Critique and Censorship

February 16, 2015

As a writer I understand that anything I put out for public consumption can and will be used against me. People have the ability to read something entirely different from the original intention of what I wrote. Here’s the thing though, that’s okay.

-No two persons ever read the same

The thing about readers is that we will all find something in a piece we love, hate, or feel indifferent about. As consumers of that work, we are allowed to have an opinion on what we have read and that opinion isn’t obligated to be flattering.

Those paying attention to the romance world know about all the hoopla surrounding E.L. James’ 50 Shades trilogy. People love it, people hate it, and other people want to see it burned so that no other may ever happen upon it. I personally don’t like the series. Though they are shared by many others, my issues with it are my own. And while I haven’t come out and ranted my piece about it, i as one of the consuming public am well within my right to critique something available to me. Some romance writers are under what I believe is a misguided idea that we in the romance community should be sticking together with our own.

Umm…no.

Am I jealous of James’ success despite what I think of her book? Nope. More power to her. Like her, not everyone will applaud what I wrote. I’m okay with that.

Will I as an author and reader sit around and offer praise where I don’t think it’s due on work that I believe is lacking in all the ways that matter simply because she’s a part of my “community”? Nope, nope, nooooope.

If we in the community cannot handle critique, we are in the wrong fucking business. If we can’t have our work analyzed, reviewed and slaughtered by reviewers, readers, and (gasp) authors who share our genre, we should go ahead and hang it up. Understand this though, a critique of her work is in no way a critique on her as a human being. I don’t know what kind of luck genie she stumbled on to make Shades be able to succeed where other, more talented and better writers have not.

On the other hand, what my critique does not entitle me to is the ability to limit the availability of others to read the trilogy. Censorship is wrong. Seriously, who do you want deciding what you can and can’t read and enjoy?

I frankly have no use for that kind of responsibility. More importantly, I don’t have the funds to bankroll anyone else’s reading habits. I have my own to worry about.

Critique

In the end people need to understand, criticizing anything is in no means a call for censorship. They are not one in the same. I understand (and agree) with the problematic areas in the books. However, I can’t and won’t hold someone to the fire over their love of the series. Just don’t recommend the books to me. I can promise you only four letter word responses 😛

While I don’t and won’t be reading the series or watching the movies (yeah I’m already dreading another two years of this madness), I think those bashing the lovers of the series should just stop. It isn’t helping anyone. Imagine for a moment that someone came knocking on the door to your fandom and proceeded to shit bricks and doom all over it. Would you be receptive to the message that person is trying to convey? No? Didn’t think so. I’m not saying stop pointing out the problems or critiquing the work. Do what you do, but shouting at the fandom will not win you any listeners, but it will turn a horde of people against you who weren’t trying to hear you in the first place.

Now to close this all out, I may not be a big lover of James’ series, but I have my own trash consumption. I love watching Love and Hip Hop (doesn’t matter the city). I have been known to watch Mob Wives and other random scripted reality shows. We all have those things that others would wag their fingers at us for. If anything, we can bond over that.

So what’s your guilty viewing/reading pleasure?