justkristin's picture
justkristin from the basement is reading whatever is within reach October 1, 2011 - 8:46pm

I have to make a confession: I have a problem enjoying the works of authors whose personal beliefs or actions are abhorrent to me. I don't mean that I seek out personal information before reading an author's writings, nor do I require perfection of a writer in order to lose myself in their books. If, however, I find out that a person has taken part in things that would keep me from making them a personal friend, I will also not be able to devote time and money to their works.

I am certain that I lose out because of this over-sensitivity. I will, for example, never know why the LitReactors believe that Ender's Game would make a great movie.

If someone else out there has had this problem, and has found a way to work past it, please let me know. Am I the only one? I am not sure how I feel about this in reverse: with me being the writer that others won't read, but I can't think it would bother me much... Then again, I haven't been published yet.

JustKristin

Charles's picture
Charles from Portland is reading Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones October 1, 2011 - 8:51pm

for the most part, i dont care what people do in their personal lives, as long as it doesnt hurt my feelings, or their work. but i am finding it hard, now that i know what i know about writing, style, craft... etc and so on, to read people who dont jive with those beliefs.

.'s picture
. October 1, 2011 - 8:56pm

I personally like books with ideas that I don't agree with, I would feel limited if I only read authors that had the same ideologies as me. As far as advice for that...well do you stop watching movies if you don't agree with the ideals in them? Try to wade through it, in the end its rewarding and it can broaden your horizons and maybe even change your opinion on a particular subject.

wickedvoodoo's picture
wickedvoodoo from Mansfield, England is reading stuff. October 1, 2011 - 9:01pm

To be honest - no, it doesn't bother me that much.

This isn't limited to books, far from it. What about movie directors that have questionable chapters in their past? what about musicians?

You have to seperate yourself from the artist. What if it came to light that your favorite writer of many years was actually a racist/abuser/something awful and had been all along? Would you then discount all their stuff that you used to love?

There will be exceptions I'm sure. People should never write simply to evoke hatred.

Nav Persona's picture
Nav Persona from Purgatory is reading The Babayaga October 1, 2011 - 9:03pm

Live and let live, ya know?

The only time it pays to be a "snob" is when it comes to yourself- be the best you can and treat yourself the best you can. Everything else comes down to opinions, and it's okay to agree or disagree with the issue, but keep that sentiment separate from the person. Sure, if someone offends you, you have the choice to ostracize him or her from your life, but to do so because of a difference of opinion? The best things I can think of to describe such behavior include childish, proud (and not in a good way), and self-important. So what if I like my coffee black and my best friend likes it loaded with milk and sugar? Does that mean we can't go to the coffee shop and have a drink and talk without arguing over whose right about how to drink coffee? In the end, it doesn't matter. Just like it doesn't matter if an author is a born-again Christian who writes excellent horror/thriller books, or an amoral producer who regularly shits out garbage for books, but might have one really good one that will stand as a classic for a few hundred years.

It's the story that's important. Even more than the author. Or their personal beliefs and opinions.

*just my opinion, lol*

 

Kirk's picture
Admin
Kirk from Pingree Grove, IL is reading The Book Of The New Sun October 1, 2011 - 10:36pm

I am certain that I lose out because of this over-sensitivity. I will, for example, never know why the LitReactors believe that Ender's Game would make a great movie.

Ironically, I kind of feel the same way. I have always wanted to read Ender's Game, and then recently I've begun to hear that Orson Scott Card has very different world views than I do. Normally, that isn't a big issue to me - people have different opinions. However, my understanding is that not only do I disagree with him, but he is pretty heavily supportive of groups I detest.

So, thanks to the world of choice, I get to not buy a book that might, in some small part fund those organizations.

It's probably not a huge item, but there are a thousand other authors I can read and enjoy.

But, my understanding is that Ender's is pretty universally accepted as being a good read, so it makes sense to include it.

