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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Politics makes us dumber

“Divergent” and “Hunger Games” as capitalist agitprop: 
"We're all told we're "Divergent," all the time -- behind the bogus dystopia lies a panegyric to consumer society."
The horror!

YA dystopias teach children to submit to the free market, not fight authority 
"The Hunger Games, The Giver and Divergent all depict rebellions against the state, and promote a tacit right-wing libertarianism."
And I take it that this is evil as it goes against everything the article writers believe in. I agree. In fact, I've got an idea. Let's only write a certain kind of story! One kind only! With one theme. One theme only! It will never get old. Nor will the exclamation marks!

We'll check with the proper authorities to make sure it has the proper theme. I can't wait to dive into this dystopian future we're creating. I will chair the committee. All stories must be pre-approved by me or it cannot be published.  We will only publish stories that slant toward a certain political party. All unapproved published works will be burned (and their authors).*

Related, but less shocking:

Project Hieroglyph: Fighting society's dystopian future

Thought Experiments:Tomorrow Through the Past by Allen M. Steele

Here, the authors advocate positive futures.  That's great.  In fact, I'd like to get the anthology when the price goes down. Advocate whatever you want, so long as you don't say what writers can and can't write about.

Let's allow people to tell whatever story they want. If you disagree with the theme, say so. As a reviewer, I used to post the author's comments if I disagreed. Why? To give authors a voice, not to bash them. I could be wrong. I was not out to silence anyone.

Let's not create some moral imperative that any theme can or cannot be read. Open your mind. Look at negative possibilities, look at the positive. Allow yourself to read things you don't agree with. Avoid telling people not to read things.

Some scientific evidence to back this up:

David Brin discusses how self-righteous indignation gives you a high.  Self-righteous indignation is a major component of politics. (Perhaps, as self-righteous indignation gives political addicts a high, the FDA should regulate its use.)

Science confirms: Politics wrecks your ability to do math.  That's right.  Both parties got dumber. (A left-wing article reported only the right-wing problems.)

Political Diversity Will Improve Social Psychological Science: Bias can skew data.

If you want to get smarter, you have to challenge yourself. Read something you don't agree with. Excluding what can and can't be read and discussed makes you and the people you encouraged to become dumber. No, you don't have to read everything, but don't tell people not to.

You might ask, "Weren't you part of the Mundane SF lot?" Yep. Not because I was against any type of SF, but that it represented a type of SF not being voiced.

* By the way, this is satire.

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