For various reasons, the creator of a work has fallen into disfavor with a part of their fandom. Maybe They Changed It, 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:
Creators who execute this poorly can come off as being egotistical and overly sensitive. As such, many creators tend to avoid doing this. 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! or Take That, Audience! for when this happens in-show, and Small Name, Big Ego for the kind of author usually involved when this is done badly.
After fans responded negatively to her run on Runaways and later writers decided to undo the more dramatic changes that she made, Kathryn Immonen responded by having almost the entire team killed during Age Of Ultron. Naturally, this all took place in an alternate timeline, and thus after the Age of Ultron was undone, the Runaways were okay, but still...
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"
Naruto Veangance Revelaitons has frequent author's notes bashing the critics. Over time, though, the author grew tired of having to write author's notes, deciding to stop responding to reviews altogether, but he later did occasional author's notes attacking negative reviewers.
The Prayer Warriors has the author bashing his critics, often saying that they will go to Hell for "mocking" him.
(from Chapter 10): Stop reviewing my great story if you hate it. You will burn in hell anyway! There is not point in trying to save you at all for you have ben corrupted by powers of evol, and that is Satan! And no Stan, I have no idea what that is. Only review this story if there is something good to say or that you agree with every I say. All the rest of you are sick! You should not allow such evil things such as gays, women in power, and people that are crippled in the minds.
One that raised a good point occurs in Total Drama Island fanfic Cheer Up Emo Girl. Bridgette is raped by a female OC named Brittney, and it was intended to be taken as seriously as male-on-female rape. However, most of the reviewers didn't find the scene to be a rape. Every single review that referenced that scene called it hot, and suggested a threesome take place between Bridgette, Brittney, and Bridgette's then-boyfriend. This resulted in a rather scathing author's note at the beginning of the next chapter, lashing out at the people who wrote this commenting that had the OC been a man, they would have called him a monster. To the author's credit, it is also stated that "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization is not true as well.
One such instance occurred in "IYCBEEE" with a reader criticizing the amount of gross humor and Meowth being put into an FiM story. The author's response was a calm, but blunt "Fuck off" and even MORE gross humor, making it also a case of Writer's Revolt.
The well known Conversion Bureau author, Chatoyance, tended to insult critics and those who don't agree with her fanon.
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.
Allegedly he debated fans on the View Askew board who reacted negatively to the news of Clerks II and pointed out that he had once stated that the sequel would never be made.
Piers Anthony devoted a part of one of his author's 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.) This is hardly an isolated example; most of his "author's notes" are rather curmudgeonly rants and he freely admits to this (in the notes themselves, no less).
Ray Bradbury allegedly provided a brief but memorable example:
Self published author Jacqueline Howett had a spectacular meltdown on "Big Al's Books and Pals" after he negatively reviewed her e-book, The Greek Seaman. Howett deleted most of her comments after her tantrum went viral, but she obviously never heard of the wayback machine. Observe in all its glory. She later posted an "apology" on her blog in which she rather unconvincingly argued that the whole farce was Big Al's fault for downloading her book in the wrong file format (seriously) and all her outraged comments that there was nothing wrong with her writing somehow related to that.
George R. R. Martin posted another example. In this case, disgruntled fans of A Song of Ice and Fire were very unhappy about how long the next book was taking, and complaining about how much his blog was dominated by all other subjects, indicating a lack of work on the book in their minds. Some fans were also worried because the next book has, depending on your point of view, been in the works for either five years or nine (having been originally started as half of the fourth book, which began in 2001), and fears of an Author Existence Failure are pretty common after the death of Robert Jordan. His reply? An embed of the song, "Garden Party". "You see, ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself..." Some thought it was hilarious, some got pissed off, nothing was accomplished.
When he posted on alt.fan.pratchett, Terry Pratchett would sometimes get ironic about some criticism (especially the "You nicked this bit from..." variety), but would mostly ignore it. He also had the message "<annericemode = OFF>" to precede his comments. Everyone winced the day one poster managed to trigger an "<annericemode = ON>" message...
