Who’s behaving badly? A culture of arrogance

Rape—experts say—is a crime of power and control more than sex. Underlying it all is a sense of arrogance, and on sites such as Amazon, we often have no idea who we are talking to or where they live because they are mostly hiding behind an anonymous, false identity.

The following list summarizes how I was treated starting several weeks after I posted a comment for a brief and poorly written review left by an anonymous Amazon book reviewer for another author’s book. What I wrote was not a review. What I wrote was a comment expressing my opinion of a review. I have since deleted that comment on Amazon and left another comment in its place in addition to explaining why I did it (six customers–guess who they might be—don’t think this post adds to the discussion and it was hidden—-click on “show post anyway” to read it).

1. You should consider therapy. (Anna Karenina is the second anonymous speaker. The first anonymous speaker, KarLynP, has since deleted his or her comment).

2. You cannot debate on a rational topic. (Anna Karenina)

3. You are told that before one can debate, there must be a person worthy of debating and that you do not quality.  (Anna Karenina)

4. Your comments are labeled as “ludicrous nonsense”. (Anna Karenina)

5. Some of what you wrote is called “nincompoopery”. (Anna Karenina)

6. You are accused of calling yourself a troll. (Rmahala Burlingame—this may be a real name)

7. You are accused of not using your brain. (Anna Karenina)

5. You are accused of being a somewhat privileged white male that fits the description of the average troll. (Rmahala Burlingame)

6. It is inferred that you are an “egotistical narcissist”, because during an Internet search of your name, one of the anonymous speakers discovers your Blogs, Websites, book reviews and comments that is your author’s platform, which is a modern-day necessity for any writer that wants to find an audience for his or her work. Building a complex Internet platform is part of the writing business today. (Old Rockem)

7. You are described as a “bloviating person”. (Rmahala Burlingame)

8. You are called a snob. (Rmahala Burlingame)

9. One of the anonymous speakers says that he or she is much more famous than you could ever dream of being and that you would never be as smart as him or her. (Anna Karenina)

10. You are told that your reading skills are so poor that you could not get into 1st grade. (Anna Karenina)

11. You are accused of being a stalker, because after one of the anonymous speakers, Anna Karenina (AK), left a comment on your Blog along with two IP addresses, you wanted to know who he or she was and searched for the location of both IP addresses, and one of them may have been AK’s place of employment, so you call but still don’t know who AK is because he or she was using an anonymous name and the place of employment says they have no way to trace who sent what. (genmar rienee)

12.  After all that, you start getting e-mails advising you to apologize to everyone involved inferring if you don’t, the situation will get worse.

13. After you refuse to apologize to this alleged mob of anonymous Internet stalkers and bullies, it gets worse.

14. On Goodreads, four people give your new book a one-star rating and on Amazon a one-star review appears written by an anonymous person—allegedly a SockPuppet—that could not have bought or read your book. In fact, when the four Goodreads one-star ratings appear, that book has only sold three copies worldwide and all from Amazon Kindle.  In addition, there are two, five-star Goodreads ratings. So three books have sold by the time there are six ratings and one Amazon review.

15.  Then all the one-and-two star reviews for your books sold through Amazon receive a large block of YES votes, and the four-and-five star reviews get many NO votes.

16. Then the sale of your work—novels that have been selling steadily for years—slips almost 40%.

Note: This is not the complete list. There is more, and this isn’t over.

If the definition of rape is correct, then my work and my reputation as an author has been raped by a mob of allegedly arrogant and mostly anonymous Internet bullies who may troll the Internet looking for ways to recklessly spread false and libelous statements.

What we might have here is an alleged culture of arrogance that has created a group mindset that anonymously trolls the Internet to damage the reputations of others—especially authors.

This alleged anonymous mob found me guilty without a trial, without a lawyer, and without a judge or jury. And because I dared to express my opinion about this issue on my Blogs, there was retaliation.

And it all started when I left a comment for one 2-star review of “Tough Cookie” by mystery author M. Ruth Myers. On March 19, “Tough Cooke” had eighty-six 5-star reviews, fifty-nine 4-star reviews, twelve 3-star reviews, one 2-star review (in the next paragraph, and one 1-star review. I also left a comment for the 1-star review posted by an Eileen DeMarco—her only Amazon review, and there is no way to tell who he or she is.

