22.3.13

RONTEL IS RACIST (UPDATED, MIGHT CONTINUE TO UPDATE)

just read this review of rontel where it accuses me of racism and living in a 'white boy bubble.' 

i figured this shit would happen eventually because as more people read your work, more people misread it.

the review basically says my use of 'ghetto talk' for the 'black characters' is like, racist.  i could probably end this response right here by saying, "there is no mention of race in 'rontel' like, period."

no character's race is mentioned.

if you read someone using "ghetto talk" (whatever the fuck that means) and 1. assume that character is black   2. assume any character is any race and/or 3. assume 'ghetto talk' means 'unintelligent' then you are racist, not me.  it's pretty much that easy.

also, it's weird that the reviewer sees the transcribing of how someone talks as offensive.  seems like it would be more offensive to 'correct' how someone talks. 

i dont hear someone say, "whatchoo thank, mang" and think, "oh my, this ghetto talk is disrupting my white boy bubble." i dont eve fucking think about it at all, people pronounce words in different ways.  assuming intelligence based on how someone talks rather than what they say is fuckig stupid.

i'm from chicago.  people talk how they talk in the book.  believe me.  you'll find every possible way of talking.  in 'rontel' where the main character and his brother are talking about the 'rattlesnake guy' the 'rattlensnake guy' has a thick chicago accent. i use phonetic/whatever kind of dialogue for any character with a unique way (not 'ghetto' which is an ignorant word to use anyway, seeing as how you can be from wherever and talk like this).  for instance, in 'no hellos diet' the 'billy' character (whose race i won't mention) doesn't use "ghetto talk" but i still phonetically write out what he says.

the way people talk is not about race at all in my books.  it's about being able to show the reader the same things i've seen/heard, such that it preserves the excitement and uniqueness of it.

this shit pisses me off so much i'm not going to try to hide it.  a book can't be racist.  a book doesn't have willpower/consciousness.  the author can be racist (in day to day activities) but not the book.  and...you dont know me, so you're basically accusing someone you dont know/never met of being racist and living in a 'white boy bubble.'  that shit is way more racist.  i'm white?  what does that mean?  i'm italian motherfucker.  and i promise i show you how we do it in the Chi when you step to a motherfucker. 

come to chicago and i'll take you aroudn and you can tell me if what i'm writing about it realistic or not.  we can go all over, i'll even pop my white boy bubble so we can leave it.  why, you can even walk up to a real life "non-white" person and say to them, "you know, you really do talk like he writes, my stars!"

i really dont like responding to shit like this, because i honestly, truly, do not care how people receive the book, as long as it doesnt extend to making some claim about how i am/who i am.  for real, like, i mean it.  you can walk right up to me and say, "this book sucked and i hate it" and it wil have no affect.  but if you walk up to me and start making assumptions about my life based on wanting to provide "scandal" to a half-assed review (for real though, half an ass was there because you said some good shit), then i dont know man, i might lay you out.

i'm serious, just throw my book out if you're that stupid.

i dont give a fuck about this shit anymore anyway.

one last thought:  what is the race of the main character in 'rontel' and how do you know.

UPDATE:  just re-read the review.  missed some crucial idiotic ideas.

 Pink is an astute observer, and I have no doubt that he has encountered many black people in Chicago who talk like this. What makes me uncomfortable is that, as far as I can tell, every black character in his book talks like this.


haha, he has 'no doubt' there are some 'black people' who talk like this.  what does 'every black character' mean.  how do you know who is black outside of perceiving 'ghetto talk' as black, and additionally (just caught this) the reviewer (you) are white.  so you're doing what you accuse me of doing motherfucker.  come down off the early nineties puffed chest white dude anti racism bullshit and see shit as it is.  you're the same type of person who would probably go "ohhhhhhhhh" in a five year old voice if a "white" person said, "nigga" to a non white person.  seriously man, i know you're trying to sound intelligent, and like, academic or whatever, but fuck off. 


