Should authors be judged for their works or beliefs?

Discussion in 'Every Day Debating' started by azuren82, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. azuren82

    azuren82 Berserk got banned...

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    Well, seen some comments on Tolkien and Lewis by Padme and Anakin. So here's the question: should an author be judged solely on his works or his own personal beliefs that may or may not be present in his works?

    I and met did say a bit on this issue when he brought up Padme and Anakin's views on Tolkien and Lewis. Both of us agree that an author should only be judged by his works and not his beliefs which more or less are present in the works. Let's just think of it this way: if a person said Tolkien and Lewis are sexists and racists and he won't read their works, but did the exact opposite for Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code despite the religious sensitivity surrounding it, is that person guilty of double standards?

    That's one thing you guys have to think about. I'll be waiting to see your comments altho I more or less knew what our resident SW pair will say.
     
  2. Kaine999

    Kaine999 ┼╫£ §₧£§╫µ⌠

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    I personally think they should be judged on both accounts, but how do you mean judged?
    To me a good book is a good book, I don't care how the writer thinks if he/she can write a good story that I enjoy. A good writer shouldn't cloud the story with his or her own beliefs, and just because the writer might create a bit of controversy doesn't mean that I won't read their book if I find it interesting.
     
  3. Amalthea

    Amalthea Milady

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    Authors should be judged however you choose to judge them. It's your call.
     
  4. Crusader

    Crusader Disturber of the Peace

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    Authors should be judged by their actions/beliefs, books should be judged by their contents.

    The only reason to judge a book by its author is when the author's beliefs ARe the contents of the book, when they insert their own themes in there and then its still only the contents of the book itself.

    in either case it should be judged on a case by case basis for the specific book or its author.
     
  5. Blackness

    Blackness Well-Known Member

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    Agreed.
    With both of the above statements.
     
  6. Meteorain

    Meteorain Magical & Mystical

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    Don't use me as evidence or whatnot without my consent T_T

    That being said, I beleive that an author's work should not be critiqued based on their personal beliefs. It can be hard to read someone's work who you may believe is "not good" etc, but you should not base the quality of their work on such a thing.

    If they have put their beleifs into the content of the work, then one should consider it objectively and see how they have put their belief's foward. As Crusader said, in this case it is still the content of the work at hand that should be judged.
     
  7. JIM

    JIM zombie Turncoat

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    an author is no different from anyone else, for me it depends on whether the beliefs are open or hidden
     
  8. Arya

    Arya New Member

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    Would you read a really, really, really crappy book just because you agreed with the beliefs and morals of the author? I wouldn't. A book that I can't get into, just doesn't do anything for me. I don't care who wrote it. A book that I'm really getting into and enjoying, I'm going to read - regardless of the beliefs or morals or ethics of the person who wrote it.

    Your doctor, you really like him, visited him a few times -- are you going to change doctors because you disagree with his personal life? My stylist is an atheist, I'm not. I'm not going to stop using her services though, just because I disagree with her.

    Writing is a profession, like any other. It's wonderful to be able to have an artistic profession, but it's how they make money, just as much as I make money from accounting.

    I judge an author on the quality of their work, their personal life be damned. It's none of my business what Charles de Lint gets up to in his spare time, but his books are nothing short of brilliant, and that's all I care about. Katharine Kerr could be a voodoo-practicing, blood drinking vampire for all I know about her - but there's nothing in the world that detracts from the fact that the deverry books she has written are among the finest works I have ever read.

    Choose your friends, people you want to spend time with by their beliefs and morals - but where is the sense in casting judgment on someone you've never met, probably never will ... someone who may already be dead?
     
  9. Tamzen

    Tamzen New Member

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    I do make the choice to not support certain authors, by not buying their books any longer. I don't care to buy or read the works of people iike Orson Scott Card, who is extremely talented and who's books I did enjoy, but who is also racist, homophobic and misogynistic in his non-fiction and in his out spoken speaking. I also do the same for businesses who espouse beliefs I do not agree with or who support things like cigarette sales in the 3rd world.

    I feel taking a stand for your beliefs demands such actions.
     
  10. Crusader

    Crusader Disturber of the Peace

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    Its an appropiate response when dealing with businesses, because that is adding financial support to their beliefs, but reading fiction? which has little if any affect on real world matters.
     
  11. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    ^

    What he said
     
  12. Padmé

    Padmé Mrs Cascador

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    Ok interesting that the first sentence of the starting of this thread has mine and Anakin's names lol For me, the nature and personality of the author is very important when it comes to my interests. If they have views contrary to my own, 9 times out of 10 I don't like what they have to say or the metaphors in their work, Tolkien and Lewis indeed being big examples but of course there are more. I think to say that it doesn't matter is the wrong way to look at it, to use an extreme example, if Hitler were to have released a fantasy series, would you be truly interested in what it had to say and just sweep away his views for the sake of it? Like I said, may be an extreme way of looking at it but then where do you draw the line?

