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Rambling Thoughts About Problematic Media

Thinking about problematic media. I think it's okay to LIKE problematic media, but NOT to deny that the media contains problematic elements.


Because I do like some problematic media: V.C. Andrews books, the TV works of Seth MacFarlane, James Cameron's Avatar. In a way, I guess they're "guilty pleasures". I know a lot of people hate that term, and think we should like what we like without shame, but when it comes to problematic media I think feeling some shame about liking it is actually a good thing.


I think it would be worse to like something, but DENY that it's anything less than 100% perfection. You know when you review a book and list problematic elements, then you get trolls commenting about how there's nothing wrong with the book, and YOU'RE the problem, etc.


Then I guess there's the matter of naivete versus willful ignorance - "I don't know" versus "I don't WANT to know".


And what do we expect from creators of problematic media? I know of an author who left social media recently, but I don't know if people sent her vile insults, or if they asked her questions she wasn't comfortable answering. (If it was harassment and threats, I'd totally understand quitting social media.) Or maybe there weren't questions, but rather statements, like, "You may not have meant for your book to be culturally insensitive and racist, but unfortunately that's how the story turned out."


After she left social media, I saw a lot of, "Don't send authors shitty things about their books. They probably already have heard it elsewhere and don't need to hear it from you." Which is a good point, but it also seems to deny holding the creator accountable. And in this case, the accountability would be people telling you why they found your book offensive.


It may seem like the creators are being shamed, but really I think what the readers really want is to be heard. To have the creator listen, learn, and do better in the future. Will there be people who simply harass and don't actually want to hear anything the creator has to say? There are always a few bad eggs.


On another note, I've noticed that in Tweets regarding the Nazi "romance", people are @-ing the publisher, the agency, and the media outlets that praised the book, but NOT @-ing the author herself. This is being handled well by the public. The author hasn't run off social media, but on the other hand she (or her publisher or agency) hasn't publicly acknowledged the criticism.


RWA at least came out with a statement. I think RT responded when people voiced their opinions when RT announced that Book By Stalker-Author was in the running for a Book of the Year award. Statements aren't always satisfactory, but at least they ACKNOWLEDGE what's happening, instead of just turning a blind eye.


In the wake of Stalker-Author, her book publisher and article-publisher have never given statements, and she's even got a new book coming out next year. That may be silence, but that the next book will be published is in itself a statement by the publisher - whether they mean it to be or not.


Actions may not occur, but even just LISTENING and ACKNOWLEDGING is a step towards UNDERSTANDING. That little bit can go a long way.