On their own, these passages are only a few steps removed from blackface. In the context of the story, however, the effect is muted. That’s because everybody the narrator meets in the city is fucked up in one essential way or another. The black people he meets sound ignorant, but so does everybody else. Still, it’s a problem when a book is published in 2013, and all of the black characters sound like they were written by Margaret Mitchell.


a few steps away from blackface?  whart the fuck does that mean.  blackface is overtly racist, putting the idea of "black people" into a white person's mouth and capitalizing only on made up stereotypes and abstract behavior.  rontel is based on things that happen.  the "black people sound ignorant."  what black people?  and who sounds ignorant?  people sound ignorant because they use "finna" or what do you mean?  ignorant means you don't know.  so you could barelt even be able to speak english or any language and still not be ignorant, as long as you are informed.

final note:  i write books about chicago and the people here because i love it/them.  if you think i purposely try to make anybody look bad or whatever, you're stupid.  read any of my books and the main point is, 'nobody knows what's going on and it can be enjoyable.'

i'm still so pissed about this.  i feel like beating the shit out of eight people then fucking eight more. 

P.S.  no one better mention the character enrique again unless it's positive because he's my little baby.

P.P.S.  thanks to alex miller for reading and reviewing the book....just...you know, come on.  also, i genuinely feel like you should apologize for saying racist shit. 

P.P.S  this kind of shit works me up because it's so far from the truth.  i also fucking hate when people go on about how i represent the jobs i work as "shitty."  any time i say shit like that (which i dont really) i then qualify it by saying it's me.  so when you shit on the places i work, you shit on everybody else there (including blacks, africans, mexicans, puerto ricans, south americans, eastern europeans, gays, lesbians, transgender/transsexual, jews, muslims and any possible mix of any possible thing you'll find in chicago) and that pisses me off because the people i worked with brought me joy when i had none and we all tried to make each others' lives better by not caring about what outward shit 'divided' us but instead the common need to try and make things better.  i got called 'white boy' at work by "non-whites" and it was funny and only meant to be a thing to bring people together and no one ever meant it maliciously.  i've only ever been polite and open to anyone and everyone and i've found a little bit of peace in that. 

P.P.P.S. chicago, city of the wind, 2013, we'll eat your pussy clean, everybody killers

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

your enthusiasm is sexy

BLAKE BUTLER said...

big ups

sam pink said...

what bothers me most is the review mentions nothing of my 'in real life' dazzling footwork, ability to seamlessly switch between southpaw and conventional stance, devastating 1-2's, unconventionally-angled combos and second-to-none stamina. ask megan boyle, who--during last year's 'dead friends' tour--tried, in what many called a spirited but fruitless effort, to find me upstairs and downstairs but simply couldn't connect on a sidewalk in columbus.

Sam Moss said...

Pink in the second round with a knockout...

darren said...

this review guy is god damn idiot. if he wants you to translate what they actually said (eg. "watchoo thank, man" as "what do you think, man") so that it sounds race/culture-neutral, then he more than just a stupid idiot. he came to this book with his own prejudices, eg. that what he perceives as 'ghetto talk' is in some way fucked up/ignorant, so seeing it transcribed accurately makes him uncomfortable. it's like he sees a photo of a black person and he's like "hey, this person is black! that's racist!". what a god damn idiot.

jereme said...

Have you been to 'hawaii' ? I have. And the white boys who live there are the privileged fucks who think they're cool with the locals but aren't. The kind who only talk to the native islanders when purchasing goods or paying for services.

I could pick this review clean but won't. It's, like, why?

I do think the irony of saying an author's honesty is just and welcomed then misconstruing honest portrayals as racism is pretty funny.

Also enjoyed the crumbsnatcher move of plugging his new book before the review, not after.

Dude, nobody fucking cares.

My secret word is: pleasr

tomhanks said...

hell fucking hell yeah

i'm driving right now, reading this made me drive significantly faster to i don't know, chase down a motherfucker, show no mercy, no mercy for the motherfuckers

sam pink said...

"I got my own philosophy

I hate everyone equally

You can't tear that out of me

No segregation -separation

Just me in my world of enemies

I reject this fuckin' race

I despise this fuckin' place"

--relevant slayer lyrics

sam pink said...

i'm shocked jereme didn't mention the 'chicago is grittier than LA' line. feel like that line would've really boiled his onions good.

