So, what do you do when confronted by a bully? You hit back and punch the Nazi in the face!
Rorschalk’s note: I found this old archetype snooping around our window this morning at tqrstories.com
Hello TQR capital managers,
I’m reaching out quickly as a concerned writer and active member of the literary community. I’m a professor of creative writing and one of my students alerted me to an alarming rejection they received. The problematic material is pasted below:
I’m not gay. Nor am I homophobic (is anyone anymore?). Still, once it became clear that honest Micah and gorgeous Merlin are going to spend the rest of the story batting eyelashes and brushing locks of hair out of each other’s eyes, and possibly more, I started to read faster. Yes, I have my own personal sexual preferences and biases. Like if it’d been two gals, I’d probably have skimmed for the sex scene. But given it’s two dudes, I aimed to skip past, which, and mercifully as it happens, is the end.
Seeing as this material also seems to be posted on your site available for all to say (sic), I must say I was surprised to see the content of this “feedback.” Although your flippant question about homophobia is concerning enough, your statement that had this piece been about two women it would align better with your sexual preferences is incredibly problematic. Lesbian sex is hot but gay male sex is best to be avoided? That sure sounds homophobic (and misogynistic) to me. Of course we’re all entitled to our own personal reading preferences, but an editor who lists a gay relationship as one (of a few) reasons to reject a piece, is homophobic.
Also, the role of editors of literary journals is to foster good writing. In what way does your feedback in this regard actually help the writer? Your feedback about tense and revision was useful at the start of your rejection, but what purpose does talking about your own sexual preferences serve? I say this as someone who has been a managing editor and prose editor for literary journals for the better part of a decade.
I will be reaching out to duotrope and Newpages to alert them to the sort of “feedback” writers to your journal can expect. I do hope you rethink your approach to rejection and reflect on your own personal prejudices.
Best, Gladys Kravitz
“Dear” Mrs. Kravitz,
Thank you for supplying the world with a concrete example of the literary machine TQR was created to rage against. Here is the disclaimer in our guidelines that nullifies your pathetic complaint:
Caveat Canem (woof woof)
TQR’s editorial process is transparent, and [seeFree Market] you and your work and e-mail correspondence could be talked about by the managerial anomalies judging your work on the Floor and in the Terminal. Your e-mailed submission letter will also be listed in the BUSINESS OFFICE to note receipt of your venture, minus personally identifiable information such as physical and electronic addresses. (Important: By ‘public vetting,’ we do not mean the capital ventures up for consideration will be accessible to the public, only that the comments of those TQR staffers tasked with reading them will be.)
At no time will a work that has been referenced by name on the site, be unnecessarily denigrated or maligned. “Unnecessarily” is indeed a weasel word and gives us the latitude to necessarily denigrate and malign. What I can tell you is that it will be a publishing experience like no other. We can be assholes, but also benevolent gatekeepers with helpful advice and suggestions for the future disposition of your capital ventures. TQR sees its venture capitalists as the electricity that keeps its editorial impulses sentient, and, therefore, would be cutting its own cord bundle by unnecessarily alienating any of its contributors, no matter how whack. Before you submit your capital ventures, please avail yourself of the processes always available for viewing on the Floor, the Terminal and the Big Board. Caveat Emptor.
And furthermore, you can tell your student, who is obviously too big of a pussy to fight his own battles, to put his big boy pants on and lodge his own complaint the next time he gets his feelings hurt by some cartoon character in a no-name trashy ezine saying he’d rather read about two chicks getting it on than two dudes sodomizing one another. This is a true statement for any dude to make and if you and your cloying cult of literary harpies can’t stomach reality then fuck off to your mythical island of lgbtqfyxz-unicorn-alpha-bravo and eat a bag of rainbow-colored dicks.
I absolutely love your sign off of “Best…” right after you acknowledged you had just slipped two shivs in our back. Typical cowardly snitch behavior [wrap yourself in virtue after you’ve just done something contemptible]. Please just go home to your studio apartment, feed your cats, drink your nightly bottle of Sutter Home and reflect upon the fact that you are the literary equivalent of the good citizen who turned in their neighbor for thought crime against the party in Germany circa 1939. And then, go fuck yourself, Gladys.