Yesterday I unfriended a bestselling author on Facebook. My update feed was filled to the brim with bizarrely bigoted, hateful political images she was sharing from extremist American Facebook pages. I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing, so I went directly to her page…
…where I found a graphic she’d posted, claiming that the children of the Sandy Hook massacre died not because of gun problems, but because they weren’t good Christians.
I was horrified.
And I couldn’t help but let her know she’d disgusted me before hitting that ‘Unfriend’ button.
It started me thinking: if an author’s political views make you sick, does that bleed through into their books?
I’m saying yes.
Before the internet, all we had to go by was the little biography in the jacket cover. Those biographies rarely said something along the lines of, “Mary Sue is a bigoted, gun-toting, misogynistic Christian extremist”.
I don’t go out of my way to find out about an author before I try their books, but I often do after the event. This has especially been the case recently, as it seems every book I’ve DNF’d this year has been written by a bigoted, gun-toting, misogynistic Christian extremist.
Now, you wouldn’t usually know by reading the book alone. Sure, their books are more likely to be set in certain areas of the US not known for progressive views (I’ve learnt to do my research before picking up anything with a cowboy on the cover). But they (or perhaps their editors) keep those attitudes out of the text.
And yet, I can always pick them. I regularly DNF a book for having extremely out-dated characters, or for just downright boring the bejesus out of me with its 50s stereotypes. And yet someone must like those books.
I truly hope these authors are a dying breed. I see most upcoming authors respect gender and marriage equality, can see beyond NRA propaganda to the real issues, and don’t hold a politician’s race up as a reason to not vote for them.
But to think there’re high-profile authors who see nothing wrong with being so hateful and misinformed on their professional profiles… It still makes me sick.