Would you ever boycott a book or author?
Last week we talked about whether or not we judge books by their cover, and for the most part everyone said, "Absolutely!" It was an interesting discussion--one that publishers I'm sure have to think heavily about since it is one of the primary ways they get people to buy books. Since we readers seem to be an opinionated bunch I am wondering whether there is any reason you would ever boycott a book or author.
There are few examples I can think of where people have moral objections to a book's content and an author's personal beliefs that have caused very strong reactions in the last 20 years. In conjunction with my Friday Coffee Chat question, Jennifer at Girls Gone Reading has written a post on Banned Books to discuss. When you finish reading and commenting over here, make sure you visit her blog to look at her post!
There are two books/authors that have come up in conversation with my friends in recent weeks. The first is the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. Let's just admit it. Most of us have read it and if we haven't, we all pretty much know the entire story anyway because of all the Twihards out there.
The big argument I keep seeing for boycotting the books is that Bella does not have healthy relationships with men. She becomes obsessed with Edward and goes into her waking coma in New Moon when he leaves, she cleans house all the time, and Edward is very controlling, etc. This has caused such a stir that one of my family members posted her misgivings about the series on Facebook before she had read the books. Some of my other friends have also posted articles regarding this aspect of the books.
Personally, I read them. I'm not a Twi-Hard or whatever you call them. I don't yearn for Edward or Jacob, but I didn't have an issue with the books. I thought they were just a light, fluffy read that I got through quickly. I enjoyed them and thought the story was engrossing, but I don't think it made me clean my house any more or wish I had a guy that stared at me all night in my bedroom. My defense of the books is that they are fantasy--Bella did after all have homicidal vampires that were after her oh so angsty but delicious blood. I told my friends that if vampires were a) real and b) after my angsty but delicious blood, I might want a sparkly vampire to protect me too! In the end, I don't understand the intense love or the intense hate for the series because I've already moved on with my life and am reading other books.
Orson Scott Card is another author that I've seen a lot of people boycotting because of his stance on gay issues. According to Wikipedia, Card has written that he believes laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books but that he doesn't advocate "harsh personal treatment of individuals who are unable to resist the temptation to have sexual relations with persons of the same sex." (Wikipedia) Before you get all up in arms about his statements, please take note that Orson Scott Card is a Mormon and is a member of the LDS church so his statements are not out of line with what the LDS believe (at least to my knowledge they would agree with his statements). I have to say that I don't agree with his stance at all, but I haven't boycotted his books, nor do I think that the Ender's Game series had all these homoerotic moments or anti-gay messages (which I guess some people have actually analyzed the books for). As much as I am pro-gay rights, I am also pro-freedom of religion and freedom of speech. I think that Card has the right to voice his beliefs and I do not think his statements are all that shocking since he is religious. I can just agree to disagree with him and still enjoy what he has to write because I actually really enjoyed the Ender's Game series.
However, there are certain people who I know I have had issues with in the past--Roman Polanski for one. He is a filmmaker and I think I may have only seen one of his movies that I know of (The Pianist for those of you wondering). I am not interested in seeing more of his films since he is accused of drugging and raping an underage girl. Honestly, I can't think of an author that I have boycotted though for their personal beliefs (besides the obvious political pundits that put books out--you guys are destroying my country. Please stop!). Am I off my rocker because I have some moral issues with someone like Polanski, but not Meyer or Card?
My question to all of you this week is:
Would you ever for any reason boycott a book or an author based on a book's content or an author's personal beliefs? (And I'm not talking about genres that you just aren't interested in. It has to be something that you fundamentally disagree with.)