All that said... There is a series of articles that will be posted this month that will be right up your alley. When you see them, hop back in this discussion.

woodka's picture
woodka is reading usually about six to seven different books.... October 1, 2011 - 10:48pm

I read Card for years before he turned into a dick. Of course, he's probably also the reason I don't write, since he told me my story idea was not believable. ;^) 

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin October 2, 2011 - 12:47am

I have the opposite problem, honestly, I'va always found it harder to read people who agreed with me. When I graduated High School I was a prudish conservative who read Marx and the De Sade in an attempt to understand the "other". I only mention this example because you put it in such stark political terms as to mention Scott Card, and I actually live and go to school in the same city he lives and he writes a collumn for a local weekly that is abhorent. In addition to that I just don't like his style, it's not that I don't believe he is good at whatever it is that he is supposed to be good at, I just personally do not like his writing, especially since my main experience with it is the "Uncle Orson Says.." collumns, and the first 20 pages of Enders Game when I was 12.

So, maybe it is possible that my snobbishness in this matter is just your same disease in disguise, it is hard to tell. I have no personal, political, social, or cultural problems with Falkner but I still think he's boring. This is not a widely held opinion, whatever, I just have peculiar tastes. 

If people felt the same way about my book, I wouldn't blame them. c'est la vie. No refunds.

Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading October 2, 2011 - 12:51am

I have no problem disagreeing with an author's views, as long as the writing's of a certain quality. Stupid opinions expressed stupidly are repulsive.

I disagree with a lot of Clive James's views, at least the ones he expresses in his famous essays, but I can see why they're famous — he's a very good writer. That makes him okay in my book.

I would tremble if a Trotskyite government took over, but Trotsky wrote well. The same goes for William Buckley.

Take someone like your average YouTube comment-leaving idiot: "LoL fags shuld never be aloud to make decissions for the rest of poeple" or whatever. That's both stupid and stupidly expressed. If someone were to express the same moronic perspective in a three-page essay of really good prose, I'd read it, and disagree with it — but I'd read it.

 

fummeltunte's picture
fummeltunte from Seattle is reading The Left Hand of Darkness October 2, 2011 - 12:53am

Yeah, I felt super conflicted when I read about Card's views on sexuality. I loved Ender's Game, and I can't decide if I would have like to remain blissfully ignorant or not. It's like Lovecraft and his racism.

I made the mistake of interviewing a popular local writer in my hometown. There was a sense that fame had really gotten to her head. It seemed like she would have behaved a lot different back before she became published... I had to try not to get disillusioned by that.

I try to avoid digging too deep into writers' personal lives-- I feel like their writings are completely separate and different from them -- like their kids. Dunno if it helps to think of it that way, but sometimes you need to put distance between the person and their work. 

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. October 2, 2011 - 12:57am

What has Orson Scott Card done and said?  I can't recall.  I'm iffy on this subject.  I mean, I recently read a book by Tucker Max called "Assholes Finish First", it was probably the most repulsive, disgusting vile book I have ever read in my life and yes, I read 'Twilight'.  The guy has like zero respect for women, he thinks all gay guys have AIDS, he talks down to women to their face calling them sluts and yet they still sleep with him because he is "a famous writer".  He had sex with a female midget just to say he could.  Yet I could not stop reading it.  Honestly I think to be a 'great writer' you have to be willing to expose yourself to things you ordinarily wouldn't.  For instance, I think all hardcore jock dudes who think they are supermacho should be forced to watch chick flicks with their girlfriends on a regular basis.  Literary snobs should read a Danielle Steele or romance novel once in awhile.  I am not a nihilist or an atheist or a hardcore Christian, I am a 'spiritual person', but I have read the bible, the Koran, the Buddhist stuff, Nietzche and I have read that one atheist writer guy and they all have enlightened me.  I may have no respect for someone and think they are a digusting human being but I want to know my enemy as well as my friends.  It's good to know what you are against and even people who are child molestors may paint a pretty picture, so the question becomes:  is the picture ugly because the person is or is all art subjective?