Matt Margo said...

thank you for posting this response, sam. i experienced many of these same reactions when i read the review. it seems disappointing to me that such a careless and empty critique would come from a blog that is normally so fair. i feel like i should apologize on behalf of banango lit. maybe my friends and i will find another fish for you.

jereme said...

Dude, that line was so unfounded it was comical.

No shit, he lost all credibility as a human being by saying such a thing.

If I was lost in Hawaii, I would ask my dick for directions before seeking his advice.

Ya dig?

jereme said...

For the record, people from Chicago come to LA and die/run home within 2 years.

Not the other way around.

I still got mad love for the Windy City.

Except for the loop.

sam pink said...

no need to apologize, i only said something because it went farther than talking about the book.

sam pink said...

just got back from the loop, where i heard a conversation on the train that included a lot of each person shaking their clothed titty at the other

shaun gannon said...

chicago owns

sam pink said...

i feel like i'm in a beautiful mood today for some reason.

thoughts and willpower out to baby j in his time of sickness.

sam pink said...

almost bought a blue t shirt from walgreens last night that had al capone's face on the front and said "chicago, al capone" on it. i stared at it thinking, "just like a wop to bring a knife to a gun fight."

Anonymous said...

I have never commented on the internet before in my whole life, but I feel it's important to represent your 'unseen readership' and say that no intelligent person would ever make these claims about your book. The reason why so many people like your writing, in fact, is because of your ability to universalize human experience maybe better than anyone ever. It is understandable that you are frustrated, but be sure to remember that no one who likes people or books or stories or living would ever think these things about Rontel.

scott mcclanahan said...

Yeah, piss on em brother.

Geneviève said...

You think the reviewer wrote his review on an apple product?

sam pink said...

thanks anonymous. i appreciate everybody's support but i dont want to like, bully this guy. he said some shit, i said some shit, something something. dont fuck with me i won't fuck with you. i like your blog genevieve

jereme said...

The more I think about that LA slight, the more I feel the urge to eat tacos out of this person's skull.

FSR said...

Welcome to the world of political correctness and the useful idiots supporting it. Funny thing, when a white person says something not quite possitive about a black person, he's suddenly labeled as 'racist', while it doesn't seem to work that way the other way around. And being called 'racist' is worse than being called a motherfucker, yet it's still not considered a vulgarism so you can shamelessly slam others with it out in the public. And it's such an insult, people are scared of being labeled with that word and do everything to prove they're not 'racist'. Fascism has many different faces...

sam pink said...

for me it's like, the only reason i cared about the review was because it called me racist. that should be obvious because it was a positive review. it would be easy for me to get pissed about a negative review, but clearly i got pissed about the racist thing even though the review was positive. like i said, nothng positive or negative can be said ABOUT THE BOOK that would affect me. i've already criticized the book while writing it, so after it's done, you either like it or dont and i either agree with the criticisms or dont, but i dont get upset because it's already written. but if you call me racist, then you're inventing a whole wordl of thoughts and enemies for me that is untrue. to me, calling someone racist is like, a high offense, because it's so easy to do and makes the accused look like such a shithead. plus, the obvious bullshit here is that the reviewer has NEVER BEEN TO CHICAGO I PROMISE. i'm not trying to act like i'm fucking perfect or whatever, but i give everyone a chance to be respectful or disrespectful to me and then i treat them accordingly. the idea that i'm hating on someone by writing out exactly how s/he talks or what s/he says is ridiculous. all races are racist, that's what happens when you identify yourself as anything other than a single person. the mexicans hate the puerto ricans here, the puerto ricans hate the mexicans, the whites hate the mexicans, the blacks hate the whites, and any combination will hate any other combination because people look at the world like the reviewer does. and it's stupid. don't identify with anyone who doesn't prove similar. i dont identify with other "straight white males" because "we're the same." i identify more with a dead plant than most things. if you think i hate anyone in chicago or anywhere based on anything other than my interactions with them on a personal level, then fuck you and i fucking dare you to make that claim to my face. i know i'm supposed to be like, ironic about these thngs or whatever, or be passive and just try to get all my readers to mob this dude, but fuck that. books are books and i'm a person. i can respond and i can defend myself and my life seems so shitty but i feel like i would never let it get shtty to the point where i let someone try to lessen me.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Sam. This is Alex. I’ll try to keep this short. I’ve read your blog post and the comments about my review, and most of what I’ve seen is worthless. I see a lot of name-calling, a few personal threats, and some fascinating straw man arguments, but not much that pertains to my review. I mean my actual review, as opposed to the monstrous one that exists in the minds of you and your internet friends.

