So You’ve Just Discovered Your Favorite Author Is Bat Spit Crazy…

Or has views on some topics that are massively divergent from yours. Or possibly has turned out to be a morally reprehensible letch. There are numerous issues that can come up when you look at an author as more than a name on a cover. Sometimes they come up because you went looking for more information on someone you admire. And sometimes it’s because they do something so bizarre that it gains them a new place in the spotlight.

There’s been a lot of banter on the internet recently about author Orson Scott Card and his decision to  rewrite William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The outcry over Mr. Card’s latest work isn’t specifically what I’m here to talk about. Mainly because the more I read about the man and his views, the more it makes me want to pound my head into a wall. The whole thing has reminded me of the controversy Anne Rice caused among her fans several years ago when she went Ultra Christian out of the blue–and then a few years later decided she wasn’t anymore. Which, in turn, got me thinking about how far can an author push his or her fans (intentionally or unintentionally) with their personal beliefs or lifestyle before fans start to back away.

Is there a point where you, as a reader and a fan, decide that no matter how much you’ve enjoyed an authors past work you can’t bring yourself to support them by buying their future works? Is there a breaking point where you get rid of everything you own that they’ve written? Do you get rid of the dog eared copy of that award winning book that spoke to you so strongly at some point in your life? Do you start looking at their past works and wondering what hidden agenda they might have, or analyzing what scenes “really mean” in light of seeing who they are today? Whether it’s about Mr. Card’s personal philosophies, or what some say is a decline in his work, or about any other author, I’m curious to know if anyone out there has given up on a favorite author. Or if there’s a point where someone you currently love to read could lose your favor.

[tags]Literature,Author,Crazy,Controversy,Orson Scott Card[/tags]



7 thoughts on “So You’ve Just Discovered Your Favorite Author Is Bat Spit Crazy…

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  1. At a certain point, I do look at the writer/artist/actor differently if their personal and political views become too visible. Like Tom Cruise, for example; I just can’t stand to look at him anymore and I really liked him as an actor. I love action movies and I know I would like the Mission: Impossible franchise if I could stand to look at him as more than a mouthpiece.

    Comic creators are the same way for me. I recently bore witness to someone I had been fan of acting like a douche when he emceed an awards ceremony. He treated it like a roast and insulted very respectable people in the industry at every turn. He gets invited back year after year to emcee even though he acts like an ass. I don’t want to read his comic strip anymore.


  2. I have personally not bought another book from Orson Scott Card since his views on homosexuality became public. I became even more angry with him once he joined political activism to make his views on the subject law.

    I’m fine with people having differing opinions, but when that opinion comes in the form of a direct insult on my life, I cannot — and will not — support their work.


  3. I’m willing to say I do not agree with the vast majority of people when it comes to the topics of religion and politics. I do not think it matters when appraising fiction though, unless the fiction has heavy tones of their personal beliefs weaved throughout the work. Even then, an entertaining story does not have to strictly follow your personal beliefs.

    Sometimes a new perspective on an issue is just what you need to form your own opinion. Avoiding thoughts and opinions just because they do not perfectly mesh with yours does not seem rational to me. I enjoy reading things that challenge me to re-evaluate my views.


  4. I stopped buying Card’s works after I read his essay on how homosexuals should just suck it up and marry and reproduce anyway.

    So yes, there is a point where you decide that no matter how good a creator’s previous work was, you just stop reading. Of course, in Card’s case, I don’t think anything other than Ender’s Game has been in the must read category.


  5. About a decade ago I was among the chosen elite sycophants for a particular comic writer whose name I will not mention, not because I fear repercussions but because I don’t wish to contribute to his Google metrics & I’ve enough on my plate now that I’m not seeking renewed drama. This group fancied ourselves the new alphas of comic fandom by association, & built a social circle around just how cool we thought we were. An unrelated domestic dispute, for which I accept a good portion of blame (though not the sum lump that was assigned me), between me and a couple of the women in the group I’d unwisely allowed to move in arose; this figurehead publicly declared fatwa against me, which his several thousand followers were all too happy to indulge. This did not just endanger me but my employers & my family. The bipolarity of how quickly members switched from dear friends to rabid enemies after hearing only one (highly suspect) side of a story was pathological. (I am of course summarizing; I may tell the whole tale for the first time in 10 years sometime soon.)

    In the time since this writer has definitely been in decline: his tropes have worn thin, his heros redundant idealizations of himself, and though he manages to hold onto some cred, it’s by association more than any acclaimed output. Myself, I have made a point of avoiding spending any of my money that would find its way into his pocket, and my conscience is clear. He, however, remains a living turd.

    Also in the comics realm, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t agree Dave Sim’s writing on CEREBUS took a nosedive after he proclaimed his overtly misogynistic viewpoint. John Byrne may be a legend, but his lack of perspective on characters he didn’t even create is ironic given his run on SHE-HULK in the ’80’s. And Steve Ditko has a legitimate claim to some of the biggest Marvel & DC characters, but his boosterism of Ayn Rand has reduced him to a punchline.


  6. I gave up a mystery/thriller writer I really liked after I found out the views he espoused and the people who were endorsing the book — the views were so completely divergent from anything I support, I couldn’t justify (to myself) spending the money on it.

    I haven’t, relatively speaking, found out an author I love has broken my reader’s heart with their personal views, as seems to be happening here. I tried to put myself in the position a lot of OSC fans seem to be in right now — substituting an author who I come very close to worshipping the ground that they walk on — and it nearly made me ill.

    An author I do like quite a lot ventured on to what for me is shaky territory a few years ago. I struggled with it, and then came across material that further explained that position. I’m not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t come across that material, but since I did — all’s well.

    I think I tend to cling to my authors. *rueful smile*


  7. I haven’t run in to a situation yet where an author I really liked lost my respect because their personal philosophies or issues started to show in their work. I’ve lost interest in following writers for various reasons–like they just seemed to be doing the same thing over and over, or I moved aware from the genre they wrote in. I have a hard time trying to figure out why a writer would start using his work to get preachy, probably because I read and write for enjoyment and not to send a message. I suppose there are those writers who see success as a platform to spread their agenda and perhaps they think their fame will insulate them from any backlash.


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