Over at WUWT Anthony draws attention to a negative Amazon review of Mark Steyn’s A Disgrace to the Profession by someone who has not even read the book.
I have seen a post by author Anne Rice on her Facebook page following the internet lynch mob giving negative reviews for a book they have not even read. It is a sad reflection that despite the freedoms we have fought long for, we are now looking to clamp down everything under the pretence of ‘offence’ by self appointed ‘thought police’. Both right and left have been guilty of this, however I don’t think the right ever had such zeal.
I think we are facing a new era of censorship, in the name of political correctness. There are forces at work in the book world that want to control fiction writing in terms of who “has a right” to write about what. Some even advocate the out and out censorship of older works using words we now deem wholly unacceptable. Some are critical of novels involving rape. Some argue that white novelists have no right to write about people of color; and Christians should not write novels involving Jews or topics involving Jews. I think all this is dangerous. I think we have to stand up for the freedom of fiction writers to write what they want to write, no matter how offensive it might be to some one else. We must stand up for fiction as a place where transgressive behavior and ideas can be explored. We must stand up for freedom in the arts. I think we have to be willing to stand up for the despised. It is always a matter of personal choice whether one buys or reads a book. No one can make you do it. But internet campaigns to destroy authors accused of inappropriate subject matter or attitudes are dangerous to us all. That’s my take on it. Ignore what you find offensive. Or talk about it in a substantive way. But don’t set out to censor it, or destroy the career of the offending author.