Celebrities: Ruining Everything

Another day, another letter from someone who thinks that having work out there in the market means that I need to shut up about the political process here in the United States. This is not a wholly uncommon occurrence for me and usually plays out like this: Someone reads Old Man’s War, assumes because it’s military fiction that I am some stripe of conservative and/or Heinleinian libertarian, comes here, catches me on a day I’m writing about politics, has the veins in their neck pop, and then writes me a letter or makes a comment suggesting that I shouldn’t write things they don’t like because then they might not be able to buy any more of my books, hint, hint.

To which my response is always the same: Kiss my ass, hint, hint. Someone who thinks that buying my books entitles them to suggest I need to be silent about anything is someone whose money I don’t need or want. It’s always the righties who do this; I can’t remember the lefties who disagree with my politics, and yes there are some, ever pulling this kind of stunt (on the other hand, the lefties who disagree with something I write often want me to write differently than I do, which is not something I get from the folks on the right. This may be indicative of larger political pathologies relating to the American right and left wings; I invite master’s theses on this subject).

To be clear, the vast majority of my right(ish) fiction readers who are aware of my personal politics appear to be content to let me be an idiot on the subject and buy my books anyway; I thank them for their patronage, from the very bottom of my mortgage, and I also thank them for their (ahem) liberal attitude on the subject. I am always glad to see when someone, right or left or orthogonal, decides that as a general rule they don’t have to filter every single aspect of their life through a screen of personal political orthodoxy. It speaks well of their higher cognitive functions, in my opinion.

That said, this particular letter was a new variation on the theme: rather than threatening not to buy future books unless I shut the hell up, which is the usual tactic, this one said that the decision not to buy future books was already made, because “I respect celebrities who are humble enough to keep their political views to themselves, and after visiting your website, it seems you do not fall into this category.” Mind you, there’s still an explicit “STFU” message here, which boils down to oh, if only you followed the rules and been a silent little monkey from first you entered the marketplace, I could still give you my precious, precious coin. But the “more in sorrow than in anger” tone here is a nice touch.

But the part that really got me was the implication that I am now a “celebrity,” and that celebrities, by this gentleman’s formulation, should be “humble enough to keep their political views to themselves,” which is a formulation that is less about humility, I expect, and more about “I own your work and therefore I own you, so shut up, monkey.” But let’s take each of these points in turn.

Celebrity, me: Yeah, really, not so much. Yes, I’m a writer who is well known among people who read science fiction, and among people who read blogs. This is not the same thing as being a “celebrity” in the generally accepted sense of the term. I don’t get recognized in public; hell, a lot of the times I don’t even get recognized at science fiction conventions, which is the one place people might have some inkling of what I look like, and are sometimes even looking for me. I’ve had conversations with people who were holding books of mine and had them not know who I was. This is amusing, to be sure, but it’s not celebrity.

This is fine. I used to interview movie stars and musicians, you know, and have friends who work with and near the genuinely famous. I’m not unfamiliar with actual celebrity. It seems tiring. When I was younger, I thought it would be nice to be famous; at this point in time I’m content to be well known in my own field. It seems to give some of the nicer perks of fame (i.e., people seeming to be glad to meet you, once they know who you are), without some of the more annoying aspects (i.e., absolutely no privacy whatsoever about any aspect of your life). True, this means I miss out on groupies, but I suspect after the first several hundred they lose their luster as well. I could be wrong. I might be willing to find out. Let me clear that with the wife and get back to you on it.

I don’t want to be disingenuous or artificially humble about my notability, but at the same time, let’s have some perspective. Let’s say I am a celebrity among science fiction writers. Fine. You know who is more famous than me? My cat. Who is more famous than her? Wil Wheaton. Who is more famous than him? Neil Gaiman. Who is more famous than Neil? Tila Tequila. And thus, we learn the value of celebrity. And more to the point, if I’m going to be required to shut up because I’m a celebrity, I want to be at least more famous than my cat. Although to be fair, my cat rarely gives her political opinion on anything. Maybe this guy should buy books from her. Soon to come from Ghlaghghee the Cat: Everything I Ever Really Needed to Know About Disembowling Defenseless Rodents I Learned from Karl Rove. Brilliant!

As for respecting celebrities humble enough to keep their political opinions to themselves, allow me to suggest, humbly, even, that this fellow really ought to grow up a little. What he’s really saying is that he doesn’t want his fantasy image of celebrities messed with through the inconvenient fact of a celebrity being an actual person. But, alas, celebrities are not merely poseable action figures for our enjoyment and control; they regrettably come with thoughts and brains and opinions and such, which they may wish from time to time to use and express. Possibly some of these celebrities will be not particularly astute in their opinions; you could say the same about real estate agents, plumbers, doctors, bloggers or any other group of people, including, alas, politicians. I wonder if this fellow also only patronizes real estate agents, doctors, plumbers, etc, who never express a political opinion outside the confines of their own brain, and if he does, if as a consequence he’s become quite the handy man.

(Also, you know: What about political celebrities? They are celebrities, after all. And clearly caught in a bind by this man’s strictures, for the moment they speak or write, they make it impossible for him to give them campaign contributions! Or buy their books! Oh, the conundrum.)

But at the end of the day, of course, it’s this man’s choice, and his money. I would not have him do other than stick to his guns; indeed, I celebrate his choice and wish to help him achieve it. This fellow offered a list of representiative celebrities — aside from me — who he thinks ruin his fun with their persistence in talking about politics: Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Ben Affleck and Sarah Jessica Parker. I’m sure there’s something that connects all four of those actors, but I’m not quite sure what it is. Nevertheless, to aid this fellow in his quest to purge from his entertainment dollar all entertainers who just can’t keep their mudflaps shut about politics, here’s a list of conservative celebrities, from BoycottLiberalism.com. I’m sure he will get right on not supporting any of their projects with his money. Likewise, I’m sure that in science fiction, this fellow will henceforth avoid any books by John Ringo, Orson Scott Card or Jerry Pournelle, to name just three gentlemen who unnecessarily sully the air with public announcements of their own political thoughts.

I wish this fellow the best of luck in his purge of all entertainment by people who have ever publicly expressed a political thought, and hope that he finds his resulting entertainment choices — nutrition information panels and car owner manuals, mostly — keep him gripped and on the edge of his seat, waiting to find out what happens next (SPOILER: Riboflavin did it! In the B Complex!)

For my part, I think restricting one’s entertainment only to those people who don’t ever speak about politics is pretty damn stupid, even when those entertainers have the temerity to have opinions that aren’t exactly like mine. But I suppose that’s because, silly me, I think that a multiplicity of political views is actually a good thing for the health of the country, as is the willingness of all Americans to speak their mind on the subject, even famous people, even when they disagree with me. I also think there’s more to life than just politics, and pity those who apparently don’t. But, hey, I’m a celebrity. What do I know.

224 thoughts on “Celebrities: Ruining Everything

  1. “Yes, I am a celebrity among science fiction writers. You know who is more famous than me? My cat. Who is more famous than her? Wil Wheaton. Who is more famous than him? Neil Gaiman. Who is more famous than Neil? Tila Tequila.”
    The sad but very funny truth. Excellent reading for my morning, John. Thank you.

  2. As a conservative libertarian type, I have to say that if I edited my reading based on an author’s liberal viewpoints, I’d have precious few good books on my to read list. For example, Steve Brust is a Marxist, but he rights really good books. So I forgive him (and you) some wrong headed politics.

  3. Stevem:

    Steve’s not just a Marxist, he’s a Trotskyist! Which is pretty out there.

    My favorite example of this is Mark Helprin: His politics are nutty, his prose divine.

  4. I don’t have this problem so much. If someone doesn’t like my politics, it’s often because they got a big dose of it straight from my writing. So at least they’re avoiding me for the right reasons; they don’t like reading that enviro-dystopian-claptrap. Makes it simple for all of us. :-)

  5. Re: “Everything I Ever Really Needed to Know About Disembowling Defenseless Rodents I Learned from Karl Rove.” For the record, I would buy this book. And probably buy it as a present for one or two other people.

  6. Oh, eBear. I’m sorry to be the one to bring Tila into your perceptual penumbra.

    She’s a girl famous for being famous on MySpace. She’s got 2.5 million friends! AND, her own dating show, where both men and women compete to get with her! And, uh, stuff.

  7. Tee hee! Scalzi is funny!

    Thanks for reminding me why I still like to come here after all these (can it really be?) years.

  8. I want to turn back time, back to when I hadn’t read that list of conservative celebrities. I’ll never be able to watch a rerun of Charlie’s Angels again, fantasizing about Cheryl Ladd. Please, no, not Cheryl Ladd?!?!

    Wait a minute. My fantasies don’t involve a voting booth. (Well, they could, hmmm, interesting.) I’m fine, just ignore this comment.

    Note: I was shocked to find Mel Gibson on the list. I thought he was a Liberal.

  9. I don’t know why you’re surprised, John – have you ever heard of liberals burning books? Disco records? Sure. Bras? Hell yes. But books? We *love* books. I couldn’t even deface an Ann Coulter book (though I’ve had the urge to de-face Ann herself).

  10. I, too, would buy several copies of that book of your cat’s based on the title alone. It wouldn’t matter what your cat put into the book. I bet it would sell more copies than the book that Millie Bush wrote. Though there may be a time limit on this. I say you have nine months. Photos with funny captions is probably the quickest way to go.

    Or maybe a t-shirt at CafePress with just a picture of Ghlaghghee w/rodent, and the caption. If it went up today, I’d probaby buy it tomorrow, and be wearing it by the end of next week. I promise to wear it to the polls on Super Tuesday.

  11. I’ve followed your blog here for a while, but never commented. I’ve bought all your books and I’m looking forward to your next one. I’m a recovering Republican – and I don’t care what your political opinions are. I can skip those threads.

    I do boycott certain celebrities: I won’t pay to see a movie with Jane Fonda in it for example. But you have to get to that level before my ire for your political opinions would overcome my appreciation of your talent.

  12. @11, I suspect that there are quite a few liberals right now who want to burn Jonah Goldberg’s latest book. They’ve been doing so metaphorically since before it was published by leaving one star reviews that stupidly mostly started something like “don’t read this – I didn’t”, and then being dismayed when amazon deletes these.

    But I think it’s pretty simple what’s going on here with letters like that, John. Since, oh, just about everyone else who writes decent military SF is a right-winger, they feel somewhat betrayed to find out that you’re not.

    I didn’t feel that way. I was surprised, however. But as a right-winger I can’t possibly restrict myself to only right-wing content providers, because there are just too many lefties producing good stuff.

    As to the examples your emailer brought up in movies I can somewhat sympathise though, but in a different way. As an example, I wasn’t upset when Hollywood took in Troy, one of the greatest war stories of all time and turned it into an anti-war diatribe. I expected that. But I was upset when they turned it into a boring 3 hour snooze fest of an anti-war diatribe, and then got upset and were convinced that people didn’t watch it because of the anti-war part, not because of the boring snoozefest part.

    I would request that you not talk solely about politics though, but it’s purely a selfish request. The non-political stuff is so much better to me. But you, of course, get to do what you want. It’s your blog.

  13. OCSteve:

    “I won’t pay to see a movie with Jane Fonda in it for example.”

    Yup. Pretty sure everyone’s got a few on their “don’t give money to, ever” list. But I think as a general rule it’s a good idea to set the bar higher than lower.

    Also, at least you had an excuse for skipping “Monster-in-Law.”

    Skip:

    If I talked about politics all the time I would bore myself.

    I do expect I’ll talk about it more this year than most — rumor is, there might be an election — but I don’t think it’s going to dominate. Not when I have such cute cats!

  14. Me, I feel good about skipping certain author’s books because of their wacky political/social statements. I don’t have a political litmus test for writers, but if they’re way, way out there, like, for instance, saying they would push a button that would kill every Muslim in the world, they don’t get my time and money.

    Some of the authors I’ve written off are on the left, some on the right, some I have no idea what label they deserve. But really, I want nothing to do with them, and I especially don’t want to help them pay their bills.

  15. This whole subject is a symptom of people’s unwillingness to think any more, to take the easy road of trying to stick everything into nicely labelled pidgeon holes – just like ‘zero tolerance programs’ that get kids suspended from school beause someone saw a plastic butterknife under their car seat in the parking lot.

    Whatever happened to context? To discernment? To intelligent, rational analysis of discrete situations?

    I don’t know about you, but I can watch and enjoy Barbarella without having to drag one actresses’ ancient political gaffs into the theater – and I’m perfectly capable of deploring those actions if and when they come up in an appropriate discussion. And I can read Scalzi without worrying about what party he’s carrying a banner for.

  16. “What he’s really saying is that he doesn’t want his fantasy image of celebrities messed with through the inconvenient fact of a celebrity being an actual person.”

    This phenomenon is very common. John Cleese complained, in one of his TV documentaries, that much too often strangers call him “Basil” (after his eponymous role Basil Fawlty in FAWLTY TOWERS). In the TV program, a guy in the street shouted “Hey, Basil!” at Cleese… who immediately pulled a gun and shot the man dead.
    :)

  17. That list of increasing fame? You had me there until Tila Tequila. I knew who all the rest of them were.

    Also? She apparently can’t count.
    “If God came down and granted me one wish, I would wish to find happiness and hold on to it forever and take it with me to my grave.”