I feel like I should defend myself or re-argue the points in my review, but I’m not going to do that. Because if you can’t understand why I find it offensive that you chose to use some classic stereotypes of black people to be the only identifiably black characters in your novel, then there’s no use in me saying anything else.

One more thing: I never called you a racist, so please stop telling that lie.

That’s all. You and your friends can get back to calling me names.

sam pink said...

i purposely said for people not to bully or mob you. but you did call me racist by saying my representations are racist. 'casual racism' you called it. racist actions make someone a racist. so i'm either a racist (according to you) or ignorant (except i'm not the one attributing race to people with no clear reason why). also, i'll say this one last time, since you mentioned 'black people' in your comment, when is there ever any mention of race in the book? where are the 'black people'? no one's race is mentioned. so the 'black people' you are talking about, are labelled by you, according to the way they speak. that makes YOU racist. do you understand what i'm saying. for real, i'm not trying to be a dick, but, do you understand? also, i'd like to ask you directly, have you ever been to chicago? also, what are the 'classic stereotypes' i've used (since every character is based off a real life event and as a result, not stereotypical). as a last point, don't act all victimized and hurt by people shitting on you, because you acted like a fool and said some shit you shouldn't have, and now people are handing it back to you. i understand this is la la land where everyone is passive but shit man.

sam pink said...

also, dont just comment some shit like "well i could tell you why you and everyone here are wrong but, i wont." if you have something to say, say it, otherwise, dont comment, and don't read my books anymore.

jereme said...

While reading Alex's comment I imagined him sitting in the spare bedroom of his father's 'hawaii' condo wearing an abercrombie and fitch tank top and typing on an ipad.

sam pink said...

man fuck this, all i have to say is, if you think i misrepresented something about the place where i live, then you dont know shit. i'm ashamed i responded at all

jereme said...

While writing my comment about Alex's comment, I imagined him making a minor sniffling noise, then yelling towards another room, "DAAAAD, THEY'RE MAKING FUN OF ME AGAIN!"

Anonymous said...

more evidence that the internet makes everyone annoying and that we all have way too much time on our hands

world war III in '13

sam pink said...

i'll always make time for someone who says some shit about me/something i'm strongly against.

Kyle Eldridge said...

i like the 'relevant slayer lyrics'


slayer rules \m/(~~)\m/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5o-j9oY790g

jereme said...

"DAAAD! EVERYONE'S STILL PICKING ON ME. THE INTERNET SUCKS."

Geneviève said...

"i identify more with a dead plant than most things."

That's a really inspiring sentence.

Ada said...

yall still all a bunch of crackers

stephen michael mcdowell said...

was directed here via jayinee basu's 'alt crit' response to this

read this

didn't read the comments

have read 'rontel' and enjoyed it

talked with sam briefly afterward, i like you sam

feel sad i missed your reading in new york

read the review of 'rontel' this is a response to

empathize with your reaction

predict i will go on something like a 'tirade' discussing this with ppl...

stephen michael mcdowell said...

if anyone wants to 'get in' on the facebook iteration of this shitstorm...

sam pink said...

