Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Person Is Not The Work

I've been thinking about this for a long while now.  Off and on the problem will rear its head and we'll be off to a new flame war about essentially nothing.

First it was the whole to-do about Orson Scott Card and his politics.  This brought about a call to boycott the Ender's Game movie because seeing it would give Card money. (I know there's more to the mess than that, but that's essentially the issue.)

Now there's this debacle with the Hugo Awards.  (Link opens in new window.)  Essentially it boils down to two authors who don't like each other campaigning against each other not because of the books they wrote but because of each other's politics.

Here's the thing.  If you're voting for an award for a book or a movie or a record or a song or whatever the politics of the creator have nothing to do with your vote. The thing being voted on should be looked at on its own merits and not on the merit of the creator.

Back when I was a comic book collector and fan I had a similar issue.  Comics artist Trina Robbins, whose stuff I like, is often an outspoken, almost militant, feminist.  Her stances on many subjects rub me the wrong way.  I'm sure she's a fantastic person (and people who knew her back in those days were quick to say she was) but I can't deal with her politics.

Y'know what?  I still like her stuff.

Certainly I can see her political leanings in her work.  Moreso in some pieces than others as some things are meant to be more political than others.  That doesn't lessen my enjoyment of the work or her ability to craft a story and draw entertaining characters.

I still like her stuff even though I've found her politics to be distasteful.

I think Harlan Ellison is an ass.  Outspoken and abrasive.

I still like his stuff.

I can separate the person from the work.  I can separate the creator's politics, religion, gender, race, whatever from the work.  If I don't like the work, I don't consume it. If I do, I do.

We should all be able to do this and it's a sad commentary on the state of fandom at large that instead of dealing with the creation on its own merits we seek to attack the creator for whatever reason often acting like little children who didn't get their way.

The person is not the work.

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