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The Top Ten Most Bonkers Moments From This Weird Ass Damon Suede Interview

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Not long ago, I declared 2020 The Year Of Minding My Own Business.

But it ain’t 2020 yet.

If you haven’t been following the coup taking place behind the scenes at Romance Writers of America, you’re probably going to want a primer. As always, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books has a great explanation of what went down, and Clair Ryan broke it down Barney-style for those of us who couldn’t keep up. So many people who are more familiar with the RWA than I (a non-member) am have written eloquently about the problems in the organization that are systemic and extend far, far past any one individual. I have no real contribution to make and didn’t plan on blogging about any of this. My voice is not so unique and insightful that I could somehow stampede into the organization’s business after leaving it in 2005 (and briefly rejoining a couple of years ago for one year before I bounced again) and say anything other people haven’t already said better and with more authority. I’m 100% on Courtney Milan’s side in this and staunchly against the trash fire RWA has been for a long, long time, and that’s really all I have to say about the overall kerfuffle.

But Damon Suede. Boy howdy.

In addition to sending his husband into a social media battle on his behalf, Suede has been revealed to be a name-dropping opportunist and outright liar (which you can read about in Ryan’s post). Suede has always been a gifted self-promoter. A constant fixture at the biggest conventions, charismatically holding events and speaking on tough-to-get panels, he somehow managed to book speaking gigs and keynotes throughout the ’10s despite publishing his first book in 2011 and not releasing any new romance fiction since 2017. After writing only five novels in a genre that routinely sees authors putting out that many books a year, Suede decided to write books about writing and charge a rumored $3,000 per day to give workshops to whatever certified MacArthur Fellows would pay that ridiculous amount of money to him. Then, with the unwavering confidence of a mediocre-at-best white man, he decided that with less than ten years as a romance novelist, he was ready to lead the genre as president of the Romance Writers of America. Which he ran for unopposed. Because he manipulated the other candidate into dropping out.

Since straight cis white ladies love nothing more than the idea of having a Gay Friend™, Suede managed to rise to elite circles in Romancelandia, like a genre fiction Anna Delvey. Anyone who criticized him or had negative experiences with him were hushed up with accusations of homophobia (even if they weren’t straight, themselves) or by the mere power wielded by people in high places. One friend remarked to me that she’d “always had a bad feeling” about Suede but was too afraid to voice it to anyone because “he hung out with all the big names.” Now that his desperate power grab to turn Romance Writers of American into RWKKK has been exposed, people have started airing their grievances in public, including passing around this interview from September, which…shouldn’t have reflected well on him at the time but for damn sure doesn’t now.

Damon Suede is not the sole cause of the Make Romance Racist Again initiative. He’s just trying to direct the current assault. The genre and organization have been rife with white supremacist ideals for a long time. In no way should the Suede narrative drown out the much, much more important issue surrounding how and why Milan was removed from RWA or the numerous stories from RWA members of color who have been victimized and discriminated against (check out the links on Ryan’s blog). While I have no vote in RWA, no experience or helpful insight in repairing an organization that has been damaged by Game of Thrones-level maneuvering, and nothing that could even remotely resemble any kind of even hypothetical solution that a smarter person hasn’t already come up with, I am super bitchy, hold big grudges on behalf of my friends, and have long been waiting for this dude to step one damn toe out of line. In the midst of all this heartbreak and chaos, my contribution is mockery. For we must laugh, even in the darkest of times.

