On the Responsibilities of Writers by wemyss
I can't hope to reach those heights of literary eloquence, but my views on writing are more complex than WRITER RESPONSIBLE or WRITER LAISSEZ FAIRE. And I think my contention that writers only have a duty to the story they tell, which I believe and practice, is confused with the idea that all stories that end up being written are equal no matter how horrific their baseline philosophy may be.
Sometimes? Writers write shitty stories with a shitty philosophical background. Even well-written, thoughtful stories can be horrific in the service of some people's misguided morality. And I avoid like the plague when a work offends my sensibilities, beliefs, or the existence of human rights and good taste.
The writer is responsible for the story, for writing it as true as they can. My responsibility, as a reader, is to either read it and enjoy it, run far, far away, or meta my ass off on everything I feel is wrong about it. Or possibly, to say, I think the story is wrong.
I'll get back to that.
It's not that I'm particularly uncomfortable with making universal judgments, because I do that every day in what I choose to read and not, who I choose to interact with, and who recently I moved to a no-read filter so I can cool down after someone says something I find offensive. No writer, in herself (or himself, I suppose), is obligated or responsible to anyone else to write the way or with the philosophy of any or all readers.
A story doesn't have to reflect current thought on sexuality, racism, sexism, etc. It doesn't have to be politically correct, whatever the fuckall that means. The story has to be true to itself. And if being true to itself means bilge that would make most of us nauseated just looking at the cover, there it is. And I think where we all stop short is that arguing this comes into the realm of saying "I respect this" when fuck no, it does not.
It means, literally, you can totally write your glorified misogynist racist piece of shit and be as true to it as you feel you must be, because that's the story you wrote, that's the one that was true, that's what your vision/muse/secondary personality demanded. You have no responsibility to me or to anyone else to reflect anything but what your story demands.
You created this. You worked on this. You spent nights slaving over it. You invested yourself in it. You loved it and named it and posted it/published it/sent it into the wilds with your fingerprints all over it, and it may be true, but that doesn't mean it's not wrong, and it doesn't, of all things, mean that you don't have to answer for it.
So be prepared for someone to ask why you thought the story was true.