On another newsgroup, Pratchett responded to a reader who had raved at some length about how one of his books was mostly padding-out of a thin idea that was not very good to begin with, explaining how it SHOULD have been done, who asked (rhetorically, one assumes) "What is wrong with him these days?" PTerry responded "I suppose it all comes down to you being a better writer than me. Where were you when the paper was blank?"
This really peaked when Rice became the poster girl for Protection from Editors - in a very literal sense - and strangely everyone in the world except for her and her publishers noticed an immediate decline in the quality of her prose.
Related affair - Rice infamously went to the press before the filming of Interview with the Vampire to tell the world that Tom Cruise would make a horrible Lestat. She did redeem herself in this case by reversing her opinion after the movie came out, even penning a note from Lestat approving of the actor's work.
Depending on your point of view, she's either calmed down a lot since, or has gotten a lot sneakier about handling negativity. Her latest incident involved a small-time blogger who needed a beat-up book for a craft project, picked up a copy of Pandora, and discovered in the process that she also disliked the book. While Rice didn't respond herself, she did post both a link to the project/review and the blogger's personal information on her facebook, and invited "discussion". Cue the rabid fans on the attack for her, and when Rice was called out for this, she gave a condescending response that she was only helping a small blogger get more page views.
Charlotte Temple's author, Susanna Rowson, appears to have anticipated this in her own book. One chapter is actually entitled, "Which Those Devoid of Feeling Need Not Read," which is more accurately "And By This, We Mean Those Who Would Criticize It For the Sentimental and Predictable Melodrama That It Is."
Candace Sams follows in the footsteps of Anne Rice with a passive-aggressive (and then just plain aggressive) snipe at the author of a one star review on Amazon.com. Rant Cake comes complete with Crazy Icing.
She has since deleted all of her posts (assuming she was Nightflyr, which appears to be the case), which actually makes the one-sided responses quite hilarious, as you can only guess what horrible things she said. Given that the vast majority of responses are highly logical and carefully-phrased, you have to guess she was frothing and foaming.
Karen Traviss is a little bit infamous for this in the Star Wars fandom. In response to the clone numbers controversy Traviss has repeatedly insulted Star Wars fans as sexist losers without a life, refusing to retcon her ridiculous numbers (3 million clones making up the army of the 1.3 million planet-spanning Republic) and even making those numbers an even bigger part of her stories (when they were originally mere trivia). She calls people who think that three million is too few the Talifan. Then again, given the extremes some of them went to, including flame wars, hate sites, attack videos and death threats, and the fact that these numbers she's attributed as creating predated the article she wrote about the army by three years in the Attack of the Clonesmovie novelization, perhaps she had a point.
Fern Michaels has a website where one of the features involves contacting her and sending an email to her about your opinions. For example, if you send her an email pointing out flaws and questionable values in the Sisterhood series, then you will most likely get the following response, word for word:
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
“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.”
PERSONS attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted;
persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons
attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.
BY ORDER OF THE AUTHOR, Per G.G., Chief of Ordnance.
Live Action TV
LOST season 6 was criticized for filler, especially in the episode "What Kate Does", 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.
Ian Levine, Doctor WhoBig Name Fan and organizer/songwriter of the notorious "Doctor in Distress" charity single, found himself and the song mentioned on the "TARDIS Eruditorum" blog, and was intrigued by what it said. So much so, he personally told the author to go fuck himself. This became a sort of publicity blurb for the blog.
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.
"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. Performed live, this is both a Funny Moment and Awesome Music.
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 grumpy 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.
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.]
Nine 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").
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."
In 1841, Norwegian poet Henrik Wergeland responded to criticism from the newspaper Morgenbladet, particularly their claims that he was a grouchy and unpleasant person, with the poem Mig Selv ("Myself.") In this poem, using a lot of flowery language, he goes from denying being grouchy or unpleasant, to explaining why getting angry with such a pitiful excuse for a newspaper isn't worth his valuable time, to stating that it's their fault he's grouchy in the first place, and finally to claim he's totally above their cruel and unfair mockery of him anyway.
