You may have heard by now that Dave Kuzminski had been trounced in the early round of the courtroom drama involving some "defamatory" statements he made about Victor Cretella, PublishAmerica's lawyer, on the Absolute Write forums. Mr Kuzminski said a few unflattering things about the man's character that enabled Mr Cretella to use as an excuse to drag the man into court.
Am I the only one who rolls up my eyes when Mr Kuzminski started talking about how "the truth has not been served" once he was back from the court hearing? This is not a matter of truth and justice, this is about imagining that you are so invulnerable that you can talk off without consequences. I'm not supporting PublishAmerica here, from from it, but if you look at how Victoria Strauss and Ann C Crispin, the folks behind Writer's Beware, behave, for example, and compare their online behavior to Mr Kuzminski's, there is a whole world of difference. Ms Strauss, especially, is very careful with her words. She makes sure to note that everything she says can be backed up by evidence, usually those in black and white. She doesn't join other people in a message board to indulge in name-callings, no matter how justified these names can be, against folks perceived as the Great Enemy. She makes, instead, valid points without trying too hard to be "snarky" or "cool". Because, unlike the "ordinary" forum regulars who are "merely" authors or aspiring authors, Ms Strauss has a reputation to maintain as a person behind Writer's Beware. She knows that she needs to come off as professional, reliable, and trustworthy, not someone who can go off at the drop of a hat. She does not give her enemies an opportunity to hit back at her credibiity while Mr Kuzminski gave Mr Cretella the rope to hang Mr Kuzminski with.
This brings me to the matter of the whole PublishAmerica forum at the Absolute Write place. Now, I understand if ex-authors of PublishAmerica spend a lot of time there as some kind of group session therapy where they bitch and moan and make legitimate points about that so-called publisher's evil ways. But more often than not, we have a same bunch of people, many of them authors or aspiring authors who have no personal beef with PublishAmerica, spending days in and out bringing over messages from the PublishAmerica official forums to "correct" them, although more often than not, these so-called "let's settle the score and tell the truth" posts cross the line and embarrass the PublishAmerica authors who make them. Some of these people show up to post messages that say nothing but "I have popcorns - munch, munch!" or "I have lighters!" What is this, Fandom Wank?
These people take the high road and maintain that the forum is devoted to Truth and Justice when the atmosphere of the forum is more akin to a bunch of "cool kids" gathering at their club house to mock the "uncool wannabes" behind the back of these "wannabes" - this bothers me the most about that forum. I do check out the forum regularly to follow any developments about PublishAmerica, but more often than not, I see a bunch of people using PublishAmerica as an excuse to indulge in some clubhouse social event that occasionally ends up with the ignorance of the people scammed by PublishAmerica as the main entertainment in a "Oh, hee-hee, they are so stupid... oh, but I'm not making fun of them, oh no... hee-hee, anyone wants popcorns, munch-munch!" way.
Unlike Ms Strauss who manages to remain professional in such a clubhouse atmosphere, Mr Kuzminski often joins these aspiring and published authors who tee-hee-hee at PublishAmerica at a regular basis, sometimes even leading the feeding frenzy. These people may not see the problem with their behavior, but clearly, in this particular case, the jury - people looking in from the outside - don't feel the same way.
There are lessons to be learned from this setback. This isn't about Truth and Justice, it's about Truth and Justice having long gone astray and being replaced by the Absolute Write Cool Kids Clique showing off their fancy multi-colored lighters and multi-flavored popcorns, and how the ensuing hubris and confidence in their invulnerability have resulted in the "shocking defeat" that we witnessed recently.