I really don’t like Brussel sprouts.
I don’t like the taste.
I don’t like the effect on my gastro-intestinal tract.
And nobody – including me — likes the devastating farts I produce after eating them. There are worse things, of course. As a child I had the most wonderful black Labrador, who — besides being in my opinion at the time, the best dog in the entire universe –- was very good at lying quietly at my feet under the dining-room table. I spent a fair amount of time sitting at that table with things I had decided I didn’t like on my plate. I sat there until I decided I did like them. I was a very obstinate child, of very obstinate parents, which proves four things: 1) Some things are heritable. My kids are my parents’ revenge. 2) I didn’t like cold Brussel sprouts any more than I liked hot Brussel sprouts. Less, in fact. 3) A loving dog, especially a Labrador that will eat anything that comes from your hand, is a treasure to a small, obstinate boy. 4) Eventually, that too will come out, and when you smuggle your dog onto your bed every night, (through the window. My mother knew, but wasn’t telling my father. My father knew but wasn’t telling my mother. Family dynamics… a book in itself) you’re going to have to live with the consequences, or at least the stink.
Now, because Brussel sprouts are full of vitamin K which assists in blood-clotting… if you’re on blood thinners to keep you alive, they could just kill you too. This is very rare, but a lot less rare than being killed by carrots. I am sure if you try hard you can come up with several great forms of carrot-ssassination, but frequent carrots are really, really good for you. You know it is mandatory that when you puke, there must be at least at least seven pieces of carrot, and four peas, undigested, or the universe itself will fall down the singularity created by violating this basic law of physics. It is much healthier to eat them regularly than to force your body to store them for years against this evil chance.
Yes, I like carrots, and peas more than Brussel sprouts. I don’t love carrots, or peas. They range from good to Okay.
But no-one (or no-one with two working brain cells) could say I was Brussel sprouts-phobic. I don’t have an exaggerated and irrational fear of them (that is what a ‘phobia’ is). I certainly don’t hate them, or want you not to eat them. You’re welcome to as many as you please, my share too. Just, if they have the same effect on you, please don’t stand downwind or share my bed. I can even eat them if I have to. This too will pass. But I don’t like them, for good logical reasons.
And no, I have no interest in trying them over and over again just in case I get to like the taste of them. It’s pretty unlikely I will die from them, but if that’ll do for an excuse, I’ll take it. The truth is, I am not that interested in eating them, and if I never saw another one on my plate… I probably wouldn’t notice. I don’t care much, and most of the time now I can actually say ‘no thank you’ or leave them on my plate and still get dessert.
Yes, this does relate to books –as well as many things from taking in ‘migrants’ or refugees to eating undesired veggies.
I hear ‘transphobic’, and ‘homophobic’, and ‘Islamophobic’ a lot (I daresay we’ll have melanophobic and gynophobic any moment now). There may be some genuine exaggerated and irrational fear of any of these things. There can also be disinterest or plain dislike. It can even be quite logical for that individual. Honestly, telling me – or any reader – they are xyz-phobic not to want to read your book which is all about xyz… is only going to work, if I care what you think.
And if you’re going to know that I, specifically, think it.
That, I think, is where the disconnect between sales expectations and reality of many of those in NY Traditional Publishing – or those pushing for more Syrian migrants – becomes apparent.
Firstly, people may well not have the desire to open themselves up to the shrieking and attacks of the left-wing SJW’s by publically stating that no, they really have no interest in a book about xyz victim, that they don’t like them (and rationality doesn’t matter) and they’re not going to spend their money on it. They don’t have to say anything. They vote, in a kind of secret ballot. Money is a very sincere form of voting.
And secondly, people increasingly just don’t care. The ones pointing, shrieking, threatening, accusing them of being SCARED of xyz… are not people they respect, or whose opinion matters to them in least. Often they’ve managed to make themselves disliked by those who don’t care’s peer group. Often they have amply demonstrated they don’t have any credibility to criticize. Take John Scalzi telling folk that don’t want an influx of Muslim Syrian refugees that being frightened, ignorant and cowardly is no way to go through life… Hang on… is this the guy who worries about ‘microagression’ (or are we at nano-aggressions, or maybe even pico-aggressions), supports ‘safe spaces’ and needs a fainting couch for the terribly offensive word ‘pussy’ (my cat is not impressed), bans any dissent, and has no experience whatsoever of working or fighting with the people he’s talking about? A lot of the folk who do object have combat experience (or actually know people with that experience) some in the in the ME or Afghanistan. I know if I was looking for someone I could be sure wasn’t frightened, ignorant and cowardly, I’d bet on the latter group.
It’s not a ‘phobia’ we’re talking about. They might be wrong. That is possible. But you need credibility, you need to SHOW people, not tell them, or try to shame them, or bully them. If you can show them that your Trans hero is entertaining and likeable, if you can show them your ‘refugee’ is going to be a good citizen and integrate into their society… you can sell your book, get your refugee asylum. If you’re going to appeal to your authority, well, you need to be credible, be someone the reader can trust and respect.
If not… learn to disguise your Brussel sprout. One chopped up fine and mixed into a pot of molten lava conflagration Chili works pretty well.
And, yes, that’s good book advice too.