I’m writing a new novel and I’m scared. My fingers are pounding the keyboard but they shiver. Not because of the writing venture itself, which is better than sex, but because of the two most harmful words known to the English language:
As I write thousands of words everyday, my mind chatter gets in the way, scaring me shitless:
Can I write about this? Can I use a character like that? Can I make that statement? Can I criticize this ideology without facing danger?
Questions no real artist and storyteller should ever ask himself, unless he lives in North Korea or a similar regime. But unfortunately, the West has become so pussy-fied, everything is offensive to someone out there. Whatever you write about, or don’t write about, can be used against you.
You’re guilty unless proven innocent:
- Write a book without including the right minorities? You’re a racist.Have only male protagonists? Must be your misogyny seeping through.
- Mix your work with ‘foreign’ influences? You appropriating other cultures and should STOP.
- Do you create art that dares to go against the mainstream, hive-mind thinking? Dig yourself a grave, you despicable being.
Seriously, everything you write and create must be politically correct or else your work will bashed by the mainstream media and banned from the markets. Worse, you, as the sole creator, will be threatened by narcissist, self-righteous radicals who only allow art that resembles their worldview.
The reason for political correctness? Apologists defend this censorship of free, artistic expression with ‘being respectful’ and keeping everyone’s feelings safe.
Funny thing is, that’s the same statement Nazis and Communists used before they killed millions of innocent people.
“We’re not censoring, we’re making our world more harmonious.”
Well, you can’t spell harmony without harm.
Today, feelings seem to be more important than facts. Every work can be banned or derided if it hurts someone else’s feelings, and that’s the surest way to rob our future of artistic creation and innovation. Have you noticed that countries that forbid freedom of expression never innovate?
You can’t create something new if you aren’t allowed to be wrong, or better, dare to think different. Every iconic comic character, video game, novel, movie or technology has been created by passionate individuals who thought differently and summoned the courage to follow the unusual path.
- Einstein created the relativity theory even though his peers thought he was crazy. It is often said he only married to not look like an outsider in society.
- Steve Jobs wanted to bring art into the computer realm and taught an entire generation to appreciate style where grayness prevailed
- Legendary artist and painter Francisco De Goya criticized war and the government in his paintings, facing imprisonment and even death from the reigning Monarchy
- The French satirists of Charlie Hebdo dared to criticize Islam via cartoons and got gunned down for it–and that in a free, Western country. The result? Apologists defend the murder of the innocent artists and writers by claiming they were too insensitive, i.e.too politically incorrect.
Our so-called modern world is going backwards. Instead of becoming more liberal, everything is becoming regressive. I’ll add a decade, and we’ll achieve similar
restricted speech as we did in the European medieval ages. Artists and writers, especially in fantastic genres, should be encouraged to write about ‘dangerous ideas’, instead of holding back to not offend anyone. But that’s what’s happening right now–content creators are walking on extra-crisp, ultra-fragile egg shells.
The danger of political correctness? Our (art)work becomes so bland, it slides into irrelevance. Worse, the works of fiction become propaganda of the status quo, enforcing the hive-mind thinking of the mainstream, instead of questioning it. That’s the surest way of creating a dumb public that doesn’t dare to speak up.
Not too long ago, I read the sci-fi classic ‘Starship Troopers’, which is about a fascist military regime where soldiers are treated as first class citizen with all the power, while civilians act as the bottom-feeders. Coming from the sixties, this is a compelling read that dares to make us think, but many of today don’t see it like that.
I checked the reviews on Goodreads and found lots of ‘triggered’ narcissists, complaining about the book’s military propaganda and the lack of strong female characters.
Some said the novel should even be banned for its outdated views, wow.
Nazi book burning here we come.
Isn’t that what great (art) work achieves besides entertaining us–it make us think.
There is a quote, often attributed to George Orwell:
“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.”
I think the same is true for content creation. It’s telling a story that someone else does not dare to tell, everything else is enforcing the status quo.
As for me, I’m working hard on fighting the fear of political correctness. I’ll write the words that I deem as truthful, not caring about what the strong resistance of the mainstream public deems correct.
How do you personally fight (self)censorship of your works, or do you fight it all?
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