Offended By The Offended

19 Aug

Did you talk to anyone in the non-outraged camp first? To those feminists who originally recommended it? Did you engage in a rigorous discussion at all? Or did you just cave?

Scott Westerfeld.

That is what the guys at Penny Arcade decided to stand up against. Not the idea that the critics were going to take away their freedom of speech. They did not agree that they were trivializing rape. They did not agree with the criticisms levelled against them. They did not agree with the insinuation that they think rape is fine because some people couldn’t understand a joke.

rakeandsteelyard

Every so often, I hear a statement that boils down to ‘female writers cannot write female characters that appeal to male readers.’

And when dealing with this statement, there is a right way and a wrong way to handle it.

The wrong way is to scream SEXISM as loudly as possible and raise a hue and cry, demanding that the unfortunate ignorant be punished in a manner most gruesome (or at least be convinced that ‘freedom of speech’ means ‘freedom to mouth politically-correct opinions.’)

The right way is to point to the number of exceptions to this rule and argue that the rule itself is bunk. This makes logical sense. If there is an exception to the rule, the rule is utter nonsense. People like Elizabeth Moon, to pick just one, prove that the rule doesn’t work.

They don’t prove it by whining about bad reviews or negative readers who are interrogating the text from the wrong perspective. They do it by going out there and proving that they can do it.

Ok, you ask. So what?

There have been times in my life when I felt I have been conned. These range from someone trying a move I believed to be forbidden to someone claiming they didn’t have to pay out on an insurance payment because [reasons]. And every time that happened, my first reaction was a hot and emotional YOU CAN’T DO THAT!

This is a normal human reaction. But shouting and screaming doesn’t really get you very far – or at least it shouldn’t. When you calm down, you’d better be able to point to something that proves you actually were conned. If you can make a reasonable case that you are right and someone else is wrong, you have a greater chance of convincing everyone else that you’re the good guy.

These days, far too many people believe that throwing a tantrum if you don’t get what you want – at once – is an effective way to proceed. But it isn’t. If you’re lucky, you get what you want – at the price of everyone else’s utter contempt. And if you’re unlucky, you just look like an adult child who simply cannot be taken seriously. If people regard you as a liability, as someone who will explode under the slightest provocation, they’re not going to want to have anything to do with you. Why should they?

social-issues-offensive-offended-political-insulting-social_problem-ghrn789_low

The kerfuffle surrounding The Black Witch left me rolling my eyes. I can fully understand why some readers might have found the book problematic, although – like so much else – the word ‘problematic’ has been overused so often that it is now effectively meaningless. But when detractors are making claims of real-world harm being caused by the book – or a number of other titles – is it really wrong to ask for proof?

Emotions are not always reliable. Anger is a poor servant and a far worse master. Anger is very – very – good at overriding common sense. Worse, it tends to hide the fact that you might not actually have a leg to stand on. Worst of all, it tells you – when everyone else doesn’t immediately join in your personal Two Minutes Hate – that they are the enemy, that they must be destroyed. It is this that leads Social Justice Bullies – who are driven by incoherent anger – to lash out at those who have opinions that are one tiny millimetre closer to the right than the bullies themselves.

Such anger is rarely worth taking seriously. I was disappointed, therefore, that Kirkus saw fit to respond to attacks against The Black Witch. On one hand, there was both the principle of freedom of speech and the importance of showing a person’s journey from unwitting racism to being ‘woke;’ in the other, there was a belief – apparently sincere – that The Black Witch actually hurt marginalised people! We are not talking about the Death Note here. Nor, more seriously, are we talking about genuinely racist or sexist screeds that purport to ‘prove’ that one social group is superior to others. We are talking about a work of fiction that is, if anything, goes quite some way to be anti-racist.

The emotional mind will class both John Norman and Jack Chalker as misogynists. Yet what would the rational mind say? The rational mind might well agree that a strong case could be made that John Norman was indeed a misogynist. And such a case might be convincing enough to stand the test of time, although – and this is a point that should be noted – it may be true. But Jack Chalker? The rational mind would be a great deal less sure. Chalker presented a great deal of violence against women, but his books never justify it as right.

Somehow, no one has managed to construct a rational case against The Black Witch.

The author of the review that started this little tempest in a teapot responded to the response (it’s in the comments, third from the top).

