Monday, April 8, 2013

Authors and Politics

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Today's question:
How do you feel when authors speak out strongly about their political beliefs?

Our Answers

Jaime:  I’m kind of divided on this. On one hand, authors are in a position of influence which can be used positively, to promote change. On the other hand, not everyone will agree with his/her political beliefs and this can alienate readers. I know there are authors who have spoken out—quite loudly sometimes—about certain political issues and I’ve disagreed with them or have even been offended. Like Jessica, in these instances I’m not overly comfortable with essentially funding their cause(s) by buying their books.

Alison: I don't mind it, and to be honest, if I don't agree with them, I just ignore it.

CopilI don't mind artists using their celebrity to express political views (since there are plenty of artists advocating for causes I believe in). But I reserve the right to ignore them or refuse to buy their work. My TBR pile just keeps growing. If some small-minded bigot wants to help me pare it down, so be it.

Matt: I tend to get pissed, but only if it's a view I oppose, which sounds lame, I know, but I can't help it. For example, I was pretty ticket about the whole OSC/Superman thing, because I'm a big supporter of equal rights, and I can't abide OSC's opposition to gay marriage. That said, I don't let it stop me from reading their work if it's something I wouldn't been interested in anyway. I try to keep the artist separated from their art.

Erica: It doesn't bother me. I already know what I believe and hearing others beliefs doesn't bother me in the least. I will say though that sometimes I can be turned off to a book if an author is very pushy with their beliefs, as I think it subtracts from the rest of the book.

Chihuahua Zero: I already written about this on my blog, but my basic opinion is that: you can speak out about your politics, but only if you're not afraid of enduring the resulting reaction. Other acceptable situations include when the issue severely affects artists, and when almost every sane person agrees on the same stance.

Leigh: omg, y'all, I am so weary of politics, I wish everyone would take a pill. At the same time, I know. That's part of being an American citizen and part of what makes our country great... I don't do it (speak out strongly), but so long as whoever's doing it is respectful and open to at least listen to all sides, I guess I can tolerate it. 

Katy:  Doesn't bother me a bit, so long as they're respectful. We're all entitled to our opinions and while I choose to keep my political beliefs private, many authors use their popularity to speak out on issues they care about. I think that's fantastic. What I don't appreciate  is when people are belittling or discourteous to those they disagree with. Of course, then it's my right not to buy their books. 

Karen:  What does political mean? Kidding. But I'm not into politics so discussions about most topics bounce right off my bubble of ignorant bliss I try to live in. However, if I catch wind of an author being hateful in any way, I will quietly move their books to my Do Not Read or Support shelf.

Alexandra: I tend not to pay attention when artists of any medium (be it writing or music or what have you) speak out about strong beliefs that aren't evident in their work. Sometimes learning that a person--whose work I admire--holds a belief I disagree with can ruin my enjoyment of her art (if said artist keeps strong beliefs for the most part outside of the creative work.) An example that comes to mind is when JKR revealed that Dumbledore is gay. Authors whose work I really liked were coming out with blogs explaining why they weren't okay with Dumbledore being gay; I hadn't detected homophobia in their writing before, but after finding out that I so fundamentally look at sexuality differently than they do, I had a hard time reading books by these people again because it was constantly in the back of my mind that they aren't okay with homosexuality. It's different if I admire an artist BECAUSE her work strongly represents a certain political viewpoint, or is political in general. Then I expect that person to speak out with strong viewpoints both with art and personally, and I am already approaching her work with a different mindset.

Jessica: Like Matt, it only bothers me when I really disagree. But, unlike Matt, I can't really separate the artist from the art if I think that they are going to use the profit they make from me buying their book to fund whatever it is I don't agree with. If I know the author is a strong supporter of a cause I disagree with, there is no way I am giving that person my money or support.

Your turn!


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