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin October 2, 2011 - 1:32am

http://greensboro.rhinotimes.com/Articles-c-2009-02-18-191678.112113-One-Party-Rule-Forever.html

There's a fun, somewhat wacky conspiracy theory about the Census. He said it. His recent collumns have veered away from politics but they used to be pretty nuts.

Anyways, not liking Orson Scott Card does not mean that a person likes or would defend Tucker Max. At least de Sade had some ambition with his debauchery.

But with religion, I do remember being deeply moved to read a Koran after 9/11.

Howard_Rue's picture
Howard_Rue from Mount Dora, Florida is reading Heart-Shaped Box October 2, 2011 - 4:36am

When I first arrived here, I noticed that Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game was one of the 10 Sci-Fi books that "should be made into a movie."

I wanted to say something there, but it would have my first post and the karma would have been bad.

Orson Scott Card is a homophobe. He supports organziations like the National Organization of Marriage, a hate organization. I don't want to give him money so he can give it to them. It's hard to support a great book anymore.

I hate to think that I'm that narrow-minded, but I'm happily married and I'd like to keep others out of it. 

As much as we try to deny it, the author's view creeps into their works. I look back to the Education of Little Tree and how, even though it was created to talk about the learning of a young Native American, it was created by a white supremist.  How, exactly did such a sweet book get created? I'm still trying to figure out where the nonjudgemental book ended and his beliefs began.

Everyone has something to give the literary world, I have accepted that. It just depends on what you're willing to ignore. Homophobes? I tend to avoid them. White supremists too--I read Education of Little Tree in a "Teaching Reading" course before there was an internet. In fact, the interwebs might just be the problem. Before, we relied on the book. Now? We can get all the juicy details of every author at the click of a button.

And this was waaaaay too much writing prior to coffee. I hope it made sense.

Peace,

Rue

justkristin's picture
justkristin from the basement is reading whatever is within reach October 2, 2011 - 8:55am

Chiming back in:

I do not have a problem reading books that deal - fictionally or expositorily - with issues or beliefs to which I am opposed. Not at all! I agree that this is a fine way of broadening ones range, mentally. Nor do I have a problem, say, reading books written by the devoutly religious even though I am an atheist. My problem (for example, with Card) is when (I become aware that) an author takes active part in something I find repugnant. I cannot bring myself, then, to want to give them either my money or my time. These judgements are often tempered by the author's era or situation, but intrinsically angry person that I am, I can't seem to stop them coming.

It's funny - I never really had any desire to read Card, so I am not too sad about that one, but occasionally I find myself wanting to have unseen whatever set in place another of these prejudices... Happens with musicians as well. I am a troubled person. :) Glad I am not alone, tho.

It is nice to be here! When I am back from vacation and not doing this from my phone, I hope to contribute more.

JustKristin

Liz's picture
Liz from St Albans, UK is reading Between the Woods and the Water by Patrick Leigh Fermour October 2, 2011 - 8:58am

The way I get around it is that the values of a work and the values of a writer don't have to be the same thing. In fact, if there seem to be contradictions in the overall tone of what I'm reading (particularly in fiction) and the known biases of the author, I tend to appreciate the imaginative and empathic effort they've made to not turn their work into a polemic. Obviously this is kind of rare because social and political sympathies are such a powerful motivator to create... Also in art you can make a formal distinction in your mind between the meanings of 'good' in terms of ethics and and in terms of talent and skill, if you find it difficult to distinguish between the writer and the work then you can admit, 'OK, this person is a formidable author, even if they're not on the side of the angels.' And I think it's good practice to read people you vehemently disagree with because it stretches the boundaries of your own thought rather than comfortably solidifying them. Again, this is more difficult if you find the values of the author or the art completely repulsive. But in that case, if you're so angry or upset you're just not getting anything out of a work, it's definitely OK to walk away from it and try something else.

