THERE’S BEEN A CONTROVERSY a-goin’ on in the world of “professional” science fiction and fantasy writing — the SFWA. Used to be one of Those Things. You WOULD join SFWA when you grew up and got to be a real writer. But now, along with the rest of “traditional” business of literature manufactur, the SFWA seems to have gone over a cliff of sorts. And, no. I’m not talking about politically korrekt, high-tech lynchings — at least not about those alone.
But we’re not gathered here today to talk about that. You can read all about it at writer Andrew Fox’s blog.
Not having read the magazine articles in question, I don’t have a dog in that fight — at least, not directly. So, that’s not what I’m here to talk about. You can form your own opinions for yourselves with no help from me. I’ll reserve that… um … help for matters that, um … matter to me.
No, my point is rather larger.
Near the end of his article (or in one of the comments, I do not remember which right now and, frankly, don’t care enough to go check), Fox writes that he tries to persuade writers against showing their political asses in public (by which, you know right there he’s a leftist, albeit a possibly closeted or in-denial one). After all, he goes on, why alienate half your potential audience.
Well, there’s your problem!
Andrew — or anybody who’s listening — the right/left split in the audience isn’t anywhere near fifty-fifty. If only leftists — including the current gatekeepers — were directing only half of the industry’s output at the Left, if only half of the alienation rays bathed the audience from stage left, the world would be a noticeably brighter place, because there would be a boom time in the media arts. One signal reason that the industry is in such dire straits is the perception on the part of the overwhelming majority (80-90%) of the audience that it is being ill-served by the present players in the biz, that what’s being put out is crap, and politically correct crap at that, …and why the hell should I waste my hard-earned money — what’s left after the damned liberals in the government have gotten through stealing from me — on crap that insults my intelligence and tries to persuade me that the country and way of life I love are evil and deserving of death?
No. The part of the audience you would alienate for calling out the Knotted Knickers Brigade and giving them a good bitch slapping is the one — the tiny minority — that so richly deserves said alienation, calling, and slapping.
No. It’s not so much 50/50 as it is 80/20 — at best.