Friday, August 7, 2015

"(Half-Assed) Clean up on Aisle 10!" or "Pardon me. Did I spill my privilege on you?"

Romancelandia. Romancelandia. What are we to do with your writers and readers? That pesky excrement keeps hitting that propeller. The latest dust up whirling about is the one concerning the inspirational romance, For Such a Time by Kate Breslin. I'm sure her sales have skyrocketed since the bruhaha started. Folks love to circle the wagons here in the U.S. That pioneer spirit and all.

Alas, said inspie romance has at its core a romance between an SS KOMMANDANT and a JEWISH camp inmate at THERESEINSTADT! Take a breath. Let that sink in. Hadassah Benjamin is yanked out of DACHAU by Aric von Storm Trooper because he can't believe that she is Jewish due to her "blonde hair and blue eyes." He saves her to come work as his secretary in the other camp. Through the miracle of the Bible, he repents; she CONVERTS! And everyone rides off into the sunset more or less. It is a supposed re-telling of the story of Esther. A NAZI is the hero to the JEWISH heroine! This book got nominated for major industry awards!

I'm speechless.

The book premise is all kinds of wrong. I cannot even begin. All I know is folks who I know who read romance, and who are Jewish are beyond speechless.

I am sorry. Just because the Bible is used as a plot device to change the hero's heart does not give license to erase a people's real history...No. Just no.

Reminds me of the atrocity that an "author" had cooked up earlier this year to produce a BDSM book in the style of "50 Shades" with slave SALLY HEMINGS and her master THOMAS JEFFERSON as romantic leads. Are you kidding me? Since when was U. S. slavery just a big, ole, three-hundred-plus-year-old BDSM club where folks got a say in their treatment? And it gets downplayed as "a loving relationship?" Let me set the record straight. There was no consent between an owner and his property. In real life, Sally was FOURTEEN years old when Jefferson started RAPING her. Yes, I said RAPING HER. He was in his FORTIES. He owned her. She relied on him for her life. Where in there is there equal footing? Where in there could she have said "no?" NO-EFFIN-WHERE!

It's so insulting because first, this country DENIED Sally's existence. Then when it could not be denied any longer (because there are red-headed, light-skinned Black descendants walking around and no, they are not any of his relatives' kin),  the whole sordid, sick mess got prettied up into a frothy "romance" for those who could not fathom that one of the nation's beloved Founding Fathers was a raging, raping, slave-owning pedophile. Even on his deathbed, Jefferson did not free Sally. Nor any of the many children he begat with her. Yeah. Nothing sez love like keeping your boo as goods and chattel. Apparently, Master Jefferson was doing what all good landed-gentry were doing back then as Sally was also his WIFE'S HALF-SISTER. His dear wife's daddy RAPED a slave woman and begat Sally. And that father presented Sally to his fully White daughter as a personal maid. Just creepy. Yeech! So, no. It was not a love story, folks. It was business as usual.

In any case, Black Twitter shut it down. Was that censorship? No. Just meant that no publisher was gonna touch it. The author can write it and self-pub all she wants. She can also bear the slings and arrows too.

But I digress.
What possesses people to think any of these topics were "great" ideas for romance books? Are writers, editors, and publishers that desperate, that blind, that unfeeling, that...PRIVILEGED not to see the error of their ways? And don't get me started on the READERS who gave that "NAZI romance" 5 star reviews. Or those would-be readers from FB who jumped on the Sally/Tommy bandwagon and were ready to roll 'cuz it "sounded exciting and fun." Please.

How is an ethnic/religious group's agony entertaining? How?

I would post a pic of the offending book but I thought again and decided no. But its cover is a doosy. One of those headless jobs with a blond-ish chick facing out, holding a Bible or journal with a huge YELLOW STAR and a real picture of a group of children from Thereseinstadt at the time, plastered over it.


The RWA (Romance Writers of America) doubled-down and defended ALL its "problematic" books with a re-iteration of its turducken of a policy on how books get nominated. Read the statement and see the book cover there

And I thought the Black heroine of my series was too much for Middle America. Then again with the reported antics of some of the participants at the latest RWA conference, and the way the old guard has been clutching its pearls and sweater sets lately pushing back against "all that diversity", she just might be.

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