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For various reasons, the creator of a work has fallen into disfavour with a part of his or her fandom. Maybe he or she changed it, and now it sucks, or a Creator's Pet has elbowed the Ensemble Darkhorse in the face one too many times, or the next book/film/series/blank is taking too damn long, and the fanbase haven't been shy about expressing their displeasure.

But this creator is no-one's punching bag, oh no. So up The Rant goes, usually via the creator's blog. Extra bonus points if it's a foreword or afterword for a different book. This is usually a bad and rather self-indulgent idea - and so, a Dear Negative Reader often ends up as a whiny and passive-aggressive (or out-and-out aggressive) lashing out at those fans and former fans who were so uncouth as to complain. This very frequently overlaps into Creator Breakdown. Certain well-known SF editors and writers have dubbed this an "Author's Big Mistake" (or just ABM), especially when it's in response to a poor review. Common sentiments include:

It should be said, however, that it is possible for a creator to write a Dear Negative Reader without coming over all passive-aggressive, most often by taking the criticism seriously, and acting in a mature manner about it. A sense of humor will usually help, too.

See also Take That, Critics! for when this happens in-show, and Small Name, Big Ego for the kind of author usually involved when this is done badly.

Examples of Dear Negative Reader include:


Anime & Manga


Fanfiction

  • The "Author's Note" for My Inner Life by "Link’s Queen" is mostly this. It goes on for three pages.
  • Most chapters of Jake Tanner's Naruto Veangance Revelaitons begin with the author flaming his negative reviewers. The few that don't are usually the result of the author not being in the mood to do so. In recent chapters, however, he has stated that he will no longer respond to reviews.
  • In the Warrior Cats Troll Fic Starkits Prophecy, the author frequently insults her readers for giving her bad reviews.
  • In another Warrior Cats Troll Fic called Hidden Prophices, a character named after a frequent negative reviewer randomly was murdered in one chapter. Also, the author insults negative reviewers directly.
  • The poorly written author's notes at the beginning of each chapter in My Immortal are quite a treat. Tara will yell at the reader to stop "flaming" in response to the vast number of negative reviews it gets, going so far as to call the reviewers "gay fags" and threatening to slit her wrists if people don't give her "tin god revows"


Film

  • On 1/5/10, George Lucas pulled this on the Star Wars fanbase... on The Daily Show, of all places.
  • Kevin Smith famously stated that Jersey Girl wasn't "for critics", inspiring the Penny Arcade webcomic stated above. The odd thing is, he meant that rather differently than it is usually taken: he meant that he made the film upon having something of a personal crisis seeing his daughter grow up, critics be damned. Still counts, but not quite as dickish as some have made it out to be.


Literature

  • Piers Anthony devoted a part of one of his authors notes to calling out a reader who'd made a nasty comment about him. In his defense, the kid had gone so far as to actually visit Anthony's house and trash the way it looked. (Many of the negative comments the kid made about his house weren't even accurate. For example, the "dead ugly trees" that the kid said were in Anthony's yard were actually standing deadwood and Anthony had resolved not to cut them down.)
  • Ray Bradbury allegedly provided a brief but memorable example:

 "A horrible little boy came up to me and said, 'You know in your book The Martian Chronicles? ' I said, 'Yes?' He said, 'You know where you talk about Deimos rising in the East?' I said, 'Yes?' He said 'No.' -- So I hit him."

  To answer your questions>>>>> I write what I do because I can. This is fiction. If you don't like my writing why did you continue to read the series? Oh, that's right, because they were entertaining. I rest my case. Characters are human just like the rest of us mortals. Again, this is fiction. I make it a point to never defend my writing because . . . I write fiction. Fiction is make believe, in other words, it's whatever the author wants to make it. Thank you for taking the time to write and offer your opinions and your insight. FM

  "Well, hate to break it to you but that's how it works in real life an if you can't accept that then please, kindly grow the f**k up.")

  “Some who have read the book, or at any rate have reviewed it, have found it boring, absurd, or contemptible, and I have no cause to complain, since I have similar opinions of their works, or of the kinds of writing that they evidently prefer.”