Theydies and Gentlethems, I give you…

The Top Ten Most Bonkers Moments From This Weird-Ass Damon Suede Interview

  • He claims to have read 1200 words a minute in childhood. 1200 words a minute is 72,000 words an hour, which means that as a child, Damon Suede would have been capable of reading Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables in a little under twelve hours. The target reading speed for a third-grader in the United States is 107 words per minute. The average for adults hovers around 200 without any speed-reading training.
  • He believes acting is a “blue collar” job. There are many reasons child actors drop out of the game in their teen years. I guess we have to add “too posh for it” to that list now?
  • The interviewer is super psyched about kids committing suicide at college. At around the 1:47 mark, Suede begins explaining why he didn’t go to Cornell, a.k.a. “Suicide U,” to begin his career as a theme park designer (seriously). For some reason, perhaps it was just an inability to follow Suede’s frenetic conversational pace, the interviewer gives a long, slow, “Niiiiiiice,” upon learning that the university has a high suicide rate.
  • Suede’s jewelry-obsessed Disney-lawyer family apparently inspired him to destroy the RWA. “For me, I wanted to take everything apart and then put it back together and make it tick. And so, it’s that Aristotelian biology thing.” A man can reveal a lot about himself when he opines on his desire to destroy everything made by others and resurrect it under his own power. Honestly, maybe we all should have seen this coming, at least since September. Special recognition goes to comparing himself to a legendary Greek thinker while also inadvertently implying that Aristotle was some kind of Dr. Frankenstein. Perhaps most chilling is the smile he gives when the interviewer asks if Suede is still smashing things apart. Suede’s reply? “Everything I do.”
  • Suede comes at writing from the unique perspective of being aware that readers exist. Due to his extensive background in theater and movies and television and comics and watchmaking and living at Disney World like a special, special boy, Suede thinks about how readers are going to read what he writes. Unlike the rest of us, who don’t have such a learned and interesting background (or seemingly endless disturbing metaphors about splitting readers open) and who are uniformly shocked at the revelation that other people can see the words we put down in the books we write. While most of us are concentrating on writing stories just the right length to level our coffee table in paperback form, Suede has figured out that the true secret to great writing is putting the words in the right places to make a reader enjoy what they’re reading. I’m so glad a man has finally explained this and apparently gets paid $3,000 a pop to explain it in person.
  • Despite the fact that he’s only published five books and never made a bestseller list, he has the type of fans only a rockstar could love. Suede claims that his readers are so unhinged in their worship of him that he’s been chased Beatles-style through hotels, ripped out of taxi cabs, had fans camped outside of his home, and thirty-nine people have tattooed his name or book covers on their bodies. In other words, Suede is in that exclusive sphere of author worship usually reserved for authors like Stephen King, Anne Rice, or Cassandra Clare.

    With five books.

    And no bestsellers.

  • His readership is a lot cooler than the old fuddy-duddies who follow much, much bigger names in the genre. Name dropping Eloisa James, Suede says she complained that her fan base is made up of “gentle, seventy-year-old women who cry over their walkers,” while his readers are “young, browner, cooler,” and have piercings and tattoos. Now, I don’t know Eloisa James but I know that she writes historical romance and that “gentle, seventy-year-old women” basically sign her paycheck. If his claims are true, that would make James a real dick to talk about her readers in such disparaging, misogynistic stereotypes. If his claims aren’t true, he’s a real dick to talk about her readers in such disparaging, misogynistic stereotypes and attribute them to her in a damning soundbite. But hey, at least he managed to work in that people of color read his books, right?
  • Gay romance is anti-patriarchal despite being all about men? Somehow? Girl-on-girl books, though, not so much. Suede asserts that women are the primary readers of M/M romance because the stories involve relationships where “everyone has power.” Not only do power imbalances in gay relationships exist, but that imbalance also exists in tons of M/M fiction aimed at a predominately straight female audience who want to read a hetero relationship they identify with, but without any women in it. Still, Suede considers f/f books a tough sell due to the lack of male vulnerability in the narrative and not, like, straight lady homophobia and internalized misogyny. Considering the fact that publishers used to reject f/f books with phrases like, “no pink parts,” I’m inclined to say that misogyny, not feminism, drives much of the m/m romance market. But what do I know? I’m just a queer person with a coochie.
  • The first reference made to a female author’s work comes seven minutes into this ten-minute video about a genre pioneered and dominated by women. And the reference is to Jane Austen.
  • Suede’s vision for Romance Writers of America is…wait for it…diversity. After the interviewer asks Suede what his vision is for RWA, Suede rattles off a lot of statistics about the genre, followed by, “Somebody asked me what my vision is for RWA […].” Like, dude…the guy sitting across from you, desperately trying to get a word in, is the one who asked you that question. But the rest of Suede’s answer is somehow even more shamelessly lacking in self-awareness. “I believe everyone deserves a place at the table. Everybody,” he insists, turning to the camera to clap his hands and issue the directive, “We need to step. it. up.” Of course, he’s very careful to insert the caveat that while everyone deserves opportunities, that doesn’t mean everyone gets to be successful and every author is responsible for their own success. And we’ve seen proof of that philosophy in the past week. Apparently, Suede is fine with his “browner” fans tattooing his name on their bodies and hell, they can even have a seat at the table if they want to try their hands at writing, but god forbid they criticize an RWA member for overt racism. God forbid they take up too much elbow room at that table, or speak too loudly. And by the way, if you don’t succeed, it’s probably not due to any systemic issue in publishing. You’re just not self-promoting as hard as Jacqueline Susann.

