Alas, I seem to have been sharper than I intended, as I was trying for a tone of humorous argument, not condescension or viciousness. Viva la internets, I guess.
The mention of Cat/China/et al was indeed a tangent, one meant to illustrate that the standards of "great" fiction are incredibly arbitrary and personal, and not intended as a jab at Jeff, who is undeserving of such.
And he is absolutely entitled to not enjoy most of the short fiction he reads! (I don't enjoy most of the short fiction *I* read.)
What I took exception to was the implication I saw in his post that the reason he wasn't enjoying this fiction was because the authors weren't trying hard enough, which seemed to me the central theme and argument of what he wrote.
Jeff also sez:
And I still think there are pressures of commercialism and the idea of fiction-as-commodity that writers have to face and think about, and are often more noticeable within genre. It is good to continually remind ourselves of this–I know I have to.
Oh, heck yes.
If I would just put fewer icky queer people in my books, for example, who knows--I might get movie options or something.
Anyway, sorry I came across as having bit your head off, Jeff. Me being a jerk sometimes comes free with the subscription, I'm afraid.