thanks for showing me that new response and thanks to the person who wrote it. i guess mostly all i have to say is, aside from the larger arguments people have gotten into, myself included, i was angry because someone took what i wrote, which was based on events, not tropes or ideas or anything other than something i thought was interesting/meaningful, and used it to wrongfully accuse me of being (hatefully) racist. i apologize if i offended anyone with my response, but i took it seriously. sorry if it's 'typical' for people to get angry about being accused of racism but i'm not trying to lay back and let the shit happen, coming from someone who doesn't know me at all. i'd rather look like an insane violent asshole and feel ok about defending myself than just letting this shit go. my point is, no race is ever mentioned in rontel. that's it. if you need to read the book and think 'oh this character must be black' rather than just focusing on what's going on, that's fine, but don't accuse me of anything. it's a book, not a person. i'm thankful to anyone who reads the book.

sam pink said...

also, i feel like this has gotten far away from the original problem, which is 1. how can you tell what race anyone in the book is, including the narrator. i'm being serious, if i've done something mistakenly racist, something i couldn't see on my own, i want to know. but no one is answering my questions. i just...don't know what else to say other than i write down shit that happens to me. i'm not at all talented or creative, becuase i dont really make anything up. i didn't create any characters or sayings. also, i'm politely requesting that anyone who comments on this issue state whether or not s/he has been to chicago and/or read the book.

stephen michael mcdowell said...

second attempt at linking the facebook shitstorm

@sam i didn't think anything in the book seemed vaguely 'racist'

i think before this book i felt actively afraid of interacting with you because your writing seems aggressive

'rontel' alleviated any concerns i had about that and i feel glad i got the opportunity to read about you, chicago, 'rontel'

haven't been to chicago, want to visit there now

sam pink said...

stephen i read the comments on the link you sent me. thanks for saying the things you did. i think you did a better job of explaining things than i did because i was angry and you were calm. i read comments alex, the guy who wrote the review, wrote too and they still seem bad/misguided. i wish alex would address what i'm asking. that's the main reason i tried to 'nip this shit in the bud.' i dont get involved in a lot of internet bullshit because it's hard to have a back and forth conversation. he keeps talking about 'stereotypes' i used but he won't point them out. he won't point them out because he can't because all the characters are real people. feel like it's even more insulting to these characters to try and talk about how they're stereotypes and not real people. feel a choking feeling of anger inside my throat when thinking about this again. alex would NEVER go up to someone here and say, 'why are you acting like a stereotype.' also, by his logic, if he read a character speaking perfect english, he would assume they're 'white,' when they could be 'black.' so it's a no win. BECAUSE ALEX IS IGNORANT AND IS COMMENTING ON A PART OF THE WORLD HE HAS NO IDEA ABOUT. also, i still can't seem to get this alex guy to understand, that he keeps saying i only characterize 'black people' negatively, but that's based on him identifying them as black initially. he's putting into a corner.

sam pink said...

another thing that bothers me is i feel like this argument is being done for 'show.' like he even said, he 'didn't catch' the racism the first read through. seems like you'd catch something like that right away...unless you're making it up to sound critical in a review. bottom line: victory or death/crook county or nothing/aint no bluffin

sam pink said...

just remembered that

1. the post from the initial reviewer was written by someone who's never been to the place he's talking about/never met the people he's talking about

2. the second review was by someone who didn't read the book.

sam pink said...

here is the newer review in full, with things i think throughout:



review: "I don’t know Sam Pink. I’ve never read his work. So if he ever reads this and in response yells out, BITCH YOU DON’T KNOW ME! (as he is apparently wont to do) he would be accurate."

me: "ok, well, i mean, you...didn't read the book. and you've never met me. but write about me and my work then."

reviewer: "Pink’s hilarious response to a very mildly negative review of his book basically consisted of him jerking off into a bathtub for like eighteen hours and then swimming in his stuff, gesticulating wildly and yelling."

me: "referring to someone writing as 'jerking off' is old and unoriginal and insulting because you're assming i'm responding to this to be admired or stroked or whatever. it's also vaguely gender specific as 'jerkng off' usually refers to a man (see how i'm reading into language like you are)

reviewer: "It is a sweet response. V entertaining. It is also creepily misogynistic (hi Pink, please write another one about that mean name I just called you.)"

me: "might be misogynistic, can you explain. i like and respect women but would understand if my sexual attraction to them lead me to do some inappropriate gender things. i dont know though. keep labelling me and you;ll get one right eventually."

