1. Oldmanofthemountain

    Oldmanofthemountain Active Member

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    Writers here, how do you handle both moral outrage and pressures to censor your work?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Oldmanofthemountain, May 1, 2021.

    Sorry for the lousy title, couldn't think of a better one for this topic. Probably will have to do some rewrites soon.

    Anyways, in this polarizing world of the internet, offending someone is as unavoidable as death itself. Even if your taking pains to avoid spats, you're bound to run into someone with an ax to grind one way or the other.

    On a similar note more pertaining to the entertainment industry (which includes writing by extension), there are quite a number of overly vocal "moral guardian" types who attempt to strong arm their own values into works of fiction. Usually reasons like the work is too "immoral" (anything involving violence, sexual content, or anti religious themes) or they deem its' depiction of a certain demographic to be offensively "poor representation."

    Writers of this forum, when you an overly vocal critic(s) finds your work offensive (especially over an aspect you didn't intend to cause any harm over), how do you respond?

    Another thing I feel like mentioning here, this question/post was inspired by innumerable spats on any interactive platforms I've both personally been involved in and ones I stumbled across while web surfing, Tipper Gore's crusade against "obscene" music back in the 80s and 90s, Christian fundamentalists burning Harry Potter books, and the campaign against violent video games.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2021
  2. hyacinthe

    hyacinthe Banned

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    haven't had a problem with this so far.
     
  3. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Contributor Contributor Contest Winner 2023

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    The only thing I'd worry about are the types of things that will get you canceled. You'll need to monitor the news and Twitterverse but there are a few issues where any contrarian view may be viewed as bigoted, regardless of how you present it.

    For example, it might be OK to have a character that likes 'Gone with the Wind' and the character Scarlett O'hara.

    But writing about how that same character enjoys going to Antebellum balls is probably going to cause trouble, regardless of the other character traits.
     
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  4. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    I don't respond to reviews. I don't believe the author should be part of those conversations. Readers should feel like they have a safe space for voicing their opinions. I've yet to have someone personally reach out to me about a bad opinion but I'd likely give them a generic "you're entitled to your opinion/it's not for everyone" type of thing then never respond again.
     
  5. alittlehumbugcalledShe

    alittlehumbugcalledShe Active Member

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    For me, it would depend on who found it offensive, or what's being 'censored' in the first place.

    If an extremist Christian group thought my work promoted witchcraft, or if it was a complaint about violence (provided that the hypothetical violence in my novel didn't affect primarily one group of characters/didn't make it look like I was trying to make a point/statement - intentional or not -- which might have the potential of inciting violent acts), then I'd probably just ignore it (if I could).

    If some people thought my work was sexist/discriminatory/promoting these ideas , etc. in any way, then I'd have to take a long, hard look at what I'd written and address the situation appropriately. The original intent doesn't always matter.
     
  6. Oldmanofthemountain

    Oldmanofthemountain Active Member

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    Nothing good ever comes from engaging your critics. A painful lesson I had to endure countless baptisms of fire to learn. Although a civil discussion of disagreement is ideally one to strife for, it’s an increased rarity that people come to contest you on good faith these days.

    And yeah, I agree with your points on allowing readers to have “safe spaces” to share their opinions on your works. I’ve heard many horror stories of thinned skinned writers resorting to horrifying lengths to crack down on readers critical of their works. There was a case some years ago, when some author dude stalked a teenage girl, for leaving a scathing review of his book on Wattpad. He chased her down into a convenience store and assaulted her with a wine glass. Can’t recall what exactly transpired afterwards, but I think he got a decade in prison for it*.

    I know that is quite a big jump from what you where discussing in your comment, but the point you made about “readers needing safe spaces from authors” reminded me of those stories.

    * Did more reading on the incident, it turned out that he only was in prison for 30 months. According some articles I found, he apparently yet again resumed stalking his victim right after he was released. Which included relentlessly PMing on Facebook and Instagram, and lettering her his "manifestos of love." Man, what a disgusting creep.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2021
  7. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    I heard about that story and I've seen quite a few just this month too (not as extreme though). Plus these days authors can have very aggressive fan groups online who will attack people they think are upsetting their author. And then the author will get blamed for sending their fans after people no matter what their intention had been.

