“Do people actually think that you can become an artist by not having a point of view? Do you actually think that being ambivalent is the way you get good at comedy? A lot of writers don’t talk about their political side, because they think it will hurt their readership, and I get that. I’m sorry it comes to that, but I get it. You have to make a living first, but trust me, even your most beloved young adult author of the most friendly stories has a point of view or they wouldn’t be able to do what they do. (Also, if we were the kind of people who responded well to being told what to do, we wouldn’t be doing this either.)”
Okay, back to books and fiction and the publishing industry. You know, the stuff that frustrates me, but in a good way. Today author Christopher Moore mentioned on Facebook that he’d posted political comments that seemed to anger folks. When he announced said discontent on Twitter, he says he realized that some readers expected him to voice no opinion. “Just give us another book,” one Twitter follower told him.
Does anyone else find this insulting? Moore is a rather outspoken author. He likes to sprinkle f-bombs liberally in his writing and he’s got more than a pinch of snark in his tweets and Facebook posts. But he’s fun about it. Most of his tweets and Facebook commentary is humorous and sarcastic, but it’s also intelligent. What’s not to love about that? Even if you don’t like his books, I think that his honesty and realism is refreshing. I started reading his books because of his attitude. (A friend retweeted his tweets and I became an instant fan. Then I bought his books.)
After finding out that his opinion wasn’t welcomed by some readers, Moore had this to say:
We’ve discussed before how authors shouldn’t pretend to be something we aren’t. This is an interesting topic, because there are many readers and writer that disagree. Many believe an opinion is dangerous, and “taking sides” on an issue is going to hurt sales. But why would you want readers that don’t accept your views on something? Surely you don’t think they’ll enjoy your work if they can’t at least relate to your opinions. We should never try to please everyone because eventually that act gets too exhausting to maintain. Yes, politics is a sensitive issue, especially for Americans, but should someone refrain from discussing issues that are important to them simply because they have a public image to “maintain?”
Can you imagine never voicing your thoughts or feelings to your readers because you’re afraid someone won’t buy your books? A by-product of writing (if you’re doing the research you should be doing) is that authors have a vast store of knowledge, which Moore pointed out. How can you know about so many subjects and not discuss them? How can you not form an opinion?
I don’t see anything wrong with a public figure, be they author, actor or whatever, voicing an opinion. In fact, I respect them more for it, even if I don’t particularly like their views. At least they have views. At least they think about something beyond image and sales.
Of course, my opinions and my humor have gotten me into hot water before, so perhaps I’m wrong. What do you think? Are you willing to remain silent about your opinions, never pick sides and such, to ensure your books sell?
If you want to check Moore out, he’s on Twitter of course, but he’ll be tweeting his political opinions under the Twitter name, @NOX10US.