Posts Tagged ‘labels

27
Oct
19

Labels

It seems like the world is in love with labels. In particular self-labeling or raging against the labels other people put on them, or what labels someone else wants to use. The writing community seems to be no exception, and it’s quite exhausting.

It feels like a lot of folks want you to read their book because they’re trans. Because they’re black. Because they’re gay. Because they have PTSD. Because they’re schizophrenic. Because they’ve had a stroke. Because they’re nonbinary. Because they’re Buddhist. The list goes on and on, and frequently leads to “A book written by a disabled nonbinary black woman with lupus.” And yes, I have actually seen someone attempt to promote a romance novel with that line. Not what sort of romance, not a snippet, not a mention of what time period or secondary genre is involved.

I don’t want to read a book because the author is anything (other than an author I know of and consistently enjoy.) I want to read it because it sounds interesting, and the identity of the author is frequently the least interesting thing about it. I don’t want people to buy one of my books because I’m a depressed, schizophrenic, bipolar Satanist with COPD who needs a new lung or two. I want them to buy a book because they saw the blurb that “The devil and a host of other biblical characters engage in humorous dialogue in a blog format.” “A young man struggles with the death of his girlfriend, ghosts and madness in a suicidal spiral,” or the like.

I don’t buy Clive Barker books because he’s gay; I buy them because he entertains me. Or did, anyway, until Scarlet Gospels decided to take a royal dump all over two of his most well-known characters. I couldn’t care less what gender J.K. Rowling is; I care that she writes entertaining, believable (within context) and layered characters.

I don’t know if anyone else buys books based on someone’s labels, or if such individuals promoting their work, their platform, or their contests based on them for some other reason, but I can say the only label that matters to me: which one is on top of the bookshelf it can be found on (or which department of Amazon to hunt for it, if it’s an online situation.)

What about you folks?

10
Oct
18

In Nomine Satanas – Labels

We live in a world where everything has to be labeled. You’re nothing if you aren’t sticking a half-dozen or more random adjectives in front of every viewpoint, artwork, opinion or pronoun you use to define or describe yourself.

I don’t want to get bogged down in identity politics and all the shit-slinging (on both sides) that entails… at least, not today. But I do want to touch on how amusing it is that some of those labels continue to be maligned or ignored (frequently by those who are all-too-eager to explain to you just how wrong you are for misunderstanding an alphabet soup acronym that theoretically bands people together while actually Balkanizing them into enemy states united only by their hatred of something or someone else.)

This comes up due to a discussion I had with someone who is very much in that camp, constantly doing nothing but complaining about the evils of the alt-right and our current overlord – generally based on “news” obtained more from Saturday Night Live than either Fox News or The Young Turks. I call it a discussion, but really it was more her hearing one label that gets applied to me and proceeding to berate me from her position of ignorance. Now, if I wasn’t all the other labels that are applied to me, I could claim some form of hate speech or discrimination was going on and feel vindicated, but since I have the privilege of being white, male, straight, and cis, I am apparently not subject to any sort of abuse, stereotyping, profiling, or discrimination.

The label in question? “Satanist.”

Spoopy! I subscribe to some Satanic ideals, therefore I must murder cats, sacrifice virgins, blaspheme the One True God (TM) and generally be a horrible person. Obviously.

Or, you know, I could believe in the rule of law, the importance of rationality, progress and advancement based on merit, suffering the consequences of your actions, self-responsibility, and prefer not to blame an invisible Sky Wizard (or other stand in for same) for life’s blessings and misfortunes. Potato, potato.

Now, considering myself a Satanist – or at least aligned with the ideals conveyed in LaVeyan Satanism moreso than any other faith, religion, dogma, or creed – does not mean I consider my work Satanic. I don’t immediately feel the need to explain to everyone I meet that I am a Satanist. I don’t feel that my philosophy is the single most defining trait of my existence. (I don’t consider depression, schizophrenia, autism, asthma, having a preference for Rubenesque ladies or being able to grow body and facial hair defining characteristics worthy of telling everyone I meet as often as possible, either. Just noting.)

But still, for someone as mired in identity politics as this person to become judgmental and hostile over one of the labels that can be applied to me struck me as both intensely hypocritical and frustrating. She then proceeded to state the real reason for my poor health isn’t bad genes or luck of the draw; nay, I say, it is due to my heretical beliefs and miring myself in those “kill ’em all nasty mean” video games.

That last part, by the way, was brought up when she glanced at my games shelf and saw such horrendous titles as Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, Forza Horizon 4, Eternal Sonata, Norn9, and Splatterhouse. To be fair, that last one is pretty gruesome, but… (also, given that I generally feel better after smashing a few dozen faces in Yakuza, I don’t really subscribe to the theory.)

She’s also not a fan of my writing, what few snippets she’s read discarded as being horrible, mean-spirited and “nasty.” Of course, according to this person, I would write about sunshine and rainbows if I were to play happy games (or stop playing them entirely), hide all the nicotine and caffeine, and accept a properly Christian faith structure.

This whole thing may come off a trifle bitchy. That’s probably to be expected. As noted, I’m not in the best place right now, and things like this are added crap I don’t need. But I’m still curious – at least for those of you still reading and not cowering in fear at the evil Devil Worshipper in your midst – what about you out there? Are there labels applied to you – chosen or otherwise – that are used more as weapons than descriptives? Things that aren’t part of the current trend of “diversity” where everyone’s labels are good, important, and not to be judged? Let us know down below.

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