Originally this started out as a comment on Cartouche’ recent post (I still can’t hyper link, so here it is http://open.salon.com/blog/cartouche/2009/12/29/untitled), but it began to approach the length of an essay and I haven’t posted anything in almost two weeks so here goes. You can curse me later.
I normally don't toss my opinion out there on the subject of EP’s and Covers very often because it is futile, but since Cartouche approached it in such a kind and logical manner, here is my opinion for what it’s worth.
What some would label favoritism to certain writers has also been obvious to me for a long time. Is favoritism really going on? I suspect that it is to a degree, but there is likely a good reason, so please hear me out. What people have to understand is that "the chosen few" have no input as to what the editors have in mind when they hand out EP's (although conspiracies have floated around since I’ve been here and will likely continue) and as far as I know, it is not the fault of the EP recipient. I doubt they have brown nosed their way into a position of favor any more than you or I have.
I agree that there is some real crap that hits the cover, but there is also some really great writing. Some people like to read simple crap. If not for that fact, there would be no National Inquirer or Star Magazine. Are they not welcome here? Others require more sofisticated copy to quell their thirst. It seems that is the purpose of having a cover. To attract people with diversified tastes.
So you didn't get an EP for your best work? Big deal. Neither did thousands of others that post here every day. Life ain't fair and this ain't a contest. Get over it and get over yourself. It isn't that big of a deal in the larger scheme of things. You still are reading and rating and commenting on some of the best content you're likely to read anywhere.
Isn't that really what OS is all about? Great writing, great reading and the ability to communicate with the actual author of some of the very finest work available? Of course it is. Where else can you do that? It’s not about some frigging award that doesn't mean doodle-y squat. We have published authors of every creed here that don’t get covers or EP’s all the time either and I don’t hear them complaining. Some of them only garner a handful of comments and rates, so snap out of it! The cover is only so big, ya know.
Sure it's a nice feather in your cap and it makes us feel good for a little while but do you really need to be validated that often? Aren't the comments and ratings you generate validation enough, or do you have to have it all, right now, all the time? I hope not. I expect more from all of us. A little humility goes a long way, people.
I've been here for over a year and if there were some collusion between the EP/Cover recipient and the editors, someone would have surely heard something and posted about it by now. Yes, some writers have conversations with the editors. You can contact them, too! Though I do admit it is a possibility, I don't believe there is collusion and if anyone has proof that there is, well I'm all ears. I'm a reasonable person and will listen to what you have to say, but the key word is proof, not some conspiracy theory that is designed to make you feel better.
Conspiracies abound, but the whole problem with conspiracies is that people have to keep secrets for the conspiracy to hold together and humans are pathetically inept at that task. Especially around here. Ever notice that? No? Well, you'll have to trust me then.
I also think there is simply too much content for the editors to handle, so they have no choice but to take the easy way out and choose a few sure bets in an effort to 'buy' some time. I simply don’t have a problem with that. Many of us would likely do the same thing.
Can any of you read every post that is posted in a day? I know I can’t. I’ve tried and haven’t even come close. How many people that work for OS are reading posts for the purpose of suggesting Covers and EP’s? I don’t know that either, but I suspect the answer is not nearly enough. Quality people cost money and reading takes time. Lots of time. How many hours do you spend hear a day reading? Uh-huh. I also suspect money is tight. It is everywhere else. Why wouldn’t that be true with OS?
Now, can we make OS a better place? Sure we can, but not by bitching about something as petty as EP's and who got the Cover again. Some want the editors to spell out their formula for picking EP's and Covers. I really don't care for that idea much because most everyone would change there writing to try to fit into that format or mold and this place would surely suffer, if not be ruined altogether.
We don't need cookie cutter posts. That would run me off in a heartbeat an I would suspect, most of you too. It is the originality and sponteneity that makes this place so special, not who or what makes the cover.
We recently have been blessed with a new Editor. I suggest we let Judy Berman get her feet wet before we inundate her with requests and suggestions. I will personally give her the benefit of believing that she will work hard to make OS a better place for all of us. I believe that will be her ultimate goal, so please be patient. Change is expensive and takes time.
This place isn’t even two years old, so let’s be reasonable. Maybe she will hire some more eyes or change the way Cover Posts are selected and make it a leveler playing field. Does it really matter all that much given all that we have here? I suppose to some that it does and I would welcome that change with open arms if we could stop someone from bringing up this unsavory subject every few weeks.
But (there is always a ‘but’, isn’t there?), what is far more important than anything else around here is that we be kind to each other. Agree to disagree, but be agreeable while doing it. We all deserve that much.
Happy New Year to all of you!