The first thing you realized when you read Mark Twain's biography is there is nothing new under the sun. He wrote satire and lampooned politicians and just about anybody else. And he was attacked for it. People attacked him in the press, in letters, personally, physically. He literally had to leave California because of people he had offended in various editorials. Then he would give satiric speeches to huge audiences that were comedic and cutting.
Cut to the modern writer of today. If you write on the Internet at all then you lay yourself open to all sorts of criticism. Write some satire or something political and it can get downright nasty. But mostly you end up with people sniping at you though the great firewall of the Internet. When else in life can you insult someone without facing them?
Writing a book is a much safer bet. The book comes out and you get a few reviews but basically people have to accept it for what it is. The very give and take of the Internet is much closer to Twain's kind of writing where people reacted quickly and let him know it. So far the bloggiing has been one of putting a piece out there and then having people react to it with comments. I wonder when people will have to start leaving town to get away from their critics?
William Hazelgrove's latest novel is Rocket Man.
"Funniest novel since Russo's Straight Man."
Chicago Sun Times