This is the one 2-star review of Myers’s ‘Tough Cookie’: “Too soft and expected situations with the most probable endings, could be written by the reader himself if they had read three novels.” – nancy d. mendez

My comment—my first opinion of the mendez review—was posted on January 20, 2013 the same day the mendez review appeared, and it said, “This isn’t a review. Learn how to write a proper review and then maybe someone that is literate will pay attention to you. I give this sorry excuse for a review one-star or an F-.”

In conclusion, if you are reading this and think of yourself as an open minded, fair person, you may want to read all the posts on this topic and click on the links to the originals before you pass judgment. The first comment from KarLynP, an anonymous speaker, appeared on February 16, 2013, and KarLynP never leaves another comment (and has deleted that comment), and I never did hear from nancy d. mendez, the person that wrote the review.

Anna Karenina (AK), the second anonymous speaker, left his or her first comment on February 22, 2013. AK seems to have left the most comments.

Old Rockem’s 1st comment, from the third anonymous speaker, appeared on February 24. Then number four, Rmahala Burlingame—I understand that this is a real name—left her first comment about ten minutes later.

The following links will take you to the posts I have written about this issue:

2-26-2013: Dealing with Internet Bullies

3-8-2012: The Internet is not a safe haven for being anonymous and behaving badly

3-13-2013: Taking it Global: Online Freedom of Speech versus the 6th Amendment

3-15-2013: Is this an example of defamation? — not protected by the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

3-31-2013: Ginmar: Alleged Cyber Bully, Troll and Stalker?

Note: When I contacted Amazon on this issue, I was basically told they would do nothing because what was happening was acceptable according to their guidelines, and that I should use similar methods to support my work. For example, get more people to vote “YES” for the good reviews and “NO” for the bad reviews—just like the alleged vigilantes were doing—and then have more people write good reviews.

But I don’t have an organized posse to help defend against this alleged mob of vigilantes that are mostly anonymous. Most authors are loners, introverts, and spend their time in front of a computer screen writing, editing, promoting, publishing, etc. And if I did what the alleged vigilantes are doing, they would criticize me for doing the same thing that they do and say it is another example of an author behaving badly.

Besides rape, libel, and defamation, isn’t this also discrimination?

Discover more here: Found Guilty because of Reckless and False Speech – based on true events

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

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Is this an example of Defamation?—not protected by the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

An anonymous Blogger going by the name The Smutty Lover wrote on Book Lovers Inc.com that  “the first meltdown was with author, Lloyd Lofthouse who tracked down a reviewer who gave him a negative review. He was so incensed by this he then tracked down the reviewer’s workplace in order for her to get fired.”


Libel (defamation) is the number one reason journalists get sued, and the average verdict is $2.4 million.

My reply to this misleading and defamatory statement follows the update:

[UPDATE: I left a second comment and last night, 3-18, my two comments telling my side of this issue have not been posted at Book Lovers Inc.com. Then, this morning, 3-19, I checked again and they are still not there. How does anyone get a fair hearing on an issue if a site that may have libeled and defamed him censors his comments that tell his side of the issue? And now others are repeating this allegedly defamatory libel on other sites.].

What I said, “Actually, this is wrong and very misleading—a perfect example of how a rumor spins out of control and distorts the facts.”

Let me make this perfectly clear, I have never tracked down a reviewer of my books who gave me a negative review—not once!

I have also never tracked down anyone that left a comment for a review I wrote of another author’s book. In this issue, I never read the book and I never wrote a review of that book. What I did was post a “comment” for a review of another book because that review was allegedly misleading, snarky and poorly written and the evidence suggests that what I wrote in my comment/opinion was correct.

In addition, you may click on this link to a post on my Website/Blog and read all about this particular issue in detail (I copied and pasted that Amazon thread where this took place into that post).

In this incident, I tracked down the possible location of one anonymous speaker using the name of Anna Karenina—in addition to three other speakers—who left a string of insulting comments about a comment I wrote about a review written for another author’s book on Amazon.