“I was hoping that by commenting on your review, that Kirkus would be willing to have a nuanced conversation that took into account the harm done to marginalized readers. Your review and this [response] only illustrates how far behind Kirkus is on the discourse surrounding diversity.”

I wish I didn’t believe that someone could write something like this and expect it to be taken seriously.

This, and the rest of the response, is hugely accusatory. The writer appears to be driven by anger, by a belief that all decent people must agree that she is right and everyone who disagrees is wrong. Worse, she asserts that the writer of the response – Vicky Smith – decided that her ‘opinion was more important than the voices of marginalized people.’ This raises an obvious question – what proof does the reviewer have that any actual harm was done?

Such an aggressive response suggests – very strongly – that the reviewer is not interested in a fair and reasoned debate. Nor does it suggest she’s actually a writer herself.

I’ve written both first-person and third-person books where I invite readers to look through the POV character’s eyes. In both cases, the problem of the unreliable narrator comes to the fore. The POV character cannot see her own blinders and preconceptions because, if she could see them, she wouldn’t have them. A person does not wake up and say ‘I’m going to do something stupid today, even though I know better.’ They do something without being aware – at least at first – that it was a mistake. And a very good author can word the text to make it clear to the outside reader that the character is making a mistake without depicting the character as irredeemably stupid.

In the case of The Black Witch, the main character cannot say ‘all these preconceptions are stupid, but I’m going to keep them anyway because …’ Of course not. There’s no point in writing a story about a character growing and developing when there is no actual need for them to improve. When she sees things that challenge her preconceptions, she starts questioning her preconceptions. She wouldn’t have to do that if she didn’t have those preconceptions in the first place.

I admit that this can make a character hard to like. Someone who argues that women should stay out of politics would not be a very sympathetic character, even though it was a common attitude a hundred years ago. A number of authors, therefore, do try to give their characters more modern attitudes, even when they don’t fit. It’s an understandable bid for sympathy that jars with historical truth. But in this case a character has no room to grow.

But does this actually cause harm? Real-life harm?

NK Jemsin asserted, in a blog post, that JK Rowling could have made her Magical North America work ‘without causing real harm to a lot of real people.’ Like I said above, where is the proof that someone was hurt? One may be offended or annoyed by common or garden misconceptions – or a poorly-written background – without being actually hurt. I’m Scottish, but I don’t much care if someone calls me English. Nor am I particularly offended by Groundskeeper Willie or the Mistress. And yes, Scots have been marginalised and oppressed in the past. The assertion that a fictional world can somehow warp the real world out of shape strikes me as ridiculous. Where is the harm?

On one hand, a person closer to the matter at hand might take it a little more seriously. I’ll grant them that much. But on the other, the amount of effort spent on ‘calling out’ people someone disagrees with is absurd. The hysterics are worse. It is very hard to take some of the ranters seriously, even when they have a point. The people who protested For Such A Time were not wrong, IMHO, to find the book problematic. I shared much of their reaction to the concept of the book. (I never actually read it.) But the assumption that everyone who disagreed with them was de facto supporting forbidden (or dangerously unwise) love was poisonous.

This makes it impossible to have a reasonable discussion, let alone put forward reasonable criticism. We have entered an era where the mere assertion that a book is somehow problematic – for example, the charge that it promotes rape culture – is enough to damn it, its author, and anyone who dares suggest that the critic might be wrong. And when writers, publishers and reviewers surrender – such as when a handful of readers took issue with a small number of books on Bitch Magazine’s 100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader – it only encourages what I can only think of as bullying. As one commenter put it:

It mirrors EXACTLY the process by which book banners remove books from schools and libraries–namely, one person makes a comment, no one actually checks, book gets yanked.”

It is quite easy to come up with a rational explanation of why Twilight, or Hush, or even Peppa Pig might be problematic. But does that automatically mean that they should be banned?

People are entitled to their opinions. They are entitled to share their opinions. What they are not entitled to do is assume that their opinion represents a major emergency on everyone else’s part. Nor are they entitled to believe that authors, publishers and reviewers they disagree with should rewrite books, pull books or even refuse to review books based on their opinions. An assertion that a book is ‘problematic,’ ‘triggering’ or any of the other hard-to-define buzzwords does not constitute de facto proof of anything. And a failure to move immediately does not indicate malicious intent.

