all about the actual story that the OP linked to.

I want to make it clear that I don't equate criticism with shit-throwing or thread-shitting (although some people seem unable to grasp the difference). I thought this commment was spot-on, pretty funny and pretty accurate:
... the story sounds like its another one his goddamn YA fictions wherein some remarkably precoucious youth makes his in the world using his immense technopostivist faith in Internet related thingys and then meets some incredibly beautiful girl who is available and immeadiately falls in love in with him etc etc etc.
I have no objection to that (except spelling and stuff), because it's an actual criticism of Cory Doctorow's writing. What I object to is your effort to shut down all conversation in the thread.

I did listen to the story, and if I had commented about it, I would have been critical. The story raises some interesting issues about class, class privilege and prejudice, and games and reality, and then fails to do anything interesting with them. Other stuff I've read by Doctorow is disappointing in the same way.

What you're engaged in here is targeted trolling, an effort to shut down all conversation on topics you think we shouldn't be discussing. There are a lot of topics that "don't go well on MeFi" because people like you have decided to make sure they don't.

You're being a dick to other MeFites, and we need you stop.
posted by nangar at 9:14 PM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


jumping in early with a completely bullshit argument that it's always unethical for any author to refer to or mention any work by another writer in their own work

Umm, well I don't think I ever made that claim. Others in the thread did certainly, but it was never something terribly interesting to me. I would take one small step forward and say that my preference is that if an author is going to "stand on the shoulders of a giant" in one sense or another, that the end product should at least be good. That's my only dog in that fight.

What I object to is your effort to shut down all conversation in the thread

Is this intended as some sort of majestic plural? I don't think I came into the blue thread until later, did I say bunch of things earlier that the mods nuked? It all blurs together.
posted by Chekhovian at 9:44 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Calling Brooks's stupid book a "novel" is part of the critique, as "novel" is really the best description for "made-up story about imaginary people."
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:23 PM on February 1, 2012


a completely bullshit argument that it's always unethical for any author to refer to or mention any work by another writer in their own work

Nangar, could you please point me to where this happened? Because it reads, to me, like hyperbole and not at all what was said in that thread.

In fact, most in the thread seemed to agree that literary allusions do happen all the time, and we're fine with that. It was the appropriation of the Martian Chronicles title for a work in the same genre as the original that was the issue. Bradbury's work is a classic. Even if Doctorow's story/podcast is pretty good, it's just not comparable to the original, and it feels exploitative to ride on Bradbury's coat tails for page hits.

I'm surprised by those who don't understand why this is an issue, honestly. Maybe I just haven't explained my position well, so it's difficult to empathize with why this issue bothered me. I'm a writer and science-fiction fan, and maybe you aren't. Fair enough. Let me try to do better now.

We've had posts here comparing Yahoo Answers to AskMe, and the consensus is that AskMe answers are just better; on-topic, generally more knowledgable and detailed. I think the best way I can illustrate what this whole Martian Chronicles episode feels like for me is to ask you to imagine how you'd feel if Yahoo Answers was renamed "The AskMetafilter", or "The AskMe".

Now imagine that you criticized that name and people said, "What's the big deal? I like Yahoo chat rooms and their shopping. You just hate Yahoo!" and if you protested, they countered with, "You shouldn't criticize unless you have listened to today's The AskMe answers--which, by the way, are hosted on our site in podcast form."

And if you say, hey, seems like you are using the well-known name to get page hits? Well, at that point, you are an embarrassment to Mefi. How does that work?

I'm just gobsmacked that anyone who seems to agree with my position is being accused of "shutting down discussion." Seems like the other way around to me. Hopefully, stavro or crunchland, whose opinions I generally respect, can explain what they mean with those "embarrassed for Metafilter" remarks.
posted by misha at 10:02 AM on February 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


My embarrassment comes not at all from the argument about the appropriation or misappropriation of Bradbury's title. I don't think I could really care less about that issue.

My embarrassment for us has to do with the unmoderated contempt for Doctorow for reasons I believe have more to do with pettiness on our part than for any misdeeds of his. We've teased and insulted him like school-children do, and we've done it for so long, far worse than any injury he ever dealt us. And I don't believe that just because someone has achieved a certain level of fame that it entitles us to be ankle-biters and hurl insults, especially considering it's being done by people who hide behind pseudonyms. Empathy has never been one of my strongest suits, but even I think that we, collectively, have gone on for too long about this guy. He's practically Metafilter's official scapegoat. And I am completely convinced that it reflects far worse on us than it does on him.
posted by crunchland at 11:26 AM on February 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


crunchland: "I am completely convinced that it reflects far worse on us than it does on him."

