Wheeew... Where to even begin. We are currently "living in interesting times," as the Chinese curse goes.
I'm a student of history as well as a creative. It's clear to me that there will probably never be another time in my life when wielding art as a weapon of resistance will be more sorely needed. Pablo Picasso said: "Painting is not made to decorate apartments. It's an offensive and defensive weapon against the enemy." He was, of course talking about his painting Guernica.
As someone who peddles fictional worlds filled with made up conflict and characters, it sometimes feels like what I'm doing is less "meaningful" than it should be - whatever the hell that means. It's not like I'm the 'gonna go out and find the cure for cancer' guy, or anything, but given what's happening right now, writing sci-fi and fantasy sometimes just feels kinda 'fluffy'.
But then again, that presupposes there is a greater reality or truth out there. In our current situation, we can't argue "truth" because it's become a meaningless slogan. Facts are irrelevant in a world where people in power simply choose whatever reality they want, spinning fabrications that their followers believe even when they don't match what they see with their own eyes.
I'm certain I'm not the only person who verges on being paralyzed about what to do, what to say or how to take action. And as we all know, speaking out puts a target on our backs. I've had friends arrested, doxxed, and it's become so common for people to be threatened that we're becoming immunized to it. If you are a Person of Color, Immigrant, Muslim, LGBTQ or are part of any number of other groups, every direction you turn is threatening. So, many people don't speak out.
I've been told to 'stick to your fandom,' talk about your fictional worlds or anything else - just don't bring up politics. Unfortunately, we're kind of in a place where we can't get away from it anymore. Those arguments might have held water a few years ago when people weren't marching under Nazi flags, ripping children away from their parents, putting them in cages and calling for journalists to be lynched. But that's where we are now. Some people have the privilege to stay silent. They know that things won't affect them immediately because they aren't part of one of these targeted groups. The word those people need to keep in mind is - YET. They haven't been targeted - yet.
So, what are we as spinners of fantasies, game writers, novelists, entertainment bloggers supposed to do? It's simple really - "MAKE ART!"
Paul Sizer is an artist I follow and respect. He's never shied away from meeting these things head on.
For me, it's about doing what I set out to do as a storyteller - communicate. Now, it may not happen in the traditional ways I normally think of. For example, there are a couple of songs that have been in my playlists a lot lately. I'm sharing them because they kind of cut to the guts of what I'm feeling.
Under the God - Tin Machine (David Bowie) 1989 (Prophetic much, David?) - Lyrics and music - but who wouldn't rather watch Bowie in a live performance? "White trash picking up Nazi flags
While you was gone, there was war
This is the west, get used to it
They put a Swastika over the door."
Cross the Line - Superchick
"They want us to lie down, give into the lie,
that nothing has to change and no one has to die.
But that's not the secret but I know what is
Everybody dies, but not everyone lives."
I've been going back and forth about whether or not to even do a post like this, whether to open Pandora's box if you will. But after talking with friends I decided to head down this road. We're in a strange no-man's land these days. Many of us understand that to be silent is to be complicit, but we aren't interested in turning our blogs or other outlets into strictly political venues. But to say nothing is disingenuous.
If I say something and it offends someone who believes that what is currently happening in this country is good for us, is that someone I really want to follow me on social media? And before we go down the whole mock civility rabbit hole, let me be clear. I have friends who are on the opposite side of the political spectrum. That's not what I'm talking about.
Nazis marching, people chanting about an ethnostate, kids in cages, people calling for journalists to be lynched? Sorry, we're never going to see eye-to-eye on these things. If I were putting out a personals ad for people to follow me on social media there would have to be a section that says, 'racists, misogynists, bigots and science-deniers need not apply.'
I will let St. Deadpool express for me.
"Listen, the day I decide to become a crime-fighting shit swizzler, who rooms with a bunch of other little whiners at the Neverland Mansion of some creepy, old, bald, Heaven's Gate-looking motherfucker... on that day, I'll send your shiny, happy ass a friend request!"
How the hell we are in a position where video game companies have to explicitly say, 'Nazis are bad.'
"Wolfenstein (Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus is the new game) has been a decidedly anti-Nazi series since the first release more than 20 years ago. We aren't going to shy away from what the game is about. We don't feel it's a reach for us to say Nazis are bad and un-American, and we're not worried about being on the right side of history here." - Pete Hines from Bethesda ("It's disturbing that Wolfenstein can be considered a controversial political statement" - GameIndustry.biz )
A great and telling line from the game, "Come and get f*cking me you fascist, nazi pig!"
And from the folks at Ubisoft, who produced Far Cry 5:
“We started building this game three years ago,” reflects Far Cry 5 director Dan Hay, “we could have never imagined, and to be honest I wouldn't have wanted to... that in some ways, it's echoing out in the real world.” - from "How Far Cry 5 became more Political that Ubisoft Intended"
So, where does that leave me? Right here. I'll continue primarily blogging about writerly things, sci-fi, fantasy, and other geeky stuff, but I'm also not going to censor the rage, fear, and anxiety I'm feeling. This blog is me, or at least as much of me as I'm comfortable sharing with the world, warts and all. And some of those warts are what I will and will not stand for, what I believe in.
So, if you're a fascist, neo-nazi, bigot, misogynist, or anti-science nut, consider yourself warned. This may not be a comfortable place for you because Black Lives Matter, Families Belong Together, I'd rather sit in a stall next to a Trans person than a violently repressed one, Planned Parenthood saves lives, universal health care should be a human right, the world is round and climate change is real.