***

I’ve noticed that an awful lot of the ‘offended’ are rarely responsible for handling matters themselves. They are not the ones charged with doing … well, anything. That makes it easy for them to sit in the backseat and call out advice, while the poor driver in the front is balancing multiple different problems and wishing that the backseat would just shut up before the car crashes into a wall. A person who does not have anything at stake – and no reason to understand the issues involved – can complain all they like. The ‘driver’ has too many other things to worry about.

Over the last few years, I’ve watched conventions stagger under demands from people who are not on the operating committee. These have included everything from demands for a accessibility policy or a code of conduct to the removal of controversial GOHs, staff members and even con-goers. And yes, on the face of it, some of these requests are quite valid. I quite agree that a convention should do everything within its power to make sure that the venue is safe, secure and accessible.

But the people responsible for running the convention cannot make a snap decision and then enforce it. The implications must be taken into careful account. It is difficult to write an accessibility policy before you know precisely what the venue can and will (and won’t) do for you. There is no way you can sell tickets before you know all of the con rooms will be open to the disabled, otherwise you will be assured of fraud. Nor can you remove someone from the guest list without careful consideration. The possibility of being sued for breach of contract – GOHs normally have a contract with the convention organisers – or outright defamation must be taken into account. And there is the prospect of facing more demands after they surrender to the first one.

Making a decision is not something that can be done instantly.

Nor is it something that can be handed – rationally – when the hysterics are growing louder and louder, with threats of boycotts and accusations of discrimination spreading on the internet. People generally resent being bullied, even if the bully has a valid point; they particularly resent being pushed into making a hasty decision when they, not the bully, are the ones at risk if there are any adverse consequences. There is a very strong tendency to dig in one’s heels and refuse to budge. Those who ‘call out’ rarely understand two simple facts: the people they are ‘calling out’ may not be able to act quickly and they feel that they are being attacked.

There is no assumption of ‘good faith’ any more. Personally, I think that has been disastrous.

***

A person can claim to be offended by anything. But I don’t have to agree with them. Nor do I have to agree with their methods – indeed, I’m more likely to dismiss someone’s complaints if I find their methods to be unjustified. (The ends do just justify the means: the means make the ends.) A reasonable debate, with both sides putting forward points and counting the other side’s points, might bring out the truth. It might also convince people on one side that the people on the other are not monsters (and vice versa). The rule of law operates on a principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ But this is not how the ‘offended’ operate. To them, a target is ‘guilty until proven guilty,’ with a side helping of ‘everything you say will be taken down, deprived of all context, warped out of all recognition and used against you.’

And it makes it very hard to take them seriously.

Hanlon’s razor states, among other things, “don’t assume bad intentions over neglect and misunderstanding.” This is the sort of courtesy that should be extended to everyone in the microaggression era. But it is not. There might have been a point to the original wave of ‘trigger warnings’ when they first appeared, but that point was rapidly buried under a mountain of nonsense. If you claim to be triggered by a book, someone else has the right to ask – in a rational world – why you were reading the book. And if you’re scared of dogs, yet want to go on a pet-breeding course … what in the world gives you the right to demand that dogs be removed from the curriculum?

And what makes you think that you have the right to attack someone repeatedly because you don’t like their work?

Authors make mistakes. I’ve had points where I’ve written things that people – reasonable people – would find offensive. And yes, there have been times when a beta-reader has told me that and I was annoyed, because I didn’t mean to be offensive and I felt that any reasonable reader would understand. But that doesn’t mean I have to put up with personal attacks because someone didn’t like one of my characters. There is, quite simply, nothing to be gained from engaging in a debate over such a matter. A person who refuses to believe that I – or anyone – write in good faith cannot be engaged in rational debate.

You prove someone wrong calmly and reasonably. In some cases, you do it yourself and you do it better. I would be happy to read an ‘American Wizarding School’ story written by one of Rowling’s critics. In others, you construct a case that stands up to scrutiny when the hysteria dies away. And you don’t automatically presume malice where none exists. If you assume that anyone who disagrees with you is the enemy, you’ll very soon discover that you are right.

I’d like to finish this short essay with an observation.

If I go to a convention and accidentally stand on someone’s foot in the elevator, I’m going to say sorry. Why? Because it’s the decent thing to do. But the manners I was taught, as a child, say that an apology is the end of the matter. I was at fault, I apologised; that is the end of the affair.