reviewer: "Dudes, please let’s stop having aneurysms whenever someone on the internet points out what he perceives as racism in your work."

me: "sorry that i care about responding to this. i didn't have an aneurysm, i got heated. if someone addresses me, i respond."

reviewer: "The moment someone vehemently denies their total lack of racism in every aspect of their being ever, I think fuck, that person is seriously lacking in self-awareness, and uh, yeah is probably pretty racist."

me: i didn't deny racism. i'm sure there is a way to label anyone as racist if you try hard enough.

reviewer: "But it kind of doesn’t matter because, and I don’t know if you guys know this, but WE ARE ALL RACIST. We all subconsciously hold some effed up racist beliefs that sometimes slip out when we don’t notice...apparently everyone EXCEPT Sam Pink is racist. Ok."

me: "when did i say i wasn't racist. i said the book isn't racist and that the initial reviewer was as well."

reviewer: "Pink laid out his problems with the reviewer in this paragraph:

'if you read someone using “ghetto talk” (whatever the fuck that means) and 1. assume that character is black 2. assume any character is any race and/or 3. assume ‘ghetto talk’ means ‘unintelligent’ then you are racist, not me. it’s pretty much that easy.'

Ah, the very excellent “if you assume my usage of racialized tropes are being used in a racialized manner, then you are racist” argument."

me: "can you give me an example of how what i said is an example of some typical argument you're abstracting. also, what you just said assumes there are 'racial tropes' being racialized, can you explain how i've used racial tropes. you can't because you havent read the book and also becase i didn't do that."

sam pink said...

(contd)

reviewer: "Number 2 is a particularly funny objection. Yo, why would you assume this character speaking in a vernacular that is also referred to as African American Vernacular English is, in fact, African American? That’s fucked up, bro."

me: "alex didn't refer to it as 'african american vernacular' he referred to it as 'ghetto talk' and also, not everyone who says 'finna' or 'whatchoo' or 'hill nah' is 'african american.' and also, i dont recognize the way language is represented in 'rontel' as 'african american vernacular' because that is inaccurate and really abstract.

reviewer: "Tip: If you don’t want people assuming entirely reasonable things about your characters..."

me: "it's reasonable i guess but not entirely. it's equally reasonable to perceive each character as an alien from outer space."

reviewer: "...it might be helpful to provide other contextual clues, like “his lily white ass shimmered like a bowl of milk in moonlight.” That’s just off the top of my head."

me: "i dislike when a reviewer, like alex and this person, conduct a review in a somehwat serious tone, making serious claims, and then start doing this passive funny shit. say what you have to say but quit the kid shit. i'm a human like you and you can talk to me in a respectful way."

reviewer: "Pink’s third point is totally legit. Ebonics is a distinct vernacular with its own syntax, pronunciation, and structure. To call it “ghetto dialog” and therefore “ignorant” is, yes, racist. (Err, I’m making a big assumption by referring to the dialogue in question as Ebonics. It just looked like stylized Ebonics to me.) The original reviewer holds certain assumptions based on race and language that came out in his writing."

me: "thanks, girlfriend!"

review: "The decision of whether or not Sam Pink is a big ol’ racist will have to be left up to someone who has read his work. I’m just saying that let’s not react to the word “race” as a grenade that ends all conversation."

me: "well, i definitely look forward to finding out whether or not i'm a big ol racist (see usage of 'big ol' as part of the passive, smarmy ass tone i mentioned). also, you reacted to race as if it were a grenade, because you're talking at me without reading my shit first. at least show some respect and read the shit you're about to shit on."

sam pink said...