Live Action TV

  • Lost season 6 was criticized for filler, especially in the episode "What Kate Does" (which like all Kate episodes, had a mediocre to negative reception among fans and critics), prompting Damon Lindelof to tell his Twitter followers that anybody who didn't like it should go watch NCIS.
    • He later apologized for it. Why? He said he went too far...and also some people apparently took his advice, since the ratings kept declining (while the ratings of NCIS increased) and hit several series lows. Though the viewers who ditched did return for the higher rated finale.
  • Danwarp, aka Dan Schneider, the creator of ICarly did the same thing around the same time. He planned with Nick to air an extended version of the heavily Carly/Freddie ship-centric episode iSaved Your Life, and made some excited blog posts in the week leading up to it being confirmed. Once he announced it, a few Big Name Fan supporters of the Sam/Freddie ship made a variety of rude posts about how the news wasn't exciting at all, and they thought it'd be something bigger. This pissed Dan off, who responded with point by point rebuttals of the two harshest posters, and told people who weren't excited to watch the new episode of Wizards of Waverly Place instead.
    • This wasn't the first case of this happening either. He's made several pointed remarks (inside his 'episode fun facts') aimed at the Sam/Freddie fans in general, by pointing out an instance of Carly telling Freddie he was standing too close, with a note saying that some fans could "throw a parade" over it, and a couple of heavily sarcastic remarks about Sam/Freddie fans and how "he loved to hear about how he should write his show."
  • In 2000, Aaron Sorkin spent some time on the Internet debating with the forum posters at Television Without Pity. It started with disagreements on how much of a given episode of The West Wing should be credited to Sorkin vs. other writers, but snowballed into Sorkin telling the posters that he basically counted their opinions as worthless. He then inserted strawmen into the "U.S. Poet Laureate" episode, casting TWoP and its posters as the "chain-smoking, mumu-wearing" denizens of "lemonlyman.com," where iron-fisted mods steer the conversations. For the entire history, including timeline, quotes and postmortem, go read this.
    • In addition to the attack against TWoP, the episode's titular plot features Toby talking to the U.S. Poet Laureate about her views. In the end, the Laureate says that art isn't about truth and isn't supposed to be about expressing some truth, but just about saying things in a fashion that captivates. The recapper at TWoP was not a fan of this idea.
  • A rather classy subversion by Top Gear producer Andy Wilman on his recap of series 14 here.


Music

  • "Bloody Rotten Audience", a song by Scottish-Australian folkie Eric Bogle, is presented as one of these by an embittered folk singer who's failed to win over the titular crowd, listing the different ways in which he's brilliant and how stupid the audience must be not to appreciate him.


Newspaper Comics

  • Lynn Johnston of For Better or For Worse became known for this in Comics Curmudgeon fandom, after they started voicing their opinions about Anthony.
  • Bruce Tinsley of Mallard Fillmore engages in this from time to time, though it's not clear if he's actually addressing any actual letters or simply people he has invented out of thin air to address criticisms of his strip.
  • After Lisa died in Tom Batiuk's Funky Winkerbean, numerous fans issued their displeasure with the long, drawn-out death of one of the main characters, with whom they sympathized despite the fact that she seemed to be the Butt Monkey of the universe (but then again, that seems to be common in this comic). Following said criticisms, the author has made numerous Take Thats to his disapproving fanbase in his comics, including most recently making a strawman group out of their ideals and basically telling them where they can stick their opinions.
    • Possibly related is a Crankshaft strip where Crankshaft is being a gripey old man (again) and finishes his rant by saying that "the comics page is supposed to be funny." This is actually kind of a fascinating (not really) look at the mind of the two strips' mutual creator; apparently, he thinks that people ought to think this stuff is funny automatically.
  • Gary Larson parodied this phenomenon in The Pre-History of the Far Side:

 And, finally, my response to all those who took the time to register their complaints:

[drawing of a man stretching his mouth and sticking out his tongue.]

  • 9 Chickweed Lane and Pibgorn creator Brooke McEldowny did this via an FAQ section where he insulted both the hypothetical negative reader for daring to interpret his Straw Feminist as a Straw Feminist and the fan who suggested making an FAQ section ("sometimes they have good ideas").


