Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Another Controversy

The hot stuff I found while blogging today was the whole RITA/GH ceremony fiasco. I wasn't there, so I don't feel I can comment either way with regards to the appropriateness of the program. But hoohaa it has unleashed has certainly been interesting. Having a "National Enquirer" mentality, I've scanned through the various blogs ad nauseum getting little else done.

And that is my concern. Every year it seems RWA has a controversy that THREATENS TO TEAR APART THE ORGANIZATION. It never does. We get through the latest fiasco and things move on. But they do not move forward.

We are an organization of what, 9200 members? That's a sizable group. Our genre has over a billion dollars in sales every year. We are the big chicks on campus. We want respect. We want to be considered serious writers. How serious can we be taken when our infighting is so publicly displayed? When Nora Roberts says she considered resigning from the organization and makes it public, what does that say about us?

Besides being embarrassing, the internal battles are non-productive. While the board and the membership are arguing back and forth on what should be on the cover of a book, we have authors suffering severe financial crushes because they are uninsured and have life-threatening illnesses. While everyone is screaming up and down about the definition of romance, an unpubbed author is having her dreams destroyed by a huckster posing as a legitimate publisher or agent. We as an organization have real power and we are wasting it on inane squabbles that eventually go away, leaving people bitter but no better off.

I blame myself. No, I didn't come up with the Tiananmen Square/"Don't Worry, Be Happy" montage. I didn't vote. I got my ballot, put it aside and completely forgot about it. I did not take it seriously enough to devote 15-20 minutes to read through the candidates and make a decision. I can hardly complain about the current board since I didn't exercise my right to vote and decide who should be there. This has been a lesson learned and I will most definitely pay attention when elections roll around again.


Anonymous said...

I was there, and I think they made a mountain out of a molehill. If you're very political, then yes, you can find things to be offended about. I didn't think that particular film clip was in good taste, but then, I'm not sure those were made by a RWA member. It might have been hired out. Who's to say? I personally enjoyed the fashion show, though I'm in the minority I think.

Melissa Amateis said...

Great post, Rene. You definitely nailed it. The crux of the matter is that we are not using our influence for GOOD.

Anonymous said...

I was there and my only real complaint was the length of the ceremony ... It started an hour late and ran three hours. I was nodding off between my editors. Embarrassing!!!!

Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

So true, Rene! We need to stop fighting within the organiation and aim the battle towards the people who put the genre down, who are fighting to save their careers. =D

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