Watching this video, I can only shake my head. This man has been telling everyone all along exactly who he is. Why did so many people ignore it? Why did so many big names signal boost him and bring him into their cliques? How did someone this obnoxious win so many hearts? And how much OTC allergy medication can an adult male take before he turns into Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s couch? This interview was from September. Has it worn off yet? When it does, will Suede regain the power to feel shame? Or was he born without that gene? So many mysteries. Sadly, they probably won’t be solved before the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, so I’ll be left to wonder while minding my own damn business in 2020.

Bitchy New Year, everybody!

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55 Comments

  1. Just going to make a speed-reading comment: as a child, my brother and I were both speed readers who competed against each other and were considered FREAKISHLY fast even by other speed-readers. I’m still very, very fast. My absolute top max ever was 55,000 words an hour – calculated it recently based on times my brother still has written in a notebook and the known length of that book.

    So 1200 wpm is MAYBE possible. MAYBE.

    December 30, 2019
    |Reply
    • Tree Lady
      Tree Lady

      I was going to say that speed reading at 1200 wpm wasn’t possible – my sisters and I are natural speed readers, and though we don’t read quite that fast, we’re up there – and then saw the “as a child” thing and went – “Nope.”

      December 30, 2019
      |Reply
      • Tree Lady
        Tree Lady

        Agh, I meant “impossible!”

        December 30, 2019
        |Reply
      • I was 13 according to the dates in my brother’s diary, which checks considering that was peak reading age for me. I was easily going through 20 books a week. But I don’t think 13 is really ‘a child’ either…

        January 2, 2020
        |Reply
  2. Thank you for watching the interview, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. You are amazing and I love your for writing this post!
    (a female writer of mm romance, she/her, sexuality: shifting (not wolves dammit!))

    December 30, 2019
    |Reply
  3. many bells down
    many bells down

    I loved Chuck Tingle roasting his ass on Twitter.

    December 30, 2019
    |Reply
  4. A queer author
    A queer author

    Gay men are inherently anti-patriarchal, because they aren’t following the man/woman dichotomy. That’s actually a big Terfy argument. Individual gay men can be misogynistic, but that doesn’t mean it’s typical or even welcome in their community. And yes, most M/M readers are straight white women. I’d argue that the reason M/M romance is popular with straight white women is because they fetishize gay men, in the same way straight men love to watch lesbian porn. It has nothing to do with feminism, (Internalized misogyny, perhaps, but the portrayals of gay men in M/M romance for the most part mostly don’t accurately reflect the gay male experience at all)

    December 30, 2019
    |Reply
    • Maria
      Maria

      Uhhhh, I think the Romans and Greeks, too societies known for considering homosexual relationships a significant part of creating their political dynasties and alliances disagree that there is something anti-patriarchal about all male relationships in which all political and social power resides. Just considering where the actual word patriarchal comes from you know? And I’m not sure how being gay has absented anyone from learning misogyny. At best people can start unlearning it, but it’s still there and it covers us all.

      December 30, 2019
      |Reply
    • A queer writer
      A queer writer

      …actually, the idea that gay men are *inherently* unpatriarchal is pretty weirdly gender essentialist, which puts your argument into the “terfy” category. The fact that you’re not upholding hetero patriarchal norms in your relationship (and, who knows? Maybe you’re one of those men who’s like “thank god I’m gay because it would suck to be married to a woman; they’re such nags”. Or maybe you subscribe to weirdly gendered notions about twinks and what your personality says about whether you top or bottom. Those are both rooted in patriarchal prejudices) does not mean you’re not supporting the patriarchy through your actions outside of your domestic situation. No human is inherently free of complicity in systems like these, which is why we all have to work against them.

      January 19, 2020
      |Reply
  5. Megaroni
    Megaroni

    Lol’ed in real time while reading this. I can’t find any info on Damon Suede manipulating his opponent into dropping out of the RWA president election. Can anyone explain?