Poetry

  • One of Catullus's best-known poems is made of this trope. Ironic there in that he reacts to being accused of being gay by his friends by threatening to "bugger them and stuff their gobs."
    • Not as ironic to a Roman, because only the receiving/submissive partner was considered unmanly. Essentially, they accused him of being a "bottom" and he offered/threatened to "top" them.
  • T. S. Eliot had the sense not to publish his version of this in his lifetime, but it got out after his death, and is quite stunning to read. It's a poem, entitled The Triumph of Bullshit, and every stanza ends "For Christ's sake stick it up your ass."


Professional Wrestling

  • Mick Foley did this on 411Mania's Wrestling section. It can be read here.
  • This was also largely the concept behind the "Right To Censor" group, a humungous Take That against the Parent-Teacher Coalition that had been hounding the then-WWF about their use of language, sexuality and over-the-top violence. Ironically, it actually afforded an in-road for WWF to tone down some of its more outrageous characters by "forcing" them to join through complicated schemes, and was one of the early starts towards the current "PG Era".


Tabletop Games

  • Gary Gygax sometimes did this in his From the Sorcerer's Scroll articles in Dragon magazine, but a really obvious example occurred in Dragon #16 (June 1978). Some fans complained about elements of the Dungeons and Dragons game, and he tried to refute them in an overblown manner, making a number of silly and insulting statements while doing so. His rather dismissive analysis of how much Lord of the Rings influenced Dungeons and Dragons was a classic of this genre.


Theatre

  • Andrew Lloyd Webber, upon finding out that people did not like his Phantom of the Opera sequel Love Never Dies, lashed out at his fans. He essentially accused the fans of being so devoted to his first work that they just would not give his sequel a chance. Ironically, the fan devotion to his first work is what made the existence of the sequel possible in the first place!


Web Animation


Webcomics

  • Tim Buckley, the author of Ctrl+Alt+Del, did this after his storyline about a miscarriage.
    • He's kind of gained a reputation for reacting badly to criticism (though he's getting better) . The miscarriage incident was actually fairly restrained, compared to the aftermath of some of his other stunts (several of which have culminated in Buckley banning from his forum anyone who mentions those stunts).
      • After the miscarriage bit, he included a joke about a "quiet black guy in a movie theater?" Fans complained about racism, so he put up a post about how the joke wasn't racist. He then edited the strip several times to make it less about race WITHOUT saying he was editing. Essentially censoring the strip to make his critics look like idiots. Whether he was wary of another dramatic comedy like the miscarriage backlash, or whether he simply didn't expect to get called out on a race joke, no one can say.
      • In one case, Buckley actually berated someone for DEFENDING him. A poster made a paragraph about how much he liked the comic and didn't understand why people who didn't like it didn't simply stop reading. It had a piece of fanart, credited with "I don't own this character, copyright of" yadayada. Buckley apparently either did not read or thought it was sarcastic, because he attacked the man for plagiarism, implying the threat of legal action.
  • The writers of the Penny Arcade webcomic engaged in an extended bout of this during the "dickwolves" brouhaha. Relevant links here.
    • Short version for the lazy: Gabe and Tycho get accused of being rape apologists because they had a strip which had a character who mentioned having been raped as a set-up to a joke. Gabe gets mad at the accusation and reacts, with increasingly less ambiguous rape apology[1]. This only serves to enrage the offended parties further, which further provokes Gabe, all feeding into a vicious cycle stemming from the fact that neither party really gets where the other party is coming from, but thinks the other party understands them perfectly and just doesn't give a shit.
  • Tarol Hunt, author of Goblins: Life Through Their Eyes, occasionally goes on The Rant to discuss some of the houseruled D&D mechanics he uses in his webcomic. In this one, he concludes with the classic line, "Hello, my name is Tarol Hunt and I have 24 years of near-constant practice arguing the physics of magic with hundreds of D&D players."
  • Scott Kurtz of PvP is infamous for posting these on his blog. Indeed, a book he co-authored about how to publish your own web-comic basically said that you should ignore all criticism of your work. When one book critic noted this in her review of the book and said that she couldn't believe any professional artist would deny the value of even constructive criticism, Kurtz wrote a blistering response where he expressed the belief that critics should be like The Federation in Star Trek and not interfere.
  • Howard Tayler of Schlock Mercenary produced a fairly mild version a while ago here. Short version: complaints about how long the story was "dragging on" elicited the response "If you're bored, leave. PLEASE. I'm telling the story I want to tell, and I'm telling it the way I want to tell it."
  • Krazy Krow wrote one for Spinnerette which can be seen here, in response to negative feedback on chapter seven. However, he seemed to think it was about him using a recurring villain when most of the complaints were about how predictable and cliched the story ended up being.
  • Chris Hazelton of Misfile also wrote one after receiving hundreds of emails caused by the backlash of Emily's confession to Ash being unceremoniously swept under the rug.