If that person decides to act as though he or she believes that I deliberately trod on their foot – screaming, complaining, harassing me – I’m going to run out of sympathy very quickly. I know it was an accident. My apology was not a de facto confession of heinous guilt. (I read an article in which businesses were encouraged not to apologise, even when it was the decent thing to do, because it is sometimes taken as a confession.) And the more they go on about it, the less inclined I’ll be to take them seriously. Sympathy has its limits. It can run dry.

And if that person claims that I somehow inflicted horrendous damage and they are crippled for life? And that I should shell out enough money (if I even have it) to make them independently wealthy for life?

I’m going to want some pretty solid proof before I pay a penny.

21 Responses to “Offended By The Offended”

  1. Bob Lee August 20, 2017 at 2:25 am #

    Why do “they” whomever the aggrieved are, do these sort of things? Well, logically, they do it because they find a significant return on an investment of a small amount of time and effort which chills further discourse.

    Take for example Mozilla’s ex-CEO, Brendan Eich who was removed from his position for the crime against humanity of donating $1000 to Prop 8, supporting traditional marriage. There’s a plethora of examples of individuals taking something, as you say, a misunderstanding, or ironically, an act of dull stupidity, from a company or government agency and blowing it all out of proportion. Then the boycotts, and the demonization of anyone or anything associated with the offensive act.

    “They” publicize these acts of what they believe are wrong thinking or at best non-politically correct thinking and call for some sort of action which used to be out of proportion in past years. Boycotts, sackings, lynchings, murder, whatever seems appropriate to them.

    In public discourse, people used to tell you what they think. Nowadays, people tell you what they “feel”. There can be an argument made that what you’ve come to think has been arrived at with improper facts or illogical conclusions. What you feel is what you feel. You can’t argue with someone’s feelings.

    The “hurt” the book in question has caused is merely hurt feelings, and there isn’t a government on Earth that guarantees one’s feelings won’t be hurt while living life and pursuing happiness. There are some, however, such as yours Mr. Nuttall, that are trying to do exactly that.

    A Sussex “Police Hate Crime Sergeant”, a title that belongs in Mr. Orwell’s 1984, said this:

    “Many people see social media as a harmless and sometimes faceless place to air their opinions, however I hope this shows we will not tolerate this type of behaviour and will act when someone reports their concern about what someone is posting…

    “I hope the sentence handed down by the court on Friday acts as a deterrent to others and sends a reassuring message to those who may be directly targeted or are more widely affected by people’s use of social media to spread messages of fear and hate.

    “I encourage people who witness such content, to report it to the provider of the social media platform, but such reports can also be made to us online.”

    What behavior is the “Hate Crime Sergeant” talking about? A “gentleman” posted to Facebook hateful language disparaging Muslims. He was convicted and sentenced to prison for hurting someone’s feelings for what he wrote.

    How long will it be before any author, Mark Twain, for example gets banned from public schools and libraries, or you yourself, Mr. Nuttall, for your libertarian views because you’ve insulted some thin-skinned activist?

    Which goes to show – we can evolve thinner skins within our own generation, we don’t have to wait long for these types of paradigm shifts to happen.

    Might make quite a theme for a new book too, perhaps.

    • Anarchymedes August 20, 2017 at 10:02 am #

      As far as I know, Jack London has already been banned: I ended up reading his South Sea Tales online: all because he calls the black people black, and because in some of his stories they are the good guys, while in others they aren’t. So, the scientists debate whether he criticised or supported racism; and in the meantime, the readers should go underground to find the works of one of the world’s classics.

      • Bob Lee August 20, 2017 at 6:41 pm #

        True. Ironically, when I was in secondary school, Fahrenheit 451, by Bradbury was banned because it mentioned the Bible… which was another banned book in my school. Fortunately, we have the Internet and our own resources to read good books that others find offensive.

  2. Anarchymedes August 20, 2017 at 10:35 am #

    I just don’t understand what the fuss is all about: don’t like it, don’t read it; how hard is that? You find some book offensive? Don’t read it. You find a movie too sexy/violent/frivolous/whatever? Don’t watch it. The music is too loud/aggressive/primitive/soulless/whatever? Don’t listen to it? The model is too fit and good-looking, compared to you or your partner? Just unfollow him/her on Instagram. It’s that easy. Better still, instead of ranting away, try to write your own book, or mix a song, or even make a movie (or a screenplay): it’ll help you keep your mind occupied; and at the end, at least you will have something to read/listen/watch – even if no one else will.
    Besides, who says you should agree with everything the author expresses in his work? In my young days, I’ve read some of John Norman’s Gor series: I fiercely disagreed then – just as I do now! – with his view on women and their role in the society, but the rest was okay. I mean, the story, the characters, the action. Not a masterpiece, IMHO, but okay. I can’t even say I agree with everything Ray Bradbury says in his famous Fahrenheit 451: blaming cars for sociopathy??? That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the book, or appreciate some other points it makes: most notably, about the importance of thinking for yourself, and the evils of censorship that tries to think for you.

