1. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Does a writer's personal beliefs matter to you?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Steerpike, Aug 20, 2011.

    The question came to mind as a result of comments about H.P. Lovecraft's racial views in another thread (and I believe the person making the comments was accurate about the writer's viewpoints).

    I like Lovecraft's work for the most part. I am aware of his views, but I don't take them into consideration when it comes to his work.

    Likewise, I can enjoy a painting without knowing or caring about the personal views of the painter, or listen to a song without knowing or caring about the views of the singer, or watch a movie without knowing or caring about the views of the actor. If I DO know the viewpoints, I generally don't let it bother me. I try to appreciate (or fail to appreciate) the work in its own right.

    A good example when it comes to movies would probably be Mel Gibson. I think the guy is a loon and he has some personal views that I find offensive, but that's not going to stop me re-watching Braveheart from time to time, or watching his next film (if it is any good).

    Likewise, I don't care whether a book's author is gay, straight, liberal, conservative, vegan, Christian, Buddhist, or a one-armed mystic living in a tree in South America. I only care whether the book is any good.

    What about the rest of you?
     
  2. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I don't care either. To me a persons beliefs are just a personal thing, and should not be judged and discussed unless everyone is happy to discuss it.

    Oh, and I don't want to watch Braveheart again. I find that film a lot more offensive than The Passion of the Christ.

    I mean honestly. He had the worst Scottish accent I've ever heard in that movie.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I watched The Passion of the Christ because I wanted to hear a movie in Aramaic, or whatever they were using. The movie on the whole didn't impress me.

    I do like Braveheart, though I agree about his accent and it also plays quite loose with the history.
     
  4. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    There is being loose with history and there is putting a noose around it's neck and kicking away the chair. The first large battle in the film was supposed to be The Battle of Sterling Bridge. It's called The Battle of Sterling Bridge for a reason, because it was fought on and over a bridge. Something that was entirely absent in the film.
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    LOL. Yeah.

    And I doubt Wallace fathered the heir, either :)
     
  6. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Apparently that woman, a French maiden, whom he fathered that child with was 12 at the time of his death and was unsurprisingly in France. Again the film is not entirely truthful.
     
  7. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not that I watch much tv or patron the movies as much as I used to, but as a general rule, if I knew of a view that was contrary to my own, I wouldn't patron that particular media/person; not that they'd care of my pitiful 12 dollars anyway, or whether I bought their book.
     
  8. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    In art and movies and music, I don't really mind too much, but when it comes to fiction, I think I am quite concerned with the writer's personal beliefs. I don't really know why that is. But there are definitely a few authors who I haven't read and won't read (or at least re-read, or read more of their work) based on their personal philosophies. It's at its worst when the author injects their philosophies into the work (like Ayn Rand, who I don't and won't read for that reason), but even just knowing that the writer has a drastically different viewpoint is sometimes enough to put me off. Not that it's a real problem, there are more than enough liberal left-leaning authors to read as it is.
     
  9. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    It doesn't matter to me at all. One story I wrote had two lesbians as main characters, but that doesn't mean I'm gay in real life. I'm currently writing a steampunk story where the city is divided into people who follows magic (the old part of town) and the people who follows technology (the new part of town). While one doesn't exclude the other, a lot of people from one side hate the others. I guess you can say there's a lot of racism in the city. Even one of the main characters is a racist, as in she's a tech-follower and hate magic. That doesn't make me a racist, of course. Far from it.

    My point is I don't care if the author is a raving lunatic or if a character or five are psychopatic babykillers as long as there's a big distance between author and story.
     
  10. dizzyspell
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    dizzyspell Active Member

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    I read because of the stories, not the authors, so I really couldn't care less about an authors personal beliefs. :)
     
  11. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It doesn't much matter to me. When I read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged as a kid, I was swept up in her philosophy, but I have since come to my senses. Now, I disagree strongly with Ayn Rand, but I've read Atlas Shrugged about ten times, and I still think it's a fantastic read! It's the book that convinced me that it's possible for a genius to be completely and utterly wrong, but still be a genius. Life is weird, and sometimes beyond comprehension, but we're stuck with it, and we'd probably be better off not getting our philosophies of life from works of fiction.
     
  12. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    The only time I care about an author's personal beliefs is when they beat you over the head with them in their writing. Otherwise, it doesn't matter.
     
  13. Silver Random
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    Silver Random Senior Member

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    It's actually Stirling Bridge... and honestly I never really got why it was such a big deal if a film was historically inaccurate. If you want to find out about history you can go read a history book, a film is just about telling a good story.

    For personal beliefs, I don't really care as long as they don't interfere with the writing - and in that case it's a case of what's actually in the writing. Theoretically I won't be bothered by anything the author believes that's separate from the writing. But I can imagine that if I knew some writer believed something I didn't like and was known to try and convince people to their beliefs, I might be wary and have it in my mind when reading their work. I can't really think of anyone I've had that problem with though. And it does annoy me a little when I see lots of people dismissing some work because they don't like the person involved with it personally (I guess Mel Gibson is a good example of that).
     
  14. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    It depends: if the author makes a sort of propaganda work to show off his political ideas, well I find it annoying.

    Really.

    As an italian I didn't appreciate some of HPL's work that were clarly racists and portrayed jews, afro-americans, sicilians (even if I don't like them much) and slavs as degenerated races who worshipped the old ones.