(contd)

reviewer: "If someone points out something that they find problematic in your work, they’re actually doing you a pretty big fucking favor."

me: i agree, i already said that in my initial post. i said, i beat myself and the work up while i'm doing it to avoid making mistakes and if i miss ssomething and someone mentions it, then i don't get upset or angry i am thankful and ready to move on without making that mistake anymore hopefully. but that's not what happened here. i dont have to be thankful for anything other than the time he spent writing the review. i dont need any fucking help writing a book from someone i dont know who has never been to the place the book is about. etc."

reviewer: "You can argue with them about the legitimacy of that problem, but throwing a hissy fit over an incredibly vanilla review of your text makes you look like an immature writer."


me: "throwing a hissy fit is not what i did. i responded. you're from passive internet land if you think people won't call you on your shit in an aggressive way. also, vanilla is racist. and yeah, i'm an immature writer. have you read my books? you havent. if you had, you'd know i was immature. i'm a fucking big ol vanilla baby."

reviewer: "Writing is ultimately an act of learning about yourself, right?"

me: i dont know. is it. i dont know what it is.

reviewer: "Lol jk it’s a cock measuring contest like everything else."

now you're trying to be gender specific about what i as a 'man' am doing. i'm not 'measuring my cock' you disrespectful fool, i'm standing up for what i've done and who i am.

so fck both of you.

Anonymous said...

chill out dude. your writing is great but your obsessiveness over this is getting ridiculous. just keep writing.

Tao Lin said...

if that reviewer's onions aren't boiled [really can't think of what...tried ~45sec]

Tao Lin said...

wanted to comment 'fuck u' to anonymoous person above but there's no reply thing

sam pink said...

just thought, 'heh ahhhhhh, you didn't know we boilin' onions in the chi?'/'heh ahhhh, chi-town onion boila.'

sam pink said...

for real though, my onions were boiled to a paste at one point

Tao Lin said...

megan onion boil

typed the above after ~3min thinking

Jayinee Basu said...

Hey Sam,
This is Jayinee, the person who wrote the second thing. Thanks for responding to it.

Couple of notes:

1. Obviously I am not talking about the book. I don't know why people keep bringing that up. All I refer to are things that either you have said on this particular post and what Alex wrote/quoted in his review.

2. I acknowledge my tone was snarky and annoying. That was on purpose. Your tone was a little beyond snarky so I thought you just liked that kind of language. Apparently you don't :(

3. I have to go but I'll address the other stuff later if you want. I hope you don't consider this a personal attack--I'm just interested in the ways people respond to someone calling them racist/sexist.

Jayinee Basu said...

Also, I'm curious. You claim that texts can't be racist, but you accuse Alex of being racist because of what he wrote. Why the double standard?

sam pink said...

hi jayinee.

1. i understand. but it seems weird to me to feel the need to respond to something without having knowledge of the main text. seems like common internet behavior where people feel like their opinion matters or that they have to say something without direct involvement. like in 'what says the fireman' by kierkegaard.

2. i dont know what snarky means. the difference between your tone and mine is that i'm not being rhetorical/passive aggressive. i'm just saying what i feel. i'm being aggressive/active, and you're indirectly saying/insinuating things

3. i consider anything directly about me, written by someone who hasn't met me or been to where i live, as personal, which is why i addressed it in the first place. anything about my book is fine. if alex said, 'this book is shit' it could potentially mean the same thing to me as 'i love it.' but when he claims that i'm insulting the people of chicago, then he's wrong, and it's personal. he's also ignorant because he assumed the main character was white, and also assumed that anyone who didn't speak 'ebonics' was white also, as well as anyone speaking 'ebonics' was black.

4. what i meant was that a creative piece, or like, fiction or whatever, can't be racist because it doesn't have a context where the author is saying 'i mean this to [any given audience].' but when you write a review, and then mention the author, it serves the function of saying, 'i [writer of review] believe [x] about [author].' in a book of fiction, nobody is directly talking to anybody about anything. just like if i was on stage performing a monologue and i said, 'i'm going to bomb the sears tower' it wouldn't be taken literally, whereas if i sent a videotape of myself to the news saying that, it would.

let me know if you would like a copy of the book.

also, have you ever been to chicago?

sam pink said...

also, he didn't mention the use of phonetic spelling for the chicago accent, or other 'non ebonic' accents. i write out how people speak in every novel and it covers a wide range of speech patterns. if i didn't do that, then i would misrepresent shit.

i dont want to seem like i'm losing my shit over this, i said what i had to say and feel peaceful now. but i'm also not going to ignore people.

Jayinee Basu said...