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".
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 & 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 The Lord of the Rings influenced Dungeons & Dragons was a classic of this genre.
Andrew Lloyd Webber, upon finding out that people did not like his The 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 the original is what made the existence of the sequel possible in the first place!
David Gaider, the lead writer for the Dragon Age series, is known for his snarky counterattacks to complaints about his games. His two most known examples are his response to someone complaining about "straight male gamers" being ignored based on the inclusion of homosexual romances and a list of "definitions" for words that are frequently misused by "fans" on the BioWareSocial Network.
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).
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 Penny Arcade 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 of this strip which uses a reference to the torture of being "raped by dickwolves" as shock value humor. Gabe gets mad at the accusation and reacts with a post that professes ignorance about why this is what crosses the line, and he and Tycho released a strip mocking the controversy. This only served to enrage the offended parties further, which further provoked Gabe, all feeding into a vicious cycle stemming from the fact that neither party really got where the other party was coming from, but thought the other party understood them perfectly and just didn't care.
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 an d 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.
The authors of Teahouse released a statement after they received a few complaints how long they were taking to release pages. They also respond to a fair few of the comments with questionable amounts of maturity, both of which can be seen here. When "Faps" did a parody/riff of the comic, they complained to Live Journal and Photobucket (where the pages were hosted) to have the parodies removed due to "copyright" (while LJ and PB did comply, they have no claims due to fair use for parodies, so the parodies continue another site). The whole story is up here.
Tatsuya Ishida of Sinfest is famously reclusive, but following his conversion to hard-core second-wave feminism, several of his strips have taken this tone with his (now former) fan-base.
Tom Preston aka Andrew Dobson, the creator of So...You're A Cartoonist? and the artists behind the Brentalfloss comics, does this Every! Freaking! Time! Despite being one of the more well-known webcomic artists, he has NEVER learned to accept critique in any shape of form, always resorting to insults, banns, portraying critics as strawmen, blaming anime and college for his flaws, outright telling people that he refuses to improve, you name it. It has earned him a pretty bad reputation on the internet to say the least.
The Bad Webcomic Wiki often collects these for the people's viewing whenever some author decides to respond to one of their many reviews. These can range from the Irregular Reactions, used to showcase strange/mature/unusual responses to the critisism, (such as when the creators of Heart Core and The Zombie Nation agreed with much of the reviews and even asked for assistance on how to improve for the future) all the way to the Angry Reactions, where you will often find immature/ragefilled/egotistical tirades, such as when the creators of Sandra and Woo, Least I Could Do and Chugworth Academy tried to outright censor them.
A later article tackled criticism in a more broad fashion. For instance, he noted that many people couldn't recognize some of "the easiest satire that's ever been slow-pitched to a reader" in the Woman Comics article.
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 theme song 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 WarriorFighting 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 Bros. 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.
Popular Let's Player Chuggaaconroy made a video in which he chewed out some of his fans for his massive backdraft against an artwork of Kumatora in an intro of one of his MOTHER 3 videos.
Popular make-up guru Michelle Phan did not handle well a negative comment from a fan of hers, causing the fan to be constantly cyber-bullied. Here's the whole story.
After getting massive amounts of hate mail, Confused Matthew Response 2 Responses videos, addressing the oppositions to his reviews. (He doesn't really acknowledge them however) Usually at the end of the video he often admits he still dislikes the film in question but is not judging anyone or calling them an idiot for liking the film.
Similar to Noah's Deadliest Warrior and Brad's Grizzly 2 reviews (see above), Doug Walker's The Nostalgia Critic review of The Room wound up getting threatened with a lawsuit by the studio responsible for distributing it. The site briefly disappeared from the site for a time but was soon put back up.
The late Dwayne McDuffie was known for rather hostile reactions 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.
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'.