    I think she needs to go find the open source wishing community. I suspect they have a single wish that would give her the happiness she desires without being three seperate wishes.

  18. This is a great post! John, I’ve never read any of your books (simply because I don’t care for sci-fi) but I always assumed you were a Democrat, even over on AOL where you weren’t allowed to show a leaning either way.

    I’d hate to limit my reading or music or movies based on life-style or the opinions of people involved.

    Say, if you were going to recommend one of your books for someone who doesn’t care for sci-fi, which do you think they’d be most likely to enjoy?

  19. Well that’s a relief.

    I’m probably going to end up having to unsubscribe from George R.R. Martin’s blog during the election season and rely on someone else to give me his updates on why he didn’t work on A Dance With Dragons that month. I’d hate to have to not read here as well…

  20. My liberal friends seem far more willing to boycott an author for life because of one book or one statement than the conservative ones are. And they usually insist that I join them in refusal to read anything by “that idiot.” Their most common target seems to be Orson Scott Card.

    I always figured that boycotting a writer would hurt me more than the author. I mean, if I don’t read your overdue book when it finally comes out, how much will that hurt you? Would you even be able to notice the difference in the royalty check? Probably not. But it would hurt me.

  21. I will buy Ghlaghghee’s book the moment it is published, and present it as a gift to the mouser cat of the household. He could use a few pointers.

    I continue to read an author’s work because I like the way she or he strings words together. It’s an obsession, a compulsion and it’s not likely going to stop without extensive therapy. I don’t think my health insurance covers it. Why should actors’ and actresses’ off-screen lives influence my decision to watch their movies? So what if Tom Cruise is a nut? I don’t think he’s a great actor and don’t seek out his movies. So what if Bruce Willis is a conservative type? I think he’s HOT and will continue my periodic Die Hard marathons ad infinitum. Some of the personal beliefs of my fellow visual artists are so “out there” that I sometimes think of them as science fiction. Doesn’t stop me from totally loving their artwork.

    And now a bit of praise for Scalzi… I stumbled across your blog about six weeks ago, and have been hooked ever since. So I put The Android’s Dream on my Amazon wishlist, and received it for Christmas. I have finished the first four chapters (several other books were ahead of it in the To Be Read pile) and have placed Scalzi in the category of writers whose work I will read because I love the way they string words together. Also, thanks for the Month of Authors! I’ve added several new authors to my list. Going to the library is going to be a grand adventure next week.

  22. It is always the righties — not the lefties (who disagree with your politics) that send nasty grams … there is a statistical argument in there somewhere. I, however, am too mentally lazy to make it.

    Should mentally lazy people attempt comment in this particular blog? Doubt it. Didn’t stop me though.

    FWIW – I had to send trucks to Piqua twice last week, I actually thought “wow they are going to Scalzi-land”. Ok, the “wow” was edited in for celebrity worshiping effect.

  23. Addendum to #23—I’m another lefty who is uncomfortable giving money to Orson Scott Card, and sometimes reading him. So I’m not sure about there being levels of pathology on left and right, at least not in that manner. But it would *never* cross my mind to complain to OSC about it or try to change anyone else’s habits—that’s clearly my personal issue. (sometimes I’m not so comfortable with who I’m cheering for in Elizabeth Moon’s Serrano universe, but it hasn’t stopped me buying her paperbacks, and I don’t know or care to know whether that reflects her political beliefs)

    Another point—you are posting on your personal blog. He willingly came here to read it. This does *not* compare at all with someone using an Oscar acceptance to talk politics, etc.

  24. Dance:

    “Another point—you are posting on your personal blog. He willingly came here to read it. This does *not* compare at all with someone using an Oscar acceptance to talk politics, etc.”

    Yeah, there is that. If you don’t want to hear my political blather, it is pretty easy to avoid. But I suppose that for some folks the idea that I might be out there, posting a political opinion at any minute is too much to deal with.

  25. Left, Right, Orthogonal? Please elaborate on this orthogonal position! I am intrigued. What platform would an orthogonal wing candidate run on? As the founder would you run for office or just work from behind the scenes?

  26. As it happens, I ran article on the topic of SF writers whose beliefs/politics get in the way of enjoyment of their works in the latest issue of Argentus.

    That Boycott Liberalism site is truly f*cked up. Mostly because of its horrendous design, but I do love that they list Sam Adams and John Hancock as Conservatives. And the only reason I can see for them to include Rutherfurd Hayes in their Conservative Hall of Fame is because his election so closely mirrored Bush’s.

  27. We have this very schizophrenic relationship to the biographies of creative artists.

    We love their work and feel some kind of affinity for them. Maybe even a kinship or closeness. So we seek out biography in order to get closer still (to wit: the rampant juggernaut success of E! True Hollywood Story and VH1 Behind the Music. Not to mention author blogs.) But when we delve into biography or creator commentary, we run the risk that it will change the way we relate to the creator or the work.

    I’ve always loved the paintings of Jacques-Louis David, but didn’t know much about his biography or politics until I watched Simon Schama’s Power of Art last summer. Now I view his work differently — for better or worse. And yes, sometimes I wish I could go back to the way I used to be, but I recognize that as a childish impulse.

    I think a liberal arts education is helpful in preparing one for this possibility and in getting your head around separating the art from the artist.

    Happily, Death of Marat still makes me go all wobbly inside.

  28. Maybe you should tell the guy to try the library. Then he won’t have to pay for the books and he can still read them. ;oP

    Usually, authors who put their own political ideas into their novels only write hamfisted “message” books. I had no idea what your political viewpoint was from reading your books — and I pretty much disagree with you on everything political. It really doesn’t matter to me. After all, I want to be an author and I certainly don’t expect to conform to other people’s stupid ideas about how I should think.

  29. I refuse to see Tom Cruise movies — but it’s not because of his politics. It’s because I think of him as a vacuous pretty boy who plays the same “character” in every movie I’ve seen him in (oo, here’s the scene where he has to run down the street). He just gives me the creeps. Come to think of it, I disliked him even before I knew about his predilection for believing tales of jet airplane/spaceships and volcanoes and Xenu and making Brooke Shields cry. I boycott his products in spite of his (idiotic) opinions.

  30. Ok, so let me get this straight. The guy has decided not to read your books after researching your personal life. He didn’t like your *personal* website. This isn’t a complaint about your politics being associated with the reviews of your books, or your opinions being part of any advertising for your books. He’s upset because after he did some digging he didn’t like what he found?? Utterly ridiculous. It isn’t like you include a mandatory essay on your politics in your books.

    Wait, you didn’t show up at his front door, notes in hand for a political lecture did you??

  31. John -

    I was highly disappointed when I met you in Richmond last spring. I expected you to be Russell Crowe-like and punch me after throwing a telephone at my head. Please get your act together man.

    Christian

  32. Just for the record, John, I agree with your politics, but I’ve never bought one of your books. That’s what libraries are for, after all.

  33. I don’t mind reading political rants from writers (and editors such as the Nielsen Haydens though TNH does sometimes exhibit signs of Bush Derangement Syndrome) even when I disagree with them because, as a general rule, they can make a logical coherent argument and back it up with something. I quite enjoy being provoked as long as the argument is further advanced than a schoolyard “neena neena neena”.

    Most non-writery celebs can’t make a coherent argument and seem to mistake passionate belief for facts. The fact that their passionate belief then leads them to make their political argument in some wildly inappropriate place is just an icing on the cake.

    What irritates me are authors who let their politics intrude into their books, especially when it doesn’t need to. Star example being Spider Robinson’s 2 page anti-Bush diastribe in the middle of “Heinlein’s” Variable Star. Picking examples on the other wing I find Tom Kratman’s works less enjoyable than I might because of that tendency, even though I do actually agree with quite a bit of what he says.

  34. I would so buy a John Scalzi action figure. Of course it’d have to have removable hair, and state of the art plastic electronic accessories. I’d put it on the shelf with the vintage GI Joes, Master Chief, and the Hawaiian Elvis with the cat tooth marks on its head…

    One of the reasons I like this blog is the mix of topics, including politics. If we cross-examined everyone we know under the microscope, they’d all come up short in some way. My best friend’s choice of political candidates makes me want to dump pudding over her head, but she’s still my best friend. I think I was ten before I figured out you can’t make people be who you’d like them to be – unless you’re a writer.

  35. I get routine hate mail from NASCAR nuts (mostly) and fundies (sometimes) over my refusal to add dead NASCAR drivers (especially Dale Ernhardt) or any kind of mullah (like Jerry Falwell) to Dead People Server. I did lose a few readers after enforcing the “no mullah” rule, but I’m still making about the same in Google ad money, so…

  36. Increasingly, people want to live in bubbles. They surround themselves with conservative (liberal) friends, only read conservative (liberal) websites and generally shape their world so that they never have to get exposed to contrary thoughts. These are the sorts of people who won’t go to San Francisco (Texas) because those damn liberals (conservatives) live there. They arrange their entire lives in a way that they can pretend that everyone is conservative (liberal). They do this because it makes it easy to pretend that everyone who is liberal (conservative) is stupid or evil. It’s very hard to think of someone as stupid or evil when you interact with them as a real person and not a name on a website. The trouble happens when they accidentally make a mistake and stumble into a real liberal (conservative) by accident, for example, by assuming that their favorite author is conservative (liberal).

    Note that such people, liberal (conservative) is defined as not conservative (liberal).

    I used to work at the home office of Pottery Barn. I remember a call center person (before they outsourced that) talking about how every once in a while they’d get someone with a redneck accident who, when discovering that they were ordering something from San Francisco, would immediately hang up after issuing a comment on “liberals”, and “gays”. It’s the same thing.

    I do think it is important to realize that only a small minority on either side is like this.

    In regards to celebrity, I loved Neil Stephenson’s comment on his own.

    “It helps to put this in perspective by likening me to the mayor of Des Moines, Iowa. It’s true of both the mayor of Des Moines and of me that, out of the world’s population of some six billion people, there are a few hundred thousand who consider us important, and who recognize us by name. In the case of the mayor of Des Moines, that is simply the population of the Des Moines metropolitan area. In my case, it is the approximate number of people who are avid readers of my books. In addition, there might be as many as a million or two who would find my name vaguely familiar if they saw it; the same is probably true of the mayor of Des Moines.”

  37. Do I avoid certain authors because of their politics? It’s rare, but yes, I have one or two I won’t buy. However, they most absolutely do have the right to voice their opinions, and I can’t imagine writing to them to chastise them for “sullying the air” with their opinions. Sully away, I say!

  38. I’ve always found it illustrative that the people who complain about celebrities using their status to push a political agenda don’t seem to have a problem with, say, World War 2 era War Bond advertisements.

  39. I found it interesting that on the conservative celebrity list, Larry the Cable Guy is on it, but that Bill Engvall, Jeff Foxworthy and Ron White are not. Here’s your sign: if you bitch at military SF writers because you think they are too political, you might be a redneck.

  40. I find the criticism of vocal celebrity rather tiresome. Be it left or right, it denies a fundamental American right, to express ones opinion; you know freedom of speech. It is apparently ok for Limbaugh to express his opinion, he’s a, a, a, radio personality (hmm what’s another term for personality…oh right celebrity). Actually he get paid to express his bile whereas Sean Penn spends his own money to promote causes he believes in (some of them score extremely high bonehead meter). Which is more fundamentally an American behavior, getting paid to express the party line, or putting your money where your mouth is and marveling at the taste sensation? Both actually, and while I think Rush is a wart on the ass of progress, and wish him and truly fine infarction, he gets to say his piece and so does Hollywood. If you have a bully pulpit you get to use it, or is Teddy too liberal to. If you get too extreme then you will alienate extremists and sometime even regular folk (I for example have removed FOX from my TV lineup (but they are a blatantly political corporate entity not an individual (no matter how hard some parties work to give corporations human rights))). Boycotting a person or a corporation for ideological reasons is a personal choice but as Jon opined where the trigger point is seems to be a matter of maturity.

  41. Call it what it is: religious nuttery.

    Everybody has their thing that they turn into a religious zealot about – be it Creation vs Darwinism, Left vs Right, Chevy vs Ford, Windows vs Mac, Vi vs Emacs (personally don’t understand this one – clearly SciTE is the best ;) ).

    As I see it, people should do what I do.. When I happen across someone’s political rantings and my eyes start to glaze over, I (Gasp! Shock! Awe!) move on to the next missive and promptly forget what it was they were on about.

  42. I decided to clean my own house, so I looked at my own “never buy this guy’s books because of politics” list.

    Two of them were writers whom I used to love, and whose books I had already stopped buying because I didn’t enjoy the later work. The other three wrote in a genre which I wouldn’t buy in any case; Not My Beautiful Cake.

    So, really, it’s not much of a boycott list, is it? It’s as if I said I was boycotting succotash because of the cruel oppression of the corn plants, when in fact I hadn’t eaten succotash since 1913.

