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Poisoned Pens: In Defense of the Story

Updated on January 18, 2020
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Christopher Peruzzi was the creator of Vikar's Rant back in the early 2000s. It was a site for rants and jokes. He has since calmed down.

Is the pen mightier than the sword? Try not to get stabbed by one.
Is the pen mightier than the sword? Try not to get stabbed by one.

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.

It's elementary
It's elementary

“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.

Bad writing is contagious
Bad writing is contagious

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.

"Point me to the ass you want kicked."
"Point me to the ass you want kicked."

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.

A warrior fights when they have something to defend and risk all to defend it.  To attack anonymously with no risk makes you both a bully and a coward.
A warrior fights when they have something to defend and risk all to defend it. To attack anonymously with no risk makes you both a bully and a coward.

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.

Inclusion Survey

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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

Comments

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    • Kyler J Falk profile image

      Kyler J Falk 

      12 months ago from California

      The thing is I have no real negative feelings about it, and was trying to remove my own bias which led me to enjoy the article. It felt like a mirror-image of my own irritation that is forced to be locked inside, but I felt that in order to combat myself I needed to acknowledge the "PC no-no's" committed within.

      Truly a strange feeling where even, "If it feels good, write it," has to be scrutinized with a magnifying glass. Bah, I'm also in the middle of a mental breakdown so I may just be babbling nonsense.

      Either way, stay sane and I look forward to your future writings.

    • cperuzzi profile imageAUTHOR

      Christopher Peruzzi 

      12 months ago from Freehold, NJ

      @ Kyler,

      Thanks. And hence you see why I began the article with "I promised myself I wouldn't do this again."

      In the old days when Vikar's Rant was a thing, I found that the venomous acid I spewed - which was akin to what most people would see in a viewing of "Aliens" - had horrible blowback on my own soul. I found when I did this too often it made me a terrible person.

      Okay, well, yeah.

      I can only hope that this horrible split-pea soup spewing part of me does not emerge in the near future. However, nevertheless, I'm happy you found some enjoyment in this.

    • Kyler J Falk profile image

      Kyler J Falk 

      12 months ago from California

      I agree with your article, but also the over-sensitive individuals who would disagree with you like the dude here in the comments. Your words contain hurtful connotations and direct "attacks," and I find them hilarious because they are true and nearly-tasteful, but truth can be both humorous and on-the-nose without being hurtful and/or dismissive. The same tactics an "sjw" would use to subjugate your freedom of speech are the same you use here with much more tact (if not a much lesser version of aggressiveness).

      I've found it baffles the "sjw" community when you agree with them fully, but disagree with their behavior. It often ends the conversation quite quickly, because everyone wants to be hatefully-connotative and can't handle being agreed with fundamentally and the presentation disagreed with.

      Nonetheless, I'd sooner stomp out the passions of an sjw than one of their victims to better the world and if the current social climate were different this article would be spot on and, dare I say, enjoyable.

    • Bushra Iqbal profile image

      Anya Ali 

      13 months ago from Rabwah, Pakistan

      Interesting read!

    • cperuzzi profile imageAUTHOR

      Christopher Peruzzi 

      13 months ago from Freehold, NJ

      And yet, there are too many that pervert that cause. Any group that infringes another person’s liberty to create in the name of political correctness has truly become part of the oppressors in the name of free speech.

      And while I understand there is a line drawn for hate speech, it should not be part of how an author passively draws a character or a requirement to be “inclusive”.

    • ScottLoogan profile image

      ScottLoogan 

      13 months ago from High Point, NC, USA

      As soon as you say social justice warrior as an insult, I stop caring about anything you have to say. You could have gotten your point across without doing that. You make it seem like all people who are for social justice are wrong.You just automatically are added to the bigot list for me when you use "sjw".

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