A totalitarian pall has been cast on the fiction business which is one of the reasons the Freedom Forge exists. The culture has been contaminated by scolds, ideologues, racists and other extremists, who, like all villains, think they’re the good guys. Instead, they are an evil kind of gatekeeper trying to decide what reality they will allow people to see.
Anyone against free expression or freedom of speech does not belong in the arts. Hell, they don’t belong in polite society.
This insightful article at the Prospect explains what the problem is.
Yet these days, straight white fiction writers whose characters’ ethnicity, race, disability, sexual identity, religion or class differs from their own can expect their work to be subjected to forensic examination—and not only on social media. Publishers of young adult fiction and children’s literature hire “sensitivity readers” to comb through manuscripts for perceived slights to any group with the protected status once reserved for distinguished architecture.
The publishing magazine Kirkus Reviews assigns “own voices” reviewers with a matching “marginalized” pedigree to assess young adult books that contain a diverse cast. Last autumn, the magazine yanked both a positive review and its coveted “star” after online activists accused Laura Moriarty’s dystopian novel American Heart, which imagines a future in which US Muslims are sent to internment camps, of using a “white savior narrative.” (Yes, whole plotlines are becoming unacceptable. This year’s film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri has attracted heavy flak because its racist cop rounds into a half-decent human being. Writers can refurbish murderers into good guys, but must never redeem a racist.)
The Freedom Forge was created as an answer to this kind of censorship and groupthink fascism. This hivemind mentality that decides what is acceptable is as intolerant as it gets. Some of the greatest works of literature were offensive to the sensibilities of the time. Yet they are still with us while safe, boring fiction is nothing more than dusty books taking up old library shelves.
Creative people who want to be free need to band together to stand against this extremism. The Freedom Forge offers a place to do that.