    Last passion was another example of a sort of attempt of indoctrination imo, and I didn't like at all. Ironically I found myself in the same situation because my story does have a sort of political message, or better, there's a lot of politics in, I try to do it in a way that the reader won't find it patronizing, or that I'm trying to push my ideas in his head.
     
  15. Jessica_312
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    Jessica_312 Contributing Member

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    Ditto this.
     
  16. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Ok, I misspelled it.

    I would think that a film needs to at least resemble what it's trying to portray, otherwise what is the point? I know you said story, but I don't buy that. How much someone enjoys a story, and how much they take from it can be very subjective.
     
  17. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can enjoy works by artists who have differing beliefs to my own, of course. A lot of the time that's what makes it interesting.

    However, there are no doubt people whose work I would not buy, based on acts, not just abstract thoughts/beliefs. Case in point, I'm a huge John Lennon fan. I would never buy a book written by MDC.
     
  18. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    It matters to me, I suppose. Vonnegut is my favourite author largely because he spends a lot of time shoving his philosophies down his readers' throats. His ideas largely coincide with mine; if they didn't, he would be intolerable. I will never read Rand.

    After reading a biography of Joyce, I've decided to not press ahead with reading Ulysses. He was a rather petty and whiny and ungrateful individual. Why spend time with a genius who is petty and whiny and ungrateful when I could spend time with a genius who is not petty and whiny and ungrateful?

    Updike writes beautifully but he is also a prick. I will not read him again. There are people who write beautifully and who are not pricks. I will read them instead.

    Very true that you might not get the (perhaps peculiar) excellence without the prickishness or without the pettiness but I'm willing to endure this slight aesthetic/intellectual deprivation.

    Naturally, the further removed one is from the author - in terms of culture, in terms of time - the more readily one can accept clashes in views.

    The question takes on a different hue when posed in relation to non-fiction of course...but, for an instance, when I've the time I fully intend to properly read the major works of GE Moore, not because his ideas are especially earth shattering or significant in the grand scheme of things, but simply because so many very wise judges thought him, simply, a person unequalled in his delightfulness.
     
  19. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It definitely can be. If you don't agree with the author's viewpoint.

    But I think sometimes you can still take something away from such works. If we only read what we already know backs up our theories, how close-minded would that be? Doesn't mean you can't cast somthing aside, in frustration, if it gets too much...


    But would you not want to be exposed to new/other ways of thinking as well?

    I haven't read much Joyce, but I suspect there are many writers with questionable personality traits. How would we know. I fear if I looked too much into that, my book collection would be very meagre, at best...
     
  20. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh yes, indeed. A good reason for not reading biographies. Ignorance is bliss. Wodehouse was a Nazi you say? Sorry not listening.;) ...Because, it's entirely possible that not an ounce of Joyce's personal small-mindedness is evident in the pages of Ulysses, but still, I have that lodged in my mind and will not deign to spend leisure time with him. I'm sure he's rolling in his grave.;)

    Rather more important to spend time with non-fiction writers whose ideas disgust you - though even the most magnanimous thinkers will spend more time in the company of friends than enemies. One might pitch up to the lecture of a brilliant but despicable professor but one would not join her for a drink.
     
  21. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I'm gonna have to disagree on you with that, my good friend.

    If you're writing a book/making a movie that's set in history and is meant to be based on a true story, then you should make it as accurate as possible. It doesn't have to be an exact replica of the battle or event, but if history said Stirling Bridge, then that's where the battle should be.

    Now, I know I'll sound hypocrtical when I say that there are times Hollywood can play loose with history to make a good scene. For instance, the midnight run to Gettysburg in Remember the Titans never happened in real life. Still made for an awesome scene though. I think the key thing was that the whole movie was about integration of races in football teams, so whether they actually had a midnight run to Gettysburg or not doesn't matter.

    However, in a movie like Braveheart, you kinda need to make sure the battles are where history said they were.

    Agh, sorry for the preaching. History's just my passion and I get carried away. :redface:




    I'm kinda the same. I don't mind the person's beliefs as long as they aren't trying to force it on me.
     
  22. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can see bias on the back of a crisp packet, in all honesty, but I can't count the number of times I've put a book down or stopped watching an otherwise good film because of its overt political bias. Avatar, for example. And any drama the BBC cares to produce.

    It's ridiculous, really. I don't care what a writer's personal beliefs are. But I do care when they use their writing talent to decry mine as 'evil' or some such nonsense.
     
  23. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Exactly. I've watched TV shows where the writer created a character that personified whatever he/she was baised against and used that character as a strawmen for the others to tear apart.

    It's especially aggrivating when that character resembles something that's a part of you, so you feel like you're being insulted by the heroes the whole time; yet you're expected to root for them.
     
  24. Admin
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    I first found out that I didn't give a shit when I was younger and found out Chuck Palahniuk was homosexual. I live with a heavily conservative family with core Catholic beliefs, which has made me thus an offspring of their ideas, however when I found out it bothered me none. Might be because of public school or because I'm just more accepting of people, but it didn't bother me, and I don't think anything will in regards to an author's view.
     
  25. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    You know I enjoyed Ulysses, so I will just say that It was insufferable. ;)
     

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