That review was not about any of my books.

When I moved the conversation to my blog and wrote about these alleged bullies that came out of nowhere about a month after my comment had been posted on an Amazon page of that other author’s book, one of four anonymous speakers—Anna Karenina—followed me to my Blog and left several comments and in the process left evidence that revealed his/her IP address.

Out of curiosity, I did an IP location search and found that he/she may have lived not far from where I live. Then Anna Karenina left another comment with a second IP address, and I discovered that this time the comment originated from the San Mateo County Office of Education.

And yes, concerned, I called because I wanted to know if students had access to that wireless system and I was told “no” and that there was “no” way they could discover who sent that comment to my Blog. It ended there. I did not try to get anyone fired. I never even suggested it. Even if I had, it may have been impossible because “Anna Karenina” was an anonymous name.

During the conversation with those alleged bullies on that Amazon thread, I was told that I should consider therapy; I was told that I cannot debate on a rational topic; my comments were labeled “ludicrous nonsense”; some of what I wrote was called “nincompoopery”; I was accused of being a somewhat privileged white male; it was inferred that I was an “egotistical narcissist”; was described as the “bloviating Lofthouse”, and I was called an “egotistical snob”.

In fact, Anna O’Karenina made it clear that she/he (I still have no idea if AK is a she or a he) is so much more famous that I could ever dream of being and that I will never be as smart as him/her.

I was also told that my ”reading skills were so poor that I could not get into first grade.”

Did I say some things that I regret. Yes, but I challenge anyone to find where I called any of these four anonymous speakers an egotistical snob, etc.

Two wrongs do not make a right and the four anonymous speakers were not innocent. And I had every right to know who my accusers were. The 6th Amendment to the US Constitution has a clause that says as much.


How to Prove Libel (defamation) and Slander.

And the US Supreme Court has already ruled that the 1st Amendment offers protection for anonymous speech on the Internet but only if it relates to political speech.

What is considered “commercial” speech does not receive the same protections and is protected only so long as “the communication is neither misleading nor related to unlawful activity. … In addition, fighting words and obscenity are not a protected form of speech.”

False misleading rumors taken out of context in a public forum like Book Lovers Inc.com—that damages a person’s reputation—may be seen as defamation.

Note: Because defamatory and misleading statements of this nature have spread across the Internet, the sale of my work has dropped almost 40%. Oh, and I was not “incensed”.

I was concerned.

To discover more about this issue visit:

Dealing with Internet Bullies

Taking it Global: Online Freedom of Speech versus the 6th Amendment

The Internet is not a Safe Haven for being Anonymous and Behaving Badly

Who’s behaving badly? A culture of arrogance

Ginmar: Alleged Cyber Bully, Troll and Stalker?

Found Guilty because of Reckless and False Speech – based on true events

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

The Internet is not a Safe Haven for being Anonymous when Behaving Badly

There is no guarantee that being anonymous online offers a safe haven to be abusive to others.

Recently, I was in a scuffle with a flock of anonymous voices on Amazon and as I struggled to disengage from the issue, I was warned that I should apologize to all the anonymous voices hiding behind the masks, and I asked myself why do people do this in the first place?

Maybe this post on Standing in Your Power.com helps explains it better than I can:

“Did you know that up to 90% of our subconscious mind is filled with negative, counterproductive thoughts? That’s what Dr. Bruce Lipton reports, in his book The ‘Biology of Belief’. This negativity, if not reprogrammed, bubbles up as negative self-talk.”

And when our self-talk is dominated by negativity, how we interact with other people is often negative too. In addition, being anonymous on the Internet magnifies that negativity giving an individual a false sense of power that is explained by a behavior called disinhibition.

In fact, in the late 1980s, to change my life and rid myself of character traits that I did not like, on the advice of a close friend, I read a book called “What to Say When you Talk to Yourself” by Shad Helmstetter, and this book is still in print decades later. Reading that book helped me take charge of who I am so I could be a better person and chart my own course.

76% of 163 Amazon reviews rate “What to Say When You Talk to Yourself” with five stars (13% rate it with four stars). Only 4% rate it with one star, and this clearly says that not all opinions are equal.

