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mark211Controversy or not? Contemporary Politics in SFF2017-09-24 02:01:05
mark211Now I know that as a rule it is best not to talk politics - especially these days - but we have, in the past, done so from time to time (e.g. the fuss over the 2016 Ghostbusters remake). But I came across this quote taken from an SF blog earlier this week and thought it was both interesting and worthy of discussion. So, here it is:2017-09-24 02:02:49
mark211"In literary SFF, we are now being told by our own identitarian scolds that if we write “characters-of-colour” without referencing the current-day struggles minorities face, we are most assuredly Doing It Wrong. Apparently, in order for a character to be, say, “authentically black,” he or she has to be defined by the legacy of slavery or the horrors of police brutality. Even if he or she did not grow up in the US. Even if he or she lives five-hundred years in the future on a colony orbiting Alpha Centauri. This is a profoundly stupid notion." (from "SJB's Against Aspirational Storytelling" by Stephanie S. http://therightgeek.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/fannish-miscellany-podcast-6diversity.html#comment-form).2017-09-24 02:06:02
mark211So what do we think? As a writer, do you have a moral obligation to work for social justice in the society you live in now by writing about issues in your fiction? After all, SF and satire have long made travelling companions - 'Gulliver's Travels' certainly was there to poke fun at social issues of Swift's day. On the other hand, shouldn't you - also as a writer - be completely free to write your fiction however you want free from any rules other than your own imagination and whatever constraints there are imposed on your by the English language? Surely if there's one place we can be free it's in the imaginary worlds of SFF? Let us know your thoughts below. 2017-09-24 02:09:35
Modelling_MushiI think we have no obligation in this regard. In one of my other lives I fight a constant battle with historical revisionists (warning , this could get ugly and I do not intend to offend) which, I think in may ways, actually diminishes the struggles many minority groups have gone through. (Ive re-written this sentence 15 times now. Hmm, its getting me dander up). As writers we should be free - totally - to write and to define our characters as we want. Regardless of whether or not we like it, writing is an art; and some of our arts purposes are to challenge, chastise, shock and ridicule what is the accepted dogma and paradigm of our society, as well as to entertain. And now, the accepted dogma is this PC rubbish that lays a single blanket over a section of humanity. Stephanie puts it well "A profoundly stupid notion". I'd also add that, if you believe that your writing is for more than just pure entertainment and you have not offended someone or some group deliberately in your writings to bring across a point or observation in your work then you are not trying hard enough. If she were dead I think Ursula K Le Guin would be rolling in her grave with Phillip Dick. Wow! Didn't that feel like a soap box rant! Where's my mogadon?2017-09-24 03:17:52
Branden Szabo (Wesson)I'll second Modelling Mushi and Stephanie S. - no writer has that obligation. Welcome to the regressive world of Identity Politics. It's a pretty medieval concept if you think about it: defining yourself as a member of a group rather than an individual. I've seen some liberal types try to blame Identity Politics on selfishness but that's just spin, people who define themselves by skin color or sexual orientation are collectivists to the core, they only care about the 'tribe' they've made for themselves. That's why they get so bent out of shape whenever they see someone in their tribe, whether it be a real person or a character, not acting like they should. Third-Wave Feminism is a perfect example of this kind of group-think. The only thing these women hate more than men is other women who don't do what's expected of them (like voting for Hillary or supporting Planned Parenthood). 2017-09-24 07:12:59
Branden Szabo (Wesson)I'll use my real name instead of my handle to help make my point that it's the individual person that matters most. Readers can identify with any character, no matter who they are. Heck, I'm a guy and I could still relate to the hardships Buffy the Vampire Slayer went through. 2017-09-24 07:15:09
GordonRowlinsonI have a very good friend of mine that never goes against accepted dogma and thinks in a strict dogmatic manner. It works well for her, but she is a Labrador Retriever. Until very recently, I have tried to keep contemporary politics out of my stories. However I feel mixing in and putting a new angle on contemporary issues in fiction is a great idea. People will be able to relate to the story if the characters are facing issues similar to their own. For example an idea for a future Sci Fi story on racism might be discrimination between humans and an alien species or between earth-born humans and Martian-born humans.2017-09-24 15:45:53
r.tornello@ Gordon Funny and Consider PLEASENTVILLE. That said, I do not have an obligation to do anything but write a good story or poem. I like to make social comments in my stories, they happen to drive me, but an obligation to do so? Nope. I might as well live in the USA then if that's the case.2017-09-24 17:29:03
dandrew72Our sole obligation is to write GOOD FICTION. Period. If one wishes to explore politics or social topics that's fine; there are other non-fiction genres and venues for that. Our work should serve as an escape from the constant barrage of hyperpolitics that seems to be the norm these days - can barely look at social media anymore without finding 37 posts about any given political topic. 2017-09-25 07:30:22
r.tornelloWhat may have begun as an attempt to get people to understand plights and situations of other non mainstream groups, degenerated into a commandment, if you will accept that, to the point where freedoms have been impinged.

I find the same type of thinking throughout history, though not called "politically correct". In China there was the RED and expert, where party dictates came before science and experience. I found the same situation in the Soviet Union, with the Taliban and other theocratic environments throughout history. We have it on all sides of the political spectrum and here too under the august red Republican party, (their choice of colors).

Writes do have a duty id so inclined which is why so many countries and political organizations fear and repress the press and writes and poet, and why the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution protects the freedom of speech..

The pen is mightier than the sword (gun) as long as the writer is out of range or in the case of the present/future, off the grid so they can't be targeted by a drone. RT

2017-09-25 08:38:54
r.tornellocorrections: WRITERS NOT WRITES. IF NOT ID.

