31 Days of Post (2) Day 13: The Politics Post
I’ve largely avoided talking about politics on this blog. The reasons for this are two fold. One, I don’t feel comfortable adapting political discussion to sf, comics, manga, etc. Two, I really don’t feel comfortable talking about my own political values and beliefs. But as a writer, part of the job description is to reveal bits of oneself every time one puts been to paper (or starts mashing a keyboard).
I identify myself as left wing politically. But I’m not exactly passionate or obsessive about it. I’m not a political junkie. I used to be, but my interests have changed. The glory days of my wonkiness came during the 2008 elections. And it dropped from there. Now, it has gotten to the point that I really don’t care.
But I can’t avoid politics. Especially when it comes down to genre politics. Every few months the sf community enters into a politically driven shit storm of controversy. Usually, this controversy revolves around the rising role of women, lgbts, and people of color in sf, but controversy has also swirled around the role of history in fantasy and mainstream politics. Black Gate is known for its sometimes heated political fights (though it has lessened in the past few months). And let’s remember that Weird Tales dealt with two huge controversies a few years ago.
The irony may be that the area of sf that I love the most is also, arguably, the most conservative. Maybe I should walk that statement back, though. Is it that sword and sorcery is conservative, or is it that some of the most vocal fans of sword and sorcery (and related genres) are reactionaries?
Yes, Tolkien and Lewis are conservatives. And they are foundational voices in modern fantasy. But does that mean that fantasy itself is conservative? And how do more liberal writers affect the perception of conservatism? I mean Martin is a liberal and Rowling is on the left wing of the modern Labour Party. How does their politics affect their writing?
And that is one of the keys, I think, to politics in writing. China Mieville seamlessly weaves his politics through his work, but even then, it can be a bit overwhelming (especially in Iron Council). And while I think Rowling intended a more liberal friendly reading, I don’t know how well she accomplishes that goal.
Because while a writer’s intention may lead to conclusion x, a reader’s political view may lead to conclusion x, y, or z. How? Simple, politics are relative. Hell, interpretation is relative. Why, hello Reader Response Theory.
It’s posts like this which possibly reignite my old love for literary theory. Reading, response, influence, inspiration, and creation leads to new stories that lead to new cycles of creation.
This leads back to politics because I idealistically view politics like this. But so often, politics are used only to tear apart and promote one narrow minded view of the world (or more accurately, to promote the partisans of said narrow minded perspective into power).