Soapbox Time

We haven’t lugged out the old soapbox for a while, and I think it’s time.

Before we get to that, I’m still fighting this cold. Friday and Saturday were pretty miserable, but with red NyQuil, a home brewed lemon concoction with honey, and lots of tissues I no longer think I’m dying. In fact, I’m feeling frisky enough to step up on this thing once more.

While trying not to die, I looked around on premium services for something to watch on television. I also spent a considerable amount of time on YouTube. Which has prompted this little tantrum.

It seems there is a huge rift in the entertainment industry right now. Words like “Woke,” “Homophobe,” “White Supremacists,” or even the old standby, “Haters,” are thrown around quite frequently.

People are actively politicking for relationships to happen in certain series that just don’t seem to make any sense to me. It’s only for someone’s personal scoreboard and not anything that enhances the plots.

I never accept anything at face value, and it seems to me some of the accusations are fairly accurate. There does seem to be a rift in that narrow groups are trying to change our perception of America. There is a certain amount of pandering to specific groups.

You can see it for yourself in advertising or virtually any other medium out there. Lisa the robot girl was particularly distraught when they canceled the Victoria’s Secret fashion show. Green M & M, anyone.

On the other hand, the opposition seems to come down on projects they couldn’t possibly have seen yet. I don’t understand how they can offer opinions about films that are still in production.

It seems this has nothing to do with truth, or any kind of ethical reporting as long as someone gains clicks. (On both sides)

Old What’s Her Face stumbled upon an old Western this weekend and I couldn’t look away. It must have been a Peckinpah project, because it was particularly violent. I was struck with the idea of telling a story where men are men, and women are women, without any social preaching involved at all. There were good characters and a decent plot.

I’d like to see more of this. Sometimes I don’t care what sexual antics a character gets up to. If it isn’t an important part of the plot, leave it out. If there are women or people of color, include them and be honest about it. Unless they are the main character, don’t go to great lengths to make them more heroic or to vilify them.

I can’t imagine anything worse than being a comedian these days. Cancel culture has hit that niche pretty hard. There’s almost nothing they can poke fun at without bringing the torch and pitchfork crowd out in droves.

Before my next statement, please understand I live in Idaho. It might be the most conservative place in the nation, and some of those ideas are “over the top.” There is a lot of buzz here about censorship, at least one bill that would allow the police to arrest a librarian who allows specific materials into the hands of minors, and one large city that is thinking of banning libraries completely. Shades of book burnings, and population controls.

I think right about now people have lost their frigging minds, and this post might even cause someone to twist out somewhere.

There is a solution, however. I write books, and so do a lot of my friends. We work pretty hard to come up with good characters and decent plots. All of our books are available on Amazon and you can even read them for free with Kindle Unlimited. There are even blurbs and reviews to help you choose.

I know it’s kind of old-school, but if you feel like the mainstream entertainment industry is letting you down, pick up a book or two.

For myself, I try to be inclusive in my stories. I’ve included multiple races, and tend to write more female main characters. I think my last male lead was way back in Yak Guy. The Lanternfish Trilogy kind of had co-main characters and one of those was an Asian woman.

Maybe someday the mainstream will get the hint. Until then, there are a lot of authors out there who would be thrilled to find a new reader or two.



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34 responses to “Soapbox Time

  1. As a school worker who teaches gay kids, mom of a public librarian and also mom of a gay kid, thank you for recognizing the threat of censorship. This really is the next battlefield in the war for our nation’s soul and future.

    Perhaps when you hear these words and phrases in conversations, you could do a mental substitution. Instead of “woke,” think of “kindness.” Someone who is woke is trying to be kind.

    Instead of “homophobe,” think “punching down.” Homophobes blame and isolate people who are already vulnerable.

