Authors, Bias, and Cancel Culture

Growing up, I read Stephen King. As an adult, I still read Stephen King. Simply put, I love all of Stephen King’s books. But it wasn’t until I was an adult and started following my favorite author on Twitter, that I realized that he wasn’t a pro-gun Republican. He is the exact opposite.

To be clear, I don’t care that Stephen King is a staunch Democrat that doesn’t advocate for assault weapons (in 2017, he wrote an essay that supported a ban on them). I don’t care that he spent the better part of four years bashing the president and every Republican and Democrat that worked with him on his social media platform that has (as of Jan. 8, 2021) 6.3 million followers.

I enjoy reading his books and his bias isn’t going to change that. Now, with rules there are always exceptions and the exception to my own rule is this: I will not enjoy/support/read his books if his bias invades his work to the point where it damages the quality of his storytelling. It’s already shown itself in some of his most recent works, but not to the point where it takes the reader out of the story. I imagine that due to the recent events in D.C. this week, we might just have some quality, no bias, King stories coming. At least, for another four years.

That was a longer intro than what I had planned, but sometimes when you’re writing that sort of thing happens. What I’m trying to say is that I believe that authors can voice whatever opinions they want as long as they don’t get crammed into their books needlessly.

There are exceptions to that rule too. Can you identify a theme in this week’s column?

  1. If your viewpoints are the same viewpoints of the character. This is an obvious exception. Because if the main character of your story is a gun-toting Redneck that hates everything about the Democratic Party, then that’s going to be an integral part of the narrative. At least, it should be. And if you are a gun-toting Redneck that hates everything about the Democratic Party, then what a coincidence! You’ll have a lot of experience to go on and your main character will be so realistic.
  2. If your book isn’t a fiction and its non-fiction. This should be another obvious one. We’re talking fictional narratives people.
  3. If your book is written in cooperation with James Patterson. I don’t feel that I have to provide an explanation. Some truths are believed to be self-evident.

Also, I don’t think that authors should be destroyed, and their books tossed out simply because they are willing to share their thoughts. I’ve always been told by publishers and other authors that I should share my life with my followers on my various social media platforms. Most of what I do share are writing memes, book reviews, and other fairly safe content. But if I’m being painfully honest, I don’t want to. In this society of cancel culture, anything I say or do will be used against me in a court of society. If I’m found guilty, then my books are gone. If I voice my opinion and it’s the wrong opinion, I may find my book contract being terminated. I may find that I’ll never be picked up by publishers. I may be banned from self-publishing on Amazon and other self-publishing sites. If I’m found innocent, I’m still guilty. In the court of society, everyone is presumed guilty even if there’s a verdict.

If you don’t want to buy a book because you don’t like the views of the author, that’s fine. That’s your right. If you’re an author that wants to drive home his/her political views in ways that it drives over the narrative of your story, again, that’s your right. If you loved a book, but then absolutely hated it simply because the author’s viewpoints (while not in the book itself) clashed with your own… you guessed it… that’s your right.

But it’s my right to point out that you might be wrong. So says social media. Keep calm all you keyboard warriors and write on!



Categories: Mastering the Craft

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: