'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

29 December 2010

But....I Hate That Guy!

Please pardon me for a minute while I go on a rant. We will return to Happy Six and the Faerie Faerts momentarily.

A couple of days ago I was surfing around and came upon a reference to an author named John Scalzi. I own and have read most of his books. At least right up to the point where I discovered his personal website and his personal politics. In reading his take on politics, the Tea Party, Republicans, Conservatives and a host of things that have meaning for me I found myself disagreeing with everything and not a little taken aback by both his stances and his opinion of those opposing his views, both expressed and implied. I consider him exceedingly intelligent (though maybe not quite as smart as he deems himself) but lacking in common sense. He's arrogant with (very) limited tolerance for those who disagree with him, preferring sycophants to honest debate. I won't quote him here because I have a strong suspicion that he's litigious but I saw him write that when the revolution came and the proletariat put him against the wall he wouldn't cry about how his wealth trickled down but rather he'd ask what took them so long. The clear implication is that he expects and supports the deaths of anyone who disagrees with his world view. That means many of us and our families. He mocks other's definition of him but you can read his political writings and make up your own mind if the elitist/socialist tags fit. I admit it, he got my goat, at least a little bit and I'm not sure what that says about me.

He's hardly alone. You can't watch a movie or television without seeing actors, writers, directors, producers, etc. who are cut from the same cloth. I've tried to adopt the Dance Monkey, Dance attitude toward these people but it's getting harder.

My question is what is the moral response? A commenter to one of Scalzi's posts wrote that he'd spent his last dime on anything Scalzi did. Scalzi's response was mockery and disdain. So what do I do now? Refuse to buy his books? Completely boycott Scalzi and anyone who is in business with him? Do I stop watching Johnny Depp movies and refuse my dollar to anyone who supports him? Tell people to stay away from him?

Let's take Ed Rasimus for example. I like Ed and his take on politics and the world. I love his writing. He has two great books out on his experiences as a Fighter Pilot in the Vietnam War, Palace Cobra and When Thunder Rolled. They're politically neutral and tell his stories from his perspective. He also co-wrote the biography of one of the finest men America has ever produced in Robin Olds in a book called Fighter Pilot. I'd love for liberals and those on the far left to read those books and I'd recommend them to anyone, regardless of political affiliation. How do I justify dis commending Scalzi's books while trying to convince him to read Ed's? I like both though my feelings on the authors couldn't be more diametrically opposed.

Maybe it's 'Line In The Sand' time?

If I decide that I just can't buy or read Scalzi's books any more then what do I do with his books I've already bought? Donate them so someone I don't know can discover them and be influenced in turn by a man who's views I find repugnant and anti-American? I can't burn them or otherwise destroy them. That's absolutely amoral in my view but every time I look at them I can't help but be reminded of who he really is and I can't bring myself to introduce anyone else to the man. So they remain in a box, unread and a waste of paper and space but I love them. Do I refuse to watch the newest Pirates movie because Depp is a deluded oxygen thief as a human being but a first rate actor in a series I also love?

Let me be clear here. Scalzi writes first rate science fiction. I've enjoyed every one of his books I've read. I'm having a hard time getting past his politics and world view, especially where America is concerned. But that can be said of many authors and entertainers, most of whom I don't read or watch because their writing or movies are crap. Someone else might read those authors and watch those programs and disagree. Then it's a case of who's opinion is more valid, theirs or mine?

I love John Ringo and Tom Kratman and RAH (PBUH) and Larry Correia and I hate it when I see those on the left skewer them and call for boycotts and all manner of vile retributuion against them because they hate their politics and what they choose to write about. Ask John Ringo sometime about what was said about him and Kratman when they wrote Watch on the Rhine. It's mind boggling.

Should I ignore politics in entertainers altogether? Some of them have powerful voices that reach to the very highest levels of government. Does my financial support grease the way for them to exert undue influence in the political arena? If so what's my moral responsibility? One problem is that true conservatives (who are in fact actually true liberals or Libertarians) have a live and let live attitude I try and emulate. Flap your gums to your hearts content, I can parse fact from fiction.

I recognize that this is essentially an act of navel gazing or perhaps grief over losing respect for an author I've enjoyed for years but the essential issue remains. I love that book/movie/song/ show/etc. but I hate that guy. What do I do? Stick my fingers in my ears where their politics are concerned and shout LaLaLaLa at the top of my lungs to avoid knowing who these people really are? I can't do that so I'm left with boycott or acceptance and moving on.

I've come to this conclusion. There is simply no way that I'm ever going to agree with most people on everything. Maybe even most things. We're all people, fallible and flawed human beings trying to get through life as best we can. Some I disagree with more vehemently than others but I can say with reasonable certainty that there isn't a single person on the planet with whom I'd agree on everything. I'm going to take my entertainers one by one. Those who's views are so skewed from mine as to be intolerable and who may have influence at a policy level will be boycotted. Those I view as simply kooks who can have no real effect on my life and the lives of those I love will be ignored until they produce something I enjoy and wish to watch or read or listen to. I will spend exactly what I have to on their entertainment and not a penny more and I will take every opportunity I can to remind them that they are indeed pretenders who owe their livelihoods and indeed their entire existence, to people just like me. I think Jennifer said it best here and I'm going to follow her lead on this. Dance Monkey, Dance indeed.

So to John Scalzi. John, you're a kook. Your politics are as out of touch with the majority of Americans as they are arrogant, narrow minded and intolerant. But. I don't think you have any real effect on policy or the views of anyone outside your limited coterie of hangers on and ass kissers. As such you pose no real threat to me or mine so I'm essentially going to ignore you and your rantings. When you produce something I deem readable I'll probably go to the library and check it out. If forced to do so I'll drop a few bucks on a book and do so without any pangs of guilt. I'll enjoy the entertainment you provide and rest well in the knowledge that, in the end, your political views will end up where they belong. In the garbage destined for also ran status.

That goes for the rest of Hollywood and the entertainment industry. You can rant and spew your brand of inanity and bile all you want but the days of your influence are passing and like the mighty Dodo you're in danger of becoming extinct.


ht to Borepatch for the link and my thanks to Jennifer for saying it so well.


LauraB said...

Like you, I take it as a personal affront to find an artist that I care for is on the opposite side of my morals and/or political spectrum. Too often, it is because they are overtly advertising their position and forcing my hand.

Back in the day, Alanis Morrisette was asked about her politics and she demurred, stating that it was personal and private and had nothing to do with her being an entertainer. How I wish more would take that stance...

When they don't? My money walks. I might get their book from the library or watch their video on Youtube or their movie on HBO but no other way will my $ support them.

Instead, I try really hard to support those with whom I have common ties (Tam's Toof, fer instance). It a trifle but it does GOOD in a world that needs more of it.

Still, I am sorry to know you've lost an author...

Sarge said...

Sort of reminds me of the Vietnam Vets and Jane Fonda. Most hate her but some will still pay for & partake of her offerings. Not me I won't even be in the same town with her.
I'm inclined to follow Laura Bs' advice and just boycott Scalzi with your dollars. Let go of the hate and just take for what it is and don't invest in or make it profitable for him.

Six said...

My thoughts exactly Laura. Why not just shut up and entertain? And you have a very good point I hadn't considered. If I refuse to sponsor them I do have a little more to go to good causes. Thanks for the silver lining!

Thanks for that perspective Sarge. Yeah, Hanoi Jane is a piece of work. Frankly, as much as I have come to dislike Scalzi he's a piker compared to her.

Borepatch said...

I couldn't read this without thinking of the Dixie Chicks.

Six said...

Exactly BP. Love the music but find the musicians exceedingly distasteful.