Poisoned Pens: In Defense of the Story
I promised myself I wouldn’t do this again.
Really. I did not want to rant. But things happen. Sometimes people find themselves doing things where they’re left to their own thoughts and nothing else to do.
For me, it was laundry. My washing machine sent me messages across its digital display, communicating that all was not well in the land of soapy detergent things. The translation was that my eleven-year-old machine may have come to the end of its cycle and I’d need to either have it repaired or replaced. As this happened right around the same time that Christmas bills were coming in, I knew that any clothes cleaning had to be done either at my parents’ house or at the local coin-op.
Either way, there’s always a price to pay.
I decided that going to the coin-op was better because it was closer and had better machines. The problem with doing that – aside from using all of the spare change squirreled around the house – is that I had to stay on the premises to watch that my clothes wouldn’t get stolen.
Luckily my wife came with me to keep me company.
In many ways, she’s my muse. It’s much like what Sherlock Holmes said about Watson.
“Some people while not illuminating are the conductors to illuminate.”
Don’t get me wrong; my wife is brilliant. She just has a way of bringing thoughts into my head… unbidden. I won’t go into anything she said but I started thinking about the latest volley in the Social Justice Warriors nonsensical trends to bring people of every generation to be “woke”.
Incidentally, “woke” is a term I've come to despise. It implies that everyone until the PC police came as a cosmic alarm clock of political correctness were simply mindless zombies who have been doing nothing but racist, sexist chaos. Apparently, we have been nothing else except increasing their own carbon footprints. Most of my Gen X brethren couldn’t give a shit about their agendas. Gen Xers are the sober meat in an idiot sandwich. We’re between the clueless boomers who stopped thinking and the SJW millennials (late edition) who haven’t started yet.
Okay, that was a bit harsh.
My generation can still see the comedy in Blazing Saddles and know that the real joke is in how “the people of the land and the common clay of the new West” were morons.
Enough of this – I digress.
In any event, my mind found itself thinking about the new oppression of our “woke” generation.
I want to talk about how the SJW generation is as strong-arming and as oppressive as their polar opposites. As a writer who sees his piece as an unspoken promise between himself and the reader in the respect that if they’re willing to read my work, my side is to make it interesting.
Writing What You Know
As a writer, I do two things. The first thing is I write.
I know. This sounds simplistic. I write for my day job, too. The biggest hazard I have with that is I’m required to read a lot of bad writing. Really bad writing. Writing so bad it makes my head hurt thinking about it. My job requires that I write to educate. I have to make complex ideas simple. Much of the material I get is written by people who write like they’re making entries into Tarzan’s diary. It’s an assault on simple verbs and articles while creating unnecessary confusion. Bad writing is dangerously contagious because it makes the reader doubt their own sanity and convinces them they’ve been talking wrong all along.
It’s the difference between saying “I’m going to the movies” and “Me go movie”.
That’s what I read. All day. Everyday.
It’s not conducive to a sound mind. So, I make it a point to write well in my spare time. When I write my fiction, I try to keep things straightforward.
The second thing I do is I try to write what I know.
I write really well from the point of view of a middle-aged Caucasian heterosexual male. Yes, I know. Social Justice Warriors are cueing their sith dark lord background music because I am a member of the most despised demographic going.
I don’t blame them. Old white men suck. They suck more than Sucky McSucksuck sucks at an all-day sucking contest of sucking. They suck.
What I can say is that I’m a very liberal progressive that has been voting for anything but Republicans since the Reagan administration. I live, breathe, and sleep for a better more open world where the little guy has a chance and that people are free to express themselves in a sane, rational, and fair way.
Really. I try not to suck.
That said, I am deeply offended when I find the overzealousness of the SJW morons strong-arming writers and the stories they write for not being more inclusive.
It’s a thing.
If you don’t believe me, that’s okay. Swing over to www.horrortree.com and look for writing gigs that are ONLY looking for the following:
- An LGBTQ protagonist – and all combinations of that demographic
- A racial minority protagonist –and all combinations of that demographic
- A female protagonist
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I have no problems writing strong women. My imagination is that flexible.
However, I find difficulties in writing from other perspectives.
It's like writing about cave people without falling into stupid tropes. The over-sized club and cavemen dragging cavewomen by the hair to their cave. People would be better off watching the Flintstones.
Sure, I could fake it. If I wrote about some LGBTQ character, I could find some of my friends in the LGBTQ community and interview them. I could go armed with as much knowledge as I could gather and still not do justice to that group.
I hope the SJWs are paying attention because that is the “J” in what their supposed cause would be. Justice. I’m a big believer in justice. It’s a huge component in many of the plots I come up with. It’s the rationale that just desserts come to the guilty party while good triumphs over evil.
However, what I never wish to do is insult someone who is not a white heterosexual male by pretending to be “one of them”. It’s an insult to them by my trying to identify with their issues. As a writer, I need to put my own mind in the place of the character I’m writing about. I need to know what drives them. I need to know what inspires them as well as what hurts them.
Can I insult white people? Hell yeah. Will I? Possibly, it depends.
It Depends on the Story
So, why do I have such a mad-on for these Social Justice Warrior idiots?
I’ll tell you. It all has to do with the global plague we call social media. Go to a message board. I would suggest an author’s fan board. Read the comments until you hear one of these SJW paint chip eating idiots complain about why their story doesn’t have more “inclusion” in their story.
This suggests that the author isn’t “woke” and is writing material from a “traditional” viewpoint. The SJW (I seriously can’t call them “warriors” because an actual warrior risks something in their action – they usually hide behind an anonymous alias while preaching from their ridiculous soapbox with no chance of being discovered. They are cowards) are more interested in the enforcement of political correctness.
Forcing another person to do something while not illegal but against their will or desire, is tantamount to bullying. That’s right – bullying. It’s another thing that the SJW community will conveniently ignore.
Now, here’s where things get a little dodgy.
There is nothing wrong with the desire to make this world more inclusive. Ideally, we all want to see people who are more open-minded about racial differences as well as sexual preferences. I’m completely on board with that.
Where I have a problem is the insistence that it be a requirement that every story and every bit of fiction must have it as a requirement. To insist that a writer has some kind of requirement checkbox in getting all of the politically correct “ticks” done within their story is, in itself, oppressive.
What’s more, it requires to writer to step out of his experiential knowledge and presume things that may not be entirely accurate.
As Shakespeare would have said, “Let the play say the thing.”
Here is where I stand on this. If the story I’m writing has a character of a specific gender or sexual persuasion and it is either incidental or required for the plot, then I’ll create that character. If a character is ambiguous as to gender or sexual preference but is specific within the backstory I create for it, it may influence how the character reacts within the plot.
In any event, when I write, I am the God of that universe. What I say goes to the story as I want to create it. It should not be influenced by an outside force made up of clueless well-meaning idiots.
And if you don’t like my story, don’t read it.
Do you believe that writers are obliged and required to be socially inclusive to represent LGBTQ and racially diverse characters?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Christopher Peruzzi