  43. What irritates me are authors who let their politics intrude into their books, especially when it doesn’t need to.

    Bingo. And I don’t care which way their politics leans. I read fiction writers for their fiction. If I want political op/ed, I’ll read political op/ed. If I want partisan propaganda, I’ll go look in my mailbox during election season. If I want deranged wingnuttery, there’s always the internet. If I want politics-as-religion, I’ll go to the atheist left. If I want religion-as-politics, I’ll go to the religious right. If I want sober reasoned political analysis I’ll go to sober reasoning professionals who don’t live and breathe partisan dogma.

    Rarely–VERY rarely–a fiction writer slams so much in-your-face political message/rant into a work that even their very best prose can’t hold me, and I become less likely to read their future work. How less likely depends on how good a writer they were in the first place. The better the writer, the more often they have to do it to lose my repeat business.

    If anyone thinks ANY of the cable news nets or print media outlets are neutral and unbiased, they’re living in a fantasy world. If you’ve found one that you agree with all the time, figure out their bias so you know your own. It’s useful info.

  44. Maybe your conservative harrassers are just lashing out, being fed up with watching all those Major Dad reruns, and listening to their Chaka Khan albums.

    Seriously. Gerald McRaney?

    And I suppose I’ll have to give up on Beverly Hills 90210… I’ll miss you Brenda.

  45. I’ve only made the “don’t buy his books” decision about one writer, (who is not John Scalzi.) That decision was 10% about his politics, and 90% about his “I have the right to be a royal jerk about my politics” attitude. Since then I’ve been hiding his books every time I walk into a store. Hopefully I’ve cost the fucktard a few bucks…

  46. I think what the protester really wants is for all celebrities to be empty-headed and unaware of the world around them, let alone capable of forming an opinion and commenting on that world around them. That should be left to those who Have the Divine Right to Power (and to Comment Perspicaciously and Endlessly Thereon).

    That, however, leads to Jonathan Livingston Guano and books of that nature, because if authors become celebrities they’ve lost the right to notice the world around them, etc.

    And it’s rather curious that he doesn’t (at least based on what you present) comment on Ted Nugent, Charlton Heston, Chuck Norris, and other celebrities whose opinions are probably closer to his putting forth their respective brands of nonsense…

  47. I never understood that whole problem with celebrities actually expressing their opinion about politics.

    And as one who knew you (in that internet-y way ones “knows” people) before you were a “celebrity” and enjoyed reading your political commentary then, one has to wonder, when were you supposed to turn your opinions off? After the first book? After the first big award? After the first farking of your cat? Is there a switch that gets pulled where all of the sudden you are famous enough to be required to shut up?

    I guess of someone’s opinion really bothers you enough, you can not buy their stuff. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to express it.

  48. Nuts to that, good sir.

    Since we brought up OSC, I will note that I did not desert his rapidly sinking ship until I read Shadow of the Giant and decided his writing was terrible enough that I would no longer support him. I thought he was a right bastard and one of those freaky cultish people (as a lesbian I tend to get a bit riled when someone who hasn’t updated their godly software in two thousand years tries to tell me who I can and can’t marry) but so are so many other good writers throughout history. Personal issues aside, I kept supporting him because I thought he wrote good books, books I looked forward to, wanted to own.

    You could be the most Republican, sexist, anti-gay, anti-everything asshole out there, Scalzi, and as long as you kept writing good books that I enjoy, I’d still buy them. And there are SO many others like me. So ignore that so-and-so, okay? Just keep writing great books, and do what you dang well want in your leisure time. The rest is subjective.

  49. While I don’t like, say Card’s politics or social commentary, I’ve liked much of his writing (at least his older stuff). I think Woody Allen’s been a huge jerk about his personal life (in the past anyway; who knows if he’s gotten any better really), but he’s made some of my favorite movies.

  50. You nailed it with this “But, hey, I’m a celebrity. What do I know.” I am not a fan because of your political views. I am a fan because you write entertaining fiction. I am a fan of movie stars because they pick good scripts and are good actors. None of which indicates some special skill in determining what is the best politician or political system. Basing your entertainment choices on the politcal views of those involved makes no more sence than basing your political views on what your favorite celebrity thinks.

  51. Julia, who is not Sall Lou Liz, Card is running one of the latest versions of god software. He is mormon and that version is less than two hundred years old. Still in beta and a little buggy in my opinion but hey, it isn’t 2000 years old. Well some of it is since like most software the kernal never really changes much. Just new features piled on top of it.

  52. Some people have expressed the opinion that, while they don’t care what your politics are, they were suprised to find out you’re a liberal. Not me. Any competent, much less talented writer can write stuff that strongly disagrees with his own personal views, and do it well enough that you can’t tell. And I didn’t need to find out you’re a liberal to know you’re that talented; I’ve read your books.

    And I agree with That Neil Guy. I don’t skip Tom Cruise movies because he’s a wingnut – he is, but so are most actors in one way or another. I skip his movies because he’s a crappy, no talent hack who chooses roles that invoke The Eight Deadly Words from me every time.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eight_Deadly_Words

  53. My personnal just-shut-the-hell-up-o-meter runs something along the lines of :

    Paris Hilton –> please just shut the hell up and go away entirely.

    Tom Cruise –> shut up dude because you really need to devote your efforts to making a movie that’s actually good, instead of pissing away your intellectual energy in efforts that have nothing to do with the craft you seem to have forgotten how to do. I did like “Last Samauri”, but everything else you’ve done in the last six or seven years has just been dreadful, and that includes the suckfesty MI movies.

    Bruce Springsteen & Bono –> I don’t agree with most of your take on public policy and I won’t in any way be swayed by your espousing a political candidate or agenda, but I love your music (even your “political” music). I’d rather you just make music…but expressing your view isn’t going to make me stop buying your music.

    What I find irksome in the extreme are the celebutant types that do idiotic things like (to make up a scenario) show up at climate change rallies in stretch-SUV-limos and expect to be taken seriously as being “concerned about the environment” because it’s obvious they’re much more concerned with publicity for themselves than they are for any “cause”. Kinda like the way Britney Spears at the height of her musical career (if you can call it that) played around with being a supporter of special olympics (or whatever it was) up until she got bored with it, or decided she was popular enough or hot-new-it-girl enough to dispense with such annoying time-wasters.

  54. See it’s interesting. I think it’s stupid to read or not read books based on a writer’s politics, but I could be accused of doing this occasionally – specifically, with Orson Scott Card and John C Wright. I like (some of) both of their writing, but I refuse to buy it any more. This isn’t because they’re nutty right wingers, though (although they are, John C Wright in particular). Its more because they’ve both publicly stated that I, as an evil little homo, are essentially subhuman.

    Is that making a decision based on politics? Or is it making a decision not to give them my money based on the fact that they express public disgust about something that’s integral to my self-identity. I don’t know. I just know I’ll never finish the Orphans of Chaos series…

  55. Rembrant, the base software is still that old, though. The upgrades are a bit spotty (Eden in Utah, say WHAT?!) and definitely fairly new as far as things go, but technically, Wiccans are running the latest godly software (1950). Mormonism is sort of….the Win2k of godly software.

  56. 53: as a lesbian I tend to get a bit riled when someone who hasn’t updated their godly software in two thousand years tries to tell me who I can and can’t marry.

    Smith only invented Mormonism in 1830 and the Mormons have been fairly good about getting divine revelations in tune with current day politics since them. Polygamy went away after 1890 and Negroes allowed to join the priesthood in 1978.

  57. I can only think of a few writers I’ve put on my “never read again under any circumstances” list. In some cases it was because I met the author in question and discovered him/her/it to be an ass. In others it was because they just forgot how to write good stories. But never because I disagreed with their politics.

    That said, however, I have to say I find it hard to comprehend an author who has studied power-politics and military subjects well enough to write good military fiction, but him/herself holds liberal political ideas where international relations are concerned. How can anyone hold strongly to ideas that reality has demonstrated to be false?

  58. Celebrity, me: Yeah, really, not so much. Yes, I’m a writer who is well known among people who read science fiction, and among people who read blogs. This is not the same thing as being a “celebrity” in the generally accepted sense of the term. I don’t get recognized in public; hell, a lot of the times I don’t even get recognized at science fiction conventions, which is the one place people might have some inkling of what I look like, and are sometimes even looking for me.

    We’ll know you’ve made it as a celebrity the day you get Fugged.

    Until then, keep on writing good stories, and I’ll keep on reading them. Despite that you’re not a celeb :-)

  59. Well I thought I would never reply to a political themed post because 99.9% of the time when I see the word I just skip it. 1) because I am not political. 2) I have read enough to know John and I have different viewpoints. 3) because I really don’t care what some guy in Ohio thinks about politics. Whoopedeedo that he is a author who I read, does that make his opinion any more important that someone else. Um hell no. And since I only know John from the books and this blog, I do not know him well enough to spend any of my time arguing about stuff that honestly I do not pay much attention to in the first place and would rather spend sleeping, reading, surfing instead of wasting my time on that subject.

    That being said, I hate to say it but it is somewhat important to actually know the leanings of your writers. (and Publishers) Just so you know what you can be getting yourself in to. I have to remember that Baen is conservative. Maybe less now that Jim is gone but he did publish 1984 w/ Newt and then I read another book where the democrats won the election and start going bugshit so of course republican Texas must try and pull out of the union and then it gets nasty. I won’t even try and find the title. Ok I did find but still not going to promote it. So it is important to know this kind of stuff so you can research an author/publisher to make sure you do not purchase crap.

    Granted, I have read another work by the author and will read it again. So it wasn’t the author it was the book. But I wonder how much that book was designed to give Jim a woody and get the book published. I dunno. Maybe it is the author’s true view, maybe not. To be honest, I do not really care. All I know is that after that experience, I have to watch out and read more reviews before purchasing. Because my time and money is too important to spend on something that was more political and less a book to read and enjoy and relax. I just gotta stop reading books using our current century.

    Hell if I gave a shit about the Author’s beyond their books and if they make me laugh I would probably have a very short list of authors I could read. Eric Flint and his politics. John Ringo and his trip down LKH lane on his Ghost series. David Weber and what he does to protect his IP. (I will not name the series to be safe from any issues :) )

    Oh and to cap this off. John, I truly enjoyed OMW and after reading it, I assumed you were more conservative by the book. After hitting this site for so long, I now know differently and major Kudos for writing a book that is different from your views. So very few Authors can divorce their writings from their sociological/political viewpoint and write something good. Most just write about what they believe and never branch out and if they do it sucks. So Kudos on that.

  60. As liberal as I am, there are very few authors or artists whose work I refuse to pay money for simply because of their views. No, strike that; I honestly don’t think there ARE any. If Mel Gibson makes another Lethal Weapon flick, I would have no problem watching it if it came on the television (um, except that I don’t WATCH television). Though I find Elia Kazan’s betrayal of his fellow artists before the HUAC, the man made some excellent films.

    Honestly, I believe that it is a DUTY of any artist or celebrity who has a working brain and a modicum of fame to try and advance any cause he or she feels is right. But just as it is his or her duty to do so, it is my prerogative to pay them no heed if I disagree, or deride their cause if I feel it is hurtful.

    (By the way–I find it funny that several of the celebrities listed on that site are in actuality moderate, or even liberal.)

  61. Hey John, you’re a celebrity that can make a joke about the Gregorian and Julian calendars and get it right, that puts you in a class above the regular celebrity.

    I feel your pain, John. At work (and on some blogs) I get to hear about how scummy and corrupt all politicians are. Even from people who know what my second job is.

  62. Pretty good consensus in this thread. It’s pretty obvious to me that if
    a) you write good fiction,
    b) you don’t let your politics turn your work into a short-lived screed, and
    c) your political views are not pushed in an inappropriate forum,
    that your politics are, therefore, irrelevant to whether or not I purchase your material. And if I seek your other writing out, I can ignore the parts I don’t like.

  63. I stopped reading Card due to his declining ability to keep me interested before I found out about his mental issues. So he’s technically on a banned-for-list list, but it’s kinda moot in that case.

    Reading books by authors whose political views you disagree with can sometimes change your own views (if the story is good enough to keep you interested). The major example of this for me is the works of Tom Clancy. Specifically, the Jack Ryan books (Hunt for Red October, etc.).

    I don’t agree with Jack Ryan’s anti-abortion Catholic viewpoint, but Tom Clancy’s views on better support for the military and human intelligence have been proven well enough to me at this point simply by watching all the crap that others in the world get up to when there’s noone around strong enough to defend against the neighborhood bully. Does anyone really think Taiwan would be able to get away with what they’re doing if the U.S. didn’t have the military strength we have? Kuwait (& Iraq) would still be under Hussein’s control (the occupation of Iraq is, of course, a ridiculous situation, and not what I’m talking about). The loss of human intelligence under the Clinton era (that’s my take on when it happened, anyway; I could be wrong) is the kind of thing that will make or break dealing with critical situations very difficult, if not impossible, and is also something that will likely take decades to get back in place. Considering the nutcases in the world in charge of armies and countries, we NEED spies. Lots of them. Assassins, too. I’d rather we assassinate evil despots rather than kill thousands of soliders on each side in wars to get rid of them.

    The other side of the coin: I grew up reading RAH and really liked the ‘libertarian’ (or really, anarchist) ideas he presented. I consider RAH to be more of a parent to me than my own parents in so far as how he shaped my thinking and sense of fair play, etc. His books speak to me on a deep level.