    He is so painfully smug and smarmy in that video that I only watched a minute before I quit.

    December 30, 2019
    |Reply
  6. Troutwaxer
    Troutwaxer

    I just read Walter Jon Williams’ book “Days of Atonement.” The tag line, included a couple-dozen times throughout the book is “Assholes Always Advertise.”

    ‘Nuf said, I think.

    December 30, 2019
    |Reply
  7. Bunny
    Bunny

    I knew your descriptions of this jerk reminded me of someone, and then the weird abundance of Disney in this guy’s history made the lightbulb turn on. He’s like the romance genre’s version of Randy Moore (of Escape From Tomorrow fame). They’ve both got the same sleazy, self-aggrandizing, egotistical personalities and both have exceedingly over-hyped and crappy published projects in addition to bigoted and misogynistic worldviews. Both are also trying to climb into an industry where they don’t have experience, all while waxing on about their “artistic” visions and the good they’re supposedly doing by barging in.

    Oh my gawd, barging in somewhere they lack any credos and shouting about all the improvements their barging is doing? No… Lani Sarem, is that you? UGH.

    All of these dickheads share the exact same cesspit of attributes. That really shouldn’t surprise me.

    (If anyone doesn’t know who Randy Moore is, or what Escape From Tomorrow is, here’s a good video to watch if you’re down for ~50 minutes of ruthless dissection: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38BiNsFFzcs)

    December 30, 2019
    |Reply
  8. Not Enough Popcorn for this Shit Show
    Not Enough Popcorn for this Shit Show

    I’ve seen Damon’s five novels mentioned a lot.

    But when I go to his website, there are only four novels listed. Same for Amazon.

    I wonder why everyone thinks he wrote five? Is it because you need to have written five romance novels to be able to run for President elect of RWA?

    December 30, 2019
    |Reply
    • Mr C.
      Mr C.

      That’s it! (I’m was a RWA member until this happened. He should have NEVER been allowed to run in the first place.) I’m disgusted by his comments.

      January 19, 2020
      |Reply
  9. Anansi
    Anansi

    God grant me the confidence of a mediocre white man comparing himself to Aristotle while describing pretty much the exact opposite of anything Aristotle represented

    December 31, 2019
    |Reply
    • Meli
      Meli

      +1
      What is it about our society that mediocre white men keep ascending to high positions of power but women who worked their asses off for decades doubt themselves?

      January 2, 2020
      |Reply
  10. Janelane
    Janelane

    You are seriously such a pathetic, jealous loser. Lmao!!!

    December 31, 2019
    |Reply
    • Jenny Trout
      Jenny Trout

      God, I hope you come back and tell me what it is that I’m jealous of. I’m dying to know.

      December 31, 2019
      |Reply
      • MyDog'sPA
        MyDog'sPA

        Huh. I thought when I read dame Janelane’s lame tame blame claim game she was referring to Damon, not you, Jenny.

        December 31, 2019
        |Reply
        • Al
          Al

          Yeah, I thought so too.

          January 19, 2020
          |Reply
  11. Jules
    Jules

    I can’t even wrap my head around how fucked up this all is so I will just say Damon Suede is the cheesiest porn name I have ever heard. And it probably is the only reason his books sell, because Damon Suede sounds like a character in the lowest rent porno ever made, and judging by the book covers I saw, he writes bad pornos.

    December 31, 2019
    |Reply
  12. Not so Nice White Lady
    Not so Nice White Lady

    He has always seemed so skeevy to me and I refused to vote for him before all this even happened. We hired him for a workshop for our local chapter for way too much money and when I commented that he was literally EVERYWHERE, hasn’t everybody seen him by now (except me, because see above), someone commented “I’ll see him anytime, anywhere and I don’t care how many times I’ve seen him.”

    I do not get his appeal at all. I could tell he was full of bullsh*t the first time I ever saw him holding court in the hallway at RWA.

    December 31, 2019
    |Reply
    • Mr C.
      Mr C.

      I agree 100%. I never understood why so many members flocked to his discussions. I’m really disgusted by the actions the RWA took- and getting him as president.????? No thanks. I quit the RWA last week.

      January 19, 2020
      |Reply
  13. Cana
    Cana

    I hadn’t heard of him before this whole thing. What a weirdo.

