Re: RARA-AVIS: Surprise Endings

Date: 13 Nov 2005

Tony wrote:

"In other words, why is it OK to write about some morally offensive behaviors, but not OK to write about others?"

Short version, I'd say it's okay to write about all of those behaviors. Racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, etc, can be as fascinating a subject as murder, corruption, etc; put them all together and you've got a book I would read. My problem comes when any one of these is unexamined (by the author, it's fine if the character is unware f things about him/herself), when a racial slur is overused for no reason other than to shock or, worse, without even thinking (again, by author, not character). Saying people actually say it isn't enough. People say
"fuck" all the time, but it can have far more effect in a book when used sparingly, with a purpose.

As for non-PC language getting more criticism than morally reprehensible actions, well, it may be rare to criticize a book for including bribery, murder, rape, etc, seldom are those acts included without a well thought out reason, and seldom are the most vicious acts depicted in a positive way (except when meting out vengeance). In fact, wasn't that what the controversy was over The Confession (well, at least among those who actually read it before calling for its burning), that there wasn't strong authorial disapproval against the main character and his actions? Murder is pretty much seen as universally bad in crime lit (with a few rare, well rationalized exceptions), but gratuitous racial slurs can actually be mistaken as a sign of how edgy a writer is.


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 13 Nov 2005 EST