October 23rd, 2008

(no subject)

I think I've mentioned before the local writing group mail list I signed up for last year. You know the one - I was naively believing that I might be able to network with local writers and even find some local presses, whereas the reality is that the list is largely the province of middle-aged matrons who want to write about their gardens and fantasy love affairs with denim-clad policemen.

So yesterday someone posted to the list about how a book they'd edited had been named as a Finalist in something we'll call the "National Really Great Book Awards". This resulted in yaying and congratulating.

Me, I looked again at that name, and realized this was not, in fact, the National Book Awards. I couldn't resist googling "National Really Great Book Awards", and imagine my surprise (not) upon finding that entrants pay some guy sixty-nine bucks, that there are hundreds of categories (I suppose that guarantees everyone can be a finalist!), and that there is absolutely nothing listed on the website about the judging process (I'd love to know how the actual winners are chosen - perhaps another zero added to the check?).

I went onto my little mail list and asked the original poster how these awards were judged. Now here's where I give props to the person who originally posted about this - she basically admitted to some embarrassment and said she didn't support vanity awards. Okay. Good for her.

But here's where it all goes wacky: People on this list are STILL congratulating her. Yep, offering up those e-hugs replete with "who cares, it's still an award and the book deserves it" kudos.

This mystifies me no end. It's bad enough to buy yourself what is apparently a fake award; I mean, it's not going to advance your career, although I guess if mom and dad aren't computer-savvy they might think it's cool. But how much more pathetic is it to persist in cheering on those who admit to the crime? How empty must that person's life be? At this point I'm trying to employ pity and not contempt, but it's not easy...not when they've managed to reduce both the possible meaning of awards AND the celebrating of their giving down to an absurd parody.