    Just today I saw an author posting screenshots of a well thought one star review and the author was "calling them out". The commenters (fans/friends) joined in on the hate and argued that no one should take the time to write one star reviews. It was just crazy to me! I've read about so much author drama this past year on facebook. It's honestly surprising to me but I suppose it shouldn't have been.
     
  8. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Short answer: if you want to be artist, you create your art and not care what anyone thinks. If you want to sell art, you conform to market sensitivities and care less about "keeping it real." Now, that conformity might be a little or it might be a lot. There's a broad spectrum available there... just depends on what your goals are.
     
  9. Joe_Hall

    Joe_Hall I drink Scotch and I write things

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    I don't worry about it. In fact, usually, the moral outrage squad shoots themselves in the foot. People are naturally are drawn to see what the forbidden fruit is all about and usually, their crusade for good and god ends up selling more of the product than if they just kept their mouth shut and sent angry texts to each other about the devil's work.
     
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  10. RMBROWN

    RMBROWN Senior Member

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    "Good men are both well hated and well loved" A favorite saying of mine, Then there is Rev 3:16 If your not pissing somebody off with your writing, ya must be doing something wrong. You can often tell of a mans worth by his enemies, another saying I like.

    Given todays toxic woke culture, a true artist should be cancelled by them. if they plan on having any longevity past todays brief fad, when it comes todays now popular notion that, changing or ignoring history is a good idea.
     
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  11. Cephus

    Cephus Contributor Contributor

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    Nobody has ever told me to do anything and I wouldn't care if they did. I write what I want to write. Anyone who doesn't like it can take a flying leap.
     
  12. GraceLikePain

    GraceLikePain Senior Member

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    I think it's less a matter of being criticized and more a matter of not being able to be published. As someone who does not at all relate to the sort of things that are popularly published now, as well as modern woke fads, my chances of being traditionally published are hurt. Probably no one is going to yell at me about it, but they're not going to pay much attention.
     
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  13. RMBROWN

    RMBROWN Senior Member

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    I think the level of insanity coming from the left today is really over exaggerated when it comes to market influence. They are a loud vocal minority spewing garbage that will not stand the test of time. I still have faith that mankind is not that dumb, but subject to brief periods of emotional excess that wears away with time. History if full of just such kinds of excesses, we look back and wonder how did it ever go on, how did people fall for it, this is just one of those times.

    While Common sense is not that common today, I have both hope and faith in the future; my faith is based in history, not the evening news.
     
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  14. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber marshmallow Contributor

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    wattpad? lol
     
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  15. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    There was one recently on Twitter who was hauling out the pitchforks and torches for readers who dared to leave a 4-star review instead of 5-stars. I felt like I was living in a fever dream, I mean, who complains about FOUR STARS???? I'm willing to personally bake a cake for anyone who leaves one of my books a 4-star review. Even the 3 star ones thrill me, to be honest.

    I'm often really glad that I had a solid background in dance before I started writing, because it gave me a thick skin for critique that has proven extremely useful as an author. No one has ever said anything about my writing that was 1/10th as scathing as some of the feedback I received as a professional dancer. I still think about the judge's scoring sheet from my first competition and wonder how I managed not to just give up and go cry in a corner for the rest of my life.
     
  16. GraceLikePain

    GraceLikePain Senior Member

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    To avoid getting into an argument, I'll say that the left's insanity is not overexaggerated. I was once kicked off a forum for suggesting women can be sexist too. But I wasn't so much referring to direct antagonism as just people dismissing my perspective as nothing.
     
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  17. Selbbin

    Selbbin The Moderating Cat Staff Contributor Contest Winner 2023

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    For me this is the issue. I can't even self-publish on Amazon because they specifically ban certain content. There may not be official censorship for books, but there is still censorship.
     