    December 31, 2019
    |Reply
  14. Anon
    Anon

    Does even Stephen King ACTUALLY have that kind of fan, though? I can see it happening Misery-style with one or two people who are outside the norm because stalkers happen, but is the average Stephen King fan ripping him out of cabs?

    That just doesn’t strike me as the kind of thing that normally happens to even the most famous and beloved authors. It’s a different kind of celebrity worship than we have for rock stars or actors, I think (not that I personally would do that even to a rock star or an actor, but it makes much more sense in that context!).

    Or maybe it does happen to authors and I’m just not paying attention. I mean, I always try to write things no one will enjoy or want to read because until today, I thought that was how you were supposed to do it! Thank you, Mr. Suede!

    My parents are nearly 70. I know a lot of people who are around that age. I wouldn’t describe any of them as “gentle.” 70-year-olds today are not the same as they were 50 years ago. They were hippies and Civil Rights activists. They’re not sitting in rocking chairs with the short, curly blue hair waiting to die.

    January 2, 2020
    |Reply
  15. Anon
    Anon

    OK. Now I’m actually listening to his interview. I grew up in the county next to where Cornell is. I’ve been the the campus MANY times. I can’t comment on why there is a high suicide rate (aside from it being Ivy League and there being a lot of pressure and difficulty in such an environment), but it is NOT “horrifying and bleak.” It is one of the most beautiful places in the world. I’m not exaggerating. The Finger Lakes Region of New York, is breathtakingly beautiful and Ithaca — and the Cornell campus — is one of the most beautiful parts of the region. Yes, it snows. But not ALL the time.

    I don’t have to listen to a single second more of this guy’s interview to know he’s full of it and I wouldn’t be surprised if either he never actually visited Ithaca or Cornell turned him down and he’s bitter.

    And, no, I did not attend Cornell. I didn’t try all that hard in high school because I did well enough by coasting. So my grades were good enough for a lot of universities, but not the Ivy League. So this isn’t me defending my alma mater by any means. I just know the area he’s talking about incredibly well and he’s either bitter or a liar.

    January 2, 2020
    |Reply
    • Anon
      Anon

      And finished. He is a walking, talking cliché. Not one word out of his mouth was an original thought or sentence. Pompous asshole. I hate him.

      And he’s so obviously a conman. Everything about his demeanor screams, “JOIN MY PYRAMID SCHEME!!!”

      And those are my final thoughts now I’m all caught up.

      January 2, 2020
      |Reply
    • Jules
      Jules

      My cousin did go to Cornell and I visited him enough times to know that you are right, that area and that campus are beautiful. I can think of far worse places to go to school. Though maybe if you were born and raised and spent your whole life in a hot place the winters could seem long and cold and bleak, but then, why would you go to upstate NY if you couldn’t handle long, cold winters? lol

      This guy comes across as a pathological liar to me. He is so prone to exaggeration to make himself sound far cooler than he could possibly be. He must be exhausting to be around, as he seems to have to be the coolest, most exciting, best person you’ve ever met! One of those people who, if you fell and twisted your ankle he broke his, if you say you’ve had a broken bone before, he shattered his, if you had a shattered bone before, he died and came back to life!

      January 3, 2020
      |Reply
      • Anon
        Anon

        My husband grew up in Florida and he has serious issues with cold and too little sun, so that’s absolutely true. But my husband has actually lived through that a couple times in his life, so he has actual experience with it. This guy just visited Cornell. A few days, maybe — and probably not even in the winter.

        I’m sticking with he applied, they rejected him and now he wants everyone to think he rejected them.

        I mean, this is Ithaca: https://www.fingerlakes.org/attractions/taughannock-falls-state-park

        Doesn’t look bleak to me! lol

        January 3, 2020
        |Reply
    • Finger Lakes NYer
      Finger Lakes NYer

      I’m from about an hour and a half west of that area, and I’ve lived in the Finger Lakes region for my entire life. Screw him for saying it’s bleak. I didn’t go to Cornell either (haha…yeah, I wasn’t that amazing a student, nor would my parents have had that kind of money). But I know the area, and what in the world is he even on??? It’s gorgeous. Also, I’ll bet his statistics on the suicide rate are garbage, and that would be easy information to get. So it’s kind of stupid to make claims that a Google search could confirm or deny. It’s like when that nasty reporter from NYC called my area “depressing.” She’d never been here, and I’ll bet he’s never actually set foot in this part of NY either.

