A good literary feud is the touchstone of any decadent civilization, more so than monkey knife fights or Two Girls, One Cup (which is my generation's Star Wars, btw). A good literary feud (here to forth referred to as a GoLF) not only entertains, but also informs. Such is the lure of a GoLF, even the most eloquent participants of modern society occasionally will dust knuckles like two trannies fighting over a street corner. And when that happens, my friend, it's pure gold. But every GoLF has rules, and those rules are as old and ironclad as Jack LaLanne's balls. So whether you are just starting your journey into writing or you've been around the literary Ferris wheel more times than James Patterson, I've reprinted some of them for you here. Now go forth and do bold things... unless you're actually James Patterson... in that case, just keep on writing the same flaccid stories, you doddering curmudgeon.
10. No picking on Tom Clancy... it's just not fair, man!
9. Anyone caught using a malapropism shall be enumerated.
8. Only Gore Vidal can use the "C-word" and even then only when referring to Norman Mailer. (This rule has since been broadened for use with Jodi Picoult)
7. Any "Yo Momma..." style jokes made in print must first be run through a thesaurus, i.e. "Yo Momma is so fat, when I tell her to haul ass, she gotta make two trips" becomes "Your matriarch's density is so vast, once the narrator imparts a decree to accelerate her stern, she necessitates multiple expeditions."
6. To admit defeat in a literary feud, one need only utter the word "Twihard."
5. Don't ever start a literary feud with anyone who was published by Paladin Press. (Their printing repertoire includes books on how to hunt man, make bombs, and violently overthrow the government... so you can start that feud, it's just your funeral)
4. You must choose a feud partner who is somewhat equal to you in writing style. Literary feuds involving a fantasy writer who threatens to cast "rune-elf blood curses" on you aren't cool. If you also happen to be a fantasy writer though, umm, go nuts.
3. The pen is mightier than the sword, but an Ultra CDP II .45 Kimber pistol with solid steel barrel, lowered, flared ejection ports, a four-pound pull weight, ambidextrous thumb safety, 30-lines-per-inch checkering on the front strap and optional laser sighting is mightier than the pen. Choose your feud weapons carefully.
2. No vanity press "authors."
1. Though dislike of your opponent may last decades, the actual feud may only last as long as the print cycle of an issue of Vanity Fair. Anything longer and you risk alienating people following the feud in the waiting room at the dentist's office.
So there it is. That is, by no means, a comprehensive list, but it is at least a start. You have to remember that GoLFs have been around for thousands of years (at least since Aristarchus called Sophocles' writing "ham-handed vulgarity"), so there are many rules that have been prescribed to GoLFing. If you are interested in more of these rules, I will print others from time to time on "OhJeff," my (sigh) Twitter account. Also feel free to submit any to me that you think I might not know. If I think they suck, maybe we'll fight about it.
Follow Jeff Klima on Twitter: www.twitter.com/OhJeff