Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Dogpilers of Righteousness

It’s an article entitled “The Toxic Drama of YA Twitter” and it explains why I’m lazy about publicity, and Twitter. I have no desire whatsoever to jump into the moshpit with these kids, and I often wake up wondering why I can’t just like soppy litfic books like all the other old ladies. Instead of toying with the wrath of irate mobs that aren’t quite clear on their reasoning.

I’ve written at length about my own politics so I’ll try not to rehash much; I’m innately liberal, but I was raised by conservatives, until I left home to hang out with libertarians, and commies, and then I discovered I kind of like hanging out with people that are on the religious or political fringes. Sometimes I can code switch and sometimes I forget. I don’t like fundamentalism, whether it’s Christian, Muslim or Marxist.

I’ve had my own drama with people who might be deemed Social Justice Warriors. I’d be at some gathering when some snotty millenial would prance in, looking for deviations from political correctness that would serve as their ticket to try and dominate their elders. Usually I had some card to play – I wrote X, I hang out with Esteemed Liberal Y, my carbon index is lower than yours. I often get the feeling that the people that lacked cards – and received a retaliatory shunning or firing or social excommunication – are not only still seething about it but make up the majority of the Trump voter base.  Just a hunch. 

So this article starts out talking about a book that’s apparently an urban fantasy regarding a character who gets woke at college. And a reviewer objected to the mustache-twirling racist villains because they’re racist. While accusing the author of being a white person that wants to act non-racist. And apparently this resulted in many Twitter pile-ons. My head spins.

I almost want to start dissecting my own writing as a defensive reaction. Let’s see, brown people, fourteen points each, subtract twenty for the white dude, if I just add a disabled lesbian here I can max out my high score. But I’m not that kind of girl. I am a girl who was exposed to ideas about diversity and colonialism at a fairly young age, as well as a girl who grew up as a non-majority surrounded by extremely intelligent nonwhite people, and that background informs my writing. There are definitely problematic things here and there, such as the way Sonny initially acts like an ass toward a person who ends up being his close friend, and the way he tends to stare at boobs. Possibly I’ll end up sacrificed on the altar of Twitter over these things.

It’s not really about me, though. Watching people being threatened generally tends to make us pull inward and do a security check, and that’s why people make threats. I remember once looking at a news story about a kid who got teased for having ears that stuck out, and a parent made some kind of heroic sacrifice to get them cosmetic surgery, and I just wanted to spraypaint “it was never about the ears” on their driveway.

It’s about the social dominance, and I say that as a kid who attended a different elementary school every year and can’t remember any of the teachers’ names. Also as a grownup who just read an article about someone that wrote a 9k word attack against another bougie for appearing racist when they could have invested that keyboarding power into, I don’t know, writing stories that aren’t racist, or doing pro bono legal work or helping the indigent fill out forms. 

That’s a personal philosophy kind of thing right there. Positive action, not negative reaction. That’s why I persevere at writing YA stories, even in a rather hostile climate.

Maybe eventually I’ll even get over my anti-publicity sentiments and get to work promoting this stuff.

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