    And then I grew up and realized that lots of laws that are in place are there for a freaking reason. Lead in products from China? Why, let the market decide! No thanks. I still love RAH, and consider him to be my favorite writer by far, but one thing I had to realise: it’s FICTION. It’s a great place to spend lots of time, but I’d rather live in a world where, despite all the problems unions case, I don’t have to work an 80 hour week side by side with elementary-age kids in a factory.

    If you can’t change your views on things, that’s a great sign you’re either an idiot, or dead.

  64. @ James

    Here is one instance: http://www.qando.net/details.aspx?Entry=4113 & here http://www.dalefranks.com/honorverse/

    He is also anti fanfic from what I have heard.

    Found here: http://faqs.org/faqs/sf/david-weber/ Search for Fanfic

    Of course it is kinda easy not to read any of David’s new work since ummm the last thing I got from him was his Tor novel last January that isn’t got its sequal till mid year. And the last Honor book was published at the end of 2005. Supposedly there will be more HH stuff coming around but hell. 3 to 4 years???

  65. The guy who wrote the letter is a nutbar. Unfortunately, a very common nutbar. He wants his celebrities (or whatever) to remain dolls in his little dollhouse of Comfortable Views I Agree With.

    On the other hand, I used to think I would refuse to read Heinlein ever ever ever x 17 because where I grew up, people told me he was, well, basically a Very Bad Man. No specifics, just very bad. Like on the level of the devil. (Church on every corner, yo.) You followed your betters, among other things damnit.

    Anyways, my views have since then been updated radically, but even if they weren’t, I still never checked up on Heinlein, because the parental/peerage orders to ignore him never got overridden; it was such a tiny part of my life that I overlooked it (which I guess partly argues against the nutbar’s views of the world: it wasn’t earth-shatteringly important enough during the biggest life-changing earthquake of my life).

    It’s funny, because I totally don’t agree with Orson Scott Card, but I worship his writing anyways (I’m a storytelling person. Writing can be a bit pedestrian, but if the story is great I’m there. I thought Shadow of the Giant was cool). You’d wonder why I had a problem with reading Heinlein.

    Eventually I did, too.

    So, I had my first stack of Heinlein this week. I haven’t gotten through the little books yet, but … wowee. I am a great big flaming idiot.

    Also I did my first real research on Heinlein ever. Wowee. I am a great big flaming idiot.

    When I write my first review since the one for the Coffee Shop book, it has to be about Heinlein’s YA work.

    I guess the morals of the story are:

    - Look inside to find your internal idiot and root it out
    - Don’t teach your children to be idiots, because they grow up idiots

    I’m pretty sure Heinlein’s the only guy I ever relegated to “don’t ever digest” because of his politics. Thus I hope I have unidiotized myself this weekend.

  66. @ James

    Here is one site that discusses how he reacts to IP choices. http://www.qando.net/details.aspx?Entry=4113 & http://www.dalefranks.com/honorverse/

    Oh and his view on Fanfic: http://faqs.org/faqs/sf/david-weber/ search for fanfic.

    It is kinda moot now with him not doing my work. HH hasn’t had a book out since 11/2005. His next Tor novel not out until later this year. Not putting much out these days. Dunno about his co-op series with Linda Evans though

  67. #73: I’m not sure you can make any safe assumptions about RAH’s political views based on his writing.

    Oh, and John – no way in hell is Neil Gaiman more famous than Wil Wheaton. Stand By Me and ST:TNG alone mean that MILLIONS more people know who Wil is than will ever know who Neil is. Even country cable tv station-watching people watch ST:TNG. People who would never read a SF book (well, or even any book) know Wesley Crusher (and probably hate him :). Neil? C’mon, sure, he’s a freaking legend in certain circles, and deservedly so, but they’re kinda small circles, comparatively.
    I’d put Tila’s level of fame between that of Neil and Wil, too. Isn’t her show on cable? (I can’t remember.) She’s a MySpace/MTV(whatever) fad. Two years from now, noone’s likely to remember her much. Wil will live on forever in reruns, as will Neil’s work.

  68. You’re one of the authors on my “buy anything in mass market edition” list. I read fairly quickly and most authors write fairly slowly, so it is of significant length. Some authors have fallen off that list over the years. Except for the one whose editors quit editting his work, the others just started writing books that I really didn’t enjoy reading, particularly alternate ancient history. I still buy some of their books, but I double check the topic.

    As far as military SF goes, I read some but not all. “Old Man’s War” has quite a number of elements that I am still thinking about, not just military.

  69. Oh also, if I can read and really enjoy Scott Westerfeld’s books, even though he’s a dirty Pluto-hater, then that should be proof enough that you CAN enjoy a writer’s works whose astronomical views you absolutely abhor with a blood-soaked passion.

    Hey, I got to use the word ‘abhor’ in a sentence. Awesome!

  70. I’d dispute that. My mother, who I doubt has a clue who Heinlein is, much less Wil Wheaton, just told me about this great book she read called “Anansi Boys” by Neil Gaimon. The guy is definitely crossing into the mainstream.

  71. Actually, I get why lefties ask you to write something different and righties threaten to boycott you if you don’t write everything the way they want you to.

    It’s from a basic difference in worldview. The right wing is eliminationist at the core. The left wing would like to incorporate everybody. This is not so sweet as it sounds, or as sinister as it sounds either (ooh, unintended pun which I will leave though it undermines the force of the sentence).

    Taking it sweetly, the left wing’s propensity for trying to get everybody on the same page would mean actual “big tent” politics, but what it means is that the party that’s supposed to represent the left and center doesn’t represent anything. Which makes it more difficult for the left to unite in anything like a meaningful way. Conversely, the right’s eliminationism allowed them a long run of bullying the right and center into the most extreme right wing positions and also seizing power for a really long time based on those extreme positions. And somehow in the process getting their extremists labelled “moderates” and “the base.” Though, like all strategies, it doesn’t work all the time.

    The less-sweet manifestation of trying to incorporate everybody is that request — frequently made in different ways, usually just arguments but in rare occasions, spectactularly physical — for people who generally agree on some issues to take on the whole program even in places where it doesn’t apply or make sense, even when the person being requested to do that doesn’t agree with some aspects of the program.

  72. I’m going to be the odd man out here and say, Hey, I bought all of your books, including a signed limited edition copy of ‘Coffee Shop.’ So, you work for me, Buster, I paid for at least a couple of square feet of gravel in your driveway

    - now, go make me a turkey sandwich, chop chop.

  73. It is truly a pity that we cannot know the name of the gentleman of letters, as I would love to address him directly:

    Dear Sir,
    I was most amused to learn of your presumptuousness and narrow views, as recounted by the recipient of your screed. Thanks to you, I have found the impetus to pursue a task long delayed: purchase of a second set of Mr. Scalzi’s books, specifically for lending out to friends or anyone interested in good writing. Your sacrifice — abstaining from purchase of further works by JS — will undoubtedly be appreciated.
    If I but knew your name, sir, I should name the modest fund allocated to this project in your memory.

    Sincerely,
    Christopher J. Hawley
    chawley@veritas.com

    John: Thank you for the excellent and provocative article. The KMA Memorial Lending Fund has been opened, and book purchasing will commence sometime this evening. (I’d start now, but have a scheduled carpet cleaning to take care of first.)

  74. #74: The first wowee was “his work is good! I don’t care if he’s the devil!” The second wowee was “oh, he isn’t the devil!”

    I tend to put my art and my politics into different boxes these days.

    But yes, I do agree: can’t make safe political conclusions about folks from their fiction writings.

  75. #77 – One data point does not make a trend. Cool as it would be to have a mother who’s into Gaiman.

  76. I’m one of the conservatives that reads all of John’s work. Having met him I must say that he is quite friendly. As far as the politics, well one should not judge characters as the author and for those who refuse to read views that may be different, grow up and learn to appreciate the differences that made this country great. The Founding Fathers were all over the place when it came to politics, religion, economics, and just about everything except for one. They had come to see themselves as American not British and this was the commonality that made the difference. If only our national leaders did the same today.

  77. From years of working in the bowels of real politics I can authoritatively state that the vast bulk of people involved in applied politics with opposite political views than yours do not eat babies, blend puppies, strangle kittehs, or desire to gulag or obliterate everyone who disagrees with them.

    Their fan clubs, on the other hand…

  78. My brother reads your blog as well as I do; and when you posted this he ran in to my apartment ( I live next door). When he asked me my opinion on the matter, I promptly replied;

    “What the hell do I care? I like his books, not his politics.”

    For this I was proclaimed a nut job and he threw a stress ball at my head.

  79. It’s always the righties who do this; I can’t remember the lefties who disagree with my politics, and yes there are some, ever pulling this kind of stunt

    You know, John, lefties pull the same sort of crap all the time, they just don’t do it to other lefties. You could certainly find a plethora of examples in my blog comments.

    That being said, I completely agree with your conclusions regarding the matter.

  80. Vox:

    “You know, John, lefties pull the same sort of crap all the time, they just don’t do it to other lefties. You could certainly find a plethora of examples in my blog comments.”

    Damn lefties!

  81. Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Ben Affleck and Sarah Jessica Parker. I’m sure there’s something that connects all four of those actors, but I’m not quite sure what it is.

    Kevin Bacon, by some degree, no doubt.

    Which, of course, ties them all back to you and the cat.

  82. That would explain all the cats – they can smell the Bacon on you. They have a very keen sense of smell, you know.

  83. By the way, did he smell like Beggin’ Strips? I’ve heard that only one thing smells like Bacon, but I think that’s an urban myth.

  84. I did not go out of my way to sniff him. I don’t remember smelling him, which suggests he smelled unremarkable.

  85. Oh it’s not just in politics of celebs one finds fan entitlement. Fans turn on artists for all kinds of things that have nothing to do with the work.
    Though I doubt you have the kind of fans who would bash your choice in significant other because it conflicts with their personal fantasies like some do.

  86. Funny … I have no idea who Tina (scrolls back up to check), that is, Tila Tequila is.

    Musician? Actress? Marketing ploy?

    Who cares?

  87. John @ 91

    Well, there you go, then. I can see you were being disingenuous about being a celebrity of some calibre. I’m disappointed Scalzi. I shall have to refrain from reading your books until you embrace your famous self whole-heartedly. (Although I suppose either Chrissy or Athena would be acceptable stand-ins for that embracement. They are at least as famous as your cat.)

    I’m sorry. You were talking politics and idiocy. I was blinded by your star-like qualities.

    Obama 2016!

  88. Yeah – I did the Gaiman test on my wife, she knew who he was, almost knew who Heinlein was -knew he was a writer, but had no idea what, lost on Wil Wheaton – even after I said Wesley Crusher.

  89. After “Your Big Fat Election Brain Dump, 1/11/08″ and then this one I hereby nominate John to The Table of People I Would Most Like to Have Dinner With. DAMN I enjoy reasonable men with interesting opinions and wit. Now if we could only find a little more of that in the political process I would be very happy indeed.

  90. …next they’ll be saying you’re not qualified to speak about poverty.
    Wait…
    We went through that one already. ;)

  91. I wish I had thought of this earlier:

    If only Ronald Reagan had followed the Protestor’s screed/requirements, we wouldn’t be in many of the particular messes we’re in today. (We’d be in different ones.) An actor? Without a bachelor’s degree? Who wants to be President? Whose friends and handlers are just as corrupt as those in the current Administration, but were better at hiding it?

    And for those who say “But Reagan won the Cold War!”, may I suggest you back that up with some verifiable facts… that won’t get laughed off by people who actually served as federal officers during that period and have personal knowledge of what was going on?

  92. I once used a bookmooch request to get an Ann Coulter book (I was looking for anything, but it turned out to be ‘How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)’. I wouldn’t have *paid* for it, to be true, but that’s because I don’t pay for pop culture punditry (when I buy books of that nature, it’s books like ‘Live from Baghdad’ and biographies of real journalists). I did it specifically because I wanted to learn what she was saying and writing about, and how it was being said. I think anyone who specifically rejects any book because of the political leanings and activities of the writer (or the fact that those leanings exist! and are ever expressed!) is going to create an echo chamber around themselves, filled only with the opinions he doesn’t notice to be opinions, because he agrees with them.

  93. John,
    First: I have read all your paperback SF (actually I bought them, which you are probably more interested in) and love them. And I will be buying all your future books.

    I do get cross when an artist I like (usually a musician) comes out with some really dopey “BusHitler” type rant. They NEVER come out with really dopey “Obama is Osama’s love-child” or righty equivalent. So the trend is left-skewed.

    I can handle any amount of intelligent comment from either side, but I seriously couldn’t read a book from someone who is given to dopey political ranting. Which of course Scalzi, J doesn’t do.

    Funnily enough I think Michael Crichton’s political talks are well reasoned and interesting – but I can’t be bothered with his books. I’m not saying they’re crap, but he always just loses me after a couple chapters. My wife reads them though, so the money isn’t completely wasted.

  94. John @ 104:

    Just wanted to be sure, since I read that Flint identifies himself as a Trotskyite. His politics are different than mine, and so are yours, but I surely enjoyed both 1632 and Old Man’s War. By the way, you got me to finally read Starship Troopers, and I’m glad I did.

