Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dan Brown is Upside Down: Don't We All Deserve A Voice?

This is going to be a little bizarre as I have never personally read any of Dan Brown's material, ever, nor have I seen any of the movies based on it (are there more than one? I only know of The Da Vinci Code. I guess you could say I live under a boulder.), but from the general gist of the comments on message boards whenever his name is brought up, his work isn't held in very high regard. Despite this he regularly moves a large volume of product, makes headlines, and, oh yeah, actually gets movie contracts by big name Hollywood houses at all. Obviously somebody out there likes what he's doing, probably a whole lot of somebodies. Or just one mega-rich somebody with an awful lot of time on their hands.

I don't really want this post to be a defense of Dan Brown, he hardly needs it. Hell, he probably doesn't give a shit. I imagine he doesn't care each morning all the way to his swimming pool full of gold coins and greenbacks. However, this post was inspired by him, by a recent article about him, and is meant as a defense for him, for similarly ridiculed yet ridiculously successful creators like him (Stephenie Meyer, for instance), and for... well, for you. That's right, this post is about you. And me, too.

This article, published yesterday, talks about how Dan Brown beats writer's block by hanging upside down from a desk like some kind of Count Edgar Allan Batman. The digs practically shovel themselves, and even I was not above snickering and thinking half-a-dozen disses that I really have no right to come up with. Whatever though, the guy is pretty much asking for that kind of response by mentioning this outlandish technique at all, and it's all pretty much harmless. I mean, yeah, some people won't be able to take the heat. They won't be able to filter out their fans from their trolls or the light jeers from the intentionally soul-destroying insults. However, those people usually never make it to the level of acclaim which Dan Brown has attained. Typically the people who get up their have a much tougher skin than us weepy folks.

However, the comments generated in response to this article went beyond middle grade taunts and into a realm of dark, barbaric foolishness. The massive number of people, people who have never once in their lives sat down with the intent of writing a short story let alone a novel, demanding that Dan Brown never scribe another script ever is startling. These are people who are literally sitting their shouting for an individual to surrender his right to write, his right to speak, and his right to profit from his speech simply because they don't like what he has to say. These people feel that because he is not particularly good at what he does that he should no longer be allowed to do it.

What the fuck kind of madness is this?

Nobody is being forced to read Digital Fortress at gunpoint, hell, I don't think anybody is being forced to read it at gradepoint. How is Dan Brown writing dreadful, dreadful novels impacting your quality of life one freakin' bit? You don't have to read them. If you don't like them, then don't read them. It's that simple. There isn't any reason somebody should stop what they're doing simply because you don't like it if it isn't actually hurting anybody else in any personal manner. There are literally billions, trillions, an unreadable amount of fiction and non-fiction in the world. No average human being can possibly go through all of the art we have created. There is no reason any individual should be so fixated on something and someone they don't like that they have to demand that the author no longer be an author.

If it doesn't suit your fancy, if it doesn't float your boat, read something the fuck else.

I think it's awesome that we live in a time where it is so cheap to create stories that everyone can do it. Everyone. I can do it, I do do it, you can do it, anyone can do it. All any individual has to do is march down to the library, wait for an open computer, and pop open a fresh spread of Microsoft Word, or even Notepad if you want to format the HTML and all that for an e-book. Then they have any number of actions to freely distribute the work. They can sell it on Kindle, they can upload it to FictionPress or Booksie. Blogger, forums, anything.

This is awesome.

Why are there people who exist who are so stupid that they want to reverse progress? And make no mistake, the more accessible creation becomes, the more we have progressed as a society. It doesn't matter who is taking advantage of it. It doesn't matter if it's the twelve year old just learning to write and posting their InuYasha fan fic. It doesn't matter if it's some old war veteran rambling about the maggots in the government food preserves. The fact that we are actively giving a voice to every individual is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

I acknowledge that you have a right to tell people not to write. You have that right, it's the same right I'm defending here in this post. I acknowledge that. I acknowledge that you also have a right to be a moron. Which you are, if you are one of these people. But you have that right. Of course, we all have the right to ignore you, and we will. Just not today.

But I want you to think about where that right comes from. Why the fuck do you think you have a right to say whatever you want, but Dan Brown has no right to continue writing his books? Before you open your face one more time and try to bully the rest of the world into keeping theirs shut, I want you to think about why you have the right to do that at all.

I'll tell you, if you're too stupid to figure it out.

You have that right because society chose to ignore morons like you.

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