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Bum Coverage [Jan. 19th, 2009|12:51 pm]
[mood |cynicalcynical]

I've finally figured out what really bothered me about Ben Peek's hitting back at Russell's negative review of his book.

Ben thinks he was told of this bias against him by someone who then commented they don't remember doing so. They don't say they didn't tell him this, just that they don't remember doing it. And they mention that a lot of people had it in for Ben at the time.

So Ben's justification for his response is based on hearsay at best.
But it could easily be him mis-remembering what he was told, and about who, since he's not even sure who told him in the first place.
Or it could all be bullshit on Ben's part so that he feels he looks justified in acting pissy.

The silly thing is, Ben's single line comment on the review - "--though I suppose calling it a review might be a little kind." - is all that needed to be said. It made his point beautifully without making himself look like a dick.

He hasn't heard that Russell had it in for him from Russell himself, and the problem with basing such a response on undeclared personal bias is that the supposed bias is undeclared. There's no proof it ever existed, so there's no proof that he's justified in hitting out at Russell.

Given how he once went after someone he felt had no proof to back up their claims, it's all a bit hypocritical.

But this sets a nasty precendent. If someone tells him, either mistakenly, or falsely, that I want to have his love-child, then by his previous criteria for accuracy it must be true, and he's free to react accordingly without a shred of proof to back him up.

Ben, I have no undeclared urge to have your babies. Or even to have sex with you. Please never attempt to shag me.

Nothing personal dude, just covering my arse.

[User Picture]From: strangedave
2009-01-19 09:34 am (UTC)
You are bang on with the Lawrence Miles comparison. The cooler/smarter than thou act -- and the obvious taking things too personal that makes it clear that its an act.

The hearsay is annoying, and in part because it is exactly the sort of obsession with 'the scene' and its politics that Peek often claims to avoid - just like the whole Jonathon thing.
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From: ex_benpayne119
2009-01-19 09:48 am (UTC)
I think Peek can be paranoid about peoples' dislike of him, but on the flipside the number of people from a certain Western city who threw themselves into the recend discussion certainly make a good case for him being right to be.

We here on the Eastern seaboard just find it all gently amusing!
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-01-19 10:45 am (UTC)
I'm on the Eastern seaboard and know quite a few Easterners that find him utterly obnoxious. Though I note, this doesn't reflect on attitudes to his fiction here (or in the West), just the man. They're happy for him to write, they just don't want to listen to him.

WA fandom is hyper-sensitive. I've had many arguments with people claiming that the Eastern States fans hates WA, and me trying to tell them, no, the East doesn't even think about you most of the time. Hatred requires actual thought.

They are also the most active fandom in Australia, and they tend to stick together, so you're going to get more of them on just about any subject anyway. Plus, there are people this side of Aus who aren't game to say anything negative about Peek for fear of being singled out by him. Most geeks will try to avoid conflict at any cost.

As to him being disliked, well, he's worked hard and earned that.

You can't sit around mouthing off, consistently telling folks you're smarter or cooler than they are (even as a joke), attacking people and/or the things they think are important, and then feel bad because some of them don't like you.
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[User Picture]From: crankynick
2009-01-19 11:09 am (UTC)
and they tend to stick together

No idea how it looks from the outside, of course - but I think it's a bit of a mistake to assume that size necessarily equates with unity.

My experience over the last 20 years or so is that the only advantage to the size and activity in Perth fandom is that it allows the various groups in the internecine fan warring more options as towards allies, and prevents one major dustup from completely splitting the fan community, as it has in other places.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-01-19 11:23 am (UTC)
Yes, the splits and infighting that tend to hurt the other states don't seem to hit WA as hard. But I think that's because they are always ready to band together against a perceived common foe.

And then go back to fighting each other as soon as that's over :)
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[User Picture]From: paul_ewins
2009-01-19 11:23 am (UTC)
When I first started to get active in fandom I was surprised how fragile most fannish egos were. I needed to constantly remind myself not to indulge in the sort of teasing that passed for light entertainment amongst my other friends but would come across as a vicious personal attack in fandom. From memories of your stories about droving and the abattoirs I guess you know the sort of stuff I mean.