  95. I suppose that these “neo-cons” will stop watching their precious Fox News (News=republican propaganda) as all those celebrities discuss politics.

    No need to worry about those types of neo-conservatives not reading your books, they can’t read anyways. Real conservatives should be worried having thier agenda hijacked by these fanatics. They really are not much different from fanatics who are hijacking islam.

  96. There are two completely different things at work here, which color the debate in ways which cannot easily be discarded.

    One, rather than red or blue, big chunks of the U.S. and the country as a whole tends more towards purple — the tighter the race between red and blue, the more strident both sides seem to become. I, too, remember a time when compromise wasn’t a dirty inconceivable word and that progress often requires compromise. Rent the movie 1776, for example.

    Two, there’s a big difference between writing and imposing political views into writing. But there’s a bigger difference with imposing political views onto reading and claim it was the author instead. There are plenty of authors I don’t read anymore, but it usually boils down to the “jumping the shark” phenomenon, quality of writing, having your name stamped on books written by others or just taking things in a direction that no longer interests me. My dime, my time.

    Seems to me that all readers, myself included, get to choose what they spend their money on. Just as all writers, myself included, get to choose what they want to write about. Assuming that the first gives you the right to demand control over the second is just plain silly. At any rate, the marketplace isn’t about fairness anyway. Some great writers sit typing on friend’s kitchen tables in obscurity, while some wingnuts attract legions of loonies. The Writing Gods be fickle creatures.

    What was the question? (grin)

    Dr. Phil

  97. Dear Mr Scalzi,

    It is regret that I must inform you that because you will not cease (despite being a celebrity, and therefore not entitled to express opinions on such things) expressing your opinions about cats, that I will not be purchasing any more of your books.

    Later, I will be shooting myself in the foot because the person ho designed my shoes apparently has a sexual preference.

    Regrettably,
    Mark Whybird

  98. I find that the “they should keep it to themselves” comments are especially curious when we’re talking about creative types–writers, musicians, directors. If life is the subject of art, why shouldn’t politics (as a part of life) be as much an appropriate subject as love, death, why are we here, is there a god, what does it mean to be human, and all the rest of it? And (unless maybe you’re in school) it isn’t like anyone is forcing you to read work that deals with a particular theme or subject, is it?

    To be honest, it’s often the apolitical artists that have me scratching my head, wondering how someone is so disengaged from the world. I mean, I may loathe 90+% of what Ted Nugent has to say about the world, but at least he’s not vapid the way Britney Spears is.

    Nor do I understand the mentality of someone who makes threats against an artist he disagrees with. Just don’t buy the art, for crying out loud, and cut the crybaby bullshit.

  99. I would like to state, for the record, that I, a liberalish resident of Santa Monica, have burned a book.

    It was John Gray’s Men, Women and Relationships. I read through it at the behest of my then-girlfriend, who broke up with me about a week after I finished the damn thing. I hang my head in shame (but only a little bit, ’cause it was a very cathartic moment. Also, that mother was super flammable. Went up like a stack of pine needles doused in lighter fluid. Whooosh).

  100. But how *do* you separate out the artists, the artist personal actions and statements, and the artist’s work?

    For example, I never much minded Tom Cruise. But his public and nasty rant on Brooke Shields and depression pushed every last one of my buttons. He was mean. He was rude. As an individual who herself suffers from depression and has been greatly helped by medication, I was disgusted and offended and mad and a whole bunch of other things by his ignorant statements.

    When something someone does can be construed as an attack against you or those like you, how does one go about setting that aside?

    I realize this is far afield of the original point of the thread–that having an opinion contrary to that of the reader should not mean a writer should no longer be read, but it is the same general idea.

    Is there a point at which you should stop supporting an artist for something other than disliking their works?

  101. I fail to see the correlation between an author’s personal and political views of reality … and the value of an author’s work of fiction relative to its retail price.

    This must be because I wasn’t dropped on my head enough times as a child.

  102. An LJ author linked your blog. I’m afraid I’ve never read any of your books, but I do enjoy some military SF no matter what the author’s political leanings may be (I’m liberal myself, but that includes believing in freedom of speech). At any rate, I’m going to buy _Old Man’s War_, since you recommended it as a good starting place. If I like it, I’ll be reading more.

    If someone wishes to vet the political leanings of all the authors he reads, that’s their business, I suppose; but telling them they ought to STFU is just unAmerican!

  103. Is there a point at which you should stop supporting an artist for something other than disliking their works?

    Yes. The point at which you no longer feel comfortable supporting the artist is when you should stop supporting them.

    I think it’s a subjective point for everybody. There are artists that I know were douchebags in parts of their lives, but I still dig the work. And there are artists that, for some reason, I can’t get over their politics or personalities even when I can appreciate that they’re talented. And it’s not always a consistent scale–what might be a capital offense for one artist maybe gets glossed over in my mind for another artist. But, maybe, when you’re talking about something that really is a gut-level judgment of taste or preference, a double-standard is not only tolerable but necessary.

    The douchebaggy thing isn’t deciding you can’t support an artist because of his or her politics, religion, treatment of spouses, business practices, etc.. And it’s not even douchebaggy to announce to your friends or in something like a review or blog that you “can no longer stomach X’s tendency to blank.” The douchebaggy thing is sending the artist a communication in which you basically threaten the artist, suggesting that you’d throw money at him except he blanks, so now you won’t. It’s douchebaggy because it’s basically the equivalent of a toddler telling his mom and dad that he’s going to stop loving them if he doesn’t get his way; it’s annoying from a small child but the child doesn’t know any better, the child hasn’t been socialized yet. But from an adult? Act your age, not your shoe size (as the old line goes).

  104. Julia

    Wiccans are running the latest godly software (1950).

    Technically speaking, I believe we Pastafarians are running the *latest* platform. Also, it’s open source. w00t!

    rAmen

  105. Random Michelle K – My friend took his calculus book to the range and shot it up. He said it was very cathartic, and an excellent way to celebrate completion of the calc series.

  106. My only problem with celebrities getting political is when they say “It’s my reponsibility as somebody famous to” or something along those lines. Make me gag. Then it’s not their politics, it’s their self-important attitude. Celebrities are the modern equivalent of court jesters and their only reponsibility is to make us laugh (or cry if it’s drama).

    Now if they then wanna use the fame they have from that to support a cause that’s fine (that’s what that 1st amenment thing is for after all), but stop thinking you’re important just because you’ve got a movie coming out.

    Alex@50 says

    “I’ve only made the “don’t buy his books” decision about one writer, (who is not John Scalzi.) That decision was 10% about his politics, and 90% about his “I have the right to be a royal jerk about my politics” attitude. Since then I’ve been hiding his books every time I walk into a store. Hopefully I’ve cost the fucktard a few bucks…”

    Okay you decide because this guys an ‘ass’ other people don’t have the right to decide for themselves whether or not to read his stuff? You’re just going to protect them from encountering some thought you don’t agree with.

    Am I the only one who sees a problem with this?

  107. Coming in very late… WTF?

    1) What I think of you or your opinions doesn’t matter.
    2) What you think of me or my opinions doesn’t matter.
    3) Dissent is the highest form of patriotism – T. Jefferson
    4) Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort – RAH

  108. I can get along with the others quite well, but….

    3) Dissent is the highest form of patriotism – T. Jefferson

    Not so. Correct attribution is to anarcho-Marxist historian and 9/11 Truther Howard Zinn, circa 2002. Though Dorothy Hewitt Hutchinson said something similar a decade or two earlier.

  109. What can you say about someone like that? I mean, besides the 1,545 words our Mista Scalzi came up with?

    Really… I don’t know what to say… I mean fuck em if they can’t take a joke.. You cannot put yourself, your thoughts, out here without running into assholes who feel superior. Fuck em.

    We write, blog, dialog for and with those who have the intelligence and ability to freely and openly communicate with diverse people who hold diverse opinions and ideas. We enjoy the variety, we see the value inherent in the diversity… some others just can’t.

    The Ms Grundy’s of the world… them what feel THEY know best and if we would just fukkin LISTEN to em all would be well… fuck em.

    The only thing they are good for is… giving the vast majority of us something else to chat about.

    Get Scalzi… a celeb and all… and we knew Him when… sigh.

    And I do count myself lucky to be among His right(ish-with-newly-discovered-orthogonal-leanings) fiction readers who, while being aware of His personal politics does still appear to be content to let Him be an idiot on any subject and will continue to buy His books as long as He keeps on doing that thing He do!!

  110. I find this to be an awful lot more talk than the person who instigated it deserves. I don’t believe for one moment that, after reading one Scalzi book, he is declining to read more because he disagrees with John’s politics. I think that he has a) never read one of John’s books, or b) read one, and didn’t like it. So he’s either refusing to read more Scalzi because he didn’t enjoy the Scalzi he read first, or he’s refusing to read any Scalzi because he disgarees with John’s politics. Either way, he’s a liar. In my opinion.

  111. Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Ben Affleck and Sarah Jessica Parker. I’m sure there’s something that connects all four of those actors, but I’m not quite sure what it is.

    They were all dupes of Kim Jong Il in Team America.

    Funny you should mention John Ringo. I have a somewhat similar story. Now anyone who’s ever read Ringo’s work, it’s pretty obvious on which side of the fence he resides. I don’t really have a problem with that. And once I got exposed to his work, I just ate it up. For about three months I did nothing but tear through his backlist.

    Then I read Ghost.

    Ye gods. That book was SO stuffed with nausea-inducing right-wing propaganda, it was like it was ghost-written by Ann Coulter. So much so that I have yet to return to any of the umpteen series by him I was following. (Not in a “stamp my widdle foot in protest” sense, but an “OK, that’s enough of THAT” one that I haven’t yet overcome.) So there’s a case of an author’s political leanings worming their way into their work and actually dampening my ardor as a reader.

    (Incidentally, John Ringo? I found most of your fantasy work to be very credible, but ironically found Ghost unbelievable. For example, no woman will ever, EVER find it endearing that a man keeps clean ladies’ underwear on his boat “just in case.” I’m just saying.)

  112. I expect John to do what he did to Ghost to every other series he has. I have already seen indications that he will move the stuff in Ghost into other series. He has already started in the last book of the Council Wars series and I totally expect it to happen to the Polseen series if he ever writes more for that.

    But John has posted on his site that that series is his biggest earner. So expect it to continue. I just wish that booksellers would either put that series next to Mack Bolan stuff or in the romance section and NOT SF because it is not SF. It is military fiction with enough testosterone to kill a horse.

    @ 69 69 Dude!

    Here is some stuff I was referencing. http://www.dalefranks.com/honorverse/

  113. Yes, Tom Cruise is a loon, but, for the defense re: his acting talent, I would like to present
    Exhibit A: Collateral (with Jamie Foxx) and
    Exhibit B: Magnolia (P.T. Anderson’s ensemble film.)
    Damn, that’s some good rant, John. Me bookmark for later.

  114. I have been burned before when I discovered that a favoured author was an extremist nutjob, and it might well colour my interpretation of future works by that person. (Though it won’t keep me from buying their books in future.) The only real mistake that John’s disgruntled correspondent made, as far as I can tell, is thinking that John might care enough about his money to care about his opinions.

    I started reading Whatever a few months ago, but have not read any of John’s fiction. What happens if read Old Man’s War and find that I don’t like it? Should I stop reading the blog?!

  115. Stephanie M. Clarkson:

    An excellent cover! But that’s Lopsided Cat you have there, not Ghlaghghee.

  116. Interesting remarks, and I substantially agree. A couple things:

    1. I’ve gotten that flak from the left as well as the right; although, to be fair, I think it’s because I’m such an extreme Leftist that I trigger the, “Save your worst vitriol for those come closest to agreeing with you” reflex that we Reds are so well known for.

    B. John DeChancie came up with a lovely term to describe people us: “Phamous,” pronounced “fumis.” It means, no, you aren’t actually famous; but every once in a while you come across someone who’s heard of you.

    III. I’ve yet to meet anyone pulling that “celeberties should keep their politics to themselves” number who didn’t make an exception for any celeberity who agreed with him.

  117. Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort – RAH

    See, this is the kind of thing where Heinlein loses me as anything other than a guy who sometimes wrote fun Golden Age SF. It’s perfectly possible to be a suspicious altruist with “no desire to be controlled” (many social progrssive/civil libertarian types like myself fall into this camp) or to be an idealist who thinks strong, controlling central authority is necessary to provide the most good for the most people (I suspect most fascists–before you ask, we’re using the term correctly to apply to followers of Mussolini et al.–could be described this way).

    That quote is just Heinlein talking out his ass again. He grossly oversimplifies the possible diversity of human opinion into two possibilities, one of which apparently reflects his views. Then he self-deprecatingly makes his camp look slightly bad–after he’s already made the other look worse (even many people who really like being controlled pretend that they don’t–e.g. anyone who has ever said “I don’t care if the police tap phone calls because I have nothing to hide.”). Then he frames it all in a way that sounds sort of pithy. (He knew how to put together an aphorism, for sure.)

