I read recently that Salman Rushdie, the British author of note, has opened a Goodreads.com account. This would not normally be news, except the fact that in his zeal for all things internet-y, Mr. Rushdie swiftly wielded the mighty Goodreads Sword of Justice (TM) and gave To Kill a Mockingbird only three out of five stars. The day following his literary faux-pas, he committed a public mea-culpa which boiled down to: "I'm sorry. I was just screwing around with this new toy and did something I didn't mean. I really love Harper Lee's magnum opus. Please don't issue another fatwa."

Lord knows he doesn't need any more fatwas.

Notice how I wrote 'committed a public mea-culpa'? I did so because I think what he did was a crime (assuming he really thinks To Kill A Mockingbird is only worth three stars). He should never have apologized for giving his opinion. If he thinks the American classic is only worth 3 out of 5, then so be it.

And you know what? I also think To Kill A Mockingbird is somewhat overrated. So does my wife. So do a lot of people. Not that it's a bad book, or that it isn't something that shouldn't be used in schools for literary exposure. It's just that I don't like feeling that I have to like something because it's what's expected from people of good breeding or some such hogwash. One should never apologize for their preferences, at least in regards to intellectual or imaginative pursuits. If you like something, don't be a wet-noodle and defend your position. I don't mean be defensive, where you project some aura of self-persecution, but listen to that little voice in your head that says: "this guy's a moron for not liking this. Just let him stew in his own moronicity and switch the conversation to something about tacos".

Of course, skilled orators can persuade people to see things their way, but that scenario is usually much more fun to watch than participate in. And 99% of the time verbal persuasion is attempted in the world outside your head, it's usually punctuated by the phrase: "or we'll blow your ass away". If you don't like something, understand why you don't like it. For example, it isn't enough for me to say the movie Taxi Driver sucks. A fan of the movie would rightfully be taken aback by such a lazy dismissal of something he finds valuable in his life. Now even if I were being lazy, I wouldn't say Taxi Driver sucks. I don't think it's a great movie, but it's not on the same level as Jaws 3 (I was going to say Troll 2, but that's too damn funny for me to hate).

There. I said it. To Kill A Mockingbird and Taxi Driver are both overrated. Half of you think I'm a horrible person now. Teeth will be gnashed and fatwas issued. People like what they like and hate what they hate and no amount of proverbial anal-ache is going to change that. What matters is the person who created the work is happy with it. In the end it's only between them and God, or them and themselves, if they are of the atheistic persuasion.

Seriously, in regards to writing and publishing, this is a philosophy you need to adopt. Even pipsqueak publications like mine get reviews. And I've gotten bad (and yes, I thought unfairly so) reveiws. I've also gotten good reviews. I wish I had more of both. Good reviews make my heart burst with pride. Bad reviews make me want to get better. The first and only time I got a really bad review (the dreaded one star on Goodreads), I felt horrible. I started angry, then grew offended, became regretful, and finally spiraled into black depression. Then the next five minutes, I decided it was the person's opinion and they were a moron for thinking that way.

Then I ate some tacos.

Have a great week everyone!