Back in the day, when I was recapping 50 Shades of Grey, I thought to myself, “Gosh, Jenny. This is kind of mean. What if someone did that to your book?”
And then I did more research and I saw how shitty E.L. James was to Twihards and how dismissive she was of their contributions to her success, and I was like, “HA HA fuck that bitch, I’m gonna keep going.” And then she was like, “Stop saying my hero is abusive because you’re ruining the good times of all the women who like to fap to boring erotica!” and I was like, “HA HA FUCK THAT BITCH, WHO WANTS TO BUY MY FRIENDS A TRUCK BECAUSE I WILL KEEP GOING.”
Sort of the opposite has happened with me and the After recaps. Since I started recapping the first book, the whole phenomenon has exploded, and I’m seeing a clearer picture of the author behind the book.
And I feel like a total dick. Because here’s a picture of Anna Todd:
I can find nothing about her online presence that suggests she’s ever going to be the next E.L. James. I don’t mean that in terms of sales, I mean that I can’t ever see her throwing victims of domestic violence under the bus, or calling them trolls or witches. And I have been contacted by a staggering number of her readers and fellow WattPad writers since I started these recaps, all of them with stories about how much she’s helped them or nice things she’s done for them. Does that make After grammatically and thematically perfect? Of course not. But as a clearer picture emerged, I saw someone who wasn’t cold and calculating and trying to shake money out of fandom. And I ran out of a little bit of steam.
Let me tell you a tangential story. I promise it will come round full circle. Once upon a time, I was a member of an internet fanfiction forum that “sporked” fics. Like, really bad stuff. For example, the most memorable one I saw on there was one in which Princess Jasmine and the Incredible Hulk… you know what? There’s no good way of doing this without trigger warnings, let’s just say it was disturbing. Anyway, in another section of the forum, they would make fun of people on the internet. Sometimes, it was neo-nazis or MRAs or some shit like that, and that was fine. But then I saw them making fun of this person who was basically harmless. She loved Disney princesses, her hobby was singing, she was just basically this ball of sunshine person, and they were stalking her livejournal and making fun of her. And since I liked basically 100% of all the stuff she was into, I was like, “This is stupid,” and I started talking to her on LJ and we became friends and tada, we’re still friends years later.
The point is, after I got to to know her, I started to see how what those people were doing hurt her. And it was gross, and I felt gross for ever hanging with that crowd. The nazis, the MRAs, those people I had no problem mocking. But this person who was just not hurting anyone and just rolling with life? That bugged the shit out of me. And then as these emails and DMs and FaceBook messages started rolling in, I started to see parallels between the two situations.
So, while I was on my rustic camping adventure of mosquitoey doom (details to come soon), I gave this After situation some thought. I was already pretty iffy on whether or not to continue the recaps, after I learned that the book would be edited at S&S by someone who used to be my editor. We don’t work together anymore, but it still seemed ethically shaky. Maybe it’s not. But it didn’t sit right with me to have that crossed-wires connection thing happening. Adding in the way I feel about Anna Todd and the way I feel about her work, and the difficulty I had in separating the person who seems very positive and cool from her work, I kind of thought, well. Maybe it’s time to pack it in. I came to the conclusion that my feelings toward After were clouded by the bad taste left in my mouth by E.L. James and her shitty behavior, and that was that.
Then I came home to the STGRB bullshit. And I had this horrible moment of, “You’ve got to be kidding me. I have to keep going now. Because if I don’t, they’ll take credit for it.”
And then tonight I sat down to do another After recap that I didn’t have the heart for, and I went, “Fuck those bitches, they don’t get a say in how I run my blog.”
So, this is what’s going on now:
- I won’t be finishing the After recap project. The recaps I’ve already done will remain up, but I’ll be removing After from the “Jenny Reads” tab.
- I’ll be recapping something else, instead. One of the charges alleged during the 50 Shades of Grey and After recaps was that I wouldn’t feel so great if someone did that to me. Fair enough. Starting in the first week of July, I’ll be recapping my first book, Blood Ties Book One: The Turning, chapter by chapter. And lest you think I’ll go easy on myself, it is the first book in a series that I cringe to look back on. Tons of problematic content that is going to make you go, “Jenny. JENNY.” And then no one can say I’ve never had a taste of my own medicine.
- I’ll still be serializing The Afflicted on WattPad. I’ve still got a lot of unanswered questions about the WattPad experience, and I’m a learn-by-doing-er. Doer? Learn-by-doer? Whatever.
- I will still follow the progression of After from fanfic to book, and any further developments regarding the P2P phenomenon. Because why is P2P happening? Will we ever know?
One thing I want to make absolutely clear about this decision: Nothing STGRB have done or said has led to this decision. Bear in mind that they will take total credit for this, and pat each other on the backs and suck each others’ internet cocks over how they really got to me and I was so threatened, but let me reiterate: there is nothing those people have on me or can get on me that would make me afraid of them, because everything about me is on this blog. I have blogged about naming my vibrator Rupert Giles, I’ve blogged about my suicidal thoughts. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I frequently tweet about my bodily functions and my bad credit. My entire life is an open book, so there aren’t going to be any nasty secrets to uncover. That ain’t how I live. Let them have their little delusional victory party, because at the end of that day, that yawning emptiness is all they have.
So, in summation: I started to feel like an asshole, the recaps weren’t fun anymore, I’m not going to do them, but guess what I am going to do? Smoke this weed and hit the coloring books HARD, because it’s Saturday night and I live every second like I’ll die the next. TURN DOWN FOR WHAT?!