Flame wars on message boards are nothing new, but I find this particular thread, in which a number of U.K. horror authors argue with each other, fascinating. Understand, I’m not being sarcastic, nor am I poking fun at the authors and editors involved. I’m honestly fascinated by the overall politeness of it all. Yes, the participants display vehemence and anger, but even when they are telling each other to go fuck themselves, they do so politely. And therein lies my fascination. Granted, my only exposure to British culture comes from the month I spent in the U.K. in the summer of 1986, episodes of Doctor Who and Monty Python, the music of Iron Maiden, or evenings spent in various convention bars talking Arthur Machen with Doug Bradley or getting drunk with Tim Lebbon (and Lebbon is Welsh, which in the U.K., is sort of like being from Texas, so that probably doesn’t count). In any case, it’s interesting to observe how it all unfolds. Were these American horror authors, they’d be typing things like “FUCK YOU SHIT-EYES! I WILL EAT YOUR DOG’S RECTUM WITH YOUR MOTHER’S TEETH, YOU BASTARD!” or something similar. I think we can all learn from that, so, kudos to all involved for showing us Americans how it’s done.
PS: I agree with Ramsey Campbell’s comment (in that thread) that many American authors have a tendency to over-promote during convention panels. They do, and that is why I applaud Meteornotes’ suggestion that all Americans be required by law to carry a Taser. But that’s a subject for another day.