Politics has reared its ugly head again on the blogs. I just wish people would save it for the dinner table instead of spilling it out onto crime fiction blogs, where it doesn’t belong.

This time, a blogger/author had met an author she admires at a private event. Here she learns that he holds a different political point of view than she does. Very, very different. So what does she do? She has a figurative fit. She goes home and considers removing all his books from her shelves.

Now, you can see where this might lead. Enough people get fired up about this guy the way she is and pretty soon, they’ll be making me remove his books from my shelves. And then they’ll be burning them.

Well, okay, that’s an extreme result. But you get the idea. Those with forbidden political views are definitely not welcome in this apparently elitist world of crime fiction. At least, that’s what this blogger/author feels.

To be fair, I have to say she examined this in depth. Among other things, she wondered if the man behind the pen must necessarily dovetail with his voice on the page.

Good question.

And I believe the answer is a resounding no.

Even as she was asking the question, though, she answered it with a yes, getting all touchy-feely about the heart of an author and what a shame it is that we have to learn about an author’s personal views, because if they’re not like ours, well, heavens, we just can’t read him anymore, can we?

See, this is the kind of thing that you see in the blogosphere every day if you surf them enough. It’s the kind of talk I wish would remain at the dinner table or over drinks or in the car or at the coffee shop or anywhere but on a crime fiction blog, where it has no place.

I’m not saying people can’t reveal their own political bias. Just that it’s not wise, it does absolutely no good, and crime fiction blogs are not the proper places to preach. One may well encounter readers who react just as the blogger/author did, wrongly (IMO) shoving the different-thinking author off their radar.

I commented on this person’s blog by saying that several of my favorite authors hold views very much opposite my own, but that I don’t care. And I don’t! I only care about what’s on the page, nothing more. If I don’t like what’s on the page, I don’t turn to the next page, regardless of what the author thinks about immigration reform or the capital gains tax.

I mean, really, do you care? Don’t you just want to read a great book? Who gives a shit what the author thinks about while lying in bed or what lever he pulls at the ballot box. Not I.

I loved Chinatown. I loved the Thriller album. I still do, even after learning that Roman Polanski and Michael Jackson may have been child rapists.

Cutting oneself off from writers who think differently is never a good idea.

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  1. I have to admit, when I don’t agree with an artist’s politics, I tend not to directly support that artist with my dollars. I do the same with businesses whose politics I don’t agree with. As a capitalist, it’s really the only recourse.

    As far as writers & actors go though, if I don’t like them, I don’t spend money on their products. (Although, I will borrow a book by that author from the library, but I won’t request that it be bought; and, I will sometimes watch the movie of an actor whose politics I don’t like on cable.)

  2. You make a point, Gregory. But there are some actors, for example, whose politics I don’t agree with. They tend to be very shrill and preachy offscreen. But when they’re onscreen…brother, they’re magic. Their politics is simply unrelated to their work, so my response to their work is simply unrelated to their politics. And the same goes for authors, or any creative person, for that matter. If I like their work, they get my support.

    Businesses, now, are another story. Their politics might well be tied to their business, in which case, I won’t support them. If their politics remains disconnected from their economic activity, then they’ll get my money if I like their product or service.

  3. There have been few more detestable human beings than Richard Wagner, yet he wrote some of my favorite music. Note I didn’t say he was among my favorite composers. The two things are different. Of course, Wagner’s dead and I can enjoy him without enriching him.

    A writer’s political views don’t matter to me. (Unless they’re slathered through the book, to its detriment.) There is some personal behavior I won’t reward. I read the blog Mike’s referring to, and I think my solution would have been two fold.

    One, I would have engaged. The writer in question called the blogger un-American for disagreeing with him politically. he would have heard about that, regardless of who he is.

    Second, I would probably never buy any more of his books. That doesn’t mean I would deny myself the pleasure of reading him. used bookstores are everywhere.

    Politics doesn’t matter; behavior does.

  4. If a writer insults me personally, Dana, I’ll stop buying his books. But that’s quite a separate issue from his politics. I can name writers whose politics I think are abhorrent, yet I buy their books. I see far too much politics on these blogs and I think the bloggers are out of line. Many of them consider someone’s opposing political view to be an insult in and of itself.

    When someone posts their politics on a crime fiction blog, they tend to be intolerant and snarky. These blogs are for crime fiction topics, NOT politics. I don’t begrudge anyone his or her political views, but PLEASE spare me from them on the crime fiction blogs, okay?

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