      January 4, 2020
      |Reply
      • Anon
        Anon

        I believe the suicide thing is true. I’ve heard it before. But it’s not because it snows there. There are several other colleges in that general area that don’t have high suicide rates.

        To name a few: Ithaca College, Elmira College, Hobart and William Smith, and not to mention a whole bunch of community colleges.

        January 6, 2020
        |Reply
        • Finger Lakes NYer
          Finger Lakes NYer

          “I’ve heard it’s true” is not an actual statistic. Like…this is super easy to Google. And anyone who wants to discuss Cornell’s alleged suicide rate compared to anywhere else should be citing reputable sources for that info or it’s no better than what Damon Suede did in that interview. Hearsay isn’t facts.

          Also, I’m very well aware what colleges there are in the area. I still live about an hour and a half from there, and I have a child who is applying for schools. No need to “educate” me on things I’ve been familiar with for my entire life.

          January 6, 2020
          |Reply
          • Anon
            Anon

            My point was that this guy didn’t just make it up out of thin air.

            January 7, 2020
          • Anon
            Anon

            Also, I wasn’t arguing with you. I was simply adding context to the narrative, as not everyone involved in this conversation knows the area.

            January 7, 2020
          • Finger Lakes NYer
            Finger Lakes NYer

            You replied to me. And you added exactly zero context. Not only that, you *still* haven’t cited these stats that show he didn’t pull it out of thin air. I live here. I’ve lived here my entire life. So unless you have some kind of secret knowledge, and some proof of it, then kindly step off.

            January 7, 2020
          • Anon
            Anon

            I’m not really sure why you suddenly turned hostile when we were having a pretty reasonable conversation and I have been agreeing with you all along, but maybe you should examine that.

            My point here wasn’t to agree with or refute the idea that Cornell has a high suicide rate — my point was that is a rumor that’s been around a while and Damon didn’t make it up. But his reason for believing it — that it’s “bleak and snows” is ridiculous. So while I realize YOU know what other schools are there and that I replied to you, there are — shocking, I know — other people reading this. And I was simply adding the context that there are other schools in the area that DO NOT have the reputation (deserved or not) of having high suicide rates.

            I grew up in Elmira. I have close friends who worked for several of the mentioned schools. My cousin went to Hobart. Several friends attended EC, Cornell and a whole bunch of other schools up there. My degree is from UB. My great-grandparents immigrated directly to Buffalo and my parents moved to the Finger Lakes before I was born (and still live there). The first 28 years of my life were spent in that area. I’m also familiar with it.

            And I lived in the Finger Lakes Region, much closer to Ithaca than Niagara Falls. So, you know, you’re not the only “expert” on it. And I wasn’t denigrating it. As you’ll notice, I started this thread defending it and have continued to do so.

            Citing statistics doesn’t negate that for some reason, Cornell has a reputation that I didn’t make up all on my own. I haven’t even argued that it’s true, just that it exists.

            January 13, 2020
    • Allisia
      Allisia

      I grew up in upstate NY and visited Cornell for Dog training classes they offered. I hate the cold so moved back to FL. But when I heard his description and calling it Suicide U, no way! I have friends that went there and ya it’s hard work but come on! I agree he must have not gone to the area or was rejected. He’s a classic case of “think before you speak”, he just keeps talking throwing ppl under the bus he’s driving! Because he likes to Tear It apart to make it Tick! it’s sad to watch what’s happening to RWA.

      January 4, 2020
      |Reply
    • AnnieB
      AnnieB

      I think I remember Freakonomics addressing the high suicide rate at Cornell – apparently it’s not out of line with anywhere else, but because of the dramatic landscape, many of the suicides are memorable and reported upon.

      January 5, 2020
      |Reply
      • Anon
        Anon

        @AnnieB — that makes sense. Kind of like how there are a lot of suicides at Niagara Falls — it’s more the method than the rate. There are other places with similar reputations. I think the Golden Gate Bridge is one of them.