Agreed. I'm with crunchland and stavros on this. The general reaction to Doctorow around here has always seemed way out of proportion than anything the man has done actually deserves.
posted by zarq at 11:42 AM on February 2, 2012


Empathy has never been one of my strongest suits, but even I think that we, collectively, have gone on for too long about this guy. He's practically Metafilter's official scapegoat.

I honestly feel that this callout happening now, when people in the original thread were not, in fact, having a negative knee-jerk reaction, is unfair to the many people in that thread who were having a good-faith discussion. It seems far more appropriate to me to actually call out specific instances of poor-faith behavior when it occurs than to make blanket pronouncements and grand "we" statements about a person that the vast majority of people here, individually, don't feel strongly about. Those who have responded here honestly about their negative feelings about Cory have largely done so in a tone appropriate to the manner in which the question ("Why do we hate Cory?") was asked ("two minute hate meltdown.")

Honestly, the grandstanding about how ashamed people are and how awful everyone is being is kind of tone deaf. Nangar, for example, is not exactly being kind to other mefites, either.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:01 PM on February 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


In fact, most in the thread seemed to agree that literary allusions do happen all the time, and we're fine with that. It was the appropriation of the Martian Chronicles title for a work in the same genre as the original that was the issue. Bradbury's work is a classic. Even if Doctorow's story/podcast is pretty good, it's just not comparable to the original, and it feels exploitative to ride on Bradbury's coat tails for page hits.


I feel like this all doesn't square.

It isn't comparable to the Martian chronicles. It is alluding to the reality in which that is a seminal work in a genre which informs not only his worldview, but his creative works.

If they happen all the time, and they do, exploitative coat tail riding, and rich homages alike, but why is this time an issue. Like I said in the thread, who now is to be arbiter "exploitative allusion" or "the kind that people objecting to would allow". I prefer a literary world where there are not arbitrary judgements on who may or may not use a tool of presentation to tell a story.

What if he actually hated Bradbury, or felt that Bradbury promoted fascist ideas or hate speech, everyone would say, the only way to break hate speech is more speech. And the only way more speech works is if you can refer to that 'other' speech, in any manner you see fit. Which means, yeah, I love to read why that is inappropriate appropriation... Or why it makes sense, or anything about the actual work, but, speaking personally anyway, What I don't care about is some strangers 'meta feelings about the author'. That isn't lit crit, or the realm of good examination of either of the two works with this title, it is tabloid, or interpersonal back and forth speculation, impressions, and opinions about strangers.

So, i guess my curiosity would be settled if anyone could explain if there is a rule on who may use allusion, or how, or when or where?

I am not saying something like, no one can call this particular allusion out as trite, or whatever... I am saying that it was really muddied up with a very specific set of "acceptable rules for all writers"... But really, it felt like no one was actually trying to make rules for all writers... Lading me to feel like it was an issue about doctorow specifically (link bait? He wrote a short little story, recorded a reading of it and gave it to a podcast on some British guy podcast... If all anyone means by using "self promoting" as an insult is... Makes stuff, and doesn't use a pseudonym... Well, there are literally thousands of commercial authors doing the same, but who don't go that extra step... I dunno, just can't take it too seriously when an artist is actually singled out for "promoting" their work.

The 'page hits' are to a page with a thing he created in his brain, it isn't like it is a blank white page, with a PayPal button... When I hit that page I did get to hear a story read by a person, for free..l I hardly feel exploited.

This comes out so often with him specifically, and really, I don't know what he ought to be doing to please people.

Why does it matter how, as the first comment put it, seminal, to a genre an alluded to work is?

Honestly, I think you are over crediting Mr. Bradbury here... "classic" is an opinion, many people know he 'exists', but could care less beyond that (not myself, but, really, how many movies there are if his works speaks to his "mass appeal (not sayingmass appeal is a marker of quality, only that he could use MORE exposure, not less). I would definitely say I care about literature generally, and the genre specifically.

