Sunday, July 22, 2012
The time has come, the Walrus said
Voicing one's opinions, although still a civil right in much of the world, has become a right fraught with risk. Especially if you're part of a fairly insular community.
Lip off, and you can run afoul of the Moral Majority (the definition of which differs from one segment of society to another; liberals have their Moral Majority as much as conservatives do). Or you can run afoul of a Mean Minority (a smaller group of people loaded with bad attitude). In short, you're bound to run afoul of somebody unless your sentiments are a rubber-stamp version of theirs/his/hers, unless your voice harmonizes with whatever chorus is dominant in your vicinity.
I envy bloggers who spout off about whatever is on their minds, without fear of repercussion. I envy their freedom to indulge in pungent commentary and irreverent humor and occasional quirky rants. But those of us who write and/or review books must tiptoe through the blogosphere.
It's the height of irony -- isn't it? -- when word lovers are wary of words.
That's the way it's become. For whatever reason, more and more bookpeople are taking themselves and each other very, very seriously. Step out of line, and you risk being browbeaten or cold-shouldered into a corner. (Don't ask me what or where the "line" is. Dicked if I know. I've seen so many lines over the years, related to so many different issues, I can't keep track of them and certainly can't anticipate their appearances.) Other authors far wiser than I -- and I'm not being facetious -- have either removed themselves completely from the Internet reading community or limited their presence to release announcements, promotional posts, answers to questions about their books, and similarly neutral stuff.
So, given Publishing World's current environment, I've decided to change my online color palette. It's the prudent thing to do. Sunny yellow is safe; beige is probably safer. And, as always, silence is golden. I'll be switching among the three.
It's time I expressed myself primarily through my fiction.