        January 6, 2020
        |Reply
      • Finger Lakes NYer
        Finger Lakes NYer

        Yup, exactly. I live a bit closer to Niagara Falls than to Cornell, but I’m halfway-ish in between. It gets so tiring to have negative statistics about my state overblown and dramatized. Especially when that’s being used to inflate someone’s ego. Folks who don’t live here don’t get to talk about how “horrible” it is. Live where you want, go to school where you want…but there’s no need to crap on us in the process. It’s so easy to check facts before spouting off and looking like a damn fool in an interview.

        January 6, 2020
        |Reply
  16. Anon
    Anon

    I’ve read nothing here about Damon Suede that was written by anyone who knows him. Not just knows OF him, but knows him. Lots of supposition about his character, education, abilities, personality, motives, intentions, even actions. I’ve known him for years, and you people couldn’t be more wrong about him.

    You’ve read things into that interview, without really listening to his words. He is a man with a true conviction that all people are equal. Being a gay man, out and proud, he’s well aware of bigotry. Many here could be considered homophobic for attacking him in such an ugly manner. Is that so? Does that accusation raise in you a desire to defend yourselves? I don’t know any of you, never heard of a single one of you, but I’m assuming something about you. Doesn’t feel good, does it? Why would you assume he was bigoted if you don’t know him?

    He’s a fine writer, perhaps in a genre that many who’ve commented here don’t appreciate, but he is an insightful, intuitive wordsmith. Original thoughts? He has no reason to take someone else’s when he is an original thinker.

    A man has a right to accept pay for a job, in this case, his workshops. The thought that he shouldn’t charge what he does, and I’ve no idea if that $3,000 figure has any validity, because I’ve never asked him, is ludicrous. He forces no one to pay him. They hire him knowing full well the cost. And, his workshops are worth every penny. He is a consummate teacher. He knows his stuff.

    I’m sad this debacle has occurred – for Courtney, for the RWA, though it could use some eye opening, and for Damon. This is the kind of feeding frenzy that occurs when people get bored and they have to drag out their bitchy claws and scourge someone with them. Rationality will again reign, while the wolves continue to make up stories about people and events they know nothing about. Sad really.

    January 2, 2020
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      I’ve met Damon once and that was enough for me. He was condescending, rude, and unprofessional. Some writer friends of mine, two women who are married to each other, were in an argument with Damon at a conference after he called them “bitter” because they were unhappy F/F romance was a hard sell in the market. Many of the things they said to him during this heated exchange ended up coming out of his mouth in this video as if they were his original thoughts. You know, those “original thoughts” you think are so awesome. MANY people have come forward with stories of Suede gaslighting and manipulating them, so you’re going to need to take the Damon Suede Apologia Tour ’20 somewhere else.

      As for his “insightful, intuitive” wordsmithing, was it the part where he described someone as an “Arab gorilla” that got your rocks off, or the part where he wrote intensely biphobic “gay-for-you” tropes?

      Finally, IDK how you had time to come here and lecture me, a queer woman, on homophobia AND still be named valedictorian of your graduating class at clown college, I’ll never know, but congratulations, that’s a hell of an achievement and I’m sure the rest of your clown friends are proud of you.

      January 2, 2020
      |Reply
      • Anon
        Anon

        Whew! I was reading your reply, Jenny, thinking it was to one of my comments and got so confused! To be clear, this “Anon” is a different “Anon” from the comments above it! lol

        As I pointed out in my comments, not a single thing that came out of his mouth was of his own creation, and I knew that without having had to overhear any conversation he’s had. Most of what he said are things other people have said or repeated for years in many contexts. Anyone who thinks anything he said was an original thought needs to get out more.

        And the pomposity of his pseudo-intellectualism is hilarious.

        “I use big words and quote famous dead people, therefore I am.”

        January 3, 2020
        |Reply
    • Steve
      Steve

      Okay Damon. Nice try.

      January 3, 2020
      |Reply
    • A. Noyd
      A. Noyd

      Why would you assume he was bigoted if you don’t know him?

      That’s not how bigotry works, you ding-dong.

      January 3, 2020
      |Reply
    • Java Joe
      Java Joe

      Looks like Damon’s hubby is commenting again!

      I’ve read Hothead. It was a bog-standard MM Romance. No insightful intuitive wordsmithing, a basic friends to lovers story with a bunch of misogyny and a touch of racism. The fact it was written by a gay man did not make it a better book. The fact it was written by a gay man made women who cling to gay men like the latest accessory flock to the book cos – oooh firemen! It reminds me how women flocked to fraudster Santino Hassell (Alicia Torres) when they believed ‘he’ was a bisexual man.