Web Original

  • Seanbaby's 10 Species of Angry Commenter You Encounter on the Web tries to pass itself off as a generic list article, but a few entries in you'll realize that he's using his standing with Cracked to draw in readers around the Internet for him to attack ten specific negative comments on his own earlier Cracked article.
    • It's just the Fan Dumb list, rehashed, this time with specific examples. He has been posting offensive humor for well over a decade, making it unlikely that he would start to be bothered by criticism now. It seems most likely that the aforementioned article simply netted him the widest, fullest range of Fan Dumb types.
  • JesuOtaku at one point released a full length one over her Twitter in response to complaints about her ADCD.
  • Noah Antwiler made a blog post entitled "An Appeal To Manners", which is a huge one of these. In this case though, it's not about people hating his videos but a genuine complaint directed at the Trolls who did things like calling his then-girlfriend a "fat cow" when she appeared in a thank-you video.
    • His commentary for the "Mazes and Monsters" review starts with one about the negative reaction the fans had to that review's title sequence, which replaced his normal themesong by The Irresponsibles with a cover by the band Living Illusion. It's actually quite mature and even somewhat apologetic - he explains why he made the change and defends Living Illusion's cover, and speculates as to why people were so bothered. It helps that you're hearing his thoughts, rather than reading them, so the tone is much easier to interpret. (And, for the record, he went back to a more traditional version of the theme song not too long after.)
    • A straighter example came from his review of the Deadliest Warrior Fighting Game. After a five-minute review where Noah railed against every part of the game, the producers themselves issued this kind of response, including saying things like "It's a $10 DLC game by a small publisher, it's not our fault you bought instant ramen and expected it to taste like filet mignon". Noah laid into Spike for this, as well as some of the dumber responses on his comments section, like one person claiming that "You don't auto-turn in a real-life fight".
  • After panning Super Smash Brothers Brawl and receiving an unusually large amount of hate mail, Yahtzee devoted a whole video to snarkily responding to some of the negative comments. Fan opinion seems split on whether this was a good or bad move.


Western Animation

  • Book 4: Air is something of a Shipping variety version of this trope from the creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender toward the Zutara shippers who were upset that Katara got together with Aang and not Zuko.
  • The late Dwayne McDuffie was known to react rather hostile toward any fans who criticized him on his work on Ben 10: Alien Force and Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, the controversial sequels to Ben 10, on his forum. Though to his credit, he never made any personal attacks on these fans, and frowned upon any of his supporters that did.


In-Universe Examples:

  • A hilarious in-universe example happened in a skit that you can find in the special features of the Black Books DVD. When Bernard receives a rejection letter for his novel, he sends back a rejection letter for the rejection letter.

 Bernard: And yes, I am aware that it is traditionally bad form to respond to any kind of criticism or rejection, but in this as all else I am an innovator, therefore I may freely address you as 'piss-midget'.

Notes

  1. Tycho also doesn't like the accusation, but keeps his mouth shut beyond the initial snarky "apology" because he thinks any attempt to actually defend himself will just make it worse, which might actually have been a viable strategy had his cohort not been making inflammatory remarks and attempting to cast detractors solely as humorless nancies looking for things to be offended about
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