Selah March

February 8, 2006

Three Holes, No Waiting: Part Deux

Filed under: Uncategorized — Selah March @ 3:58 pm

Miss Black — she of the recent “polyamorous romance is PORN and/or should be labeled clearly for the protection/guidance of readers” brouhaha — has deigned to show up and make some remarks. Rather than debate her in the comments section — and since her blog doesn’t allow comments at ALL (convenient, that) — I thought I’d bring it to the front page for the entertainment of all concerned.

WARNING: I’m in a BAD mood.

* * *
Miss Black says:

“Someone sent me this link this morning. I have to admit, none of you should be so upset about the posts I made.”

We tend to get that way when attacked by one of our own. Go figure.

“Erotica is fine with me.”

The equivalent of compulsory moves in figure skating, ‘Erotica is fine with me‘ translates to ‘Despite the asshattery of what I’m about to say, I’m not really an uptight, unreasonable, unrepentant jackass.’ Strong start, but can she land that double axel?

“But what I am concerned with, and I’ll write a few essays on it, is the role models we are giving the next generation of women readers.”

Role models? For the next generation? Is this…ye gods and little fishes, it IS, isn’t it?? It’s some veiled variation of that old war-cry: ‘WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN???’

And you were doing so well, too. Too bad. You lose seven-tenths of a point for landing that triple with both feet planted firmly in your mouth.

“That’s my main concern. I think it’s all fine, with labels. Then readers will know what they get. Not a perfect solution but necessary at this point, probably.”

And again, I really must point out the HUGE amount of condescension in that comment. Why do you assume readers can’t find their ways around the romance genre without labels? Frankly, I’m not overly impressed with either your logic or your ability to express yourself, but I think even YOU could figure out which books contain the most explicit sex scenes simply from the back blurbs and covers.

Here’s a hint: when you assume your readers are idiots? It shows in your writing. I know you’re not an amateur, so this isn’t news to you. Sounds like you could use a refresher on the concept, though. Clue #2: if a whole bunch of folks call you “condescending?” Consider it a nicer, more genteel way of telling you your manners could use some work. Bless your heart.

“About Unleash the Night, that’s not really erotica. I am not sure I know what it is, a badly written romance novel is what I would call it. But that’s another topic.”

Indeed it is. I haven’t read it yet, but a lot of other people certainly seem to disagree with you. Enough to propel the book to #6 on the USA Today and NYT lists, #3 on the Publishers Weekly list, and #1 at Waldenbooks (all in mass market, of course) last month.

My point? The market drives the genre, as it does all genres. The readers love the book, and — from the reviews and comments I’ve read — love the sex IN the book — the very element from which you wish to protect them.

“I happen to love the romance genre.”

That makes millions of us.

“If I don’t think Emma Holly is romantic, so what? It’s just one opinion. The lady asked and I answered.”

No. The lady asked if you found polyamorous scenes in romance either romantic or sexy. You answered by calling it PORN, and going on to say that it should be segregated from the rest of the genre.

Try this analogy on for size:

‘Ms. March, do you think American Beauty Roses are lovely and fragrant?

No! American Beauty Roses are not roses at all. They are weeds. They should be labeled as such, to protect the poor, defenseless gardener who might mistake them for actual roses.’

NOW do you get it?


Imagine my surprise.

“I’ll write about porn later. What a morning.”

I can’t wait to read what you have to say on the topic. I mean that sincerely.

“The question is: you have your opinion and I certainly think you should have it and read what you want, but why throw me in with the bigots because I don’t like

You use a pejorative term to describe what I and a goodly number of other authors spend our days and nights creating. You strongly suggest our work should be labeled and separated from other work in the genre for the protection of the consumer. And then you wonder why we call you a bigot?

The segregated lunch counter is thata’way, Miss Black. You may have marched with Dr. King, for all I know, but you’re missing the boat on this one. Big time.

“I am probably more liberal than any of you.”

MY definition of “liberal” is “progressive and accepting of change.” The romance genre is changing. It’s growing, it’s boundaries are blurring, it’s beginning to encompass other tropes, conceits and structures.

I embrace these changes. I look forward to what growth will bring.

Do you?

Can you?


  1. May I just sit here at your feet and admire you?

    Comment by Alessia Brio — February 10, 2006 @ 5:56 am | Reply

  2. Selah, remind me to never get on your bad side. YIKES!!

    Anyway, the business re: classifying and sub-classifying the bejeezus out of this genre so that readers “know what they’re getting” really bothers me a lot.

    Is it so incredibly stressful and anxiety producing to read a book THAT HAS SOME STUFF THAT YOU DON’T EXPECT????

    I’m not just talking about group sex vis a vis non group sex, either. Can you imaging a Romance being published that actually had an unhappy ending? Or actually had an adulterous woman as a heroine?? The readers would SH&T themselves and would probably start writing death threats to the publishers for daring to challenge their precious, little bourgeoisie fantasies.

    Too many tight-asses in this genre. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too many.

    Comment by Reese — February 11, 2006 @ 10:06 am | Reply

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