With respect to his work, and to his fans.
posted by infinite intimation at 12:17 PM on February 2, 2012


many people know he 'exists'

One might even say that we are aware of his work.

posted by stebulus at 12:24 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I think you are over crediting Mr. Bradbury here... "classic" is an opinion, many people know he 'exists', but could care less beyond that (not myself, but, really, how many movies there are if his works speaks to his "mass appeal (not sayingmass appeal is a marker of quality, only that he could use MORE exposure, not less). I would definitely say I care about literature generally, and the genre specifically.

Bradbury's work (specifically Fahrenheit 451, as well as many of his short stories) frequently appears on American high school reading lists, and therefore acts as a gateway for many teenagers into the world of classic SF. It would be foolish to underestimate his influence for that reason alone (not to mention the fact that he's really, really good).
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:36 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]



Heh, hopefully I am properly 'ex-Cory-ated' for my use of an allusion to such a seminal work as 'a Simpsons'.

It seemed like those saying it was not a good allusion, or not appropriate were relying on an appeal to the importance of Bradbury... Which is counter intuitive for an allusion.
It was ulysses, not... Well, some other, unknown epic. There was meaning to that choice, as there would have been a meaning to choose an unknown work.

I just feel like an appeal to how 'central to the genre' Bradbury was, or that work specifically is to the genre as a reason that such an allusion was "riding Bradbury"... Who could he allude to? Is there a rule now about who may allude to whom?

Only third rate nobodies? No one would contend such a position, and lesser known authors borrow phrases and motifs and ideas all the time without drawing notice (for that specifically).

It feels like if the(reasonable) positions and discussion about using someone elses words would break down if taken out of the context of who this was.

It felt like people were criticizing the story from outside the story, judging it by the cover, as was hilariously noted, rather than digging into it and examining the story itself.

Which is fine. I'm not going anywhere with this, only to note that we can disagree with a disagreement, and that is a position too.
posted by infinite intimation at 12:38 PM on February 2, 2012


> 'ex-Cory-ated'

This is only allowable in the context of tales of debauchery with the True Coreys.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:40 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Corey Animus
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:44 PM on February 2, 2012


It feels like if the(reasonable) positions and discussion about using someone elses words would break down if taken out of the context of who this was.

It felt like people were criticizing the story from outside the story, judging it by the cover, as was hilariously noted, rather than digging into it and examining the story itself.


To be fair, you're at least partially: they were reacting to the title alone. But the title of a work, unlike a book cover, and of a short story especially, is still under the purview of an author. There's nothing wrong with discussing that choice, intrinsically, and nothing in the original arguments that indicated to me that the reactions were about the author as a person and not the choice the author made as an author. In fact, it felt to me that the assumptions that this reaction was solely due to the author's identity were what was knee-jerky.

Again, I had a similar, wincing reaction when I realized Mercedes Lackey had titled the first in a new Valdemar series Foundation. There's no way that she could have been unaware of Asimov's work, and she exists in a different corner of the same genre world. It felt presumptuous, in a way--the presumption being that either this stock-standard Valdemar novel was somehow equivalent, or that her audience would not have been aware of Asimov. It didn't work for me as an allusion, but if it wasn't an allusion, then what was she assuming about the importance of Asimov in the lives of her readers? It just didn't feel right.

This, despite the fact that I've written pastiches myself--and fan fictions! I think that it's important that writers be able to show their influences in varying ways. But honestly, I prefer that these references come out of a place of love and celebration and understanding of the original work. To hear that a relatively young, if famous, SF writer decided to write short stories using the titles of a grandmaster of SF, specifically as a reaction to hearing that this elderly grandmaster does not like it when his titles are reused, strikes me as a bit obstinate and unkind. It's not a loving or celebratory act, but meant to be provocative--to Bradbury himself, if not to his readers. And it would be naive to say that Doctorow doesn't benefit from the reference. Bradbury is far more well known than Doctorow--his works are part of high school curriculum and banned book weeks and have had Twilight Zone episodes based off them. He has brand name recognition, and by evoking Bradbury's best-known collection of short stories, conversations like the ones we're having right now are inevitable. People will see the title, either bristle, or sit up in recognition. They'll take notice in a way they wouldn't have otherwise.

