One author and former diversity advocate described why she no longer takes part: “I have never seen social interaction this fucked up,” she wrote in an email. “And I’ve been in prison.”Sometimes I wonder whether exposure of this stuff is putting an end to it. There's certainly a slippery slope involved, with bigoted depictions at one end and witch hunts based on hair-trigger sensibilities at the other, but that's the same argument Woody Allen had when that Hollywood producer was accused of raping all those women -- there's not gonna be a witch hunt, is there?
Possibly Stephen King is a genius for pulling together a story that pleases (at least superficially) liberals, feminists, misogynists, gun nuts and speculative fiction fans, without leaning too far in any particular direction, a triumphant sticking-it-to-the-man paired with every problematic reference. Maybe that's what will have to happen before the culture cops give it a rest.
Or maybe the culture cops will get even more powerful, which might not be a terrible thing either. I tend to agree with their pronouncements about presentations involving race and gender and culture most of the time. Not always, but usually.
For example, there's currently an outcry about schools not wanting to teach To Kill A Mockingbird because the central issue of the story has to do with a woman falsely accusing a man of rape, and many women feel this is a very rare circumstance that distracts from the overwhelming majority of true accusations, while feeding into anti-feminists' claims about women's lies. I've read more than one outraged blog piece assuming that the outrage is really about conservatives upset about TKAM's assault on racism.
I long for the day when everybody's outrage buttons are so worn out from being constantly pushed that we can settle down, with clear heads, and decide what sorts of interaction are appropriate for the public sphere.