Anne Rice Claims “we are facing a new era of censorship, in the name of political correctness.”
There has been a lot of bitter debate over the idea of a “new political correctness” this year after Jonathan Chait’s essay was published in January. Just this week, The Atlantic published a fearful article on “The Coddling of the American Mind” while Vox celebrated a browser hack that reworded “political correctness” with “treating people with respect.”
Yesterday, best-selling novelist Anne Rice added her voice on Facebook:
Signing off with thanks to all who have participated in our discussions of fiction writing today. I want to leave you with this thought: I think we are facing a new era of censorship, in the name of political correctness. There are forces at work in the book world that want to control fiction writing in terms of who “has a right” to write about what. Some even advocate the out and out censorship of older works using words we now deem wholly unacceptable. Some are critical of novels involving rape. Some argue that white novelists have no right to write about people of color; and Christians should not write novels involving Jews or topics involving Jews. I think all this is dangerous. I think we have to stand up for the freedom of fiction writers to write what they want to write, no matter how offensive it might be to some one else. We must stand up for fiction as a place where transgressive behavior and ideas can be explored. We must stand up for freedom in the arts. I think we have to be willing to stand up for the despised. It is always a matter of personal choice whether one buys or reads a book. No one can make you do it. But internet campaigns to destroy authors accused of inappropriate subject matter or attitudes are dangerous to us all. That’s my take on it. Ignore what you find offensive. Or talk about it in a substantive way. But don’t set out to censor it, or destroy the career of the offending author. Comments welcome. I will see you tomorrow.
Rice’s comments seem to have been spurred on by the recent scandal in the Romance community over the Nazi romance novel For Such a Time. The novel, which depicts a love between a Holocaust prisoner and a Nazi officer, has overwhelmed the Romance world with controversy the last few weeks.
In a subsequent Facebook post, Rice mentioned the book, saying:
Want to see the new censorship in action? Want to witness an internet lynch mob going after its target? Check out the Amazon review site for this novel and read the one star reviews. Note how many have been posted since August 4th.
In the comments, Rice said that she had not read the novel and was only opposed to the internet mob’s tactics.