    Heinlein’s politics, when I was old enough to detect them, never kept me from reading his books and weren’t the reason I fell away from him. Comments like the above, however, were a small demerit, along with his plots and characters, that put him into a personal “B” list–he’s someone I would still read if I had more time, but I don’t and my backlist of other things I’d like to read is already overwhelming.

  118. An artist doesn’t have to be a nice guy to produce deathless art. Thomas Malory wrote a good part of Le Mort d’Arthur while in the slammer for a number of charges (Wikipedia lists them as “burglary, rape, sheep stealing, and attempting to ambush the Duke of Buckingham”. Wagner was a virulent anti-semite, et numerous cetera for various other artists.

    So nice guys like John don’t have a lock on producing art that others can enjoy. So long as the author doesn’t insert his or her personal prejudices into his work as The Only True Path For Intelligent People To Follow, I don’t have any problems appreciating what they produce. So long as I find it interesting and well-crafted! Is that too much to ask?

  119. Tim Keating @ 134,

    I don’t have any problem with Ringo’s political rantings, I just can’t stand the fact that he’s no longer capable of writing a comprehensible paragraph. Has he risen to the level of “immune to editors”? I just read Sister Time and found myself reading paragraphs over and over again trying to make sense of the book.

    Bah! I think I’m done with him..but I’m not going to go to the effort of writing to him and telling him about it. Unless he’s lurking here.

    Just in case…Hi Mr. Ringo. Buh-By!

    ::Airline Wave::

  120. The only Author that I ever “blacklisted” was James Hogan, after I found out he was a fucking Holocaust denier. The conundrum I faced was awful; I didn’t want to keep his books, nor could I give them to someone else since they might have liked them and bought more, thus rewarding his batshittery. Yet I couldn’t just destroy them either, ironic as that might have been, ‘cuz NAZIS burn books. So I ended up mailing them back to the publisher with a letter explaining why. They never wrote back…

  121. Rigel Kent wrote in # 129 Okay you decide because this guys an ‘ass’ other people don’t have the right to decide for themselves whether or not to read his stuff? You’re just going to protect them from encountering some thought you don’t agree with.

    Am I the only one who sees a problem with this?

    I don’t hide this author’s books because of the political content – the books themselves are unremarkable in political terms and probably soft-pedaled the author’s own views – but because the author was so much the platonic example of “complete jerk” that I’m making an attempt to deny him money and sales. (That may make me a complete jerk, but the bastard deserved it!)

    Before his multiple episodes of jerkdom I’d been a fan, and purchased his books in hardback.

  122. At the risk of stating the obvious, it’s blitheringly idiotic to criticize a writer for expressing his ideas, political or otherwise. I don’t care what their level of celebrity. Ideas and the words used to express them are all a writer has to work with.

    Whether it’s a blog (say this one), or a poem (Frost’s “Mending Wall” comes to mind), a short story (Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”), or a novel (Steinbeck’s IN DUBIOUS BATTLE), if it’s worth reading, then that’s because some ideas about the world are being expressed in a particularly interesting way… and there’s always the danger those ideas will have some political content. Right? And for readers who can’t handle that, y’know, there’s always TV GUIDE.

  123. Oi, I blush. I actually just put G’s name into an image search engine, so I bet it just found the name on a page where that pic was.

    But photoshop is all cool and stuff; if you have a good pic around, I can switch ‘em in. Yay, photoshop.

    I think the pic of Rove with the mouse was good, though. I mean, there are lots of him eating squirrels and stuff. And a koala. But it doesn’t have the honesty of him eating dead mice.

    S.

  124. An Eric #143, thinking it over I believe that Heinlein quote isn’t Heinlein speaking at all, but a Heinlein character. I’d love a source cite on it. Sounds like Lazurus Long or Aynlein Heinrand, not RAH.

    I’ve yet to meet anyone pulling that “celebreties should keep their politics to themselves” number who didn’t make an exception for any celebrity who agreed with him.

    Brust shoots, he scores! Noticed that too. The flip side is celebrities (especially actors and musicians) who think that their celebrity makes their opinions MORE worthwhile than anyone else’s–and provide them with both a mandate and a duty to endlessly promote them to the public. Grating. Whether it’s Chuck Norris or Susan Sarandon.

    Ringo lost me with the Ghost series, in particular with the extensive sexual sadism elements. Macho adventure techno-thrillers are OK for head candy, grinding fictional violence is not that bothersome, but the dozens of pages of rape and control fantasy both break up the flow and destroy any sympathy for the protagonist, leaving little but the literary equivalent of a dogfight ring, IMO, with the author as the promoter. Not being Michael Vick I lose all interest.

  125. 145: Has he risen to the level of “immune to editors”?

    I believe that the general policy at Baen wrt editing is that less is more:

    from page 195 of Science Fiction Culture

    JIM BAEN: It’s been my experience that editors of that sort do as much harm as good…It’s also the most time-consuming thing we attempt to do. So in general, if someone were not sending a book I want to publish, I don’t publish it. Occasionally [we will make suggestions but]… we take a fairly strong position, that “thou shalt not edit. The author gets to publish the book she wrote.

    And when he said “editors of that sort”, he was probably thinking of editors like Gold, who it was said could take a bad story and make a good one out of it, at the cost of being able to take a great story and make a good one of that as well.

  126. Tully @153: An Eric’s quote is from Time Enough for Love (1973), the chapter entitled Second Intermission: More from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long.

    The two chapters which form “The Notebooks of Lazarus Long” have also been published separately in a coffee-table book format.

    These chapters are basically a collection of aphorisms and political observations set down by TEFL’s main character, Lazarus Long (aka Woodrow Wilson Smith and a number of other aliases). Some of these aphorisms appear to be written by Heinlein, while others appear to be common anonymous aphorisms in general circulation during RAH’s youth (adapted, perhaps, to fit TEFL’s SF setting).

  127. I don’t mind blatant political content in my books as long as it is well written and contains a good story. What I find more depressing is when you have an author you like and they start writing less and less story and more and more rant.

  128. I don’t mind celebrities having views which disagree with my own, nor do I mind them exploiting their celebrity to further pet causes. What bothers me most is the failure on their part to understand the moment. I expect to read their rantings in the news, I don’t expect them to rant at me while accepting their Oscar – even if the role was related to the issue.

  129. Alex@148 responds to me.

    Rigel Kent wrote in # 129 Okay you decide because this guys an ‘ass’ other people don’t have the right to decide for themselves whether or not to read his stuff? You’re just going to protect them from encountering some thought you don’t agree with.

    Am I the only one who sees a problem with this?

    I don’t hide this author’s books because of the political content – the books themselves are unremarkable in political terms and probably soft-pedaled the author’s own views – but because the author was so much the platonic example of “complete jerk” that I’m making an attempt to deny him money and sales. (That may make me a complete jerk, but the bastard deserved it!)

    Before his multiple episodes of jerkdom I’d been a fan, and purchased his books in hardback.

    I don’t really care if you bought his books in with gold leaf with diamond etchings or that now you hide them because you don’t like the cover art, at the end of the day this is still you attempting to control what other have the oppurtunity to read. That’s wrong.

    If you don’t wanna buy his stuff anymore that’s obviously your right. If you wanna roam far and wide telling everybody this guy sucks in an attempt to convince people to not buy his stuff, then again that’s your right. If you wanna take up a station right next to the bookshelf this guy’s stuff is on so you can tell anybody who looks at it why they shouldn’t buy it I’m okay with that to (though I’m thinkin the store might not be).

    All of those would be valid attempts to convince people that your position is correct. Those would be you exercising your freedom. By hiding those books you’re attempting to deny both the author in question his right to express himself (and I don’t care if he’s a skinhead-kkk-holocaust denying-jihadist, that’s still wrong), but also trying to deny other people the right to come to their own conclusions about him.

    [Edited by JS to put in italics or order to make it clearer who is saying what. Basic HTML markup works, people]

  130. Nathan @145

    I do want to read that book to see what happens to Cally. But please let me know if the book has more than 15% of Cally and James Stuart (I think that is his name) in the sack or talking about being in the sack. Because it will then just be a futuristic Ghost. And that is a big pass for me.

    Because (John if you are here) my mileage does vary.

  131. Rigel Kent@158

    [Edited by JS to put in italics or order to make it clearer who is saying what. Basic HTML markup works, people]

    I’m sure it does, I’m just a bit of a retard in that area, sorry. I’ll try to be more coherent in the future.

  132. Tully and hugh57: thanks for the clarification; I took Tania’s crediting of RAH in her post at 130 at face value, though I suspected it was a Heinlein-speaking-through-Jubal Harshaw line, hence the qualification I used when I wrote, “apparently reflects his views.” (Sometimes Harshaw was Heinlein, sometimes maybe he wasn’t.)

  133. April @125 – Old Man’s War is a good starting place, and it’s also sufficiently self-contained that you can feel finished if that’s all you read.

    I just finished reading it, and this is what I thought.

    And now, I think I’m going to go resume reading The Ghost Brigades, because the opener was cool and I really should be doing laundry instead.

    Aren’t you supposed to be on deadline, Mr Scalzi? :-)

  134. Tom @ 159,

    I wouldn’t say it’s overly packed with “in the sack, thinking about the sack, almost getting in the sack and/or getting the sack”, but yes, there’s some sack. I’m not gonna go back and count, but probably less than 10%.

    OTOH, Cally’s badacious tatas make three or four appearances per chapter. :-)

  135. Tom in 138:
    I totally expect it to happen to the Polseen series if he ever writes more for that.
    Yeah, it started in Cally’s War.
    (I read Ghost and Cally’s War back to back. That was enough to quench my affection for the Polseen series. That and the fact that the conservatives have been getting more right because they are conservative and the liberals getting more wrong and evil because they are liberals as the series goes on.)

  136. In my experience, anyone who is loud about belonging to any political party, or takes personal offense at anyone else’s political leanings, is full of shit. To those people: The politicians in your party of choice don’t know you exist, and wouldn’t care if you were caught in a wood chipper. Shut up and do something useful with your lives.

  137. Tully @ 153:

    I’m right with you on Ringo. After the rape and S&M scenes in Ghost, he’s just not for me any more. Not even with the free copies of the Baen CDs available online.

  138. Steven Brust-

    We’ve never met but I have recently declined to finish a book from an author I previously enjoyed due to his overstating his politics. I enjoyed Leo Frankowski’s first few books in the Cross Time Engineer series. Then I began his Two Space War (I enjoy Napoleonic fiction, and the premise seemed very cool). Within the first 100 pages it began a lengthy (pages on end) political discourse, many of the points of which I agreed with, but which took me completely out of the story.

    I didn’t finish it, donated it to the Salvation Army and have now received the right to claim a very small tax deduction next year. Though to be clear, I put it down not because of his politics, as I could care less about any writer’s political beliefs. We all have opinions, and I value mine over theirs. It was the prominient, preachy interjection of those beliefs into the story to the point of aggravation that made me go elsewhere. Specifically, War and Society in Renaissance Europe, 1450-1620, by J.R. Hale, an excellent history which is fairly well written and which I recommend to all.

  139. John W @166 I have to take exception to your opinion. I feel there is nothing more important to this nation than the participation of it’s citizens in it’s political process. From the far right to the far left and all of the assorted flavors in between.

  140. Since then I’ve been hiding his books every time I walk into a store. Hopefully I’ve cost the fucktard a few bucks…

    No, but you’ve cost innocent bookstore employees wasted time and effort that could have been better spent making sure better books get sold. Hiding a book you don’t like doesn’t make sure nobody buys that book; it just means some minimum-wage person has to find and reshelve it, and is a real pain in the ass at inventory time. (And have you considered that you may have gained the fucktard a few bucks, if somebody who would not otherwise have noticed the book stumbles over wherever you left it?)

    I’ve worked in bookstores. Asshats with your mentality thought it was hilarious to leave copies of Juggs in the children’s books, or to leave Bibles in the porn or women’s studies sections. Well played, loser. Well played.

  141. Mythago@171

    “Since then I’ve been hiding his books every time I walk into a store. Hopefully I’ve cost the fucktard a few bucks…

    No, but you’ve cost innocent bookstore employees wasted time and effort that could have been better spent making sure better books get sold. Hiding a book you don’t like doesn’t make sure nobody buys that book; it just means some minimum-wage person has to find and reshelve it, and is a real pain in the ass at inventory time. (And have you considered that you may have gained the fucktard a few bucks, if somebody who would not otherwise have noticed the book stumbles over wherever you left it?)

    I’ve worked in bookstores. Asshats with your mentality thought it was hilarious to leave copies of Juggs in the children’s books, or to leave Bibles in the porn or women’s studies sections. Well played, loser. Well played.”

    You know Mythago I hadn’t even thought of that. I’ve worked in retail and dealing with all the shit in the wrong place because somebody’s feeling cute is a pain.

  142. Thanks for the quote corrections – I throw things up on my wall at random. That, I care about out.

    Other things, like Scalzi’s politics or his crowds of furry fans, I don’t care about so much.

  143. I’ll admit that I haven’t come here often because I’d prefer to avoid the risk of being put off John’s books. Not that it’s particularly likely, though, because I think it’s reasonably easy to separate a book from the author. (It’s not like actors where a person has to look at them while they perform.)