1. Yeah, I mean, it is common internet behavior, but I think a valuable one. I think everyone's opinion DOES matter, if only to reveal patterns. Surely we don't have to have any skin in the Israel Palestine conflict in order to have an opinion about it. I just found this mini-feud interesting (and entertaining) and wanted to respond, not least of all because it kind of seemed like your friends/fans were just like YEAH GO SAM YOU SHOWED THAT DOUCHE just to be supportive without really examining what was going on. I mean you yourself had to be like, hey don't bully this guy.

2. I actually wrote a status about this recently, haha. Passive aggression is still aggression, it's just performative instead of declaratory. I think frequently it's more effective in displaying anger because it makes the receiver more uncomfortable.

3/4. Okay, I guess we'll just have to disagree on this point. I think people's writings say a lot about them, and in fact, that's the only thing they say. Why else would you choose to read a book based on author? A lot of people write about race--why pick a particular author? The level of directness between fiction/non-fiction differs, but i don't think their "claims to truth" differ that much.

Also I think it's interesting that you're lambasting Alex for imagining a character as black. What would you have him imagine him as? White? Invisible? Maybe ideally you'd say "don't imagine race at all!" But this is actually really difficult, if not impossible to carry out. Consciously you might make an effort to say "he is colorless." But subconsciously, our default is white and male, especially if it's a book written by a white male. It sucks. But race isn't something you can just ignore away.

I'd love a copy of the book. I'd even review it ;)

And yes, I went to Chicago once for a journalism conference in high school. It's a beautiful city. Too beautiful though, it looked like a bad movie set.

sam pink said...

1. i don't think everyone's opinion matters about everything. if my shoes were fucked up, i wouldn't ask a random person on the street what i should do, i'd go to a shoe repair person. and i think it's more important to say, 'i dont have an opinion on the israeli conflict because i'm uninformed' than just having an opinion. simply having an opinion and thinking it matters is a good way to spread confusion and ignorance. so we just disagree here. also, i only told people to back off because i can handle shit. but come on, if the motherfucker starts something, you dont think it's ok for people to attack him? doesn't 'everyone's opinion matter?' if i walked up to someone on the street and started fucking with them, and ten of his/her friends jumped in and beat my ass, i...wouldn't be confused or feel victimized. i had two choices, ignore him and let his bullshit spread, or confront it. i feel honored that people would defend me.

2. i dont know jo, i think passive aggression is just....for chumps. it doesnt make 'the receiver' more uncomfortable, it just clouds everything by hiding real feelings. again, this is a chicago thing, there's nothing passive about it. somebody says something or does something, then it's squashed right away. you made comments about 'cock measuring' and 'lily white asses' in your post. you were just trying to be funny/cute about an issue that is serious and that you halfway took seriously. if you have something to teach me, teach me, dont pander to your shithead audience and have them mob up too (like you accused my audience of doing).

3. if you think what someone writes says a lot about them, then read the book before yo usay shit. also, let me ask you this, if someone says, 'ey mang, wuzz good.' should i write it 'hello sir, how are you?'

4. i dont want him to imagine anything other than what i provide. seriously, how hard is this to understand. if i dont say the race of a character, you can imagine whatever you want, but that's not on me. also, his imagination went further, in that he imagined only certain characters as black, and then also that they were ignorant or 'caricatures' or whatever.

email me if you want the book.

sam pink said...

one more thing, can we talk about concrete things, rather than abstract things like 'racism' or 'white' or 'israeli conflict.' that's why i write about concrete things i've experienced, because i can write with a little knowledge, rather than just 'having an opinion.' if you want to talk about big abstract 'issues' then i won't have much to say, but if you want to talk about me watching a homeless person shit in an alley, then i can talk about that. the problem we're having here is, you're discussing abstract things in a passive way and i'm talking abotu actual things in my life and the place where i live.

shaun perry said...

Just found this blog after reading Rontel and I felt compelled to write something. I'm from Australia and throughout the book I didn't picture any character to be black. I just saw it as real dialogue, a lot of people in Melbourne I know talk like that. I guess it's all based on ones own interpretations. Great book too, I've just ordered Witch Piss. Cheers for the writing man.