Liana's picture
Liana from Romania and Texas is reading Naked Lunch October 2, 2011 - 9:53am

Kristin, is that the Kristin I know?
Well my favorite teacher in high school (I know, lame!) always scorned those who looked into authors' lives because he claimed the "literary kitchen" as he called it had nothing to contribute to our understanding of the writing itself. I tend to agree with that, now that I'm supposedly an adult and make up my own mind about such things, but sometimes I do look into those biographical details and if I find something repugnant I actually stop reading about it if I really like the author. I guess I'm a coward in this respect (or I like being in denial), because I prefer not to spoil the image of the author I have in my head (?)

What I really have a problem with are those authors whose work has led to some horrific ripple effects. For example as much as many are inspired by Marx (to this day) and I know there are some valid, intelligent things he says, plus he did not actually create a totalitarian regime (his followers did), I will never be able to go to his works again or have any respect for him, knowing what his philosophy inspired in many countries. Yes he wasn't Stalin and he didn't intend for genocide to take place in his name, but the chain of events that started with people who liked Marx has forever turned me off to anything he said. Sorry Marx fans, no offense to you personally... My background prevents me from seeing him with innocent eyes.

sue's picture
sue from the west coast of Canada is reading The Cricket in Times Square, by George Selden October 2, 2011 - 10:12am

Liana, I agree with your statement about authors whose work has led to horrific ripple effects. It's hard to read an author knowing what effect they had or are having. I am conflicted about reading up on an author's beliefs. I like to avoid it beforehand so I can enjoy their work without any twinges, then afterwards I can choose whether to delve deepr. This sounds much more serious than it is in practise. For most books, I just read and enjoy, but for some that are very intense, or meant a lot to me, I want to know more and then I have to think how much I want to know about the creator of the work.

Amber Rose's picture
Amber Rose from Portland, Oregon is reading QED, The Strange Theory of Light and Matter - Feynman October 3, 2011 - 8:55am

The only fiction author I've ever had this problem with is Sylvia Plath. Somehow knowing she committed suicide prevents me from enjoying her writing. At least it contributes to my lack of enjoyment. Everyone else seems to rave about her but I am just really very turned off anytime I give her poetry a go.

I recently read The Bell Jar and though the writing itself was alright, and full of little gems, some of which I even copied into my little quote book, still I just couldn't help but feel I'd somehow been coerced (downfall of my over willingness to be open minded, especially about things that seem to be meaningful to others) into reading some psudo-auto biography I already knew the ending to, like an over long suicide note where the writer is absorbed in nothing but hiding herself while blatantly screaming This is Me.

 

Jen Todd's picture
Jen Todd is reading your lifeline and all signs are good October 3, 2011 - 9:19am

The one thing I can say is... if you don't read Ender's Game, you'll be missing out on something special.  What mystifies me in this world (one of many things) is how something so -- beautiful -- can manifest from someone who isn't so... you know?  Many people here have mimicked my feelings on Orson Scott Card.  I don't share his opinions or his beliefs and what's worse for me is that there's no hesitation on his part to be as hurtful as he can.  I say: have an opinion, but realize it's just yours.  (I had the same reaction to Poppy Z. Brite, who is an indellible master of atmosphere, but not so gracious when it comes to fans of her work.)

I realize this is just one more opinion, but I really do remember Ender's being an incredibly special read.  The kind of thing that sticks with you for years... even if you can't believe, when it ends, that it came from someone who doesn't seem capable of producing that kind of world.

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break October 3, 2011 - 9:35am

I struggle with hipster lit, and it seems to be cropping up everywhere.

It's not that I have a problem with being vegan or shopping at thrift stores or product placement for PBR or gmail chatting or growing a cheesy moustache.  I just don't think it makes interesting literature.

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts October 3, 2011 - 10:13am

I could never care that much. It does remind me of Philip K Dick talking about Robert Heinlein, who was completely opposite politically and philosophically in their writing, but Heinlein was the nicest guy he ever met. There are a lot of world views that people could possess.