    I think it makes a difference, too, if a person has the ability to respond, to at least express the fact that they don’t agree. There are a couple of writers I won’t read (maybe I’ll forget, eventually, and not care anymore) and it was because of BDS expressed at a con, in a panel, where it would have been incredibly rude to express disagreement. It should have been assumed that the audience was diverse, so it seemed like a personal insult, “I don’t care about you”. It set the tone of the panel for more of the same.

    I now distrust either of those people to write something thoughtful. And even if I recognize that is irrational, I still don’t trust them to realistically portray a range of views in their work.

    On the other hand, I absolutely know many of my favorite authors don’t share my politics and it just doesn’t matter. I’m not forced by good manners to sit quietly and grit my teeth. I can avoid conversations I’d prefer to avoid.

    I’d also like to say that I think those suggesting that John wrote books contrary to his politics are wrong.

    True, I haven’t read them (almost bought them a couple times but the OMW wasn’t on the shelf so they went on my “buy from Amazon if you can find out if they don’t actually screw authors on royalties” list (btw, *is* there an issue with Amazon and royalties?) and it hasn’t happened yet.

    Judging by the authors I have read a lot of who seem to appeal to people of widely divergent political opinion… I expect it to be a case of writing something *true* but refusing to decide for the reader what it *means*.

  144. Synova:

    No, there’s not an issue with Amazon and royalties. I get paid the same no matter where you buy the book, as long as it’s not deep discounted (i.e. more than 40%).

  145. BTW, there certainly isn’t a problem with me reading anything here from John that would put me off. I thought we might be the same age (I’m older) and that we grew up in the same area (Central Ohio for me, San Diego for him), but after learning none of my assumptions were true, I still find it interesting if not down right disturbing that we tend to think alike.

  146. Thanks, I don’t recall where I heard it and maybe they were talking about deeply discounted books. It wasn’t at all clear which is why I’d made a mental note to check up on it.

    I want authors to get their royalties!

  147. They’re remainders (i.e., leftovers when the hardcover run is stopped because the book’s debuted in paperback or just not sold well). We get a little but not much from those. Don’t let it stop you from buying some, though.

  148. As a quick comment on the (original) topic here, before I go racing down a tangent like so many have before me, obviously the writer of said letter is a fool, and is so insecure in their views that they cannot bear to hear that not everyone agrees with them. (Might suggest the possibility of them being wrong. Shock!Horror!Denial!)

    And having covered that, tangent(s) ho!

    I find it interesting the comments made about Mr Ringo’s work, and to an extent, I agree with them. Loved the Posleen series, thought that Cally’s War was a pile of complete drivel best used as a firelighter, and I seriously doubt that I’ll bother doing more than read the blurb to Sister Time. I’ve tended to assume that it was something about the particular collaboration that made Cally’s War stink.
    I’ve read the first two or so in the Ghost series, and I will admit, the rampant right-wing frothing/BDSM bits squick me a bit, (although not as much as the drooling over the huge-yet-somehow-still-perky-breasts bits) but for the most part I enjoy them on an occasional basis. Wouldn’t buy them, but I have no trouble reading them or recommending them to friends/customers.

    Where Mr Ringo totally jumped the shark, IMO, is with the jaw-droppingly awful/squick-inducing Princess of Wands. I felt that I was somehow sitting in on someone’s deepest fantasies, and was horrified. (See previous comment re: breasts) I read on to the end anyway, in some misguided belief that ‘it’s *got* to get better, surely’. (Of course, it never does in those situations, does it?)

    Still, I’m not going to boycott him or his works, just because that one books squicked me, and one other he co-wrote was wretched, because I’ve enjoyed all of his others, despite the wildly disparate political views. (Between me and Mr Ringo, that is. Also note, I’ve read and enjoyed other Ringo books since Princess of Wands, so you can jump back over the shark.)

    *backtracks somewhat, only to head down a different tangent*

    Rigel, Alex and mythago, et al;

    Speaking as someone that does currently work in a bookshop (tiny, specialist SF/F and Horror,) that sort of thing (hiding books), as pointed out, is a bit annoying. Although in our store, apart from the fact that it’s only a couple of metres from one side the t’other, we seem to get more of the ‘I’m too lazy/stupid to put this book back where it came from, I’ll just put it down here and leave’ fools rather than anyone actually trying to hide particular books/authors. Then again, we are both a specialist, niche, bookstore and very, small.

    My take on it is this: Alex, if you realise that mis-shelving those books may not have the detrimental effect you are looking for, and may in fact help whichever author offends you so much, will almost certainly annoy/make more work for the employees, and it still makes you feel better, go with it. It’s your conscience (or karma, take your pick), do what feels best for you.

    *stops before he heads so deep into TL:DR territory that he can’t see the line behind him*

  149. Odd indeed that so many people should bring up the issue of bookstores. I was inspired to hide the authors work in part because he stated in an extended online conversation with myself and several other fans that he always tried to make nice with the fans because they’d frequently do stuff like reshelve books with their covers (rather than spines) facing out, which was better for sales…

    Being the offended fan, it pleased me to do exactly the opposite. I don’t usually behave like this, but I made a special effort where this particular author is concerned. Unfortunately, his books cover a larger area every time I go into a store, so I’ve mostly given up on the practice.

    As to the discussion of Baen’s editing faults, I completely agree. Weber’s and Ringo’s books have both developed terrible faults which could have been corrected by better editing.

    In the case of the Cally’s War books, Ringo made a terrible mistake in choosing his co-author. Julie is a wonderful person and a great writer, but she is very similar to Ringo in many ways and thus reinforces each of his weaknesses rather than compensating for them. It’s too bad. The first batch of Posleen books was pretty good. Not great, but solidly re-readable when I was in the mood for military sci-fi.

    Alex

  150. Fans re-shelving books with their covers out are not increasing sales; they, too, are creating more work for the bookstore associates (who are going to flip the books back sideways so they can shove in and rearrange even more copies). Since it pleases you not to help this guy, Alex, it should please you not to imitate the “who cares whether I’m making problems for other people when it’s All About Me?!” attitude of his misguided fans. (Bunny, I have worked in a larger, generalist store, so of course YMMV.)

    on remaindered books, let us not forget Clive James’s wonderful poem “The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered”.

  151. I don’t mind anyone, including celebrities, voicing their opinion. What I don’t like at all is the few, make that many, who plop their brains in their back pockets and not check their facts before rattling off their own version of politics. But, being that this country has the First Amendment, it ensures them the right to make asses out of themselves.

  152. Man. That is some BULLshit.

    Now, I’m a righty. Or a conservative liberal. Or a liberal conservative. Or I’m out there to the right somewhere, something of a Heinlein libertarian. Which means that you and I often don’t exactly see eye to eye, John. But guess what? I’m here every day. I buy/read all your books. Because I enjoy your stories, and I ENJOY disagreeing.

    That is not to say that I enjoy monkey-screeching excrement-hurling partisan political fights. I enjoy hearing/reading other points of view and examining them critically, and in so doing, examine my own views critically. At times, this has resulted in me merely thinking “meh, whatever Scalzi, I still think that’s bunk.” But sometimes that has made me think “hmm, mayhaps I need to rethink this.” And I think that’s a great thing.

    But these things have to be done RIGHT, in the proper tone… for instance, I would rather stick a pencil in my ear than listen to Al Franken speak about pretty much anything. By the same token, hearing Sean Hannity makes me slap the OFF button so hard I worry that I might have broken my radio.

    Political discourse and discussion is done right at the Whatever. Respect to all and respect for differences of opinion is where it’s at. Thanks.

  153. @ Rembrandt (#170)

    I am not saying we should not be involved in the political process. I am saying that you shouldn’t expect that the person you voted for will be the same person once he or she gets elected.

    And I stand by my opinion that people who are vocal about the political party they belong to are full of shit…mostly because they are more interested in being part of a party than paying attention to what is going on in the real world.

    Show me one presidential campaign promise that was followed through upon in the last fifty years. Bonus points if it ultimately made the world a better place.

  154. I would rather stick a pencil in my ear than listen to Al Franken speak about pretty much anything. By the same token, hearing Sean Hannity makes me slap the OFF button so hard I worry that I might have broken my radio.

    Loud echo. Political talk radio is always more propaganda than info, and annoying propaganda to boot. Cable news? I’ll watch straight news from any of them if bored or something momentous is going on, but as soon as they go to glorified “in-depth analysis” talk shows and op/ed interviews and “panel discussion” it’s time for the mute button (you can still watch the scroll then) or the off switch.

    I mostly gave up on cable news channels back in the Clinton years when they all started using the four-head split-screen screaming-over-each-other thing. Hmmm, Jerry Springer on Channel 3, or Pat Buchanan and Julienne Malveaux screaming incoherently over each other on Channel 27 in some kind of frothing pomposity duet, with Susan Estrich providing contrapuntal cringe-worthy screeching in her best fingernails-on-chalkboard voice?

  155. Yes, Tom Cruise is a loon, but, for the defense re: his acting talent, I would like to present
    Exhibit A: Collateral (with Jamie Foxx) and
    Exhibit B: Magnolia (P.T. Anderson’s ensemble film.)

    Oddly enough, those are the same exact examples I was about to cite. The thing about Tom Cruise is he only seems to do a good job of portraying really scary, dysfunctional human beings. Arguably, that doesn’t say anything about his acting talent, because in those roles, he may not be acting…

  156. I’m waaaay down the list here, but you inspired a couple of points that I think need to be said. First, isn’t it fascinating that people who believe in free speech and expression (generally lumped in as “liberals” in current politics) generally don’t believe in free markets for goods and services, while those who believe in free markets for goods and services (currently “conservative”) apparently don’t think the same concepts should apply to ideas. It’s like conservatives haven’t heard about the “marketplace for ideas” or memes, while liberals haven’t figured out the advantages of property ownership and efficient allocation of resources.

    Next, for those who feel offended when a public figure speaks politically, aren’t you really offended in two parts: a) because you have to listen, and b) because you can’t argue back? Well, here’s the good news: in today’s society, you can turn off the broadcast or walk away. You don’t *have* to listen. Better yet, there are ample ways for you to argue a contrary viewpoint. If you don’t take advantage of either of these two options, you’re, quite frankly, pissing and moaning about your very own laziness.

    Finally, for those who decry politics in books – the most enduring books in the world are all about politics. So long as there are other people in the world, there will be problems dealing with them and those problems require either a political process to resolve – or murder. Personally, I prefer a political process. You may differ, but books wherein all differences are solved by murder tend to be fairly boring. Nevertheless, since I now know your preference for dispute resolution, I’ll be keeping an eye on you.

  157. 186: As to the discussion of Baen’s editing faults, I completely agree. Weber’s and Ringo’s books have both developed terrible faults which could have been corrected by better editing.

    In Weber’s case, his series at Tor is being edited by pnh, so you might want to look at that.

  158. Unfortunately, Indiana Jim, most politicians do keep their political views to themselves, preferring to express the political views their handlers tell them are polling well. When someone does express a truly personal opinion–as, for instance, Howard Dean did when he pointed out that it’s unlikely in the light of world history that the United States will always be the world’s leading superpower and that was one of the reasons for maintaining positive international relations–you can expect said politician to get roundly crucified by the pundits, the opposition, and members of his own party.

    ________

    KIA, I can’t speak for all libs, but I can tell you that the concerns I have with the free market is that while it’s very good for providing goods and services, it’s not good for protecting vulnerable members of a society: in other words, for reasons that would require a lengthier post than I feel like writing right now, the free market is not well-suited for providing national defense, education, public transportation, law enforcement, environmental regulation and settling tort and contract disagreements between unequal parties. (It’s suitability for guaranteeing jobs, adequate wages, healthcare and sustenance are debatable, but my personal belief is that the free market is inherently unable to address these needs in a fashion compatible with an enlightened and humane civilization.)

    The free market, in short, is great at providing cheap and freely-available toilet paper, but very bad at keeping six-year-olds from working long hours in dangerous factories.

    The way certain right-wingers treat the “marketplace of ideas” may not be half as odd as the fact that so many Republicans claim to be in favor of small-government and laissez-faire economics and are national defense hawks and “tough on crime”; it seems to me that a movement to privatize the armed forces and law enforcement would be more intellectually consistent, albeit really stupid.

  159. “But, alas, celebrities are not merely poseable action figures for our enjoyment and control; they regrettably come with thoughts and brains and opinions and such, which they may wish from time to time to use and express.”

    Maybe part of the appeal of some of our most famous celebrities is that they do not exhibit so much in the way of thoughts and brains and opinions after all, and remain tabulae rasae upon whom their fans remain blissfully free to project reflections of their own thoughts and brains and opinions, such as they are.

  160. 196: it seems to me that a movement to privatize the armed forces and law enforcement would be more intellectually consistent, albeit really stupid.

    I bet you won’t like my plan to introduce toll sidewalks and toll sewerage. Each person owns the patch of sidewalk and the length of sewer pipe in front of their land and they pay for its upkeep by charging tolls to other users.

  161. James Davis Nicoll:

    “Each person owns the patch of sidewalk and the length of sewer pipe in front of their land and they pay for its upkeep by charging tolls to other users.”

    I’m not going to pay for that crap!