BUT ID WORKS TOO IN A WEIRD SORT OF WAY.

@Dandrew yes you're point is well taken, though you will find political comment hiding under the bed of many SCIFI writers, even in the escape mode.

2017-09-25 10:03:50
r.tornellocorrections: WRITERS NOT WRITES. IF NOT ID.

BUT ID WORKS TOO IN A WEIRD SORT OF WAY.

@Dandrew yes you're point is well taken, though you will find political comment hiding under the bed of many SCIFI writers, even in the escape mode.

2017-09-25 10:04:57
WessonInteresting to see so many people here opposed to the idea of political correctness. I like what RT said: "What may have begun as an attempt to get people to understand plights and situations of other non mainstream groups, degenerated into a commandment, if you will accept that, to the point where freedoms have been impinged." I'm sorry but the artistic community only has itself to blame for the situation we're in. Far from being repressed, writers and artists have been childishly bashing people they don't like for decades and their misguided 'fight the power' campaign has morphed into something that's hurting them. It's especially bad in academia. The old-ass hippies of the sixties who took over colleges passed their anger off to the younger generation and the younger generation used that anger to create this culture of militant political correctness we see now. Doctor Frankenstein had more control over his monster than these liberal professors have over their students and it's damn good poetic justice if you ask me. 2017-09-26 05:27:26
r.tornello@wesson: Define Liberal professors and give me the meaning of the opposite as far as academic education goes, please.

People bandy the term liberal and I have no idea what that means. I do know what a liberal art education is or should consist of, however I'm not sure if that's what people are denigrating, or it's something else.

2017-09-26 06:23:38
Wesson@RT - I use the word liberal *very* loosely. People who reject liberalism, like me, do so because they don't associate it with liberty or critical thinking anymore. How can they when they see college students, taught by openly democrat professors, rioting whenever a conservative speaker comes to campus? Look at Berkley. So, to answer your question I'd say the opposite of a liberal professor is a plain old regular professor. Someone who understands that hate speech is still free speech and that no viewpoint should be censored - no matter how stupid it is. That's the price we all pay for living in a free society.2017-09-26 18:30:36
IronspiderI try and avoid politics in my stories - only because I think I might end up going off-the-rails and overloading the narrative with an irrelevant diatribe. I don't mind a broad-brush political background, but I think I'd avoid detail wherever possible. Besides, I doubt even the most adventurous science-fiction author could possibly match what's going on in the real world at the moment. I equally don't write about ethnic or religious minorities - except fictional ones - as I just don't have the depth of knowledge to make the story coherent and meaningful. 2017-09-27 00:26:35
RT@Wesson, your old professor is a liberal arts professor and I concur. The 1st Amendment guarantees that, and whic is why even the ACLU supports the right of nazis to free speech.

@Spider, I can't help it. KOOKBANELLI was a reaction to some of the insane politics in VA a bunch of years ago and now seems tame compared to what is coming across the internet. And I agree, today's political circus can't be matched. VEEP writers were having a difficult time coming up with insane scenarios. Reality was beating them to the punch.

2017-09-27 06:40:59
dandrew72I agree r.tornello that there is a time and place to insert topics into a story. I'm ok with that. I do think it is a bit much to take the entire premise of a story though and render everything metaphoric. 2017-09-27 07:55:35
micheledutcherAs far as being politically correct as a writer, I have been trying to show my kids that people in the past couldn't be blamed for their beliefs because we are all a product of the culture we grow up in. This clash of old ideas vs new ones can make a story more interesting however. In 30 years our most liberal leader will be behind2017-09-27 17:50:51
micheledutcherAlong with people stretching and growing optionally, cultures stretch and grow as well. Stagnant people and stagnant cultures can kill the soul and are repugnant. 2017-09-27 17:54:17
micheledutcherAlong with people stretching and growing optionally, cultures stretch and grow as well. Stagnant people and stagnant cultures can kill the soul and are repugnant. 2017-09-27 17:54:56
RT@Michele and others too.

Stretch and grow yes but that. That can mean many things, not all good.

The one thing I want to reiterate is this: the biggest difference between the State Papers of the US and the rest of the planet revolve around the Bill of Rights, that's IT. Destroy them and you have England, Iran, Turkey, China, North Korea, France and the rest of the planet to varying degrees of social and artistic repression. The list is in no specific order, simply an example.

Stretch and grow? there are those in this country that would trash these rights in the name of Political Correctness, some god or mytological creed/belief of their choosing, or political persuasion.

2017-09-28 08:25:35
Wesson@RT - I'm glad to see we agree on free speech and the Bill of Rights. Congratulations, that makes us BOTH Nazis in the eyes of SJW's. Welcome to the dark side. 2017-09-28 17:38:14
GordonRowlinsonI'll add something on the cultures stretching and growing. We tend to view people in history through the eyes of our modern values and mores. I used to read a lot of Ken Follet historical novels and the main characters tended to resemble our times than historical times. The main Female characters tended to be semi feminist as they rejected the old historical woman's role. They also tend to reject the Victorian sexual ideas. Main characters tended to be anti slavery and sympathetic to native Americans. These characters would fit in well in our times. I guess you can't write a historical novel without updating the characters. However I still think we shouldn't view real historical characters through the eyes of our times.2017-09-29 11:20:06
r.tornello@wesson: No that makes us enemies of all those others. "The party on the left is now the party on the right" THE WHO.2017-09-29 15:53:43
Ironspider"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss..."2017-09-30 11:53:20





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