This post came about from considering the comments of two friends/colleagues: namely Vivienne Dacosta (Serendipity Viv of Serendipity Reviews) and Joanne Harris. First of all, I am proud to be a contributor to Serendipity Reviews. The book-blogging ‘tribe’ is one I identify with – as well as many others. I am a writer, a reader, belly dancer and a lover of the sea for a start-off.
I like to belong. There’s a certain solidarity; people you can turn to when you need to – and whom you can help along the way. I’d be a much sadder person without SCBWI BI, GEA and my various Arvon pals. It gives me a sense of identity – if nothing else, something to put on my Twitter profile!
Community to me means those you commune with,
Share one’s intimate thoughts or feelings with (someone), especially on a spiritual level: ‘the purpose of praying is to commune with God.’
There’s a sense of common purpose and outlook. You need some sort of cohesion, some loose rules. At a simplistic level, you can hardly wield a cricket bat during a rugby match.
And yet – as someone with a peripheral inclination, given to orbiting larger bodies of people – I am unhappy with being told what to do, think or say. This little satellite finds groups which advise rather than dictate have a greater attraction. Thus I’m more drawn to the Quakers than the Wee Frees.
for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life
2 Corinthians 3:6 King James Version
It was this statement from the lovely Viv that provoked me:
I take a couple of days downtime and all hell breaks lose in the blogging world. This makes me want to quit.
She was referring to the scandal of book bloggers making a profit out of the ARCs that they had been given for review. Both she and Parajunkee felt ashamed of their tribe. The shame of one was the shame of all.
I don’t feel they or ‘we’ should. They are absolutely right to ask awkward questions, to challenge one of the book-blogging community. I think it’s best when members of a group deal with their own – rather than outsiders. I tend to agree with Parajunkee in calling Crossroads ‘this
blogger, scammer’ – implying they were not a real book-blogger, not true to the shared ethos. But then that brings me into conflict with this point of view from Joanne Harris.
So everyone, please, let’s stop using the words “you’re not a real….”
Unless, of course, you want to come across as a real arsehole.
I will admit to taking my time writing this: I am not minded to argue with Joanne Harris as she is a person whose opinion I greatly respect. Still – this is my (somewhat confused) truth. I believe those who share a common purpose have a duty and a right to reproach those in their tribe who do bad things. I think, for example, a Christian can say someone is not a true Christian because they preach hate.
On the other hand – I have no wish to label anyone a lesser human being, unworthy of the same dignity as anyone else. So I am confused and conflicted.
I just hope Scott Fitzgerald was right.
The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.F. Scott Fitzgerald
I think you’re right – the conflict is quite real. I respect others’ beliefs as far as possible, but, for example, can’t believe it’s right to kill for your beliefs. I think they are very wrong. I think the cultural practice of FGM is very wrong. I distrust patriotism and think the racist views which can spring from it are wrong. I don’t think you’re calling someone a lesser human being because their actions are unacceptable. (Now I’m getting confused – this would be great to talk through! )
Helen, how good to hear from you! I am working my way through these ideas still, so it’s all open to debate as far as I am concerned. Thank you for taking the time to comment.
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