  3. Jensebaum August 20, 2017 at 1:53 pm #

    I like reading books with radically different ideas than my own. A well written book that follows known paths is also a fun read, but something that confronts me with totally different worldviews and new thoughts is truly interesting. Wether I agree, diasgree or even like it, it’s those books that I keep mulling over for days, that really get me thinking.

  4. georgephillies August 20, 2017 at 3:49 pm #

    Is the statement ever true? To prove this, find an author whose female characters are unappealing to men AND appealing to women. Otherwise, you just have an author who should be encouraged to find a different job.

    • Pyo August 21, 2017 at 3:18 pm #

      I was puzzled by this, too.

      Admittedly, it’s not the point of the blog post what the precise criticism was. And basically, everything that can be criticized is criticized by someone, so I have no doubt that somebody somewhere is voicing it, just as someone somewhere is complaining that flat-earth-theory isn’t taught in school.

      But I have to say I’ve never come across this one and I do wonder how obscure this particular criticism is ^^;

      That being said!
      I’d suspect that it comes from this sort of romance stories aka “Abducted by the Highlander” or “The Billionaire’s XY”. There’s hundreds of those and they seem to be (almost?) exclusively appealing to a female audience (a female audience I’d like to have a stern word with about their awful tastes, but what can one do… ^^).

  5. Abbey Battle August 20, 2017 at 4:06 pm #

    With respect to the remarks of Anarchymedes, I would like to point out that it is very difficult for someone to decide that a book or a film or a piece of music offends them BEFORE they have read or watched or listened to it (one would also like to note that it is far from impossible that they may have decided to resent a piece of music precisely because someone else is playing it at an unholy volume and has refused ease off on the decibels even after a reasonable request): one would therefore like to suggest that your advice to simply “Ignore it” is well-intentioned, it does come across as ill-considered.

    Therefore might I suggest that you amend that suggestion to STOP reading/watching/listening or otherwise attending to the offending specimen?

  6. Abbey Battle August 20, 2017 at 4:29 pm #

    I would, however, like to note that I also find the tendency to Damnatio Memoriae on the part of a certain modern schools of thought somewhat worrying – if we start banning Jack London, then how much longer can it be before we must start banning GRR Martin? – not least because it is the most visible expression of the increasingly uncompromising attitude to be found on both sides of the Political Aisle (metaphorically-speaking).

  7. Ihas August 20, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

    I’m. It familiar with the particular criticisms being addressed here. I went to Amazon and saw only one single star review and it made this seemingly reasonable point:

    Forest named her ruling species ‘Gardnerians’. Gardnerian Wicca is an actual, real-world religion, and as a neopagan I’m especially disgusted to have it associated with a people who preach genocide and slavery. Couldn’t Forest have made up her own word, like most fantasy writers manage to do?

    So is this point viewed as not reasonable or is it not the typical criticism being discussed here?

    • Bob Lee August 20, 2017 at 6:48 pm #

      I believe Mr. Nuttall and others here have no problem with specific criticisms in general, and partaking in a reasonable discussion amongst readers. The point here is the vilification of an author because of a character, setting, or plot that doesn’t meet someones view of how the world should work, or doesn’t have enough diverse characters (i.e. there must be at least 1 POC, several LGBTQ characters, etc.), and they must act in accordance with the stereotypes promulgated by their champions in social and intersectional justice.

      As we’re all authors of our written or spoken communication, it would be in all our best interests to keep criticism civil, thoughtful and logical rather than resort to demonization vilification of any author of any speech that is deemed as “hate speech” merely because it doesn’t comport with the norms of politically correct speech.

