The talented Cedar Sanderson and I got into a discussion this morning as she was writing this post. I’ll post a snippet here, but I urge you to go read her full article. She talks about message fiction and her refusal to conform to those who would pressure the reader to consume and enjoy miserable dark stories, merely because they’re miserable and dark.
Yes, this. This is the problem I’ve had with what we’ve dubbed message fiction. It’s not that there’s a message, because there is a message in most fiction, even if it is superficial. No, it’s that the message becomes a sermon, and the story a mere vehicle to convey the thoughts you are supposed to think. I want fiction that ignites my imagination, and not fiction that smothers it.
Mostly, I want fiction that conveys hope. We all know we’re not getting out of this alive. Life is a one-way street.
But life doesn’t have to be a dark and rainy street, filled with so much fog you’re lost and wandering aimlessly. Hope lights the way, and joy fills the paths with sunshine even when the going gets rough. This is what a story can bring to us, a firefly glimmer of hope in a dark time. Many good stories become a cloud of fireflies that can light the path all night long.
This led us to a discussion about why it is that the SJW crowd insists on promoting misery, suffering without hope or light as value, while blasting positive, entertaining stories as shallow and not worthy.
And dog forbid you disagree! They will chide, chastise, and denounce you. They will call you unspeakable names and accuse you of everything from racism to misogyny, because you fail to love and admire their contrived suffering and condemn their wrongdoings without issuing apologies for said wrongdoing by sticking the oozing sores of their victimhood in others’ faces.
The problem with these miserable mediocrities is that they equate suffering with value, and when they can’t find value within themselves, they make up suffering to substitute for that value and demand that we all worship their contrived wounds.
Yes, overcoming challenges is a part of life, and a noble one at that. The problem is that’s not what these people want to do. They want recognition without working for it. They want to be admired without actually having put the effort into overcoming their suffering. They want to be viewed as noble without being noble. And when they can’t find anything worthy within themselves to put out into the world, they contrive their victim status, stick that into the world’s face, and demand their oozing sores be admired.
They want to drown in their victimhood. Their ennui is their virtue, and anything else – anything happy, hopeful, or light – is just not up to their high standards. These are the same people who think that only ugly art is worth being called art, exactly because it’s ugly, because anything beautiful is too easy to admire. You must work to love something hideous. You must make an effort to admire something horrible. They put the onus on you – you must work to admire them – you must work to see their virtue – but they don’t need to work to make something you might admire.
It’s the lazy way out.
When I visited New Orleans in 2009, I saw some incredibly beautiful transgender women! They put a lot of effort into looking like women. Beautiful clothing, hair, makeup that was flawless. They felt like women, and they made a huge effort to BE women. I looked at them as women, because this is what they were.
Compare and contrast this with the SJW set who claim to be transgender, and demand that you refer to them by the gender of their choice, but look like train wrecks with 5 o’clock shadow and outlandish hair. They don’t want to do the work. It’s apparently too hard to be women, so they simply demand to be treated like women, and if you dare notice their flaws, you’re a transgender hater, you’re a misogynist, and you need to be destroyed.
That’s why they promote suffering as a virtue.
See, it’s too hard to overcome actual challenges, to work through your pain, to bust through those barriers and become a functioning, achieving human being. So instead, they choose to put that responsibility on their audiences. You must find beauty in their ugliness. You must find virtue in their misery. You must see the light in their gloom. They need not do the work to show it to you. Hell, they don’t need to make any effort to overcome it. You must love their oozing sores simply because they’re oozing sores and pretend they’re virtuous and good, while they rub that pus in your face. And if you can’t or won’t, you’re a hater and must be exposed as such.
I know many people who have suffered. Sexual abuse in the home. Rape, assault, discrimination… Hell, on rare occasions, I’ve opened the curtain and talked about my own experiences. But here’s the thing, real rape victims don’t rub that rape in others’ faces and demand you admire them for being victims. Real victims of abuse don’t hang that dirty laundry for others to gawk at and demand you admire it. They work to overcome it. They don’t whip out the victim card and tell you they’re better and more valuable than you because they’ve suffered. They simply work to make it better, to see hope, to take in as much joy and radiate as much positive energy as they can.
But no… work is a four-letter word in the SJW parlance.
It’s much easier to simply excrete an oozing sore, demand you worship it, and if you don’t, you’re a despicable misogynist, racist hater.
It’s much easier to demand that you find virtue in their victimhood than to actually overcome it and show strength, positivity, and the ability to overcome adversity. And if you don’t find that righteousness in their contrived anguish, you must not be profound enough to understand it, because of your privileged upbringing and those antiquated values that society has imprinted on your simplistic brain.
But it’s not enough to turn suffering into virtue. No, they need to turn the concept of suffering upside down as well!
You make yourself into a freak show and parade yourself all over the internet, complaining about how you can’t afford to do the things you want to do, because no one will buy your substandard work? It must be because people don’t like you because of your gender identity, sexual orientation, or looks.
You admit to having sexual feelings about little kids? You’re obviously a victim, because you’re a trans woman, and people must hate you for your gender identity rather than the fact that you’re a disgusting, twisted pedo who harbors sexual feelings for little kids.
Your mediocre work doesn’t get any play or sales? Must be because you’re transgender, don’t conform, non-binary gender, different, not because your work really sucks, and since you’re obviously reviled because of your gender choices, you’re a victim, and therefore virtuous, and therefore everyone must love your work – without even reading it.
No thanks, boys, girls, and those of you who aren’t sure. I would rather read literature that uplifts me and that is interesting and insightful. I’d rather not be throttled with a “message,” but find it on my own. I’d rather find virtue in the work’s merit, instead of sifting through the maggots of the author’s alleged “suffering” to find some semblance of quality. I will think and feel, using my own mind and my own values, and I will not conform to your rotting ideas that don’t just replace beauty with decay, but try to change the very nature of beauty and pass putrefaction off as joy!
And I certainly won’t allow you to lambaste me for it.