    I have to say I find it surprising that our views are being discussed in private lol A bit weird as I certainly don't do the same cause A life is too short and B there's more important things to worry about lol But hey to each his own, at least we're making an impression even if unintentional *scratches head*
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2008
  13. Cascador

    Cascador Who's Anakin?

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    Well I agree with what Padmé said above and what Crusader first posted. The problem is that I think that there are indeed metaphors and other things in the contents of the books of Narnia and LOTR from the authors belief and other personality traits, while others disagree on that. So then it becomes a problem of course. But like we always say aren't we entitled to our opinions?
     
  14. bloodfiredeath

    bloodfiredeath Die by the Sword

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    I agree. If I read a work, that blatantly raises sexist, racist, or whatever issues, I tend to ignore it, if the work is a great read. And it undoubtably depends on the context of the story, and when it was written. Tolkein is often singled out as a racist, which I dont agree with, as it was common in his time, and probably every author was to a degree. I definitely dont find it to be a "in your face" theme in his work, unless you consider the hatred between Orc and elves and so on.
    I believe sometimes people read too much into a work, rather than taking it for what it is, a story! However memorable and life impacting it is.
     
  15. Padmé

    Padmé Mrs Cascador

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    No the excuse of 'a lot of people were back then' is not true, look at H.G Wells, he lived before Tolkien, Lewis etc and not only was he totally against racism, he also supported the woman's movement etc So it wasn't that 'people were just like that', cause often you find that that is not true, people like to believe that but it does not excuse it.
     
  16. Cascador

    Cascador Who's Anakin?

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    I just think people like to find excuses for these authors so that their 'heroes' don't die out...
     
  17. bloodfiredeath

    bloodfiredeath Die by the Sword

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    Point taken, I didnt know that about H.G Wells.
    Personally I am not a big Tolkien or Lewis fan anyway, so I am not looking for excuses for them.
    I just think, people sometimes read too much into a story.
     
  18. azuren82

    azuren82 Berserk got banned...

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    What bloodfiredeath said is pretty much spot on for the problem with fiction readers nowadays. No matter how we look at this issue, people will just read the story and think too much about it in a general sense. This is what happened for His Dark Materials trilogy. Christian fundies just read through it and denounce it as satanic where in fact, this is just a work of fiction. And I guess Tolkien and Lewis pretty much got the same treatment here.

    True maybe their beliefs more or less influence their works, but who else is not? Fiction, by it's own, should just be judged accordingly by contents, not what you don't like in it just because you get offended by what the story is trying to say, be it due to the author or what you think. Authors on the other can be judged by their beliefs if you want although I do admit this current society always jump the gun in judging other people like what Alchemist pointed out before. Of course if a fiction work advocates hatred in any significant way or form, then that's a total different story.

    All in all, altho authors and their works are linked together, imo they should be viewsd as two different things from an objective view.

    P.S: For some weird reason, typing this post reminds me of the few posts made by Elladan and Aphelion before where they rebutt Padme and Anakin on Tolkien being racist and sexist, and in the end, our beloved SW pair just went "......" lawl. :D
     
  19. Cascador

    Cascador Who's Anakin?

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    Well if you know the nature of the authors in your former post and the nature of the contents of a book of fiction, I think it gives you a good idea whether the book was influenced by the author's believes. The difference between Tolkien and Phillip Pullman is that they are the opposite, cause he did comment that he did not like to be compared to C.S Lewis, as he thought it was wrong to put his believes in his books, but Pullman on the other hand didn't despite what others think because his Dark Material does have religious contents. I find it a bit hilarious to think it supports atheism, his books, cause it happens to speak of the existence of a God, while Atheists believe the opposite if I recall
     
  20. Padmé

    Padmé Mrs Cascador

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    Well I don't remember what you talk about, which posts I mean, so no assumptions on us going 'quiet', I've spoken here many times about those issues and where I got the information from, documentaries books, even words of Tolkien's own son which surprised me. I can't remember name the documentary as it was on TV in the UK years ago. There's a vast list of sexist and racist contents of the books, but I'm not anyone's mum, if you doubt what I say, go and look it up, google is an easy word to type lol

    In the end, as Anakin said, people always defend what they love don't they. I try not to be that way despite what some people may think. I wouldn't say these things about Tolkien if it were not the case, I also don't like the Matrix movies but I'm not going to just say, oh the writers are gay bashers, just because I didn't like the movie.

    Concerning Lewis, well I was never a fan of Narnia, but after I read HDM by Pullman, it was then when I heard how he had made this because of his hatred of Lewis himself. He wanted HDM to be the Anti-Narnia, again because of the christian syrup in it, the sexist metaphors and so forth, so it was through that which I learned about Lewis' work, and I admit, he sounds worse than Tolkien from what I read of his personal life, but still Tolkien himself had views I don't agree with at all.