Politics and the Artist

I wasn’t going to write this post, but I have been wrestling with its subject for two days now and cannot stop thinking about it. If you’re a writer, you know as well as me, that when you reach this point it’s time to purge.

Like any person out there I have political beliefs that I am passionate about. However, I learned long ago (from Facebook in particular, but also from my parents), that it is often best to keep those beliefs to yourself and maybe a close-knit group of friends.

I am not being pious. I’m as guilty as the next person for having posted political ideologies in the past… especially into the vast void that is Facebook. But I dropped that habit almost ten years ago when I saw the expanding political cesspool that social media was becoming and decided to turn my energy toward more positive things like art… reading and writing in particular.

My opinion of this is brief: Posting on Facebook is like shouting at outer space. Most people think that they are announcing to the world when, in reality, Facebook only wants to make money. Its algorithms are fine-tuned to only let your posts be seen by x-number of people unless you are willing to spend money to boost it, thus exposing to more… THIS INCLUDES YOUR FRIENDS (most of who are not seeing it).

I get it. You want your message heard. But think about it… even if all of your friends were seeing your amazingly profound and prestigious post, wouldn’t most of them have similar views as you? Granted, old high school friends and those that you have reconnected with in name only–in many cases people you were never really friends with at all–could potentially be on the other side of the spectrum.

Then you find out someone you “like” disagrees and you get mad… even though you would have never seen this person again EVER had it not been for Facebook in the first place. This is the reason I stopped posting political ideology (and began blocking a few)… when I realized that something so insignificant could affect my mental state. It still happens, occasionally. But I try to recognize it and avoid being bummed out.

So, I made the mistake again the other day. I posted a side-by-side video comparison of Trump walking and the classic bigfoot walking “found footage.” It’s funny. Their arms move somewhat simultaneously as well as the classic head turn. There are no words, just image. I really didn’t see it as political at all… just a lumbering man and a lumbering beast, their movement mirroring. It would have been just as funny had it been Bill Clinton, George Clooney, or Molly Shannon… as long as it wasn’t a person of color (then it could have been deemed racist and rightly so).

I started feeling a little discomfort when my anti-Trump friends began commenting rather than simply liking. But shortly after, someone who is not my friend posted a rather jarring Trump-support rant.

I deleted his comment, unfollowed the person… and eventually deleted the entire post, realizing it was a mistake all along.

I had begun following this person over 10 years ago, having read and enjoyed his first zombie-apocalypse book. I also read one of the sequels, but eventually moved on to other authors, other books. He has since written several novels in the genre and has even won a Bram Stoker award for one. He is fairly successful and known.

And because of his comment, I will likely never read another of his books.

I have often heard people say NEVER meet your idols because you might find you don’t really like them as a person. Fortunately, this has not been true for me in most cases.

But it is really hard for me to separate the artist and the art.

I’m not a big science fiction reader (this is more David’s dept.); however, I do read some of the classics (Ellison, Heinlein, etc.) I had always been told to read Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card and, for a while, it was on my list. Then one day word reached me about his anti-homosexual beliefs. I did some research and found out things about this man that prevented me from ever picking up any of his titles. Ever.

This information is on the internet. You can find it very easily via Google. Start by clicking here if you wish. Warning: it’s not pretty.

I believe that great horror is not about the monsters so much as it is about people finding themselves in extraordinary situations. David has said similar on the podcast… that great science fiction is not so much about aliens, as it is about learning what makes us human.

Discovering that an author is filled with such hatred is baffling to me. I guess it’s another subject altogether. One that I will probably never tackle. Me no-likes the negative energy.

Here’s one from my corner. In the last decade, I discovered that H.P Lovecraft was a flagrant racist. And though I grew up reading all of his work, I now have trouble reading him personally… and prefer alternate writers who dabble in his worlds.

It may be subconsciously, but I strongly suspect this is the reason I rarely enjoy movies featuring Tom Cruise, John Travolta, or Will Smith–all members of the Church of Scientology (ironically founded by science fiction writer, L. Ron Hubbard). I know a cult when I see it. I’m certain, for similar reasons, that others avoid Barbra Streisand and Jane Fonda movies because of their political beliefs. The list is long on both sides. Would Ted Nugent even be relevant if not for his political persuasion? His last charting hit was four decades ago. I often speculate whether or not some of these political leanings are simply used to support a stream of income.

I’ve rambled on for a while and will close here. Hopefully, I’ve made you ponder. I’m certain I’ve revealed my political swayings as a bi-product of this essay… and that was not my intention. I do not wish to promote an agenda or alienate anyone. I am just curious if there are others out there that have the same issue with separating artists from their work.

Let me know what you think. But keep it clean and elevated. This is not a forum for rants or ideology. It is a forum for creativity and art, specifically horror and science fiction. Let’s not forget that.

Goodwill toward all.


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