You Can Only Account for So Much Stupidity

I am a huge fan of David Farland's Daily Kick in the Pants, a column of writing tips he sends out now and again. Today he was talking about how you can't expect every one who reads to be a rocket scientist, but sometimes, it can be astounding how completely...well...numbskulled people can be when they comment or complain about books. Here's just a part of what he had to say about one such reader...

Yet sometimes a reader will be so obnoxiously asinine, so resplendently stupid, that you just have to sit back in awe. For example, I got a review on Amazon.com from a young person who just found that the Runelords had too many unintentionally comic images. Mainly he objected to the word “ponies,” which only came up once in the novel.


Ponies, of course, are breeds of horses often derived from populations found in mountain ranges. They tend to be heavy-bodied, small-hooved, large-chested, and have great endurance. When you ride one through thick brush or trees, you’re less likely to get knocked off your horse by low-hanging branches than if you ride a larger mount, and on mountain trails they tend to be sure-footed so that they don’t slip and send you flying over a cliff. With their large chests, they can draw air easier at high altitudes. For this reason, they’ve been used for combat in mountainous terrain around the world throughout history. So when I mentioned in the novel that bandits had used mountain ponies to make quick strikes in one rugged area, the reader said that he found himself imagining the bandits riding “My Little Ponies.” As he imagined this, he laughed inanely.

Sigh. If you’re more familiar with My Little Ponies than with real horses, is it the author’s fault? Should the word “pony” be forever banned from literature? If, among three million readers and a host of very bright editors you’re the only one who had a problem with the word “pony,” shouldn’t you consider that maybe you’re the one who has the problem?

Maybe you shouldn’t smoke crack while you’re reading.

Or maybe it really is me. I have difficulty relating to a person whose IQ is too close to that of an earthworm.
 I really needed that post today, to remind me not to try to write smarter than I am (which ulitmately makes a person sound stupid), and also to assure me that sometimes people are just not operating with working bulbs in all the sockets. Thanks for the laugh, Mr. Farland, as well as the dose of reality!



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