 

reading some pseudo-auto biography I already knew the ending to, like an over long suicide note where the writer is absorbed in nothing but hiding herself while blatantly screaming This is Me.

 

I'd totally be down for reading that. Writers are fucked up people some of the time, a lot of great ones have offed themselves. Hemingway, Hunter Thompson, David Foster Wallace, Yukio Mishima, all kinds of dead.

Amber Rose's picture
Amber Rose from Portland, Oregon is reading QED, The Strange Theory of Light and Matter - Feynman October 3, 2011 - 10:27am

Yeah. Maybe she just annoys me and I use that as the excuse... some silly moral high ground that takes objection instead of admitting to a more base emotion such as irritation. How intellectual of me.

A. Mason Carpenter's picture
A. Mason Carpenter from USA is reading The Power of Myth, by Joseph Campbell October 3, 2011 - 11:08am

@Brandon Nice mini-rant about hipsters.  I used to be one, then I grew up.  Now I don't know what's hip anymore.  It is the great circle of hipness.  My cheesy moustache is hidden by an increasingly gray beard.

Some of my favorite writers are people I would shoot at if they came into my camp. Such as William S. Burroughs, Hunter S. Thompson, or Charles Bukowski.  Of course, they would be zombies, but that isn't my point.  I think works of art should be judged on their own merit, not in the context of the creator.  You don't have to be a Republican to enjoy Terminator, or a Christian to enjoy the Last Supper.  You don't even have to be Canadian to enjoy curling.  I think if you are letting personal politics get in the way of art you take in, there is a danger of letting it happen to the art you create.

As for Mr. Card, I have enjoyed his work, and I don't give a rat's behind about his personal beliefs.  His stories can stand alone, in my opinion.

If there is a little book burning fascist living in your head, limiting your cultural intake, you should have a revolution and free your mind.

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break October 3, 2011 - 11:20am

You like hipster rants, eh?

Check this out...a little piece that was published by Cannoli Pie Magazine a little bit ago (page 7)

Jen Todd's picture
Jen Todd is reading your lifeline and all signs are good October 3, 2011 - 11:42am

@"hipster lit"

You like what you like. When a bunch of people like what they like (for whatever reason), the irony of ironies is that it's cool to dislike what's cool.  Only it's not cool until the un-cool get cooler.  Then they become hip.  

What a system.

A. Mason Carpenter's picture
A. Mason Carpenter from USA is reading The Power of Myth, by Joseph Campbell October 3, 2011 - 11:50am

@Jen

Then are the prospectors, you know the type.  You find a song you like and play it on your home stereo.  The prospector frowns with disapproval and says:

"I was listening to Fruity Joe and the Bazooka Girls way back in '03, before they sold out."

Like, somehow, appreciating something before you do makes them a superior life-form.

Jen Todd's picture
Jen Todd is reading your lifeline and all signs are good October 3, 2011 - 12:16pm

@awesomeswirlyskull

I'm always so late with everything that by the time I like something it's scoff-worthy!  I'm relegated to my hidey hole with whatever literature or music it is to absorb in shameful silence. =X

Man, Fruity Joe and the Bazooka Girls.  Brings back good times...

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin October 3, 2011 - 1:45pm

@Liana 

The problem with Marx is that Marx in himself is not, like, a literary mind. He's also not really a political mind. Marx was an economist, he saw the instabilities in the relationships between people within existing labor structures and attempted to form a rough idea of the sort of political reforms he believed would alleviate these economic problems. Not that The Manifesto doesn't have some clever turns of phrase in it, not that he doesn't have political ideas in it, but in the end what he was actually good at was economics and his literary and political instincts were not as well developed. If you don't like the Manifesto, I understand, it is a straight rant about politics and economics, it is written in a manner that is "accessable" but not necesarrily with a great deal of literary merit, and it is so very "on the nose" that reading it as a capitalist it is difficult not to see it as an almost personal attack on your lifestyle. If you were reading Das Kapital I just feel sorry for you.

