Posts tagged ‘Lynn Shepherd’

November 11, 2015

#99) Where are they now? Catching up with former D-Theory celebrities

As this blog nears its 100th post, I’ve decided to mark that milestone (and I use the term loosely) by catching up on five subjects of past D-theory posts.

Stephen Quire (#11) is best known as the “World of Warcraft Freakout Kid.” Originally video taped by his younger brother, who goes by the Youtube handle “Wafflepwn”, Quire has not only entertained millions of viewers with his temper tantrums but has also inspired debates about whether they are real. The first video currently boasts an impressive 85 million views. According to the most recent video, posted in September, Quire, now in military school, has “stopped freaking out.” Or has he?

Samantha Brick (#40) wrote a controversial article for London’s Daily Mail in which she described the downsides of being pretty. Brick is still a regular contributor to the Mail; most recently a parenting article decrying “spoiled little emperors.”

Ian Bayne (#67) drew criticism for comparing A&E’s suspending “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson to Rosa Parks’ arrest. Following an unsuccessful bid for congress in Illinois, Bayne was most recently in the news for his September, 2015 dismissal from his talk radio show.

Lynn Shepherd (#72) is best known for her February, 2014 opinion piece about J.K. Rowling. At least one person has stepped up to defend her from the backlash that ensued. Shepherd was last seen in March, 2015 in an interview on the Killer Reads website.

Action Park (#79) was an infamous New Jersey water park that closed in 1996 following a long history of injuries and fatalities. The park was reopened last year, claiming to have kept the wild spirit of old, now mixed with more modern safety measures. According to this article, the park has reverted to its “laissez-faire” attitude, resulting in the shut down of a water slide.

Did I miss your favorite D-Theory post? Are you curious about what happened to Hans Url, Taylor Grey Meyer or Libby Zangle? Wondering if Route 11 is still in business?  Drop me a line in the comment section. (What’s the definition of an optimist? A trombonist with a beeper.)



February 25, 2014

#72) How not to complain, #2: An open letter to Lynn Shepherd

Dear Ms. Shepherd,

I’m sorry that your recent pitch to get J.K. Rowling to stop writing hasn’t worked.  I dare say it backfired; in addition to the hate mail you’ve received, you’ve probably helped her sell a few more books.

But I’m not here to add to the hate.  I myself absolutely love complaining and it saddens me when people such as yourself or Samantha Brick don’t realize the potential of this high art form.

Many of your feelings about Rowling echo my thoughts about the current state of the music business.  Why does Coldplay still exist?  Why is Gotye set for life from one song while I have to deal with talent buyers who think I should be happy playing for “exposure?”  Why do people insist on taking Rod Stewart seriously as a jazz singer?  Much as I would love answers to these questions, I’ve reached the conclusion that it’s more productive to focus on my own music (and writing) than speculate about how Justin Bieber sleeps at night.*

But this isn’t about me.

It’s about giving a voice to the millions of struggling writers who, as you put it, are denied exposure because the world wants more J.K. Rowling.  That is your goal and it’s a good one, but you won’t achieve it by:

  • Bad-mouthing Rowling’s work without giving specific examples of why it sucks.  In this rant about “Twilight”, the author makes clear what she hates about the series; agree with her or not, her opinions and arguments are plainly laid out.  Right now you are using the “if it’s popular, it’s wrong” principle, which is usually a flimsy premise**; not unlike comparing someone you don’t like to Hitler or yourself to Rosa Parks.
  • Not presenting examples of under-appreciated writers who should be getting the shelf space monopolized by Rowling.  Who should we be reading instead of her?
  • Being too serious.  No matter how passionately you care about an issue, lecturing others usually won’t convert them to your side. Humor can be much more effective, as comedian Owen Benjamin shows in this video explaining the banality of pop music.
  • Not establishing your own credentials.  Yes, I just told you to not be so serious, but you also need to provide your readers a reason to care about your opinion.  More people love to rant than love listening to rants.  Speaker’s Corner in London always draws a crowd, but it’s still more of a curiosity than a major attraction.

In conclusion, I genuinely wish you well in your career as a writer.  Hopefully someday you will occupy an amount of shelf space that meets your satisfaction.  If you ever do achieve the success of Rowling and are besieged by struggling writers expressing their resentment, remember to go easy on ’em.

* I know it’s more productive but that doesn’t mean that I do it.

** That doesn’t stop me from using the argument myself.