Great Fiction, Despicable Authors

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Guttersnipe

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Something like this has probably already been posted. I was just wondering whether you are able to read any novels or stories by bigots or just terrible people. I, on the one hand, can read books by Baum and love them, even though he advised the genocide of all Native Americans (still hate him, though). On the other hand, I've read some Lovecraft, but can't get over not only the racism and xenophobia in his fiction, but ever since I read his poem on the "creation" of black people (obviously he used a different term), I feel as though I was reading something penned by Hitler. I'm even more mystified by Jewish authors using his mythos (He was somewhat anti-Semitic, though his wife was Jewish; as long as they were "assimilated" into WASP culture, it seemed they were tolerable to him). I feel like a massive hypocrite, but there it is.

Are you able to "get past" authors' bigotry or personal history to be able to read their works?
 
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I generally have no interest in creators nor actors.

I don't care if an author of a book I enjoy reading shares the same world views as myself. I don't care what they stand for, what they like or dislike. I don't burden myself with their problems or issues. For me reading/Tv/films are an escape into the world of fantasy. Within that I don't need to worry if I like the person who plays a role as a person, I just need to worry about how they act before me on the screen.

Because if you look into ANYONE you can find both good and bad aspects. If you go hunting for it you willy likely find it. That's before we've even touched on differences through time. Some authors have disliked gay rights, but they were born and raised in times when homosexuality was treated and compared to paedophilia in the same breath. You raies the subject of Lovecroft and his anti-black views, yet at the time whilst he was somewhat on the extreme end of things it wasn't abnormal to be non-supportive of them.

In the end I don't care if his stories involve racial intolerance. For me they are a fantasy and a story, I don't have to agree with the morality or ethics; I don't even worry too much about drawing comparisons and analogies and looking for real world influences. Sure that stuff can be neat (eg Discworld novels); but at the same time sometimes that analogy is purely in the mind. It's not real and even if it is does it really matter?
Heck if I'm reading a story about certain time periods and regions then I'd expect intolerance in keeping with the setting; if its pure fantasy or sci-fi then yah I'm happy to see racism, sexism, speciesism, (there's a lot of isms) because that's part of the story. Part of the fantasy world. Sure I've got limits, there will be some things that might go "too far" or really aren't to my taste, I just either move past them in the book and focus on the bits I do like or move onto another story.


So I'd say I'm able to "get past it" and a part of that is I don't go hunting for it to start with.
 
The problem is that if you PC correct every single old book , you'll end up have far less to read and that would be unfortunate . Though this does excuse them ,keep in mind that the society and reality that they grew up in shaped their outlooks and nothing in the present can change any of that. So no, your not being a hypocrite for enjoying the works of these writers. Sometimes the most be beautiful things books, art , ect. are created by some the worst kinds of people. You have separate the people their art.
 
I can. Take Orson Scott Card.

Great Author. The Ender's series is a personal favorite, and the Mass Effect universe has always entertained me video game wise.

But, let's face it; the guy was NO friend to the LGTB community. Some very disparaging views, to be sure. Still doesn't change the fact the guy was a pretty solid writer.

If only good people created great things, we wouldn't have nearly half the things we enjoy.
 
I can. Take Orson Scott Card.

Great Author. The Ender's series is a personal favorite, and the Mass Effect universe has always entertained me video game wise.

But, let's face it; the guy was NO friend to the LGTB community. Some very disparaging views, to be sure. Still doesn't change the fact the guy was a pretty solid writer.

If only good people created great things, we wouldn't have nearly half the things we enjoy.

Robert E Howard a terrific writer, gave us Conan , Kull, Cormac Art, Bran Mak Morn , Solomon Kane and so many other great characters and stories was very prejudiced . I still enjoy is stories, He's is one the writers that really got me interred in reading. I would not be a reader of anything had I never discovered him.
 
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One of the wisest sayings I've ever heard is, "The best of humans are, at best, human." Should we look into the beliefs of nearly anyone, especially as we go further back, we will inevitably find areas of belief with which we strongly disagree. And it would be, frankly, arrogant to assume that future generations will not do the same for us. Personally, I wouldn't want my work to be judged based on my political, religious, scientific, or other beliefs unless it was exploring or espousing one of these, so I won't do the same to others.

Now, I'm going to get really controversial... I actually encourage people to read not only the fiction, but the non-fiction of those they disagree with, especially if they strongly disagree with them. For example, I encourage my Christian friends to read Dawkins, Sarte, and others who argue strong atheist positions, and my atheist friends to read C.S. Lewis, Aquinas, and other Christian philosophers. If there's one thing I believe we need now more than ever is an understanding of those we disagree with and a return to rational debate, so I'm of the persuasion that the worst thing we can do is avoid authors we disagree with, whether it be fiction or non-fiction.

Just my 2 cents/pence worth...
 
Robert Frost was a godawful human being and a great poet.
 
Joshua, an atheist whom thoughtful Christians can like is John Gray, columnist for The Guardian, etc. By the way, here is a piece he wrote on Lovecraft, who was mentioned in the first posting.

 
Joshua, an atheist whom thoughtful Christians can like is John Gray, columnist for The Guardian, etc. By the way, here is a piece he wrote on Lovecraft, who was mentioned in the first posting.

That's a really good analysis; thank you for sharing!

My personal favorite atheist philosopher is Sarte. I don't think I could fully explain why without violating the prohibition on religious discussion, but suffice it to say I think he is a bit more intellectually honest than many of the New Atheists, and the best parts of Nietzsche I find derivative from Sarte.

One more comment on the OP... should we apply the standard of only reading "good" people regarding, say, science, the overwhelming majority of modern science would be discarded. Even an "evil" person can be correct, or make a good point...
 
Piers Anthony. I loved the first dozen Xanth novels, when I was age appropriate, until I grew up a bit and the series became increasingly purient in an adolescent locker-room sort of way. But his "Incarnations of Immortality" series, I still found very good.

The trouble was that the author "blogged" about himself, and his little personal kingdom at the end of each of those books.

This "blogging" was smug, fatuous, lecherous and ranged to downright pedophilic. The reader was better off not knowing the mind of the man.
Still, I might read them again and skip the disturbing musings.

PierX Anthony. He might be a narcissist.

On a side note. Ted Nugent made some great music. Some of his stuff holds up well, others don't. Despite his insane bloviating and rampant assholism; Stranglehold is still one of the greatest, epic rock grooves, ever. I have no problem listening and ignoring the mind of the man.

That dude needs to take Frank Zappa's advice and Shut up and play yer guitar.
 
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I wonder how many Weinstein movies we have enjoyed.
 
Whereas there are some interesting points being made in this thread, we feel that there is a danger that it's too close to the subject of social politics to stay open. After discussion in the Staff room, I'm closing it to further replies.

Pyan - for the Moderation Team.
 
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