Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Nowadays, many published authors have blogs. It keeps them in touch with fans, and provides place to say things more wide ranging, casual, and frequently than in novels and book introductions. Blogs can also function as a community meeting place, like a conversation in the corner of a church lobby.

The one author blog I read commented on the release of Anne Rice's new book The Road to Cana, and mentioned how Rice plans to write a new vampire Lestat novel.
There was lots of interesting issues in this blog post in regards to how Anne Rice is practicing her faith, interpreting theology, and how the media reacts to her, but my reaction was to think how kewl it was that Anne Rice may write a vampire story from a Christian prospective. Her historical fiction portraying the life of Christ is interesting, but I don't read those sorts of books.

Now, when I first read and thought the above paragraph, I was going to post a response on that author’s blog, but didn't have time before class. Six hours later, I return to find Anne Rice herself had commented on that blog! Suddenly, I didn't have anything to say. How could my comment about what I think of Anne Rice's work have any sort of place in a forum where the author herself is active? It struck me in that moment what fabulous roles I was giving to authors as a social entity. The blog I was reading is Forensics and Faith By Brandilyn Collins, a successful pro Christian suspense writer. I've posted on her blog for years, fearlessly offering my comments without much thought of my status in the writing community. But status is exactly the issue here. Being in the same 'room' online with Anne Rice is like accidentally finding myself standing in a hallway conversation with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. What would you say to the most powerful persons in the US government? Would you feel comfortable commenting on national security or the Iraq war?

That may be a unrealistic depiction of the fame of Anne Rice, but that's how I perceived it. Yet she is as mortal as anyone else, and apparently follows mentions of herself within the writing community. What is fame anyway? Anne Rice has it, I know about her through news articles and pop culture references to her books and I felt I knew enough about her to decide I didn't want to read any of her books and haven't yet. In reality I know nothing about 'her' as a human being, and I don't know anything about the literary qualities of her books. All I know is 'her' as a social entity, a brand. I can't talk to a brand name, I don't have that status. If I was a well known superstar novelist what would be the actual difference in me?

I'm not trying to suggest that all people are equal although they are as human beings. The lesson in my mind is to remember the humanity of people and not just their social image, but also be circumspect about what I blather about on the internet. This isn't a meaningless place where adolescents find new combinations of obscene words to label each other. The internet is our social visibility, as real as any conversation in physical space. I don't want to be the 88th youtube comment saying 'cool vid!!!!1!' The people around us, online and in shoes are our colleagues, friends, neighbors. Wouldn't it be good to talk with care and insight, depth of thought, educated concern? Seeing someone famous shouldn't have to remind me not act like an idiot.

Grady Houger

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