When I read this book and followed Helmstetter’s advice, Amazon did not exist (Amazon was founded in 1994), and I am now planning to write a five-star review of the book because if I had not read it and followed the author’s advice in the 1980s, I’m sure that I would have continued to drift aimlessly through life letting the negative voices control me instead of setting goals to change what I wanted to change and achieve what I have achieved.

However, that doesn’t mean the battle is over. It never ends. Reading one book and following the advice of its author will not erase the negative voices that are always there tempting us to doubt who we are and to take the wrong path and make the wrong decisions in life—the same negative voices that I’m sure are the controlling factor in the behavior of all of the people I collided with on the Katherine Ashe and “Tough Cookie” Amazon threads where I struggled with a flock of mostly anonymous voices.

When we are aware of that negative voice in our head, and we discover it is a factor in something we said or did, then we have a choice to continue down the destructive path or change course.  In this case, I decided to change course.

But that does not erase the fact that some of these anonymous voices on Amazon have slandered me. For example the voice that called me an ”egotistical snob” for the whole world to see, and that was only one example possibly explaining the reason why the sales of my books that have held steady for several years suddenly—almost overnight—dropped by about fifty percent.

In addition, I think most of these anonymous voices have no intention of changing course and if that is true, then they may, inadvertently lead us all into court in a costly law suit that could possibly lead to laws that take away the privilege of anonymity on sites like Amazon and Goodreads. Anonymity is not guaranteed. It is a privilege that can be taken away by Congress or the courts if through slanderous abuse, enough people, who do not hide behind anonymity, are injured as I now believe that my hard-earned reputation has been damaged.

In fact, you can read about the wider picture of this issue in Finding and Identifying Perpetrators of Online Defamation on Dancing With Lawyers.com

Attorney Nicholas Carroll says,  “Positively identifying (and/or proving) the person or people who are defaming you on the Internet is one of the most difficult parts of fighting online slander (or libel, more accurately).

“It’s also one of the most useful – and perhaps the most important – elements in stopping online defamation, because online slanderers rely heavily on staying anonymous. When they get a cease-and-desist letter arriving through snail mail at their physical address, they get scared. With good reason, because now they are the hunted, not the hunter.”

And Carroll recommends a company called Cyber Investigation Services.com that specializes in tracking down abusers of anonymity on the Internet.

Here’s what Cyber Investigations Services says, “WE SOLVE INTERNET DEFAMATION – GUARANTEED”

“When most victims or their attorneys see internet defamation attacks, it is often their first time. For CIS, we see 100′s per month and have developed techniques and solutions simply not known or available to others. This is why we are often able to offer our solutions with a PAY FOR PERFORMANCE ONLY agreement.”

Attorney Nicholas Carroll is the author of “Fighting Slander”, “Law of the Blog”, and “Dancing with Lawyers” (all of which are on the shelves of law libraries at eminent law schools.)

In conclusion, I have one question to ask: How do you slander and ruin the reputation and life of an anonymous person?

You don’t. They do it to themselves.

Discover more on this issue by reading Dealing with Internet Bullies


Sue Scheff won an $11.3 million internet defamation lawsuit in 2006, when false statements were being made about her online.

The laws that cover Internet behavior are still evolving. Sue Scheff’s case is one example of that evolution and it cost the anonymous bully or bullies a lot of money. In fact, there is an Internet Defamation Law Blog.

dba oracle.com says, “Many people on the web think that privacy laws protect their anonymity, but that’s not the case when criminal charges are filed.  Google’s motto is ‘Do no evil’ and they are cooperating with law enforcement to help prosecute crooks by introducing their Google searches as evidence.”

To discover more about this issue visit:

Dealing with Internet Bullies

Taking it Global: Online Freedom of Speech versus the 6th Amendment

Is this an example of Defamation?—not protected by the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Who’s behaving badly? A culture of arrogance

Ginmar: Alleged Cyber Bully, Troll and Stalker?

Found Guilty because of Reckless and False Speech – based on true events

Other sites on this subject:

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

The Self-Annihilation of Credibility – Part 6/6

There is no way to know when Robert Hart learned the details of the Taiping Rebellion. In Tilly’s opinion, he should have known all the details before the summer of 1855.