    Unless you are in a marginalized group, you might not see as clearly how important representation is in media. But for my gay kids (the students and my own kid) it does make a huge difference. That’s why they clamor for it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m not trying to take sides here. It’s the censorship that bothers me. We can all be adult enough to pass on things we aren’t interested in. Closing all the libraries in one of our larger cities seems like the wrong path here. I feel the same way about my own work. If it isn’t for someone, they should pass it by in favor of something more personally interesting. People should write, produce, and circulate whatever they want without a lot of restrictions. Leave it to the consumers to decide what they enjoy.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I’ve noticed this too. Seems like every show and movie comes with a controversy. People react to what they think they see instead of what is really there. I know a big thing now is for some groups to go berserk whenever they see a rainbow. Makes me kind of glad I’m sticking to anime and I don’t interact with other fans online.

    For some reason, your ‘men are men and women are women’ line reminded me of a weird line. Don’t know where it came from. It was ‘where men are men, women are men, and the sheep are scared.’

    Liked by 3 people

  3. We don’t watch enough regular entertainment to know the trends. Sort of stick to mysteries, English, Italian, or Hallmark. Not a lot of messages. And that’s why we watch it. I’m tired of being told what to think. And most of the time, I don’t trust the messengers anyway. When I watch TV or movies, I want to be entertained, not bombarded.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. You said a lot, Craig. I agree with you on censorship. Certainly a step in the wrong direction. I also liked the idea of picking up a book instead of being bombarded with special interest propaganda.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m currently watching a news spot about Roald Dahl’s work. The publisher has removed or edited passages to make them more comfortable for sensitive readers. (For example, Oompa-Loompas are to be called small people now. All references to “fatness” in Matilda have been edited or deleted.)

    Apparently, he wasn’t a nice man. But he wrote wonderful stories. I can’t fathom why we’re trying to edit our history, as it will doom us to later repeat it.

    And it sure would be nice if people took a chance on unknown authors.

    Glad you’re feeling better, Craig.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Censorship sure is scary right now. I can’t believe some of the goings on I’ve read about – crazy stuff. And I’d sure love to pick up some new readers!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is why I don’t watch a lot of television and mainstream stuff. I’ll stick to the classics and a time when people weren’t accused of this or that just because they had different opinions. Yep, I’d like to pick up some new readers as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Like you I often wonder about the craziness going on in the country right now, including the efforts to ban books, history, and information. It’s dystopian (if I had to pick a genre). Fortunately, most of us can still write whatever we want. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. There is a [certain amount] overabundance of pandering to specific groups. It’s not a matter of sides, it’s a matter of objectification. Instead of being down to women it’s down to a rainbow of agendas. Rainbow used there not as a logo for “alternative” lifetstyles. Watched a decent NetFlix about this very issue yesterday. “You People”. The blatant attempts at “understanding” the true nature of devisie (race, sex, cultural) -isms was well played, if Hollywooded up. No no! MY people have been more abused than YOUR people! And the right to hold those beliefs against the rest of society. I’m not sure what they’re trying to sell with all that. Oh well.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I see what is going on and just shake my head. There will always be someone or some group that doesn’t like what you have to say, or the way your book may be written. Like you, I just move on to something I like.

    You can’t erase the past, but you can learn from it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. D.L. Finn, Author

    I have to agree with you, it does feel like done people have lost their minds!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The craziness seems to have reached epic proportions, Craig. So many lines being drawn in the sand. I will object to censorship strongly! I believe everyone has the right to choose what they read. I love your statement about how hard authors work to bring stories to life. It’s true. Anyone who has written a book knows how many hours go into creating it. It would be a shame to censor it. Great topic!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This woke culture continues to reach new heights that boggle the mind. We no longer watch anything on the networks where EVERY show has to have every race represented, gays and lesbians to be fair, and now trangenders, bisexuals, the sexually fluid and cross-dressers so as not to offend anyone anywhere. This may represent everyone in our society but I’ve never seen this all in one place. I’d rather watch something demographically realistic and with real humor – which seems to have gone the way of dinosaurs. I’m waiting for the blowback….

    Liked by 1 person

  14. HI Craig, I find these insights into life in America very interesting. Britain seems to be having similar trials and tribulations with these first world problems. They don’t touch us deeply here in southern Africa.

    Liked by 1 person

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