I made what I believe to be my best internet comment ever last week, but it was lost in a long thread and went criminally unnoticed. So, to boost my ego, I will now tell you exactly what it was, and watch critically as you clap.
So yeah. The thread was on the Facebook Space Opera group. A person posted the following question:
Suppose an agreed-upon true evil (let’s suppose 99%+ agreement here, a Hitler of sorts) author had written a space opera. Five of your trusted friends reviewed the book blind, and said it was a must-read. You know who the author is. Would you read it? Does the work of art have value independent of the nature of its author? Would it matter to you whether the author were dead, or still alive and profiting from your purchase?
Now I’m sure that point of this post was to get at the whole author-ethics debate that’s farting along in science fiction circles right now. As in — are you allowed to like a writer’s work if the writer turns out to have the wrong politics?
Given the massive kerfuffle in the Hugo Awards at the moment, it’s a very reasonable question. Personally I judge stuff as stuff and leave the creator out of it. If a person I despise makes a thing I like, I think they should be paid for that thing, regardless of how I feel about them otherwise. That’s not weird. I’m sure I’d hate most of my cultural heroes if I met them at a dinner. And they’d probably hate me. Art is art. You’re not buying a person. Just some art they made.
Anyway. As a reply to this particular question, I posted this repy:
One of the most unhinged psychopaths of all time was old-testament Jehovah. And I hear his book still sells quite well.
I thought it was great. Not not many other people did. I guess they’re just too busy. Oh well.