But you can no more blame Marx for the Gulags than you can blame Madison for the genocide of Native North Americans, these events were perhaps facilitated by their thoughts and political ideas, but what we are left with is just the inevitable conclusion that with so many people involved in interpreting and acting on these ideas, history is bound to be a bloody game.

But, if you want a book that is less polemic about the whole "communism" thing might I reccomend the Motorcycle Diaries, it is much better written and much less pointed, while it still makes you consider the nature and consequences of our economic structures.

writingasgjjensen's picture
writingasgjjensen from Don't Ask is reading A lot. I try to read as much as I can. October 3, 2011 - 2:12pm

I think there are two different discussions going on here.
The discussion that is being picked up is "do I read material I don't agree with."  The answer to that is yes.  Always yes. 
But I think the question posed by justkristin was to mean, do you let a writer's personal beliefs interfere in your enjoyment of their work.  Sadly, this is also yes.  There are a few ways of life, or ways of thinking that I find it impossible to get past.  But for the most part, I am able to enjoy the art (being writing, music or movies) apart from the artist without really caring about their personal life.
Yes, I believe one fuels the other.  And more so with a writer.  While musicians and actors can have a whole team of people behind him, forming their image, writer's are singularly responsible for this task, unless you are one of the rare superstars.
But I also believe that art is its own entity, its own life and expression.  I'm sure that people won't agree with my beliefs. 
But then again, I don't plan on subjecting people to them.  That's my business, and no one else's.

Nav Persona's picture
Nav Persona from Purgatory is reading The Babayaga October 3, 2011 - 5:09pm

So it's like... a devout Christian wouldn't listen to Elton John, and an atheist wouldn't listen to Flyleaf -- if the listener (reader) didn't like the belief/philosophy/lifestyle of the singer (author).

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin October 3, 2011 - 5:17pm

It is more an individual question of open-mindedness. Reading alternative viewpoints can greatly help you strengthen your own by exposing the weaknesses in the argument without, you know, laying into you like a person who disagreed with you might.

misskokamon's picture
misskokamon from San Francisco is reading The Moonlit Mind October 18, 2011 - 9:53am

What bothers me isn't the person behind the book. What bothers me is when that person bleeds into his own work, preaching to his readers. Card didn't do that too much in Ender's Game, but other works I've read sometimes feel as if they are actually about the message he wants to convey, and the plot and characters are tacked on as an after thought.

I will say though, when I find out about the writer behind the book, I can't help but see them in their work. This could be a good think (like with JK Rowling) or a bad thing (like in almost everything Card writes lately.) So I try my best to avoid the writer when I read his or her work, at least until I've finished the book. 

The same thing happens to me with actors. If I know too much about an actor's personal life, I can no longer see them as a character. I can't watch movies with Tom Hanks in them because all I see is Tom Hanks! 

I hope that didn't make me sound completely bonkers...

missesdash's picture
missesdash from Paris is reading The Informers October 19, 2011 - 4:21am

This sounds like a horribly tedious way to go about things.

I always separate an artist from his/her work. No exceptions.

postpomo's picture
postpomo from Canada is reading words words words October 19, 2011 - 4:31am

I haven't read anything by Ayn Rand, and doubt I will. It's prejudicial, sure, but there are only so many stories to be read in one lifetime, and I'm not going to bother reading hers.

Other than that, if it's written in a way that appeals to me, I'll read just about anything. I would hesitate over profits from the book going to an organization that I am vehemently opposed to. I might just borrow a copy from the library in such a case.

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin October 19, 2011 - 7:52am

As far as Ayn goes, there is a pretty strong case that "Life is too short to read 3,000 page rants about the holy duty of being a self absorbed ass" and past that if you do actually look into her life past her fictionalization of her youth in "We the Living" you will probably be horrified with how much she lived according to the principle that having a single thought about the wellbeing of anyone, her husband, her protege lover, her political and business associates, would be completely immoral. (Ayn Rand was a Bitch on Wheels)

Atlas Shrugged is OK. The Fountainhead is Ayn's version of Marx's Das Kapital in the sense that it is long dry and ultimately useless if you got the point from the shorter books.

