Or “It took me way longer than it should have to come up with a title for this post because I’m just really pissed off.”
I think it’s safe to say that there’s at least one special someone in everyone’s life who manages to draw a certain level of rage, no matter what they do, for whatever reason. I know I have my fair share of such people. The sort of folks I make genuine efforts to avoid in public places, or make rather unkind comments about when I’m feeling particularly unkind (read as: far too often, probably). However, despite my ever-questionable moral compass, I have some limitations. For example: I would never, ever do something to deliberately harm another person, no matter how angry I am. I use the term harm in this case, because it encompasses so many different things one person can do to something else (another person, an animal, inanimate objects; whatever).
As in I would never, no matter how much I dislike someone, make it a point to write a bunch of bad reviews (both negative and poorly written, as a point of fact) on another person’s writing. No. That feels like some sort of cardinal sin of creativity, and I’ll get back to that in a little bit. I recently witnessed this happen to someone I know, and how aware they are of the offending reviews and reviewer is something I don’t actually know. I should have probably left well enough alone and not read more than the initial review I’d seen.
The recipient of those reviews is an English professor at Edinboro University, and one I’ve had multiple times. I first had him for [redacted, should he somehow find this], and I honestly wasn’t particularly fond of him, or his teaching style. He came across as a very grumpy, unpleasant professor. Being in the writing program, I couldn’t avoid having him for classes. With each additional class, and each additional portfolio I would have to complete by the semester’s end, I discovered something interesting. The professor in question wasn’t the problem; my laziness was. By one of the advanced writing classes I had with him, I not only knew how this particular professor operated, but I knew how hard I would have to work to stand a chance at surviving. I earned an A with that portfolio, which is one of my proudest moments in college (one of the others being I have an extended nonfiction piece on swords that’s used as part of a course’s textbook). The short of it is he is a professor whose respect is not given freely, nor are A’s in his courses, and I feel like my writing skills saw some of the greatest growth they’ve ever known because of him.
However, as a friend of mine has pointed out, students are particularly polarized about him, and it would seem the end result of this in one case was a series of one-star reviews on this professor’s books on Amazon.
What a remarkably shitty thing to do to someone, because all it really accomplishes is dragging down the person’s rating. To people who know the writer, artist, or whatever that person may be, that’s no big deal; not a ton more than something of an irritation (as seen here). However, what irks me most about it is how those negative reviews, if read by the right people, could ruin chances of potential book sales, which cuts down on the number of people who would then see this writer’s work. Those people could potentially spread additional negative commentaries, based on the spiteful review, and so on.
If you don’t like a person, that’s fine. Don’t talk to them. Avoid them in public. Come up with horrible, mean things to call them to your friends if that’s what you need to do. Don’t shit all over their work, especially if you’ve clearly not read it.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I’d like to encourage checking out any number of the works by John Repp, who is an award-winning writer, the only person on this planet who could change my views on poetry, and one damn-exceptional professor (so much for not name-dropping, but only because I whole-heartedly encourage buying his books).