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  18. RMBROWN

    RMBROWN Senior Member

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    Selbbin, Graceklikepain, how long do you think this crazy shit is going to last? The trouble is there is only outrage from the crazy left about any voice of reason. Anyone who actually uses common sense, actually uses real science is under fire from the left. It is hard to believe that there is such a push to try and change history. Good writing as stood the test of time. There has always been an attack on values through the destruction of books and or authors during and rise of a dictator. Stalin, Mao, Hitler and now even our press seem bent on either not reporting the news and social media are guilty of distorting it. It has always failed in the past, sometimes through bloodshed other times through the people saying they have had enough. You are a voice as a writer, it is important you not be silenced.

    Just think of yourself as a warrior for freedom, you're going to get bloody in the process, it does not me you should remain silent.
     
  19. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor Blogerator

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    Everything is being pushed into extremism. There are no in-betweens anymore, you're forced to pick one side and see it as an absolute black-and-white polarity.
     
  20. RMBROWN

    RMBROWN Senior Member

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    I disagree, the right has done nothing to suppress the views of the left only question the authenticity of their claims or their lack of reporting information. I can think of no instances where they were silenced. The woke culture, as insane as it is, is only now coming under scrutiny, and that is because they want to inflict their religion on others. People are just now paying attention to what it entails and just how radical it is. But I have never heard anyone on the right try and punish someone for being in the middle on any topic. My personal view of things is that as a writer, you have two things qualify you to write with some authority on a topic, first hand experience or tons an tons of research. The emotional arguments will not stand the test of time nor common sense. I think as writers we have an obligation to either do the research to support what we write about or share the first hand experiences that formed our views. Maybe this comes from being old, but I find I have very little patience for a twenty year old who has done nothing to somehow have insight into what has worked or not worked, and that they're somehow in the position to tell me, how it is. Old age breeds cynicism and pretty much calls bs when you see it. Every young know it all now, at some point, if their lucky will get to actually put into practice all their goofy thoughts and pay the price. I remember the slogan growing up, "Never trust anyone over 30." now it as come down to, never trust anyone under 30. The times, they are a changing.
     
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  21. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor Blogerator

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    Let's not drag this into debate room territory. I didn't say who's doing the pushing, and it isn't all from political entities so much as from social media platforms and news outlets etc. But the general public is largely absorbing the divisive attitude.
     
  22. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor Blogerator

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    On the topic of emotion and logic, again extremism is the problem. We consist of both, and you can't ignore one side and push the other one too far or you become unbalanced. But you do need to know what situations to use each in. Logic is useless when dealing with feelings and emotions, and emotion is useless in a debate or a scientific/logical discussion.
     
  23. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    Cancel culture has been going on a long while and it's come from different groups. I think more than one group suffers from judgement from outside groups and it's not just an issue of politics.

    I think the biggest current issue with this topic is just social media and how easy it is to give immediate reactions. But also, some people create drama for followers and there are scam groups that create vocal bad reviews and then demand money from the authors in agreement to change/remove their reviews. There are also other authors who think it's a marketing tactic to take down other authors through various means (claiming intellectual copywriter issues, making fake accounts to trash other authors, or even sending their fans after other authors).
     
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  24. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    In that case you publish it on your own website using a combination of payhip and bookfunnel... marketting is a lot harder unless you have an in to the niche interest groups ... i have to say ive never encountered this as an issue as the content amazon ban is nothing i want to write anyway

    Its not censorship for a private company to decide what it will or won't sell
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2021
  25. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Its also important to keep a sense of proportion... some would like us to believe that this is a massive issue, but its one that most authors will never encounter a problem with.

    If your book is explicitly homophobic/racist/sexist etc then yeah you might have a problem (rightly so in my opinion)... but that's massively different to just writing something featuring the ante bellum, or the colonial period or whatever

    Aside from people who write some sorts of erotica/fet..who do have a problem with amazon dungeoning their books and/or refusing to let them advertise I've never actually encountered an author first hand who's had his book cancelled for being insufficiently 'woke'
     
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