      • dichroic August 23, 2017 at 7:55 pm #

        I don’t think it’s entirely unreasonable to vilify an author when their work has much less diversity than the actual world they’re portraying though (or equivalent, when it’s a fictional world clearly based on some specific history). For example, a lot of the criticism I’ve seen about the Dunkirk movie has been along the lines of “great movie otherwise, but it only shows white people there, and that’s not historically accurate”. I think that’s perfectly valid and moreover, that it really can do some damage by erasing people from history and giving modern day watchers (who might be a very large group, for a blockbuster movie) some strengthening of the (factually incorrect) idea that all of the participants in the great moments in Western European history were white.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard August 23, 2017 at 8:14 pm #

        Please provide evidence for a large percentage of “non-whites” involved (on any side) with the Dunkirk operation.

        IE How many “non-whites” existed in the British forces of the time, how many “non-whites” were active in the British government, how many “non-whites” were there in France of the time, and how many “non-whites” were there in the German forces involved.

        You claim that “non-whites” were erased so prove it.

      • dichroic August 23, 2017 at 9:36 pm #

        Well, certainly not in the British government. But there were a boatload of Indians in the British forces, as well as North Africans in the French forces. Citations will need to wait until later, when I have time. But thy had both been colonial powers for a very long time by then, so I don’t know why you’d be surprised.

    • chrishanger August 20, 2017 at 8:53 pm #

      It’s a reasonable point to raise, if done calmly and reasonably.

      I would be careful about assuming she did it with malice aforethought, though. I didn’t know about real-life

      Gardnerians

    • chrishanger August 20, 2017 at 8:55 pm #

      Sorry – I hit the wrong key with the previous message.

      It’s a reasonable point to raise, if done calmly and reasonably.

      I would be careful about assuming she did it with malice aforethought, though. I didn’t know about real-life Gardnerians until it was brought up, so I don’t know if she would. It’s something that calls for gently pointing it out rather than angry accusations.

      Chris

      • Anarchymedes August 24, 2017 at 11:57 am #

        Just for the record, Chris, I’m sure you knew that there were real-life Zoroastrians now, when you called the stronghold of the bad guys in your Angel int the Whirlwind series Ahura Mazda? Not that I claim to be one, but still: interesting that there is no storm of indignation, similar to the one being raised by some of the neopagans.

      • chrishanger August 27, 2017 at 5:51 pm #

        To be honest, I didn’t know. I assumed otherwise – the Theocracy picked the name because the Theocrats cherry-picked from all previous religions.

        Chris

      • Ihas August 24, 2017 at 1:06 pm #

        I’m not familiar with Wicca, myself, and I’m also not religious, so I think I have a difficult time sympathizing with members of a religion who are faced with a written work that they think critiques, in a libelous manner, their particular religion. But if TBW:Wicca as Rushdie:Islam, or thereabouts, then it would strike me as unrealistic to expect Wiccans to react in a way that is thoughtful or rational.

        I had to look up Gardnerian Wicca to understand, but it turns out that it is the mainstream, oldest, popularized Wicca. Most Wiccans, I think, would be classified as Gardnerians, but might no the know it because it was named Gardenarian Wicca a few decades ago to distinguish it from more recent offshoots. It’s tenants are, so long as it harm none, do as thou wilt, and the rule of three, which I think means that whatever you do comes back on you times three, and so is similar to the concept of karma.

        It seems to me that valid criticism of those teachings would likely involve two things. Firstly, the concept of “harm” is purely subjective to the person doing “as thou wilt,” so it is not difficult to imagine that, for example, confirmation bias has resulted in at least one pedophilic Wiccan who has convinced themselves that the child is not being harmed. Secondly, the rule of three seems rather paralyzing; sometimes you just have to kill some Nazis. The standard criticisms of Karma may also come into play, especially regarding the “blame the victim” and “excuse the successful villain” aspects that flow from everyone getting what they deserve due to some karmic force.

        I speculate that it might be possible to have a thoughtful discussion with Wiccans about the above concepts, but a portrayal of Gardenarians as genocidal, racist slavers doesn’t come off as starting a thoughtful discussion. I’d be curious to know if the author did that on purpose, or if she was unaware that Gardenarian Wicca is the name for mainstream Wicca.

  8. Vapori August 20, 2017 at 10:04 pm #

    Well it was one very angry review on a fictional book, and there were 120 or so positive reviews. I doubt that a lot of people gave that review a lot of thought, when compared to the many positive reviews, sadly somtimes stuff like that happens. On any big newspaper site that still allows comments you will see something similar as soon, as the topic drifts to race religion and some other topics.

    Actually she doesn’t deserve the attention she gets for the review.
    at least that is my option.

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