Thursday, July 24, 2008
I was thinking about this today, and I decided there is no one that I hate. I really mean that there is no person out there that I hate on a personal basis. There are political figures that do appalling things, but I don't know them in a way that allows what I feel towards them to be real hatred. Some people I do know bug me, but I wouldn't want anything bad to happen to them.
There are certainly some people whose written opinions either bemuse me, or I actively disagree with them--but this is a largely intellectual exercise and as people I neither know nor care about them. Equally, I rarely know and do not much are about people who disagree with what I write. I understand that many people think writing gay fiction or writing sex scenes is immoral, or wrong or just disgusting. More power to them, they can think what they like--they might somehow feel actual animosity towards me as the writer (although I really don't see how). I am not obliged to care--and I mean that literally.
As a great thinker (specifically Bernard Rollins) once said, if you cannot rephrase an objection to a certain practise in secular terms it isn't morally significant in our secular society. There is no basis for saying that erotic writing is inappropriate as a part of modern culture. Blanket objections to erotica are niche concerns, at most most edicts of a certain religion, at least a matter of personal taste.
But that is somewhat to the side of the point I am trying to make which is this. When I write a reaction to something I have read I am critiquing what I have read. I almost never know the person who wrote the work and I certainly feel no animosity towards them, not even the palest shade of dislike. And even if I did, it cannot matter a great deal. One random stranger on the internet not liking you is hardly a catastrophe. But if it helps: I don't.
When I write a researcher's conclusion that both men and women like romantic types of erotica best because of a "recent movement to romanticize highly explicit sexual material" rather than, for example a deeply ingrained congenital tendency for lust and attachment to go together. I am making that point and nothing more.
When I suggest that a writer is not in a position to say with authority that the romance genre is "has been losing readers... losing sales" due to the existence of highly erotic work on the shelves, again I mean only that. My basis for thinking the reverse it true is that romance sales are, empirically speaking, dropping no faster than sales in other genres--and erotic books outsell non-erotic books at publishers that offer both types.
And if what I say bemuses you, or you disagree with it--feel free to say so. I promise not to take it personally. :)