October 24, 2008

John Scalzi

I actually yanked Scalzi's quote from another blogger but wanted to post here as well. Aside from the nasty double adverb, I agree with what he says--even if it's not exactly what I would call a cogent argument.

"The reader who believes a fiction author should keep his or her opinions to themselves is effectively (if generally unintentionally) saying “You exist only to amuse me. You are not allowed to do anything else.” To which the only rational response is: blow me. I’m not going to hesitate to add my voice to the national dialogue on any subject just because someone somewhere might not be happy with what I have to say. And more to the point, I think it is bad and dangerous thinking for people to suggest that fiction writers should have to live in a black box of opinion. The idea that writing fiction somehow obliges or even just encourages a vow of silence on any subject, politics or otherwise, that might offend someone somewhere, is flatly odious."

It pains me to admit this, but on many occasions I've re-thought a comment (not necessarily political) in fear of rubbing certain people the wrong way. I'm not as fearless as say, my friend Sam. I'm not condoning racism or any deep prejudices of any kind--though I contend their right to exist, detestable as they are. I'm saying a writer can't be afraid to write from the gut. You may have regrets, or a change of opinion down the road, but get it out anyways. Be wrong sometimes. There needs to be blood on the page; guts and the worried glance over your shoulder.


Sam said...

So does that make me a paragon of free speech or a shameless bigot? I'm cool with either.

Harry Tournemille said...

*snort* both?

Actually, that paragraph does sort of imply that you are, doesn't it? Sorry. Not intended.