I followed again some links from Larry’s blog to the indignant woman on a crusade.

I’m not writing this to judge, but to understand. I was analyzing my own reaction to certain claims and try to see why I perceive a difference. And so, as consequence, why I don’t often agree with her reasons and arguments.

Take this hypothetical case:
– A writer presents a book to his editor/publisher. The protagonist of this book is a black man, and the editor says the book is good and will be bought, but then asks the writer to make the protagonist white, so that the book can reach a wider public and sell more.

This case strikes me as evidently racist and would trigger a real negative response on me. I do admit that I tend to care about the illegitimate intervention on the author’s will more than the racism embedded in it. But I do notice the racism and it disgusts me.

Take this other case:
– A writer writes a book where only white people are presented, or white people in dominant roles. A reader infers the writer is racist, and so he needs to be called out for what he truly is.

In this case the reader’s reaction doesn’t seem legitimate to me. If certain extremist groups “appropriate” the work of some writer it doesn’t directly mean that what they saw in this work is what the writer truly intended, nor that he agrees with their vision. Nor, obviously, he should be prosecuted for what others read in his work, and crimes done in his name. You can’t infer a claim by its absence. One can be blamed for foreseeable consequences, but not for what he couldn’t imagine. Call him stupid or naive, but that’s all.

A work that analyzes racial problems and that gives equal importance and treatment to different races can rightly be called anti-racist. But a work that does not rise these problems can’t be called racist because it doesn’t tackles them up-front and makes its position clear of suspect.

A reader may perceive racist undertones, the writer may have unconsciously embedded racist undertones in a book, for example by deciding its hero will be white, but you can’t loudly denounce this work as “racist”, as long there isn’t an explicit, proven racist message. That is deliberate.

There are various levels and there is surely merit highlighting the predominance of certain trends that don’t promote anti-racism. And so it’s good to draw the attention and sensitize the public on these themes. As Larry said, it helps to reassess and readjust how you perceive certain things that otherwise would go unnoticed. Help you being aware of them. But not noticing doesn’t mean endorsing. In most cases I guess it’s a simple consequence: if the majority of published fiction writers were black men, then it’s probable we’d get a majority of books with black men as protagonists. A statistic, cultural fact, not an intrinsic racist one.

Tolkien’s work is evidently not particularly sensitized about racial problems and sexism. But you can’t overturn that argument by declaring Tolkien was sexist and racist. It’s an accusation only based on inference, speculation and witch-hunting (suspect).

4 Comments

  1. Oh for the love of god, this again? You’re pathetic you know that? Spending all of your time taking potshots at other reviewers because they express opinions that are not your own and use rude words (how dare she?!) during said reviews.

  2. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Someone is still butthurt about being put in his fucking place, eh?
    It’s kind of sad. But it’s hilarious – you didn’t think I was going to take your diatribe seriously, did you?
    You are a pathetic piece of festering shit. Her blog is lightyears more awesome than this sad excuse to suck authors’ dicks you call a blog will ever be. Get the fuck over it. Go suck a diseased dick and die. But don’t worry, if you bitch and moan enough, maybe she will publicily ridicule you in a post – you made an amusing addition to her Gallery Buttmad after all. Just keep asking for it.
    You are not only a sad, little woman-fearing* turd but also a racist piece of shit. Stop patting yourself on the back. You are not liberal, you are not progressive, you are just a reject trying to feel better about being a fucking bigot. Have you ever taken two seconds to read the pieces of shit your churn out and realize how awful, self-serving, pedantic and hypocritical they are? Of course not, that would require not only those two working brain cells you don’t have, but the capacity of self-reflection. Or maybe you’re too fucking stupid to analyze a text, even your own writing. Yeah, that must be it.
    Also, you’re never going to lose your virginity with that attitude. Women (or men for that matter) don’t like ignorant shitheads with delusions of eloquence, and they like being told what they have to think even less so. Second thoughts, you should take yourself out of the gene pool entirely. If there is something that exceeds in this world, that is turds like you. Cut off your own skinny balls and thumb-sized prick with a rusty spoon. If you are too fucking stupid and ineffectual even for that, don’t panic, I can help you. I would offer to dub-consensually take your maidenhead first too, but you are too disgusting – I’m open-minded, but I have my standards.
    A lesser netizen may make a remark about there being a relation between your stupidity and the fact that you lack fallopian tubes. I will just point out it’s unfortunate… that you… lack… anything resembling intelligence.
    Something I think will make you happy, before we part. I treat (straight, white) men like trash in real life, and I get away with it. When they talk too much, or start spouting bullshit, they get punched. When they have a pathetic “standing-up-to-me” moment, they get hit harder and don’t try again. Idiots like you whining about the oppression of straight white men online will never change that. You can’t change me and people like me with your illiterate words. You can’t stop me from putting human rejects who happen to lack vaginas in their places. Now make me a sandwich, and iron that shirt – I want to go to work. Next time you have a tantrum like the overgrown two year-old you are, I will find you. I have a blog, and I just might ridicule the shit out of your pretentious, uneducated ass if you ask for it enough. But don’t count on it, my time is valuable.

    * Yeah, most turds who brag about how they “hate” women so much are just scared of them. And jealous of them (because they live longer and whatnot). If it wasn’t so amusing it would be kinda sad.

  3. Postscript: Sweet tits, people who were subjected to “witch-hunts” were brutally killed. No one is trying to burn you to death for spouting bullshit online (unfortunately). DON’T YOU FUCKING DARE COMPARE THE TWO. May the butthurt fairy be with you,

    -A Friend

  4. lol, overreact much, ‘a friend’? You’re not doing your cause a favor with such hilarious histrionics.


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