Monday, January 11, 2016

Why I don't get too political

Those who have followed my Twitter account, or even this blog, might notice I don't often get into topics of politics, religion, etc., if ever. There's a good reason for that: I don't ever intend to do so. That's not to say I haven't let little things slip every now and then, or there haven't been hints of my opinion towards certain topics, but by and large I've tried to avoid engaging in any sort of discussion that might cause people to foam at the mouth and go crawling up the walls. That's also not to say that I'm afraid of ticking people off (I have in the past), but there are some good reasons I've sought to avoid contention as much as I can.

As usual, let me clarify (as has to be done, because this is the internet) that I'm not trying to control people. Yes people are free to act however they pleased. I'm not saying you're any less of a person if you don't do things exactly the way I do.

That being said, here are some reasons I tend to avoid controversial topics on Twitter or this blog...

1) I don't have an interest in discussing politics on this account. Do I have political opinions? Sure. Do I have strong political opinions? Sure. But I made my Twitter/Gmail/Whatever-Else accounts for the specific reason of sharing my work, finding assistance from others, and interacting with readers and fellow authors alike. I'm not interested in spending all night debating about this topic or that. Frankly, I need to be in the right mood to have a detailed discussion on something. Otherwise, I'd rather just chat, joke, and assist fellow writers, and/or have a friendly conversation with my readers. If anything, that's what I enjoy about this account. It's the primary purpose. Some people, on the other hand, use their accounts in such a way that I want to tell them to just drop the author shtick and make themselves political activists.

2) My work should speak for itself. If anyone wants to know my opinion on a topic, then it's amazingly easy to find out. You can simply do one of two things: you can just ask me, or you can read my work. Obviously, every author's writings are influenced by their worldview, one way or another. That's not to say there aren't works that exist solely for exploring topics, or were written just for fun, but worldviews sneak in, one way or another. If you read enough of my work, you'll probably figure out pretty easily how I see the world, or at the very least have some taste of it.

3) I don't want my work connected to my opinion. Some people might contest my first reason by saying that people like J.K. Rowling or Stephen King get very political on their social media accounts. Keep in mind, however, authors like them already have an established fanbase. No, let me rephrase that: they already have an established cult of personality. Rowling or King could probably come out and deny the Holocaust, and you'd still have fans out there ready to defend them to the death over it. And if you deny that possibility, keep in mind that people like Roman Polanski or Woody Allen still have die-hard fans out there ready to defend them as great artists (heck, even some die-hard Michael Jackson fans were defending his "sexual choices" up until his death). I, on the other hand, don't have the cult of personality that Rowling, King, Polanski, Allen, Jackson, or loads of other artists out there have. I'm still fairly new to this scene. If I goof up early, it'll probably be what I'm marked by for the long-term, just as some people like Andrew Dobson or Chris-Chan have learned the hard way. Again, it's not that artists can't have opinions, but I don't want to be known as "that conservative author," "that liberal author," "that communist author," "that Libertarian author," etc.

4) I don't want to tempt myself. I've written before about authors who become drama llamas on social media because they follow or have followers who hold (GASP!) contrary opinion. My goal is to keep myself from falling into that same trap. It's not that I would easily succumb to it, but if I permitted myself to get too worked up over this conversation and that, it would become easier to get into that mindset. Right now I've gotten into a good personal habit of seeing a post that makes me want to begin a "well actually..." response, but in the end I simply pass by it. Combine with this the fact that a lot of people tend to get pretty nasty online when it comes to hot topics, and revert to insults and petty attacks rather than civil discussion - again, I just don't want to get myself involved in anything like that.

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