In the case of Mr. Doolittle versus big bad corporate giant, the jury wanted desperately to award the plaintiff something for his pain and suffering. Because he was the underdog, a nice old guy who wouldn’t lie about events. Nevermind that his lawyer was an ambulance-chasing slimebag (my interpretation, not a proven fact), that the plaintiff’s doctors were both confused about the diagnosis and saw the patient years after the event, that the story changed at least five times over four days. The witnesses (for both sides) were under oath. You can’t lie under oath. You can only tell the facts.
But someone lied. Because both sides of the event could not have been true.
The judge spoke at length to the jury about the difference between facts, inferences, and opinions. He spoke of dispassionately weighing facts, of dismissing in part or in full the opinions of witnesses if we found their credibility or demeanor in question. We came to a decision.
Despite the inconvenience to my normal routine, jury duty was a great experience. So, knowing what you know about the writers of various blogs, would you accept their interpretation of certain facts without questioning them? Do disgruntled writers make good witnesses? I dunno, I was one once. I told the truth. But the whole truth, exactly as it happened? Um, can’t really remember.
I am questioning some sweeping statements, such as:
1. Small epublishers do not produce high-quality books. Hmmn, maybe not all of them. But I’ve reviewed a few stories here that have been great reads. My personal experience tells me that this generalization is a bit suspect.
2. We don’t need any more small press start-ups. They will fold after producing poor-quality books. Firstly, the quality issue is subjective, by the standards the judge outlined to the jurors. Second, wonder if EC, Loose ID, and Samhain were big starting day 1? Sure, they may have had wonderful leaders at the helm, but some other new companies may as well. Writers should be wary, but I don’t think it’s fair to lump them all together. Let the market decide. To suggest that three “good” companies are enough–that smacks of New Jersey politics, and that ain’t good.
3. EC used to be good and isn’t anymore. That’s a subjective opinion. The market will decide, of course.
4. Anything x, y, or z author says is cool and true. Don’t argue with them, because they are wise and have sold contracts to big companies. At the trial, I found a big name physician to be totally self-contradictory. Some self-appointed “expert” witnesses, these authors who frequent writing blogs, often seem more hell-bent on getting attention than presenting a studied, sound opinion. Others are spectacular at it. Just cause Nora says it’s so doesn’t make it so. Except, of course, in her case it does.
5. In the United States, one is innocent until proven guilty. In the meantime, it’s probably best to keep your mouth shut and unplug your computer.
6. Cases are judged and the decisions are final (at least in most civil cases). It doesn’t do much good to rehash them. A bad review is a thing forever, but it won’t mean a thing in a hundred years. Someone’s alleged drinking binge, personal vendettas, unguided heat-seeking missile attacks…they all fade away.
7. It doesn’t matter how much you make fun of someone, or how clever you are. It won’t change the facts or make you right if you’re wrong.
Okay, so I haven’t made my points so very well, but I’m burnt. Just saying that everyone has an opinion, but it wouldn’t hold up in court. Be really careful who you believe. That kindly very old man in my court case was not telling the truth.