Of course, at this point, we're essentially having two different conversations: the first is the conversation started in the original post, and on topic to that post. Is it okay for an author to repurpose one of Bradbury's titles, even if Bradbury wishes he wouldn't? What could his intentions have been there, and are they reflected in the work, and if that choice rubs people the wrong way, is it a successful or unsuccessful title? What if it rubs people the wrong way so hard that they refuse to read it, as several people in the OP said was the case? The second conversation is whether "we" hate Cory Doctorow, and why. It feels to me like there's been an attempt to synthesize both of these conversations into one cohesive argument, but I think that's missing the point. One person might say, 'Doctorow benefits off the use of Bradbury's title, and I don't like it. It feels like he's thumbing his nose at the SF establishment, and feels self-promotional' and another might say 'I don't like Cory because I don't like his writing' but unless someone specifically says, 'I think this is another example of a pattern behavior that feels self-promotional, and that's why I don't like it, and him,' I think it's unfair to assume that these attitudes are identical or even related.

Me, I rolled my eyes at the title choice. But I wouldn't necessarily throw out the baby with the bathwater because of it. I mean, I ended up liking Mercedes Lackey's Foundation. I mean, magic horses! Yay!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:06 PM on February 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


If it wasn't Cory's story I don't doubt the choice of title might take up some of the thread. I do doubt that it the first comment would end with a "go fuck yourself" and everything else would be drowned out.
posted by Artw at 1:39 PM on February 2, 2012


I can't speak for anyone but myself, but for me it was absolutely appropriating Bradbury's title essentially verbatim that was the issue, and it has nothing to do with who the author was.

I never heard of Lackey's Foundation, but I find it offputting there as well. Other examples that would be issues for me:
A werewolf story titled "Dracula"
If Lion, the Witch and Wardrobe was titled "Alice in Wonderland"
A Holmsian mystery titled "A Telltale Heart"

Examples of appropriations that I'm fine with:
A musical about Vlad the Impaler titled "Dracula"
A story about a cook titled "The Count of Monte Crisco"
A story about a lady chasing her dream that gets her involved with characters whose behavior becomes more and more bizarre, and has scenes of a wild drug-riddled party and mentally un-hinged judgements of said lady. I would be fine if this story was titled "Alice in Wonderland"

Another example I'm ok with that was also cited by someone in that thread is James Joyce's Ulysses
From wikipedia:
Ulysses chronicles the passage of Leopold Bloom through Dublin during an ordinary day, 16 June 1904 (the day of Joyce's first date with his future wife, Nora Barnacle).[4] The title alludes to Odysseus (Latinised into Ulysses), the hero of Homer's Odyssey, and establishes a series of parallels between characters and events in Homer's poem and Joyce's novel

The problem I had with this particular example is I couldn't find any relation between CD's story and the original, other than the setting. If there was some intelligent allusion that was going on that formed a meta-commentary with the original work, then I'd love to hear it, because I feel bad that I'm not on Cory's side here. But if the meta-commentary is *just* the title appropriation or has nothing to do with the story plots, then I will continue to see it as a lazy stunt.

I haven't seen anything in this thread or the other one that shows how I this is anything but laziness (or perhaps just pettiness).

And to be clear, I do not think that Cory Doctorow as a person is lazy or petty, but I find that this particular action does seem to be.
posted by forforf at 2:25 PM on February 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


FWIW, I agree totally with crunchland above, misha -- for me, it's got nothing to do with the details of the current pileon.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:55 PM on February 2, 2012


Corey Animus

Cory, Ol' Anus
posted by grobstein at 5:04 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


If it wasn't Cory's story...and everything else would be drowned out

I suspect that while that exact scenario might not have happened, something similar would have evolved wherein people read the story, realized how poorly it was written, and began to hate on it for stealing* a famous title only to crater through wooden dialogue, shallow characterizations, polemical rants, etc.

I can put forth some weak statistical evidence for this outcome, in that I've found a few accidental double blind "natural experiments" in the long history of MF-CD hate comments reporting that the poster began reading the story, hated it for the usual CD reasons, and only then realized that he had written it. This happened to me at one point with that damn story about some precoucious youth entering fairyland and setting up some BS magical internet that revolutionized everything!!!

*Picasso said "Great artists steal", not "poor-to-medicore hacks steal"
posted by Chekhovian at 6:36 PM on February 2, 2012


I read Somebody Comes to Town, Somebody Leaves Town. The summary had so much promise and then it was a pile of crap. So I consider him responsible for that disappointment.

Otherwise I am fairly ambivalent.
posted by solarion at 7:19 PM on February 4, 2012


« Older Bug Report: favorites from use...  |  This project, posted by kakaro... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments