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Wed Jun 9, 2021, 12:20 PM

Bogus Social Media Outrage Is Making Authors Change Lines in Their Books Now



Tweet text:
Taffy Brodesser-Akner
@taffyakner
A thousand times this. Characters should be able to say bad/horrible things without the hall monitors descending. (And honestly, if people on Nantucket weren't saying casually anti-Semitic things, I would not think those characters were very well-written.)

Bogus Social Media Outrage Is Making Authors Change Lines in Their Books Now
The silly idea that a fictional character’s statements reflect an author’s actual beliefs is spreading.
slate.com
6:39 AM · Jun 9, 2021


https://slate.com/culture/2021/06/elin-hilderbrand-casey-mcquiston-antisemitism-israel-social-media.html

Elin Hilderbrand writes novels about people who summer in Nantucket and have lots of family secrets and complicated love lives. The books—whose covers feature beach scenes with women in sun hats and sherbet-colored towels fluttering in the sea breeze—reliably make the bestseller lists every July, snapped up by fans in search of vacation reading. Hilderbrand’s seems a dreamy life, raking in the cash by offering fans a few hours of harmless, sunny escapism. But don’t get too comfortable in that deck chair: Social media has arrived to harsh Hilderbrand’s mellow.

As described in an article in Publishers Weekly, readers on Instagram criticized Hilderbrand’s summer 2021 book, The Golden Girl, for a passage in which two teens, Vivi and Savannah, discuss plans for Vivi to hide out in the attic of Savannah’s house without Savannah’s parents’ knowledge: “You’re suggesting I hide here all summer?” Vivi asks. “Like … like Anne Frank?” The two friends laugh at this, but Vivi thinks to herself, “Is it really funny, and is Vivi so far off base?”

On an Instagram post in Hilderbrand’s publisher’s feed, a user who goes by the name “poursandpages” posted a comment (since deleted) denouncing this joke as “horrifically” antisemitic and demanding an apology. Others described themselves as “disgusted” and “gobsmacked in every way with the insensitivity” and accused Hilderbrand of thinking “antisemitism is funny.” After trying to put out these fires via DMs, Hilderbrand issued a formal apology and stated that the line would be removed from the book.

And this isn’t the only time this month that an author came under fire for something one of their fictional characters said. A few days later a Twitter user posted a passage from Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue, a popular gay romance novel published in 2019, in which a supporting character who is the president of the United States complains, “Well, my UN ambassador fucked up his one job and said something idiotic about Israel, and now I have to call Netanyahu and personally apologize.” This, one user insists, “normalizes the genocide & war crimes done by Israel that will always be backed up & unashamedly supported by America.” It seemingly doesn’t matter that the line clearly reads as a gentle satire of the United States’ overly deferential foreign policy; another Twitter user explained that “mentions of Israel (especially when they’re completely unnecessary as well, such as in books/films/shows) normalize the occupation of Palestine. All mentions, even ones that don’t outwardly seem bad, are wrong.” Like Hilderbrand, McQuiston has tweeted that the line “will be changed for all future printings.”

*snip*

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Reply Bogus Social Media Outrage Is Making Authors Change Lines in Their Books Now (Original post)
Nevilledog Jun 9 OP
grumpyduck Jun 9 #1
Midnight Writer Jun 9 #2
jimfields33 Jun 9 #3
wryter2000 Jun 9 #4
TraceNC Jun 9 #5

Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Wed Jun 9, 2021, 12:44 PM

1. Some people just need to get a life.

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Wed Jun 9, 2021, 12:45 PM

2. Now can we get rid of that despicable Simon Legree?

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Wed Jun 9, 2021, 12:46 PM

3. Obviously this will continue as authors are apologizing and changing their books

I thought fiction was fiction. I guess not. I don’t read either one. Not sure how far this will go with other writers.

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Wed Jun 9, 2021, 12:48 PM

4. Hmmm....I write romance novels

I wouldn't change the words I'd written. The big deal will die down after a while. In fact, the publicity could very well help the book. But I would consider the complaints and decide if I should be a bit more sensitive in the future. Especially about the Anne Frank comment. It isn't all that clever, and I can't imagine it adds much of anything. The second one might have been funnier if the UN ambassador had insulted Paris on a mic he/she didn't realize was live and now the president had to call Macron to apologize.

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Wed Jun 9, 2021, 12:50 PM

5. Don't like something? Don't consume it. Easy.

This can be applied to books, music, tv, movies, etc. It sucks that there’s a segment of the population that’s decided they need to police everyone’s use of language for the rest of us.

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