Of Equality Of Opinion

Dear Drunk:

Hope you had a good atheist Easter. And your latest girlfriend is still with you? Why any stay with you for very long is a mystery to me. LOL!

Right now, my Mrs. is binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy. (I find myself increasingly having to compete with handsome actor doctors, and this concerns me.) We had never watched even a single episode ever… which means she has about I think fifty years of episodes or something to watch. That will keep her busy until 2022. But I can only take so many brain tumors, bus accidents, severed limbs, failed relationships, and impalements. So I thought I’d respond to your message.

Speaking of an impalement of sorts, you got your shots. So they do shots in Vermont? I thought they only did maple syrup and Bernie-ism? LOL!

We had our first COVID shots a couple of weeks ago: AstraZeneca. I felt tired for about 24 hours, then suddenly better. The wife did too. We have our next shots the first week of June. It is looking like something approaching “normal” life may resume within weeks. (There may even be travel between here and the U.S. – because President Joe is doing so well getting Americans vaccinated – this summer! Hurrah!) I even have a haircut appointment for April 15, only three days after the barbershops and hairdressers are allowed to reopen. Thank goodness, because I am starting to look like another Robert…

Robert Langdon.” LOL!

That’s Instragram. I love my Instagram.

On the other side, like you I am finding Twitter increasingly pointless. It is the same stuff over and over from writers. It is like every tweet is either “Buy my book,” or “Leave a review, please,” or “I just got another rejection, send puppy pics,” or (occasionally) “Yeh! I got a request for the book!”, or “My dog died, can I have a like?”, or some such. Or maybe it is just that I need to follow some more interesting people?

Then there is Goodreads. You saw that post I wrote saying we should steer clear of it. I see you agree. It is also typical of so much of “social media” in some ways. About that, I feel sorry for kids these days: we only had hallway fights, but they get it over and over by the written word. That time I’ll never forget a moron in study hall in 9th grade who made fun of a girl and when I told him to shut up he mocked me and threw a spitball at her, so when we walked out into the hall after the bell rang I tapped him on the shoulder, he turned around and I punched him in the face – it was over then. We didn’t go on and on about it on Twitter or wherever and he didn’t use some app we oldsters now probably never even have heard of yet to get a crowd to come to my house and knock over my dad’s mailbox. But now THEMS are all over social media. Nitwits with keyboards. Dare challenge them even politely and they whinge like five year olds and declare how wah wah wah it’s their space and they have a right to an opinion but you don’t, and eh, well, f-ck you author.

On one side we’ve got a Goodreads nitwit who uses the word “f-ck” to make his nothing point or the note I got from a grad student in politics in Denmark and she thought Conventions was really good. Whose is the opinion I go with? Honestly I would be way more uptight if the REVERSE were the case, because that grad student is the sort of audience I am aiming for. It is not that you need a Ph.D. to read my books, you know that, but just that I deliberately don’t aim for it to be EASY stuff all the time. I think a read SHOULD be challenging in various ways and you should come away from it having maybe learned some stuff.

Notice I respect you enough that at least I don’t write that vulgarity out in the clear because I know you are not a big fan of that word. Neither am I. My wife hates hearing it. She believes I am smart enough that I should not have to use it. Good thing she doesn’t use Twitter or genius writers would inform her “f-cking” otherwise. I have also never seen a bunch as vicious as are many tweeting writers. When I see them, my uncle’s warning of twenty years ago that lots of writers are, well, not very nice people… while often pretending to be all supportive… always jumps back to my mind.

Sorry, but I’m also in a bad mood. I sense I am in an emerging battle with my father that he and my sister get COVID jabs. (She does not really think for herself, as you know.) He is not outwardly refusing, but he is putting it off. There is not much I can do from 3,000 miles away. I need this? My mother is no longer around to kick his rear down to the doctor. I know why he won’t: the endless c-ap he has seen on Facebook and on a certain so-called news channel that starts with “F.” This is where we are now. Every “opinion” is rated as being of equal weight to every other one. We have researchers with half a dozen degrees who have spent their professional lives studying viruses and tweet us info about what they have learned about COVID… only to have some fool who was a sports reporter and now sits in front of a camera spouting c-apola, or some anonymous idiot with a Marvel character for a profile pic, tweeting: “It’s just like flu.” The best way to spot an ignoramus is to note that their view usually is sourced from some “unique” personal experience they throw at you as if that is the clincher to override everything else. ThomasFreedomDude1776 tweets: “I knew a 90 year old with COVID who lived.” Well, that is fantastic, Thomas, but that does not mean that 90 year olds routinely survive COVID. We have also heard, for example, tales of skydivers whose chutes did not open and who hit the ground and lived, but that does not mean jumping from a plane without a parachute is a reasonable idea.

In my opinion we have taken all this social media “democracy of thought” way too far. Just because someone “thinks” something does not mean that “thought” is valid or true. Two keyboards somehow equal equality of knowledge? No way. And two sentences tossed out to dismiss a 100,000 word novel? How I do wish we could just say to that latter type: “You know, please don’t read my books, because they are too difficult for you. Here, try Sweet Valley High or The Hardy Boys.”

But we aren’t allowed to say that, of course. Except in a private email. Uh, like this one is private, right?

[Photo by me, April 4, 2021.]

Anyway, I wrote the final couple of chapters of the Capture manuscript the other day. That does not mean it is finished as a book of course, but that as you know that means I know now exactly how it will end… so I just have to make sure I get there. Let the fun continue!

Remember, I am waiting to read your book! You aren’t interested in my Polish gentry women in France in 1810. Well, I can’t say I’m thinking much about your asexual medieval wizards having secretly colonized Mars, but I’ll definitely give it a read. LOL!

R. J.