However, I have had the privilage of reading Robert Hart’s journal entries for his first year in China and he never mentions the Taipings—not once, but he does write about pirates, lonliness and his struggles to learn Chinese while working long days at the British consulate in Ningpo.

In  Entering China’s Service on page 156, it says, “Since 7 September 1853, the native city of Shanghai (not the foreign enclaves) had been in the hands of rebels from the Small Sword Society, an off-shoot of the Triads (note that it doesn’t say Taiping Rebels); Hart wrote of these circumstances when he was there (in Shanghai staying in the British sector) in route to Ningpo in early October 1854.”

On page 157, the editors said, “The local Triad Society rebellion at Shanghai was of course only a pale reflection of the great sweep of the Taiping Rebellion … In May 1855 … Hart heard that the rebels (the Taipings) had taken Yushan … between 300 and 400 miles from Ningpo. … Ningpo had more immediate concerns in the feud between the Portuguese lorchamen and Cantonese pirates. The prevalence of pirates … was a grave threat to the shipping of all nations (not the Taiping Rebellion).”

The Taipings did not control one port in China at this time.

Two months later, Robert would be spending the summer with his friend Captain Dan Patridge and there is no way to know what happened at Patridge’s house, because Hart burned the journals that covered the next 2.9 years—what did Robert want to hide?

In fact, Hart does not go into detail about who the Taipings were anywhere in his journals while he was still working in Ningpo, and that is understandable since he arrived in China not speaking or reading Chinese and was often isolated from other English speakers for days at a time in Ningpo as he worked long hours at the consulate dealing with merchants (both Chinese and Western) while struggling with the frustration of learning Chinese.

How could Hart discuss the details of a Chinese rebellion when he could not hold a conversatoin with the Chinese? It was also obvious from the entries in Hart’s journals that the few English speaking people he met in Ningpo, Shanghai or Hong Kong were not concerned about the Taiping Rebellion. It wasn’t a topic foreigners were interested in.

Knowing that there was a rebellion is one thing.  Knowing the specific details and history behind the cause of the rebellion is another and that was what Robert learned from Captain Dan Patridge in July 1855.

Hart arrived in Hong Kong in July 1854 and in July of 1855 he spends the summer with Partridge where he was introduced intimately to the concubine culture and discovered the details of the Taiping rebellion.

By the way, Patridge was a real person and he was the principal agent in China of Jardine and Matheson, the largest opium merchant operating in China. In fact, the Taipings were against the opium trade and wanted to throw all foreigners out of China.

Hart’s first year in China was spent mostly in isolation from his own kind and he felt lonely because of this. Most of the people he met on a daily basis were Chinese and he didn’t speak their language and they did not speak his. It was a difficult and demanding situation at best without the benefit of cultural workshops, inservices and the Interent that we take for granted today. I’m sure that the Queen’s College in Belfast did not have history courses on China during the 19th century and probably most of the 20th too.

Hart says in a July 29, 1855 entry of his journal, “I fear when I go back to the Consulate for the winter, I shall feel the loneliness very much.”

On page 169 of Entering China’s service, it says, “Unlike the lawlessness at Ningpo, which was due to crime—large scale, to be sure, but not organized as rebellion—the disorder of the 1850s at Canton was connected directly or indirectly with the rebellion of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom.”

It would not be until 1858 that Hart was transferred to Canton. While Hart worked in Ningpo, as you may see, the concern of the Chinese and Westerners had little to do with the Taiping Rebellion and more with pirates and crime. Hart did not study Chinese history as it happened. He lived it and did not experience the Taiping Rebellion during his first year in China.

In addition, it wouldn’t be until Ayaou was his concubine, that he would start making progress learning Chinese and by then he knew all about the Taipings thanks to Captain Patridge, the opium merchant.

Tilly at the Readers Cafe has a right to her opinion about the novel but does not have a right to defame me or my work with a sloppy review filled with false claims of historical inaccuracy.

