I understand that this space has involved matters political over fictional of late, and I am no happier to write about them than you are to read them. Yes, it’s drama, and drama can be interesting to witness, but it’s far less enjoyable to experience. I would very much rather discuss books and movies and television shows and religious themes in fiction and my experiences as the father of a small child and war stories of working with the country’s most dangerous people.
In the media-saturated world we live in, it’s frighteningly easy to glance at something wrong, shrug, and decide that someone else will deal with it. Easy to figure that it’s not worth the time and effort to involve yourself. It’s not your problem, after all…until it is. Social psychologists call this mode of thinking “bystander apathy“. This bystander apathy ranges from watching an unconscious man get run over in the street to watching Western culture become irretrievably upended by an exceedingly loud but vanishingly tiny minority. We’ve all got careers and families and hobbies and other interests; why put them at even the mildest risk? Why stick your neck out?
That’s not me. Why have a neck if you won’t stick it out?
When it comes to the situation with Ginger Nuts of Horror, that was easy. Site owner Jim Mcleod kicked me off the staff of Ginger Nuts of Horror and called me a Nazi because I dared to express my well-considered beliefs in my own space. Not because of anything I had said or done to him or anyone else, but because I had unacceptable opinions on issues that had nothing to do with horror. Opinions, by the way, that millions and millions and millions of other people share. The funniest part of the experience was when, after I had the temerity to tell my side of the story, Mcleod and his coterie of ill-educated SJW halfwit buddies did their junior high-school version of a “point and shriek” campaign, telling anyone who would listen that I was persona non grata. And why? Because I stood up for myself, unlike many of Mcleod’s self-created enemies.
The social media gurus always tell you, as a writer, to keep your politics to yourself. You’ll alienate readers with your horrible politics. What I’ve noticed, however, is that left-wing writers with a social media presence seem to have no problem talking politics. For example, Women in Horror Month is political: if you ask the Five Whys about Women in Horror Month, you’ll eventually drill down to the notion that the publishing industry, from publishers to readers to writers, is somehow institutionally sexist. Institutional sexism is politics. The Hugo Awards are political, and have been for some time. When Stephen King writes about gun control, that’s political. When SJWs demand that the World Fantasy Award bust be changed from Lovecraft to something less triggering, that’s political. So the problem isn’t talking about politics. You just have to have the proper, left-wing politics. If you obey the stricture on keeping your politics to yourself, what you’re really doing is voiding the field of ideas, letting one side of the political spectrum have all the say. That’s ludicrous.
I’ve already explained my reasons for getting involved in the David A Riley kerfuffle, so I won’t reiterate them here. Just consider this for a second: do you really think I like the idea of being tarred with the term fascist because I chose to write about Riley in terms that weren’t immediately condemnatory? That’s what the ill-educated SJW halfwits call me because they haven’t bothered to examine the issue and come to an informed conclusion. What’s absolutely amazing is that I was the only person on the planet aware of the Riley/HWA issue who bothered to talk to the man himself about it. Just about everyone else was either too busy virtue-signaling or immersed in the funk of bystander apathy to unearth a few facts. Why? Too scared?
I understand that it’s easy for me, a relative unknown, to risk a nascent writing career: I have less to lose. Fair enough. But aren’t you, the ones with (apparently) more to lose, tired of these stupid, endless non-troversies cluttering up your beloved genre? Aren’t you tired of SJW drama queens hijacking content over identity politics? The point-and-shriek campaigns, the bitchy backbiting? If you’re sick of it like I am and you don’t speak up, you’re contributing to the problem. This bullshit only goes on because the principals involved receive both active and passive support. Natural disasters are nobody’s fault: you clean up after a hurricane or tornado, succor the injured, and move on. Point-and-shriek campaigns are started by people, by individuals, and individuals, unlike snowstorms, can be stopped.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: the vast majority of readers don’t care about your politics. You can’t ruin your career by denouncing SJW bullshit. But you can ruin your conscience if you fail to speak out.
Even if I’m wrong, even if it’s true that some stupid whisper campaign promulgated by ill-educated halfwits can damage me in some way, my conscience is far more important than my career. As a moral man, as a husband and father, my ethics are paramount.