There was an interesting article in Salon yesterday regarding the legitimacy of rejecting a writer’s body of work based, not on the writing, but on the writer’s personal politics and behavior. I’m not sure why that’s even a discussion, except for the stature of the writer involved. I’ve used this as a way to weed out my to-read list for ages. Writer posts a polemic on how women ruin everything? This woman never buys another word he writes. *we hates them forever! gollum*gollum* And I don’t feel the least bit bothered over it. So what if it’s brilliant? So are so many other things – it’s not like one writer’s words are the be-all end-all of brilliance.
This particular referenced writer has been at the forefront of celebrity political activism. Apparently he’s obsessed with whether or not people’s bits and bobs interlock in the approved way when they have consensual sex, and wants to make sure there are State and Federal Laws that delineate those approved ways. In addition, if peoples’ bits don’t match his approved specifications of interlocking, and the government says that’s okay, he has declared the government to be his “enemy.”
Let me phrase that another way: The dude who wrote one of history’s most famous science fiction novels, a novel that is largely about EMPATHY, wants to overthrow the government if that government says that people whose private parts are not sufficiently dimorphic can still get married.
I have a few hot-button issues, like everyone does. One is discrimination, another (which is really just more of the same) is misogyny. If a writer is blatantly racist, sexist or homophobic, he or she does not get my money, or more importantly, my time.
I’m perfectly okay with that, it’s my free time to do with as I like, and besides, money talks.
Now here’s a conundrum: what if the author is just an ass? Not too long ago, I went to a book signing. The author was bombastic and rude, pontificating on why all the movies are stupid, and all the books were inferior, and how he was going to rewrite all the stories to correct all of the problems he saw in the storyline and characters. Seriously for real, ALL THE OTHER AUTHORS AND DIRECTORS WERE DOING IT WRONG. He, of course, was scintillating in his brilliance and was writing a million words a year, all final draft quality.
I’d like to just say: hahahahaha! And also, Goodwill received a not-so-small not-to-be-read-after-all pile the next day.
So in my usual long winded way, I’m 100% behind any reader who chooses to reject an author’s entire body of work, based on his off-page pattern of behavior, even when the author has written such an influential and arguably important piece of fiction.
There are other books just as worthy. I want to find them.