Young Adult author Kathleen Hale made the news recently for her admission of becoming obsessed with a book blogger that gave her a bad review on the website Goodreads, going so far as to stalk her across the internet as well as in real life, even showing up at her apartment, peering in the window, and leaving a book about happiness on the doorstep. Considering that Hale had previously been charged for calling a girl with an eating disorder fat and dumping a bottle of hydrogen peroxide on her head, the world is understandably regarding this author warily. But she’s hardly the only one who’s taken criticism too seriously. Way, waaaay too seriously. Turns out that when a big part of your livelihood is being creative, you’ll come up with some pretty creative ideas for getting back at your enemies.
Richard Ford: not an Alice Hoffman fan
After Richard Ford literally spit on Colson Whitehead for a negative review of one of Ford’s books in the New York Times, it was a while before the Times was willing to review another one of his novels. Enter author Alice Hoffman, who stepped up to the plate to give Ford a somewhat scathing review for his novel The Sportswriter. Ford responded by shooting one of Hoffman’s books with his gun and mailing it to her.
Robert Frost: not such a frosty response
We’re going all the way back to 1938 for this one, but it’s worth it. Robert Frost is a poet best known for his iconic works about nature, including The Road Not Taken. But for those who knew him, he was best known as a man with a massive ego and an even more massive temper. After his wife passed away in 1938, Frost lost any of the level-headedness he’d managed to maintain. He attended a reading by a rival poet and playwright, and once it became clear the other audience members weren’t going to allow him to heckle the other writer, he realized he needed more creative ideas for getting to him. So he lit a fire in the back of the room.
Gore Vidal and Normal Mailer: the original butt-heads
It isn’t uncommon for two intellectuals like Gore Vidal and Normal Mailer to end up butting heads when they’re in the same space, even if that same space happens to be on TV, like on the Dick Cavett Show. What’s a little rarer is for two intellectuals to literally butt heads when disagreeing, but according to witnesses in the green room before the filming of the Dick Cavett Show, that’s exactly what happened. Vidal laid his hand on Mailer’s back, Mailer slapped Vidal on the cheek, Vidal slapped him back, and Mailer went in for the head-butt.