      The romance genre has many many problems, and one of them is women – readers and authors – who are so easily manipulated by men and are constantly seeking male validation.

      So, while Suede may be a compulsive liar and a possible con man the elephant in the room is that women gave him the power. They believed the bullshit and elevated him. They wanted a gay bestie, they wanted to tick the diversity box in having a gay man heading RWA. It strikes me as bizarre that for a genre run by women who have years more experience in writing and publishing, so many appeared to have fawned over Suede.

      If and when Suede steps down it is not only the RWA that needs to take a good look at itself but authors and readers. How many times will we see dramas about men pretending to be women and asking readers for their sex secrets, or women pretending to be men because they think it will get them up the ladder quicker, or people using their orientation as branding- or even pretending to be LGBTQI because it might help them sell more books.

      Romancelandia is a toxic swamp. It was all supposed to be about love, but the truth is, its about money and power.

      January 3, 2020
      |Reply
  17. AM
    AM

    WTH is he talking about with us “being” our brand? He says something around the halfway mark about people looking at him and not thinking he writes middle grades fiction or whatever. Um. Has he even met middle grades authors? Or literally any writer? I’ve been to the children’s and teen book festivals in my city. One of the authors I’ve met (multiple times, and heard speak) is James Howe. He is well over 6 feet tall, older, and has a beard. He is also a gay man who talks candidly about writing LGBTQ+ characters into his middle grades novels. He doesn’t really “look like” an author of beloved children’s books, and yet there he is, doing just that. I’m not sure how he could “look” more like a kids’ books author.

    This whole thing is bonkers. So much of it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

    January 4, 2020
    |Reply
    • AM
      AM

      Oh, and one more thing: His stats are incorrect about the breakdown of readers. I could try to dig it up, but one of the authors in gay romance did a survey and found that the readership is quite a bit more varied than 90% heterosexual women. It’s closer to 50%. The rest is a combination of queer women, men, and non-binary people. I think it may at one point have been different, but it’s not like that now. I suspect writer breakdown would be similar.

      That doesn’t take away from the problem of FF and lesfic having a smaller fan base, nor from the problem of misogyny regardless of the gender of the readers and writers. But I think it’s important to cite the stats correctly because how we address internalized misogyny and homophobia in queer people looks quite a lot different than how we address it in cisgender heterosexual women.

      January 4, 2020
      |Reply
  18. Melanie Titus
    Melanie Titus

    Hiya, this post is very informative and revealing for me. I am just angered by what people think positions of power seem to “allow” them to do or attempt to do! It just disgusts me!! Sorry, I was going to watch the interview but talk of how lightly they talk of teen or any suicide decided me against it. I have too much respect for life and closeness to that subject. Thank you for bringing this to my attention though! 😀

    January 4, 2020
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  19. RLRicki
    RLRicki

    What does “no pink parts” mean?

    January 12, 2020
    |Reply
    • Another Anon
      Another Anon

      No girl parts.

      January 18, 2020
      |Reply
  20. Another Anon
    Another Anon

    One thing about Suede’s attitude toward remaking the RWA: “For me, I wanted to take everything apart and then put it back together and make it tick.” This seems to be a fairly common complaint from activists who plan to rework organizations. See a similar comment from N.K. Jemisin, who was instrumental in a similar civil war in the SFWA: According to Jemisin, “The only way to enact change in such a system is to destabilize it — unfreeze it.”

    January 18, 2020
    |Reply
  21. Buglet
    Buglet

    Wow…so this is really unfortunate to hear, because I’m 99.9% sure that I know this guy.

    Not only that, he was my teacher and a really positive part of me and my sister’s upbringings at a private school that wasn’t entirely welcoming to two WOC who both suffered with reading and A.D.D. He’s also the one that turned my on to my beloved Beverly Jenkin’s romance novels, one of the best black romance writers out there in my opinion.

    I’m not here to defend his actions, mainly because I don’t know him as a coworker so I can’t speak to that, but I have to say it’s really disappointing to hear that he’s harassed and weaponized his sexuality along with his gender to get what he wants from an organization that (while imperfect) was meant to be a place for women to work together and build themselves up.

    January 18, 2020
    |Reply

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