Here we are in the Middle of July. The middle of the year. The middle of a mess… Wait a minute.
Actually, we are in the middle of a mess. Just look around. The world is going to hell in a handbasket by any number of measures, but artists aren’t supposed to talk politics. That’s absolute bullshit. First because I’m a person with all the rights to hold opinions as any other person. Second because every, and I mean EVERY, choice in a work of fiction from the MC’s eye color to the genre is a deliberate choice, and therefore, political.
There are a bunch of yahoos out there who like to go off on how they like their fiction (be it books, TV, or movies) without politics. What they really mean, without exception, is they only want to engage with art that agrees with their politics. Which politics that is, is highly variable. Mostly, it comes from people who rarely have to fight to see themselves in fiction.
When I say every choice is political, what I mean is just that. I chose to write Puck as a female presenting pan-sexual. I could have just as easily written Puck the way Shakespeare did (but where’s the fun in that?). Either choice would have told you something about my world and worldview. Breezy is an Italian chef, who just happens to be a lesbian. Lucky for all involved that Puck came through in female form this time around… no wait, I chose that, too. I could have made either one of them male, and that would have been a whole different story.
The thing is, the folks yelling about no politics from artists see An Honest Puck the way I wrote it as inherently political in a way they wouldn’t if either Puck or Breezy had been male. These are the folks who want you to justify a character being gay, or black, as somehow plot relevant. As if people in real life have to have plot relevance to exist.
That brings us back to me, the artist. I’m a person. A fully formed person with specific traits that may or may not have relevance to the plot of my story. You’d have to check with the author to confirm or deny the relevance of any of my traits. I’m me and no matter how hard I try, I can’t be anyone else. My views on the world are going to end up in my stories whether I want them to or not (and I’m not inclined to fight it). So why should I silence my political views on social media, or here? You’re going to find them anyway.
So, here we are, the middle of July. The President of the United States is a racist, misogynistic, bully who is doing everything he can to fuck up our world in the name of profits. He doesn’t even give a shit about the lives of his base, but they eat it up anyway because mumble mumble brown people. Most Republicans have given up even the pretense of caring and the entrenched Democrats are more worried about “electability” and “civility” than doing anything real. We have a few electeds, mostly fresh young folk, who are trying to do what they were elected to do. Then there’s the mainstream media who are so afraid of losing access that they can’t call a lie a lie or a rapist a rapist. All the while, Russians and others are using social media to spread lies and foment discord. Most people aren’t capable of vetting sources because our schools have been so underfunded and hamstrung that even the good teachers aren’t having the desired effects. If that’s not a mess, I don’t know what is.
What am I going to do about it? Keep writing my politics into my stories and keep calling out the bullshit where I see it.