A couple of weeks ago, a review was pointed out by dear Àdhamh Ó Broin, the Gaelic coach on Outlander. He was quite frustrated with the review because the person obviously had not properly screened that which he reviewed and was very negative about Outlander (the series).
Now, generally speaking I avoid reading reviews of anything as I find my personal tastes tend to clash with most people that review things ‘professionally’. I’m reading more and more blogs though and this happened to fall into that category.
I hesitate to give this guy any more attention, but if you want to actually get his side of things, here is the link. Dirty Gaelic, the Black House and crap telly My comments to the author are published under WolfeTales. He actually reviews several things (he so grossly misrepresented Outlander I didn’t even bother reading the rest of the article because it was quite obvious he couldn’t be trusted to be at all accurate) and the Outlander review is right on top. The comments are below, though if you look at this on his main page rather than separated out, the comments are very difficult to find or figure out how to participate in.
I’ve had people say you shouldn’t bother commenting on such an article – give them silence because they aren’t worth the time to type a response. I can’t agree with that. Someone having no idea what Outlander (the books or series) is really about would read that and be given a totally inaccurate idea of the show. Some may say ‘oh right up my alley’….but a great many others, guys especially, would be thinking ‘oh crap another soft porn chick flick series – no thank you’ just as the author put out there. That is not only totally unfair to the show and all that is behind it, it is extremely unfair to the person reading the review.
I so hate that these books and this show have been peddled as ‘romance’. It touches a bigger audience initially, but the very idea has turned off many as well – particularly male readers. I’ve been trying to get my guy to read the books for years. He consented to sit through the series with me (gruffly) but has now read the first book and is the one insisting we have to watch Eps 1-8 before 9 airs on April 4! The other books are queued up on his Kindle. Not that I am complaining. It took that though to get him around the idea of it being a ‘romance’. That whole idea is another blog I’m working on so I won’t get into it here.
What’s really interesting is there are no more comments posted after mine on this story, yet he has now blogged a ‘retraction’ of sorts.
referencing my tweets among others. His condescending manner in this next blog is truly insulting. Perhaps he is just a sad man that feels the need to be negative. Perhaps he thinks he is being funny – I personally think he comes across as insinuating his readers are idiots and can’t see through his obnoxious rant.
I’ve had books I didn’t like. For example, Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. In my last job I worked in a St. Vincent de Paul retail store and ran the book department. (It’s how I found Outlander and a great many other books/authors I love). I had many of my customers say ‘you simply must read Pillars of the Earth! Greatest book ever!’ and many other similar comments. I finally sat down with it. Some very interesting and well-written characters, amazing detail about the building of this cathedral, real history woven in (sounding a bit like Outlander eh?) but I just couldn’t get ‘in’ to the authors writing style. It didn’t ‘grab’ me as some other authors do. I still recommended the book for all the reasons I gave, but also told people honestly that I hadn’t finished it and why. I also told them I had many people highly recommend it. Another example. Anne Rice writing as A. N. Roquelaure. Loved the vampire books and when I realized A.N. Roquelaure was the same author and that it was a new take on a classic faerie tale I thought ‘way cool’. Not so much. I didn’t read very far before putting that book aside. Just not my thing. I’ll never read 50 Shades of Grey for the same reason. Nothing wrong with the books – just not my cup of tea.
I’m writing specifically to Outlander fans in looking at this particular review, but I’m hoping it will hold true for any fandom and any review. The problem with ANY review for anything is that the person writing it is biased. They just are – accept that as fact. Their viewing or reading or listening is going to be colored by their own likes, background, prejudices and a myriad of other things including what they had for breakfast that day! Use any such thing as a guide. I would often ask customers ‘who do you already LIKE to read?’ and make recommendations for things I knew or had been told by many people were similar. Keep in mind too – some people will just flat misrepresent something because they decided, before ever looking at the material, they weren’t going to like it. That is what this guy did and why I got so riled about it.
One specific thing he trounced was the Gaelic in the show. Having met Àdhamh – I know just how passionate he IS to get the language right! He told us how hard the cast, especially Sam, has worked to make it as accurate as possible. Is it going to be perfect? Of course not – these are not native speakers. Are there going to be production decisions made outside the language experts control for various reasons? Unfortunately yes. It happens. But overall I think they have done a damn fine job with the Gaelic and pray it brings a new interest for the language overall and helps revive it. Ok off that soapbox.
He also put up a screen cap of one of the polls we were voting in. The Zimbio ‘couples’ poll. I’m sure he was trying to subtly make his point his is indeed just a soft porn romance without saying that. I posted about this already – but all these polls are so the show will be noticed by people that might not know about it. Good as STARZ has been with marketing – a lot of people are very focused on their own thing. How many people in the Zap2it poll had never heard of Sam Heughan or Outlander but are watching it now?
So, respond and give the guy more visibility or not? Everyone has to make up their own mind. Me personally say GO FOR IT……………………..IF………………….you can give a clear, level headed, meaningful reply to counteract all the negative crap. Being a ‘rabid fan’, using a lot of bad language, saying what an idiot this person is really doesn’t HELP the cause. (And I have to thump on myself here as I tend to get a wee bit snippy when ticked off – it shows in my earlier comment to him – mea culpa).
All we can do is promote the truth, about Outlander or whatever we are passionate about. Not all will agree and that is ok. It takes all kinds to make up the world and everyone like the same thing it would be very boring! People like this guy – I’m just as glad he doesn’t like it because I wouldn’t want to have him around fan stuff. The recent Zap2it poll where Sam was up against Misha Collins (ok I can actually hear all those groans ladies!) is another example. I’m going to watch the show, give it a whirl because ONE person was very positive about the show, the actors and towards us as Outlander fans. I will never get involved in that fandom. OMG…Same with Dr. Who – although the fans were bad enough around those polls I actually have no desire to even watch the show. Their snotty, negative, cruel, and obnoxious behavior completely turned me off to the show, the actors and most especially the fandom! That is totally unfair to the show I realize that, but it was also a big wakeup call to ME about the responsibilities of being a ‘passionate’ fan.
I am not perfect. I screw up on a regular basis. I am trying very hard to NOT respond to anything I get riled about until I’ve cooled off for a bit – don’t always manage it. Please feel free to call me on that. If I’m going to write things for public consumption I WANT to be held accountable. I may not change my opinion, just be more tactful about how I present it.
I’m going to respond to this guys second blog as well (it will be the second link above) now that I’ve cooled off. What he didn’t get, and probably doesn’t care to – is that he misrepresented the show. I don’t care if he doesn’t like it, but don’t say it’s a rotten apple when it’s actually a peach.