Even after all my years of experience as an attorney, I couldn’t believe that anyone would do something so shameless, unethical, and hypocritical, but there it was.
After trashing my first book, Field Guide to Chicks of the United States, as “Sexist Garbage,” “Creepy” and racist without reading it, feminists Lindy West and Erin Gloria Ryan copied the field-guide concept and used content that I’d created and developed over the previous 4 years as the foundation and inspiration for two of Jezebel’s 100 most popular blog posts of 2014 – without attribution, of course.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised. After all, by definition, a “jezebel” is an impudent, shameless, or morally unrestrained woman, and they worked for a website by that name, but this was just so sleazy, deliberate, and personal.
I ultimately decided to forget about it and move on, but that was before feministas and social justice warriors (SJWs) launched a campaign to ban my latest book, Chicaspotting: A Field Guide to Latinas of the United States. Raquel Reichard, Politics and Culture Editor at Latina magazine and Latina.com, published a column entitled “This Sexist and Racist White Guy Writes Books That Degrade Latinas.” Alicia Barron openly called for censorship in an article for La Flama entitled “There’s a Demeaning Book About Latinas on Sale Right Now: Dear Amazon, please ban ‘Chicaspotting: A Field Guide to Latinas of the United States.'” And Marjua Estevez of Vibe.com chimed in with post entitled “Racist, Misogynist Author Writes Guide to Dating Latina ‘Species’ of the United States.” Then clapping seals who read this drivel vandalized the book’s Amazon page with phony 1-star reviews.
These folks are entitled to their opinion, of course, and I didn’t write my books to please them anyway, but it’s time to set the record straight and expose these two-faced bottom-dwellers for who and what they are, especially Lindy West and Erin Gloria Ryan. Feminists and SJWs don’t hate all satirical field guides to American women. It depends on the race, gender, and political correctness of the author. What they really hate are outspoken white men who tell it like it is, and I can prove it by finally and fully exposing the hypocrisy of West and Ryan at Jezebel regarding my first book.
Here’s what happened, in a nutshell:
In late April of 2012, about five months before Field Guide to Chicks of the United States was printed or published, my former publicist requested permission to email an advance copy to her contacts. I said no because I wasn’t comfortable distributing the whole book that way after working on it for so many years, but I agreed to let her draft and a little blurb about the book and distribute it along with the cover. Big mistake.
On May 8, 2012, Lindy West of Jezebel published a blog post entitled “The 92 ‘Species’ of Women According to an Incredibly Stupid Dude from a P90X Video” which portrayed the book as extremely sexist, racist, and idiotic. That opened the floodgates. The very next day, Emma Grey, Executive Women’s Editor at Huff Post Women, piled on with a blog post entitled, wait for it… “Joe Bovino’s ‘Field Guide to Chicks of the United States’ May Be Worst Book Ever.” That’s right, Ms. Grey hadn’t read the book either but thought it might be worse than Mein Kampf.
After I launched the Field Guide in late 2012 and began to hear and read rave reviews from actual customers, I decided to email Mses. West and Grey – against the advice of my new publicist – offer a courtesy copy of the book, and request another review. Grey ignored me completely. West, on the other hand, wrote back to say that I seemed like “a good sport” and she’d be “happy to give it a shot!” and possibly even engage in a “genuine dialogue.” I was delighted and naively looked forward to a dialogue with West and her feminist colleagues at Jezebel, but nothing happened for over a year.
Then, in November of 2014, I stumbled upon another post by Ms. West entitled “Here’s What It Feels Like to Be a Fat Person on a Plane” and couldn’t resist emailing her again to point out that my Field Guide included an illustrated profile of the American “Big Bang” (fat chick) seated on a plane. (I wasn’t trying to be mean. I hoped she’d think it was funny, fair, or at least appreciate the coincidence). This time, suspecting that West still hadn’t opened my book, I explained where she could find hyperlinks to all 90 chick profiles on my website. All she had to do was click and read. And, to emphasize the satirical nature of my work, I mentioned that I was planning to write a similar field guide to men of the United States and call it “cockspotting.”
West didn’t reply to my message – at least not directly – and she certainly didn’t write another review after perusing the book online. Instead, she apparently decided that Jezebel should copy my field-guide concept and content as closely as possible without plagiarism, and she got one of her colleagues, Erin Gloria Ryan, to do the dirty work.
Sure enough, on April 2, 2014, Ms. Ryan published a blog post dripping with snark entitled “The United States of Bros: A Map and Field Guide.” In essence, she seized the opportunity to belittle white guys from different parts of the country by combining maybe a few days of her own work and some rudimentary images with the field guide concept, terminology, and years of research on regional American subcultures in mine – much of which applied equally well to men – without attribution. Her post was later recognized as one of the “100 Most Popular Jezebel Posts of 2014,” where it’s described as “Erin Gloria Ryan’s throughly researched, deftly-executed exploration of America’s various bro subcultures. A definitive study.” Good grief.
And she wasn’t done.