Return to The Self-Annihilation of Credibility – Part 5 or start with Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

The Self-Annihilation of Credibility – Part 5/6

Tilly, in claim six, ever the historian as she says in her Readers Cafe review of The Concubine Saga, points out that the Santai Dynasty mentioned in chapter four was not the oldest known dynasty when in fact the oldest was the Xia.

She is correct but wrong at the same time.  The Xia (or “Hsia” as Lin Yutang (1895 – 1976) spells it in his book, My Country and My People) is the oldest known dynasty but was considered along with the Shang and Chou Dynasties as the “Santai” or “Three Dynasties” (2205 B.C. to 222 B.C.).  Lin Yutang mentions this on page 365 of the 1938 hardcover edition, and I have a copy of Lin Yutang’s book in front of me as I’m writing this post.

I suspect Lin Yutang knew more about Chinese history than Tilly or me.

You see, I did a lot of research between 1999 and 2008 using real books and magazines printed on paper in addition to Google searches.  If I mention a historical fact such as the Santai, you can bet that I was referring to one of my research sources—either a tree book or from the Internet.

However, since Tilly couldn’t find any mention of the Santai Dynasty with a quick Google search, I had to be wrong and the Santai Dynasty never existed.

At the time I was starting My Splendid Concubine, the first novel in The Concubine Saga, my wife was finishing the Empress Orchid that would go on to become a finalist for the British Book Awards, a national best seller in the US and the UK and end up translated into twenty-six languages.  The hardcover of Empress Orchid was published by Houghton Mifflin in 2004 and editors fact checked the novel.  The same sources my wife used regarding the average number of young boys that were castrated and became eunuchs and the methods of castration came from the same tree printed sources I used.

It has been eight years since the release of Empress Orchid and not one historian (Chinese or Western) has accused her of historical innacurracy as Tilly did in her review of my novel posted by the Readers Cafe.

This leads me to Tilly’s last claim of historical inaccuracy, number seven, that there was no way that Robert Hart did not know about the Taping Rebellion before the summer of 1855.

Continued on July 13, 2012 in The Self-Annihilation of Credibility – Part 6 or return to Part 4

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

The Self-Annihilation of Credibility – Part 4/6

In Tilly’s fourth claim, she calls Ayaou a Harlot, which may reveal Tilly’s personal biases and moral beliefs without a clear understanding of cultural difference between the West and China.

There is a HUGE difference between a harlot and a concubine, because a harlot by definition is a woman prostitute.

However, the definition of a concubine says, “1. (in polygamous societies) A woman who lives with a man but has lower status than his wife or wives.  2. A mistress  3. In certain societies, such as imperial China, a woman contracted to a man as a secondary wife, often having few legal rights and low social status.” (I found all three of these definitions by Googling “Concubine definition”)

Then Tilly, a self proclaimed historian using Google as her main source, no doubt, disagrees with the fact that the eunuch that becomes Hart’s servant tells Hart that he was castrated at a young age so he would qualify to apply for a job in the Forbidden city.

In Tilly’s opinion, castrations only took place after a man was hired to work in the Forbidden City, but that is not what my sources say or should I say my wife’s research material which included the autobiographies of eunuchs that were forced to leave the Forbidden City in 1911 and other source material in original Mandarin—not to be discovered through Google searches.

In addition, Sterling Seagrave in his nonfiction historical book Dragon Lady mentioned on page 121 (paperback edition) that “Most eunuchs in Tung Chih’s day were volunteers, men who sought employment by these desperate means. … Complete healing took three months, after which the eunuch was ready to seek work.”

What does the word “seek” mean?  Hint, it does not mean “start” work.

A comment at Historum.com says, “Eunuchs were usually chosen when they were very young, as castrating a sexually immature boy had less effect on the body. However, sometimes adults eager for money or power might undergo castration in order to enter the court.”

“Many eunuchs chose their way of life. One eunuch told British Sinologist John Blofeld in City of lingering Splendour: ‘It seemed a little thing to give up one pleasure for so many. My parents were poor, yet suffering that small change, I could be sure of an easy life in surroundings of great beauty and magnificence, I could aspire to intimate companionship with lovely women unmarred by their fear or distrust of me. I could even hope for power and wealth of my own.’ … Familes often encouraged their sons to become eunuchs as a means of pulling the family out of poverty and gaining admittance into the imperial court. Many parents even organized their sons’ castration at an early age in hopes that they would become imperial eunuchs.” Source: Facts and Details.com

Do all of these sources say the eunuchs got the job first then was castrated as Tilly claims?