  162. OK, I’m going to pass on some things that an ex boss passed on to me after I quit working for the state of Ohio.

    In talking about politics being a big D or a big R only makes a difference while you are campaigning to be elected. Once you are elected, it doesn’t matter what your politics are. You are going to increase government spending, because you have to pay off those people that gave you money to get elected. This is at the state level. I don’t even want to contemplate what happens at the federal level.

    So any promises of cutting any kind of spending are just whack.

    The previous R governor of Ohio promised to cut spending, and he did for awhile. He took jobs away from Ohio civil service employees and outsourced them. It was cheap for the first two years, and then the expense exploded to cost more than it would have been if they hadn’t out sourced the jobs to start with.

    It’s just become too damn expensive, which I’ve seen first hand at the state level. And it’s been that way at the federal level for a heck of a lot longer than that.

  163. Mike Crichton Says:
    January 13th, 2008 at 10:26 am

    “The only Author that I ever “blacklisted” was James Hogan, after I found out he was a fucking Holocaust denier. ”

    You should try and find out why he is a denier. I had an uncle who did not believe in the Holocaust and it took several years of strained relations before I realized that his denial was rooted in his faith that people could not do something like that. I disagreed with him but the insight into his character was wonderful.

    Just because writers are supposed to be smart and well-educated does not mean they will reach the same conclusions as their readers.

  164. Lot of stuff to wade through in this post…

    Good post by the way. Personally, I didn’t find a hint of what politics Scalzi had in OMW. And that’s with having visted this site (linked from where I don’t remember,) before picking up the book. Good fiction is good fiction. I wouldn’t dream of not reading a fiction writer because of their political beliefs. I might shake my head at their political beliefs, and choose not to read or participate in conversation on said topics. I think the author of the email needs to re-evaluate his priorities and values.

    There are only a few things I don’t like celebrities doing. One is talking out of their ass about subjects they don’t know much, if anything about. Another is being hypocritical, basically taking the “do as I say, not as I do” attitude with their activism.

    That’s why I can respect Bono for his activism, because he’s not just mouthing off, he’s putting his money, and his time into his efforts. I may not agree with every one of his causes, but his work is admirable.

    One thing that disturbs me is the all or nothing, if you don’t agree with me you are “dumb/deluded/evil/the enemy” comments from some posters, both here and elsewhere.

    So someone has a different point of view on an issue or life. But the way some people get treated is awful, especially from people who probably consider themselves “open minded and tolerant.” Is that sort of treatment any better ideologically then racial/sexual bigots??

    Synova – fancy meeting you here…

    An Eric @ 196 – it seems to me that a movement to privatize the armed forces and law enforcement would be more intellectually consistent, albeit really stupid.

    Of course, privatizing certain portions of the military is what is happening already. Just look at Blackwater and the other companies we already use.

    Anyway, as a small r republican, but mostly a socially tolerant, fiscal conservative, libertarianish, kinda guy, I don’t think any one particular label sums up a person.

    Dividing people into camps, while a natural inclination, isn’t the path towards a better future. We’re far more likely to agree on issues, if we just talk about the issues, their possible solutions, and what we think, then to assume we know what others think, because they hang a label around their neck, or beside their name.

  165. True, this means I miss out on groupies, but I suspect after the first several hundred they lose their luster as well.

    That’s not how Rosenbaum tells it.

  166. Impressive! Looks like a political thread featuring John’s cat, Wil Wheaton, and Tila Tequila is going to give the Ayn Rand and Heinlein thread a run for it’s money :-D

    As for authors having political opinions, well, it’s been my experience that authors in general tend to hold strong opinions about a variety of subjects, politics being one of them. And some of them are pretty darn vocal about their opinions whether they’re about politics, cooking, or what was the Best Simpsons Episode Ever. I think it comes with the territory.

    After all, docile doormats who keep their opinions to themselves don’t pour heart and soul into manuscripts, bundle them up, and send them off to be dumped in a slush piles, only to have form rejection letters come back several months later — and go through this over and over again. Which is probably a good thing, because the writing business would eat those poor docile doormats alive and use the screams for dinner music.

    So, as far as I’m concerned, John could be the head of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party (yes, they are an actual political party in the UK — google it), but, as long as he kept writing thumping good books, I’d keep laying down my money for them.

  167. Wow, my first time to your site. Remind me to never call you out on anything, lest a nice, swift verbal arse-kicking be commenced! I will be packing off now to the bookstore, however, to check out a certain science-fiction writer whose works I have just now discovered….

  168. True, this means I miss out on groupies, but I suspect after the first several hundred they lose their luster as well.

    That quote made erosblog today.

  169. WOW! All I did was send a friendly email to John letting him know that his political rants are equivalent to adding vinegar (his views) to a hot fudge sundae (his wonderful books). I visit his site to indulge in science fiction. I’d go to Politico if I wanted to read about the election.

    Here is the original email I sent to John…

    Hi John:

    I started reading your books a few years ago after reading about you on Glenn Reynolds’ site, InstaPundit.

    I loved both Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades, but I won’t be buying The Last Colony–and I suspect others like me will do the same.

    Please let me explain.

    I’d guess I’m probably a libertarian with a little “L.’ I like the socially liberal aspects of the Democrats, but I’m also fiscally conservative and am attracted to the policies of similar Republicans.

    I find myself unable to watch Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Ben Affleck, Sarah Jessica Parker, and others that use their positions as celebrities to promote their political views. Great actors are great actors because they are great at acting–but this doesn’t translate into having necessarily great political views.

    The same goes for great writers.

    I respect celebrities who are humble enough to keep their political views to themselves, and after visiting your website, it seems you do not fall into this category.

    I’ll be voting with my “book dollars” and you won’t be getting any more, which makes me feel sad, because you’re a great author.

    Ken

  170. Ken, I sympathize with your politcal views. I understand your dislike at hearing/seeing some of the more shrill celebs flexing their star power to tout their politics. But what does that have to do with literature? If you don’t like the political content of the site (which really only rarely surfaces here) then don’t read the site. But really, I haven’t found that Scalzi’s politics influence his FICTIONAL writing. I can divorce the real from the science-fictional. I’m sorry, but if you can’t then you are missing out.

  171. Also, and not an insignificant point, I was doing this before I was published as a novelist. It’s not meant to be a blog just about science fiction, or writing (or for that matter, politics). It’s meant to be about, well, whatever.

    Actually in the last week, what I’ve written most about is the new cat. Because he is precious.

  172. Excellent. Welcome back! Delighted to see you again. And don’t hesitate to let me know when you think I’m full of crap. Everybody else does.

  173. All I did was send a friendly email to John letting him know that his political rants are equivalent to adding vinegar (his views) to a hot fudge sundae (his wonderful books).

    In keeping with your analogy, you are ordering a hot fudge sundae, and got a hot fudge sundae, untainted with vinegar. You voluntarily picked up the vinegar and now the taste of that is in your mouth.

    So, the simple solution is to either don’t read his political thoughts, easy enough to do, and continue reading his fine fiction (about 1/2 through Ghost Brigade, and it’s good.) You could even engage in debate and try to correct whatever errant views you think he has.

  174. 201: You should try and find out why he is a denier.

    http://preview.tinyurl.com/234ubu

    “[...] it was Arthur Butz’s book (see Home Page from the link above) that first aroused my interest in the subject many years ago now. I got to know Mark Weber quite well during the time that I lived in California, as a result of my following up various further researches.”

    Mark Weber: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Weber

    Arthur Butz: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Butz

  175. I only know that if I chose only to read the work of those with whose expressed beliefs and opinions I agreed with I’d end up having to write a great deal more.

    All our host’s views are grist to the mill of discourse, and whilst I am new to this blog I must say there is some fine stuff flowing from said mill.

  176. Not too long back on rasfw there was a long-running thread titled ‘Is John Ringo singlehandedly destroying science fiction?’

    The number of readers who have sent me emails saying ‘I’m never going to read your books again’ for so many reasons it’s truly funny (mostly because of dichotomy) is a very long list.

    (Some due to the ‘sexually unwholesome’ nature of the Ghost series, others because of my ‘right-wing’ views and not a few due to my ‘shoving my Christianity down their throat’ in Princess of Wands. Sexually unwholesome and right-wing and Christian. Is that allowed?)

    My sales continue to improve. Since I write mostly for the joy of infecting other minds with my stories, I miss most readers. But since I find more, I’ll go with the Ponzi Scheme, thank you.
    :-)

    John Ringo

  177. 60. Eddie Clark – On John C Wright. He does not view you as sub human, he views you as a sinner. And not all that great of a sin at that. None of his works that have been published were written from a christian viewpoint. He was an athiest when all were written. He gets letters from athiests and others saying they will never buy his books ’cause he became a christian. Like our host, he wishes them well. His views are reasoned and well thought out. I will buy his book on christian apologetics when/if it ever gets published. C S Lewis was the last decent one.
    67. Alex Jay Berman – News flash. There were communists in Hollywood. They made more than a few crappy propaganda movies as well.
    Mark Helprin – I thought I had read all of his work, but a visit to his web site a while back disabused me of that notion. I have books to buy as the last one I read was the Great War. He has a knack of getting ideoloques of the right and left upset with his views. I knew he was Jewish and did not mind. New and different views are a good thing. He does know how to turn a beautiful phrase.
    Orson Scott Card gets the same emails that our illustrious host does, from the left wing and anti christians. Some of his books are acquired taste and I never did finish his return to earth series. He has stated that he does not expect that his readers will like all of his books.
    John Ringo -I like the books of his that I have read. As for the sex, I just skip over it for the most part.

  178. I see John has already commented, what he didn’t bother to mention was that he initially RESISTED having _Ghost_ published. He considered it dreck (the working title was the “wanker piece”), and only showed it to anybody because he was SURE they would agree that it was trash and that he should get it out of his head and go back to “real writing”. The look of horror on his face when I told him about the hundreds of positive comments in only a couple of hours was amusing. Fortunately, he’s been able to salve his soul on various ski slopes since, with the revenues from _Ghost_ and it’s sequels :-)

    As for the folks objecting to sex scenes in _Cally’s War_ and _Sister Time_, they actually had a purpose. Nobody would believe a female agent could get access to extremely protected information by talking her lover into having sex in the room where they were kept – but it’s actually pulled from World War II espionage files. And the sex scenes drop considerably in _Sister Time_. I haven’t pulled up the draft of _Honor of the Clan_ to see how many will be there, if there are at all.

    As for David Weber, I believe he had a negative interaction with a fan early on regarding fan-fiction and claims of stealing story ideas, which is why he’s so anti-fanfic. Having heard about at least one piece of slash that was sent to him, I can understand why he retains that position :-)

    For the original topic, while I don’t agree with all of John Scalzi’s politics, he can discuss them intelligently and without attacking those who disagree with him. I dislike those who can’t, including those I nominally agree with. And I’m pretty Conservative, other than being largely agnostic – NRA Life, mostly vote Republican, military background, etc… Of course, if we had a viable party that kept the government out of my bedroom AND my wallet, I probably wouldn’t be voting Republican much… :-)

  179. “To be clear, the vast majority of my right(ish) fiction readers who are aware of my personal politics appear to be content to let me be an idiot on the subject and buy my books anyway; I thank them for their patronage, from the very bottom of my mortgage, and I also thank them for their (ahem) liberal attitude on the subject. I am always glad to see when someone, right or left or orthogonal, decides that as a general rule they don’t have to filter every single aspect of their life through a screen of personal political orthodoxy. It speaks well of their higher cognitive functions, in my opinion.”

    Thanks, John, but I have no problem with people with decency of character expressing their convictions intelligently.

    It’s pretty stupid to expect a Goodrich tire to be a scoop of Breyer’s Rocky Road ice cream or vice-versa. I try, on my good days, not to be overly stupid.

    I side with Bertrand Russell’s view of the intellectuals who embraced Communism, when he apologized to those on the right who rejected the ideology for good and sound reasons [that at the time he did not credit, except later through the hindsight of experience], but not to those who rejected it of unthinking reflex, for whom he still maintained contempt.

    JJB

  180. Well, I don’t boycott all entertainers who voice their opinions on politics. But the ones who make inane, unsubtantiated, ignorant and frequent comments, I do tend to avoid.

  181. I’m lazy and can’t be bothered to read all those 200+ comments, so sorry if this has already been said. John, you said that while righties tend to think you should shut up about your liberal political views, lefties tend to think you should write different books. Or they won’t buy your books, hint hint. You also suggested this might be indicative of larger political pathologies relating to the American right and left wings.

    Might it not be so simple that your books tend to agree with the right-wing mindset, while your personal views as expressed on Whatever agree better with the left-wing? Both sides are simply complaining about the part of your output that they don’t like!

  182. Be sure the carpet is completely dry before vacuuming or even walking on the carpet if possible. To keep dust particles down, vacuum the carpet often and change the vacuum cleaner bag often as well. Dust can settle in the bag and release particles into the air as you are vacuuming – defeating the whole purpose of cleaning your carpet!

  183. To keep allergens to a minimum, spray allergen removal chemicals on the carpet and upholstery occasionally. Leave them for a day or two, and then vacuum the carpet. Also, cover heavy traffic areas with rugs to protect the carpet.

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