Margo Rabb: The Blogosphere Hates Me! Oh Noes!

Margo Rabb’s now throwing a pity party over the controversy that her YA article generated, even tossing around uncited assertions that bloggers have threatened to punch her. I presume that Rabb, much like her undemocratic cohorts at Paper Cuts, is uninterested in approving dissenting comments. Here is my response:

If you put such a foolish article out, edited or unedited, don’t expect it to be universally loved. Some freelancers, such as myself, work very hard with editors to ensure that clarity is maintained. There’s no need to play Pollyanna here. You were responsible for what you wrote. And if you can’t accept criticism, then you have no business being a writer. Furthermore, I find it irresponsible that you have charged a blogger with commenting, “I wanted to punch the author,” without specifying the blogger. Google Blog Search and Technorati do not reveal any such comment. That are you using an uncited remark to tarnish the blogosphere with an ignoble straw man is highly irresponsible.

[UPDATE: To Rabb’s credit, the comment has been approved. And as Brian helpfully points out, the “punch” comment in question is here.]


  1. and i’m just sayin’ back the f___ off. who is irresponsible here? as Brain F. points out, you are obviously WRONG. if you want to maintain even a shred of credibility (or maybe you gave up on that a long time ago), acknowledge your mistake and apologize.

    a shame i no longer live in brooklyn as i so want to meet you. maybe next time i am in town! good thing i have your address!

    signed, really big husband

  2. You know, real men know how to type “fuck.” They also know how to read updates, in which I acknowledged that the comment had been approved. Maybe you might want to use that small organ inside your head before you resort to muted bluster. I’ve seen more convincing displays of bravado at fashion shows.

  3. I think it’s interesting that you find Margo “irresponsible [to] have charged a blogger with commenting, ‘I wanted to punch the author,’ without specifying the blogger.”

    My take was different – I actually thought she was being responsible. Since Margo states that the blogger publicly apologized, and that she accepted the apology, I felt she was being polite to not cite the blogger and further the dispute.

    Interesting how people can read different intentions from the same thing.

  4. Margo has also offered a reasonable explanation in the comments on her blog as to why she didn’t identify the specific blogger.

  5. I was pretty shocked by that punch comment as well, Ed. You can be annoyed by someone’s essay but wanting to punch an author who’s writing about the difference between a couple of writing markets? It was way out of line. That whole comments thread at Janni’s was a little on the angry side though, more so than I think the essay warranted.

  6. Ed,

    I don’t know if you realize it, but you’re abusive pretty much all the time now. I used to be a regular reader of The Return of the Reluctant and have, regrettably, only been popping in here occasionally, and the change is remarkable.

  7. Yup, those are the alternatives: Ed or the Times. With or against. Ever occur to you that that binary mentality might be part of what’s wrong with the way you approach things? Or that the abusiveness I mentioned is not, nor is it a substitute for, media criticism, let alone literary criticism? It’s difficult to see past, Ed. That’s all I’m saying. I’d like to hear what you have to say about the NYTBR, but when you call the people who work there “pigs” you lose me. It’s hard to consider what you have to say about Margo Rabb’s article when you attribute motivations and feelings to her that aren’t reflected at all by the piece, and then insult her husband’s (I gather) masculinity and intelligence.

  8. Andrew: It is your own tunnel vision which is drawing forth the dichotomy, just as it is your own perception to claim that my writing here is abusive. I’m just saying that if you don’t care for this site, fuck off and go elsewhere. Spare yourself the grief. Unless, of course, you’re some kind of chronic masochist. Some of the readers here are. I figured that Paper Cuts, which has never taken a single chance in its entire existence, might be more your speed because it can’t possibly be described as “abusive.” I was doing you a favor. The same way that a video store clerk recommends a Lifetime TV Movie box set over a Guy Maddin box set to a customer who likes their movies safe and unthreatening. No harm, no foul. More your speed. That’s all.

    But you’re acting like a real chump here. Was I the one who wrote that I wanted to punch Margo Rabb? No. Her husband came in here, wanted to start some shit with me, and I put him down like I would any two-bit asshole in a bar. No sweat off my back. You fuck with me at your own peril. Thankfully, being smart enough to recognize that I am ALSO a reasonable man, Margo responded thoughtfully to my points and without this kind of machismo, and I acknowledged this both here and at her place. Nevertheless, I am very troubled that Margo would in our supposed age of gender egalitarianism choose to play the “I’ve got a big husband who will threaten you” card. That would see to run counter to the hopes of the Equal Rights Amendment.

  9. Wow it’s so unfortunate that all of this bickering back and forth is over an essay. What ever happened to agreeing to disagree? Why do you all have to try and prove how manly you are, when what you are fighting over is an essay?

  10. Yeah, the “Really Big Husband” thing is pretty douche-baggy. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to read this person’s work now without thinking of some sort of ass-whuppin’ Neanderthal reading over my shoulder. Definitely going to avoid.

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