Continued on July 12, 2012 in The Self-Annihilation of Credibility – Part 5 or return to Part 3

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

The Self-Annihilation of Credibility – Part 3/6

Tilly’s second incorrect opinion—while it is true that Victorian women had very little in the way of rights, that does not mean Robert Hart was not raised by his parents to treat women as equals.  In fact, Robert Hart was raised as a Wesleyan by his father, a Wesleyan pastor, and the Wesleyan Church believed that women were equal to men.

Now, granted, the belief that women were equal to men might not be exactly the same as in 21st century America, but that does not mean Hart was not raised to respect women as equals.

In fact, the Wesleyan Church has a long history of supporting women’s rights. “Citing Galatians 3:28, Luther Lee gave the sermon Woman’s Right to Preach the Gospel when Antoinette L. Brown became the first woman ordained to the clergy in 1853.” Source: Wesleyan Church History

In addition, The Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls, New York hosted the first Women’s Rights Convention in 1848, also known as the Seneca Falls Convention—the beginning of the women’s rights movement in the United States.

Third incorrect opinion—Tilly claims that Robert Hart could not have believed that paying 33 pounds for a concubine was cheap. However, on page 150 of Sterling Seagrave’s Dragon Lady (paperback edition), Robert Hart is quoted as saying, “Now, some of the China women are very good looking. You can make one your absolute possession for from 50 to 100 dollars and support her at a cost of 2 or 3 dollars per month. … Shall I hold out—or shall I give way?”

Then on Thursday, August 31, 1854, Hart wrote in his journal, “Cheepqua told us…that from 200 to 1000 dollars are given for a wife of respectable Chinese. They marry between the ages of 16 and 30.” Source: Entering China’s Service

Then Seagrave says, “By early May he had a sleep-in dictionary, his concubine, Ayaou.  He had just turned twenty; Ayaou was barely past puberty but was wise beyond her years.”

Since both Seagrave’s book and Entering China’s Service was published in America, we may safely assume that Seagrave was referring to dollars and not pounds or Chinese yuan. No one knows what Hart actually paid for Ayaou or Shao-mei because Hart did not mention the price paid anywhere in his surviving journals, so I went with British pounds. However, Robert may have paid as little as £10 British pounds, which at the time was about $50 American dollars.

For a comparison to discover if that was as costly as Tilly believes, we cannot rely on the British Empire—slavery was abolished in most of the British Empire in 1833, two years before Robert’s birth

The only comparison between cheap and expensive slaves (or the cost of buying a concubine) may be found in the United States where slavery existed until the end of the American Civil War in 1864.

According to Plantation agriculture in Southeast USA, the average price of a slave between 1851-1855 was $1,240 .  When we convert that to British pounds, the cost of a slave was £253.83 British Pounds.

Another source says the average price of a slave girl in the United States in 1860 was $400US, which would be about £80 British pounds. Source: Slave Rebellion.org

A third source said that in 1854 (when Hart arrived in China) the average value of slaves in the United States was $500.00 (or £100 British pounds) and by 1861, that price would be $800US (£160 British pounds). Source: Measuring Worth.com

Therefore, if Robert Hart paid between ten to thirty-three British pounds for Ayaou, that was a bargain he could afford. Anyone that read The Concubine Saga carefully would know that Robert arrived in China with £50 pounds (a gift from his father—it says so in Hart’s journals) and started out earning an annual income from the British consulate of about £200 (again, it says so in Hart’s journals), and his room, board and servant came with the job. However, he had to pay for a teacher to teach him Chinese—the consulate did not cover that expense as part of his salary.

Furthermore, what Hart was paid when he arrived in China was not what he was earning when he met Ayaou. In Hart’s journal entry for July 4, 1855, he says he was nominated to a provisional assistancy in the Consulate with an annual salary of £270 British pounds.

Continued on July 12, 2012 in The Self-Annihilation of Credibility – Part 4 or return to Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

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