I recently read Little Brother by Cory Doctorow and it annoyed the crap out of me. I couldn’t stand his overtly political rhetoric and constant berating of the reader. Yes, I realize Bush is terrible and an idiot and he ruined the country with the Patriot Act after 9/11. If I want to read about that, however, I’ll read a non-fiction, fact based book that details the events without personal bias and opinion of some random author.
I do not want to read a lengthy treatise on someone’s personal political opinion disguised as fiction.
As much as this book annoyed me (yet I kept reading to the end because I wanted to know what happened and the answer is – absolutely nothing) it made me think how often I find this same situation in various m/m books as well.
Usually this happens with political opinions I already share (ie. legalizing gay marriage) and no doubt most readers share this belief or why would they be reading it. However I still find it annoying when an author can’t seem to separate their own personal and political beliefs and those of the characters. It’s easy to tell when the passion of the author comes through and suddenly a character is lecturing about discrimination and choice.
My issue is not that I necessarily disagree with the topic on hand but I don’t particularly want to be lectured to when reading fiction, especially when it’s preaching to the choir. I expect these kinds of strong opinions and critiques when reading nonfiction based accounts of real events. I don’t expect them when reading a fictional book about hackers or romance. I think it bothers me even more when reading a fictional romance to suddenly be confronted with political opinion.
I understand that while religion and politics are tricky, touchy subjects, the author has the right to say and write whatever they want. I personally would prefer these types of political rants be outside of my reading for enjoyment sphere. While this doesn’t necessarily happen in every m/m book, I come across it a fair bit. Some authors are more guilty of this than others and these impassioned speeches seem to happen in every book. There are 3 m/m authors that I can think of off the top of my head that while I like their books, I come across this ranting (in mild or moderate form) at least once a story.
Am I alone in this?
Since the politics tend to be more in line with our thinking anyway, does it really bother anyone in the m/m field?
7 thoughts on “Preaching to the choir…”
You’re definitely not alone in this. I call it the soap box moment when two characters are having a conversation which suddenly digresses onto some political topic such as gay marriage or hospital visitation rights for gay couples or the problems of decent affordable health care or the legalisation of cannabis, and suddenly there’s a whole lot of unsubtle ranting going on and I feel like I’m being preached at.
Sometimes it’s done in a more subtle way but it still amounts to the same thing. I’m being pulled out of a nice bit of escapism and forced to read about the political/social views of the author. I happens quite frequently, I agree, and it’s got to the stage where I just tend to roll my eyes and dismiss it.
Yes! Those issues come up quite a bit too. I understand when they play into the story for authenticity’s sake but mostly it seems an excuse to rant about the problems with the political system.
I usually do just ignore it. Sometimes it just gets to be too much and too obvious. I feel bothered when it’s obvious.
You are definitely not alone. It also annoys me. Sure, you can raise it and make it part of the story, but you can really tell when it’s a lecture to “enlighten” you or convince the reader, rather than an organic part of the plot. But as you said, I’m already reading m/m, I think you’ve pretty much got me onside about most GLBT issues.
I’m curious who those authors are and if I noticed it. I can’t think of it off hand, but I know it does happen. Maybe because I’ve been reading so many shorts lately, they don’t have time to lecture me. LOL
I think it happens in longer stories. Shorter ones and novellas don’t tend to spiral down into rants as much. I’m sure it’s due to the space restrictions. The 3 I’m thinking of I know you’ve read so I’ll send you a msg and you can tell me if you agree/disagree. I still like and read the authors it’s just that when the rants come up I skip ahead in the story.
Not alone. 🙂 I get really annoyed when characters in books get preachy, even if I agree with what they’re preaching.
Considering most people read for enjoyment/escapism in this genre, what’s the point?