Politics & WritingBy
I like politics. Okay…I love politics. Mostly, I think, because I enjoy a good argument…or a bad argument…so long as I get to participate. I don’t think I slept much for the first 48 hours of the Gore v. Bush fiasco. Kris Rusch and I were emailing and calling each other until late in the night, complaining and arguing and really living in the experience. Same with the Obama v. McCain election night. Fun stuff.
In fact, some of my friends still can’t believe I didn’t go into politics. You know, professionally. But I like to at least try to win EVERY argument I’m in, and in politics that just isn’t possible. In this day, you have to toe the party line and defend what might be a poor–or even stupid–position as part of the “bigger picture.” Which is why I’ve often voted on the left as well as on the right. I owe my allegiance to the argument, not to a preferred, party answer.
Yeah, I’d make a poor career politician. But I’d likely flame out in an interesting manner.
Still, in all my watching and commenting and studying, I have never quite wrapped my brain around the emergence of the two-party hatred until just recently. And it was the current self-publishing debate that started to really firm it up for me.
There’s been a lot of discussion about self-publishing, and how this will cause a civil war between two writer camps. Don’t kid yourself. It’s not likely to remain very civil. I have good friends who have embraced self-publishing and some of the other “new experience” arguments, like forgoing agents and challenging New York status quo. And they are doing quite well. I have other friends with a definite bias toward being a “New York published writer.” I personally see nothing wrong with taking advantage of either system/side of the aisle. The more important thing is to be informed so that you, as an author and small business owner can make a well-informed decision. It just seemed to make sense to me, that most people would want more information.
I’ve seen a growing number of professional feuds starting up. Entrenched writers lashing out as if the self-publishing trend somehow threatens them or personally offends them. Indie writers proselytizing as if they are the mountain coming to Muhammed. And lots of invective on both sides as neither wants to admit to the weaknesses of their own argument, or recognize the strengths of their opponents.
Seriously, this is feeling very One State Two State, Red State Blue State.
This might have reached that moment of mental critical mass for me yesterday, with the news of a writing website that banned some writers who were merely trying to pass along information as they saw it from the Indie Publishing side. And they didn’t just ban them, they did it with the full fervor of protestors swinging placards at someone trying to cross their line.
Has it devolved into a Meet The Press topic yet? No. I don’t think so. But then, professional politics has had centuries to devolve into the adversarial mud-slinging contest it is today. And because of the two-party system, each side does have an entrenched position, the pursuit of which is constantly under threat from the other side. Self-publishing upsets the status quo, sure. But I don’t see your book deal affecting my ability and business plan to put a collection of my short fiction on the Kindle, or the other guy’s 99 cent catalog extravaganza stopping me from signing a well-paying contract with New York. I want information. I would think that we all should.
Information doesn’t kill careers. Only not writing does that.
Anyway, it’s been bothering me, but also challenging me in that same strange, warped place in my brain that makes me like watching political debates, campaigns, and commentaries. Enough to get me back to my website to write my first major blog post, anyway. And at this time maybe I’m not adding much to the discourse, but to the commentary. That’s okay, though.
It’s going to be a great argument.