Anthem, though, is, actually a pretty good little book. It gets in and gets to the point. It is simple and it is poetic. 

Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading October 19, 2011 - 8:41am

My scientific hypothesis about Ayn Rand is that her works are worth reading when you have little self-esteem, and worth discarding when you've gone through your righteous asshole phase.

I enjoy The Fountainhead. If I have a guilty pleasure, it's The Fountainhead. It's not a good book by any conventional standards, but it's a hell of a read if you can forgive its pretensions to philosophical fiction.

I tend to appreciate Rand more when I'm not confronted by people who think they "get" the message of her books and nobody else does. It's not that complicated a message, man. They're not "deep" books. But they're fun, in an unintentionally quirky way.

Waterhouse's picture
Waterhouse from Columbus is reading Bullet Park, John Cheever October 19, 2011 - 9:08am

God, I despise Ayn Rand. She is an exception to all below. I cannot, will not read that horrible excuse for a human's books. (If that is my Ayn Rand Therorem, then there exists the Terry Goodkind Corollary (which includes the additional issue putting himself in as the hero of his books.))

I generally do not care about what an author thinks. An analogy: being Orthodox, I reject the notion of the heresy of Donatism which said that a priest in the state of sin cannot provide valid sacraments. The Orthodox view is that the priest is a channel for the sacraments and his own state of heart has no bearing on the effectiveness of God.

So-- if an author has views I personally find abhorrent I really do not care if the art is art and not a polemic. The writer is a channel for a work of art. The state of the heart of the writer can quite often have no bearing on the effectiveness of Art. So, I can enjoy certain books by someone like John Brunner, but ignore these that are obviously a personal socio-political rant. Same with Card who just appears to be going more and more off the deep end. I have read de Sade, plowed through Marx despite his error on where the value of a product lies, and any number of non-fiction books that are diametrically opposite from my beliefs.

To read things one disagrees with is to learn, to read only things one agrees with is to be in stasis.

Now, I admit I am personally boycotting *buying* books from authors who support OWS as I do not wish to give them money, but that is what libraries are for. And, in time, I imagine I will get over that as the fuckwittery on both sides calms down.

misskokamon's picture
misskokamon from San Francisco is reading The Moonlit Mind October 19, 2011 - 9:53am

@postp, it isn't something one can control very well, really. As annoying as it is, it just happens sometimes.

postpomo's picture
postpomo from Canada is reading words words words October 19, 2011 - 10:36am

@misskokamon: not sure what you're referring to.

Dr. Gonzo's picture
Dr. Gonzo from Manchester, UK is reading Blood Meridian October 19, 2011 - 10:56am

I only care about their writing. Who they are, nothing to do with me. As long as they're not preachy--whether I agree or not doesn't matter--I don't care.

Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs October 19, 2011 - 12:30pm

I personally like books with ideas that I don't agree with, I would feel limited if I only read authors that had the same ideologies as me. 

Authors of fiction often write books that contain ideas that they don't agree with (which their main character may believe in),

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin October 19, 2011 - 1:29pm

@Phil: I agree with that hypothesis. That is certainly how I took my Rand.

@Waterhouse: If you buy my book I promise I won't give the money to OWS. I don't feel as strongly as you do about Rand, but I can understand what you're saying. I agree with most of your post, but every Polish person I have ever met was Catholic (and even, "They're my favorite sports team" Catholic with an enthusiasm I've only ever seen them and Italians embrace that faith with) and you tripped me out there.

Waterhouse's picture
Waterhouse from Columbus is reading Bullet Park, John Cheever October 19, 2011 - 1:55pm

Polish Orthodox fo' life as the kids all say, or used to... and hey, you know, OWS or not, I would by any LitReactor member's book because, you know, we are all in this together, yours first because of your own heritage of course.

Glad I could trip you out! I do love a good analogy.