Eggandspoongate: The Mansplaining

Just about recovered from my wastrel evening wasting your money on cheap wine and nibbles at the New Writers, so I thought I’d publish a coda to yesterday’s piece with some amendments, which I’m happy to provide. Briefly:

Peter asserts he didn’t accept the £2000 award offered. He has, however, been to the Literary Salon. The One o’ Clock Gun person who visits is in fact Craig Gibson, although Peter has published an anthology with his press.

Now, I’d normally leave it there, but you see, male egos are as fragile as butterfly farts, so let’s just take a look at this a bit more. It’s very edifying.

Quoth Mr Burnett:

Although you can look up the public list of recipients of Scottish Arts Council awards (Scottish Book of the Year 2001) what the public record does not show is that I did not accept the money, and nor would I ever! Nice try though 😉 I wish it did say on that register that the money was offered but not taken.

So if I’m understanding correctly and the final winner of Book of the Year was decided by public vote- and the contestants were aware there was a lovely cash prize on the horizon- why would you stay in the running, taking the place of someone who might actually use the money, instead of pulling out with a pithy statement Sticking It To The Man? I suppose he thought it was as grand a gesture as declining an OBE, but we live in an imperfect, capitalist world and most writers would give away their internal organs for a financial boost, instead of taking the accolade and sending the money back.

(Bonus points for the winky smiley, which as we all know means you can say whatever crap you want because it was just a joke, yeah? 😉 )

Also I have been to the salon before but not recently and I do not publish the One O’Clock Gun – though I did publish an anthology of it in 2010, so I can see why you made that mistake. I think you have me confused with Gun editor Craig Gibson who goes to the salon and was there earlier this year.

I wonder, then, who grievously upset them at the Salon to prompt the addition to Bella Caledonia’s post-indyref dog-whistle rant pieces? It’s not even the first time he’s posted something along these lines.

There are other inaccuracies (and many accuracies too, I admit) but these are the only two I wanted to correct for you . . . . thanks for writing your response, it’s good.

*DAMNING WITH FAINT PRAISE KLAXON*

Michty. What would us poor ladies do without these generous men who manage such grace admitting we can be right sometimes? And thanks awfully for only correcting some of my grievous errors. I mean, I’m just a delicate petal. I may faint onto my chaise longue.

Tee hee! How do you use this 'pen' thing, good sir?

Tee hee! How do you use this ‘pen’ thing, good sir?

Which brings me to young Craig. He also posted a comment with corrections but the tone was so pompous, overblown and patronising I spent the evening giggle-snorting into my glass of Blue Nun. You’ll see why:

As the editor and publisher of the One O’Clock Gun, I feel duty bound to point out a few factual errors you have made in this article. [corrections follow along with book plug]

I love supporting and plugging fellow authors, so I do. Except when they go on to do this.

The ‘gentleman’ you refer to meeting at the Salon was probably me, as Peter Burnett has only visited the Salon about three times. I look absolutely nothing like Peter. I am a good head shorter than him, am bespectacled and generally wear a cap. I do not like the way you have dragged the good name of my well respected broadsheet – we have published around 100 writers, including Peter, over an eleven year period – into this debate, implying we are somehow involved.

You appear to be a bit of a newbie on the literary scene so I’d best hip you to some knowledge .

DIS GONNA BE GOOD

Mansplaining? DIS GONNA BE GOOD

For someone not wanting to be involved in the debate, though, he does love attacking other salon-goers over on the original piece. I think my favourite part was ‘I find the flagrant destruction of seven eggs in a time of austerity and foodbanks to be nothing short of distasteful.‘ As I sit here snorting caviar off the back of an adorable urchin’s head, I simply must agree, old bean!

It’s also nice that Craig is contributing to the warm fuzzy welcoming glow of the Edinburgh literary scene by correctly mansplaining that I am a new writer that he hasn’t heard of, who isn’t familiar with his ‘broadsheet’ and therefore need to be ‘hipped’ to some knowledge, which sounds like something people in a Tesco Value remake of West Side Story do, shortly before they break into a choreographed fight about austerity and the tragic loss of seven sodding eggs.

I would have you know that I have represented the Gun at practically every Salon since its inception at the Traverse Theatre over ten years ago… As Gun editor I penned a congratulatory letter to the Evening News regarding the Cit [sic] Of Lit, which was published bearing the legend ‘UNESCO Literary Trust Is A Great Institution’ earlier this year.

I couldn’t find this letter (I’m sure it’s there somewhere), but all I found was a Q&A where we’re reminded his literary FT doesn’t receive any funding. Perhaps he’s applied for some and been rejected. Maybe that’s why, so soon after singing their praises, he comes away with gems on Bella like ‘Perhaps your chums at UNESCO could do a wee bit more to promote the likes of yourself and your fellow egg and spooners in between gallivanting around the globe on ‘fact-finding’ missions‘.

I can, however, confirm to you that Peter does indeed sit upon his arse.. What, pray, do you sit upon?

A bed made from the bones of my enemies, and thanks to a suggestion from the lovely Kady, a large purple beanbag stuffed with their innards. I can’t, unlike Craig, afford a Stockbridge gaff from which to pontificate at women, y’see.

*INTERMISSION*

It’s interesting that I was told last night something similar happened a while back, where someone took aim at the ‘literary matriarchy’ of Edinburgh and a perceived bias in women winning awards. Because having more women in publishing is a terrible thing, of course. If anything, this unpleasant stramash shows why we still need to make the point that women have to put up with crap like this, when we’re not having to pretend to be men to get our manuscripts accepted, or putting up with Jonathan Franzen still being a Thing. It’s why we still need to have women-only spaces like Women Writers and inclusive, ethical publishers like Inspired Quill. And, of course, the lovely Literary Salon, which while not women-only is run by women and so far hasn’t featured anyone patronising the female attendees. And hopefully never will.

I await either the corrections on the original piece, or the implosion of the comment thread which currently contains an angry member of the BMA too. I could clear up the mess with my free copy of One o’ Clock Gun. It seems like it might absorb a lot of shit.

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