25 February 2009

Subject rants

I know I haven't been updating and I'm sorry about that!
It's just that I haven't had any ideas for posts, and haven't had time to look up bad fanfiction and stuff to get ideas. Or when I have ideas, I don't have time to write them.
Oh well. But here's a post!!

So, I was in class a couple weeks back, and we got on the topic of whether all people from post-colonial countries should write about identity or colonialism. The answer that the class came up with seemed to be a resounding yes, they should, and if they don't then they're just not going to be famous.
Wait... what?
I couldn't seem to get a word in edgewise, so I'll vent my frustrations here:
That is the worst way to think about writing EVER.

First, let's look at how fucking racist that is. Basically the argument was, "If you are Indian, you must write about what it is like to be Indian". But what if an Indian author really just wants to write about love, or family, or death? "No, absolutely not!" The idea is that if they write about anything but Indian-ness, that they're somehow betraying their people and doing them a disservice.
Okay, so does that mean that all black authors have to write about racism or slavery?
Apparently so, actually, because have you heard academics talk about black authors? If they come across any black author who writes about something other than racism, you're going to hear nothing but complaints. Poor Zora Neale Hurston, how dare she focus on womens' rights instead of black rights!
(ignoring that Their Eyes Were Watching God did touch on the subject of race somewhat, really, it's not like academics actually read what they're critisizing)
But meanwhile white authors are free to write about any damn subject we want, but if you're in a minority then you have strictly defined subjects that you must write about, and if you don't then academia will hate and reject you.
... or so the argument goes.
That's the worst thing I've ever heard and any of you who think that this is a good way to view things needs to just grow the fuck up, honestly, it's immature.
If you're Indian and you want to write about what it's like to be Indian, go ahead! If you want to write about colonialism, post-colonialism, whatever, then do it. However, if you want to write about womens' issues, about love or death or space aliens, then do that. Write what you're compelled to write and nothing else. If you force out something that you really don't care that much about, it's going to be godawful, so just don't bother.

Also, I'd like to touch on the hypocrasy of that argument as well.
Basically there's this whole hate going on toward genres that count as "commercial fiction", because supposedly commercial fiction writers tailor their work to match market trends and become famous and famous = bad, apparently. Okay?
So, then, how is it any better, in the literary fiction genre, to say, "Well, I wanted to write about death, but I'm going to write about identity instead, because it will make me more famous".
It's not any better. Anyone who says that it is is full of shit and you should stop listening to a damn word they say.

End rant.

1 comment:

MrsSoersdal said...

Agreed! I'm currently writing about a serial killer (NOT the boring fiction kind that wallpapers their house with newspaper clippings and lipstick) and I know I won't be taken seriously because nobody wants to read about serial killers from a woman. Maybe if I try to get published, I'll just list my first name as "H."

Worked for J.K. Rowling?