Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Social Justice Warriors In Lit: Not Really A Thing

Picture via twitter user @chiparoo
Author & poet Alexandra Erin, who's been skewering the self-proclaimed "Sad/Rabid Puppies" nominees-- a successful slate of this year's nominees made to the Hugo awards by a voting bloc convinced that nefarious political agendas are at work and wanted to counteract it by making sure authors with an agenda that matched their own were nominated-- expanded on a comment she made on the chief sci-fi writer behind the "puppies" movement, Brad R. Torgerson. She explains that while some people use the term "social justice warrior" (also shortened to "SJW") as some sort of pejorative, it's a label that is pretty much only ever made up by its detractors and actually isn't even really a serious thing:
That’s not a thing people called themselves. It’s a pejorative made up to dismiss people, a la calling someone “PC patrol” or “feminazi” or “thought police”. Some people have taken it as an ironic badge of honor or made geeky riffs on it (like “Social Justice Paladin” or “Social Justice Bard”), but by and large, you’re chiding people for not living up to the standards of a label that was foisted upon them in the first place. Which is actually part of the function of the label. Most of the people I have seen getting slapped with the “SJW” label not only don’t describe themselves as social justice warriors, they don’t describe themselves as activists. They’re just people, living their lives, dealing with their own problems, and acting their consciences.
In fact, as she points out, both the "SJW"s and their detractors would seem to agree on base ideas!
We all have different life experiences, which means different things will ring hollow to us... Now imagine a book full of things that are all just “off” by that same amount. Well, you probably don’t have to. You’ve probably read books that are like that, in their treatment of men, or Christians, or the military. And it didn’t just strike you as insulting, but also as bad writing. Right? Your ability to enjoy the story suffered, because while disagreeing with a writer’s politics is one thing, seeing yourself replaced by caricatures page after page is another.
So then, at its heart, when the Puppy-gaters are talking about "removing politics from writing" what they're really advocating for is to not be engaged, not to critically think about things, and to ignore something that affects you-- which sounds like the antithesis of what an engaged reader should do. Read the whole post here.

1 comment:

jtron said...

"Social Justice Wario" is my favorite spin on the phrase

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