From my point of view the whole episode is downright silly, making a fuss about a review of a three year old book, but then if your measure of success is what people say about you and your work, maybe it is more serious.

Maybe the anti-WA feeling was a manifestation of background grumbling when Swancon seemed to be the Natcon every second year. Given that few cons were being organised in the East it was an unavoidable situation but that won't stop fans from grumbling.
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[User Picture]From: crankynick
2009-01-19 11:27 am (UTC)
There was, in fact, a period when we had it three years in a row and the slogan at the time was "Melbourne: Never Again".
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-01-19 11:42 am (UTC)
That makes it sound like a conscious WA decision, when in fact, it was just that no other bastard was running them. I'm not sure, but I think it was the worldcon that killed fandom pre/post 1999.

That said, Australian fandom owes WA a debt with regards to the Natcon, because without Perth choosing to run it in the absence of anyone else, it probably would have died.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-01-19 11:37 am (UTC)
Yep. But most fans were the picked on kids at school, so being sensitive about it is understandable.

I sort of hit the weird mid-range, I was a geek kid, but I could and would fight. And with my family, i had no choice but to develop a thick skin, or at least the ability to mimic owning one :)
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[User Picture]From: crankynick
2009-01-19 11:01 am (UTC)
I don't think that's particularly fair - firstly, I only count four WA people weighing in on Peek's original post: angriest, his wife (in a comment largely unrelated to the issue at hand), robinpen, and waylanderpk.

On angriest's post the action was a little more WA centric, but that's because his flist is also, I suspect, and similar rules apply elsewhere.

Secondly, I don't think any of this was about people rushing to defend Russ and swarm on someone who's bagging out our mate - it seemed, looking at what has been posted on the subject, like more than a few people deciding that it was an appropriate trigger to make a few pointed remarks about Peek's recent behaviour than an attempt to defend Russ.
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From: ex_benpayne119
2009-01-19 11:06 am (UTC)
That sort of goes to argue *for* Ben's sense that Perth fans have a beef with him really, though, doesn't it?

I think some Perth folk have genuine reasons for disliking Ben, in which case, rightly or wrongly, fair enough. But it did seem to me that there was a little bandwagoneering going on.

Maybe that was just my interpretation though, I could be wrong.
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[User Picture]From: crankynick
2009-01-19 11:15 am (UTC)
Four people, and none of them trolling, ain't a bandwagon.

Granted, I posted and commented on this subject also, and I probably wouldn't have if it wasn't about someone I knew - but if Ben (or anyone else) wants to believe that it's his state of residence that's his problem rather than his behaviour...

Well, I think that would be a mistake.
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[User Picture]From: strangedave
2009-01-20 01:54 pm (UTC)
I'll agree that lie_xin, as you say, mostly made comments pretty much unrelated to anything to do with Ben or Russell, and just took a swing at drjon. Being mildly familiar with the issue in question, I don't think it had much to do with Ben, Russell, WA-centricity, or much else relevant to the issue in question.

So that leaves us with 3 people, And angiest has, as have I, been at least a semi-regular commenter at Bens journal for some time, so it hardly countrs as much of a pile on.
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[User Picture]From: strangedave
2009-01-19 04:12 pm (UTC)
I think your argument about the Eastern seaboard just finding it all amusing is somewhat weakened by this being a comment in response to a rant by Danny....

I did notice that many of the comments in Bens LJ sfrom the West eemed to be more interested in hating drjonthan Ben though -- which did surprise me, as I always thought hating drjon was more of a Melbourne thing.

To be momentarily serious, I think very few people in the West have met Ben in person (I have, but I'm definitely in a minority - and I only met him very briefly years ago), and his onlne persona is rather more confrontational than the reality.
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[User Picture]From: crankynick
2009-01-20 02:35 am (UTC)
which did surprise me, as I always thought hating drjon was more of a Melbourne thing.

Apologies to anyone who's a mate of his over on this LJ - but from what I've seen of him through this, it's a dislike that could probably go national pretty rapidly.
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