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Anne Rice Condemns Political Correctness and “Internet Lynch Mobs” After For Such a Time Scandal

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On Tuesday, renowned genre writer Anne Rice took to her Facebook page to address what she calls “the new era of censorship,” joining the well-established ranks of public figures who legitimately feel that political correctness—AKA being sensitive to how your actions affect marginalized groups—is a societal ill.

Signing off with thanks to all who have participated in our discussions of fiction writing today. I want to leave you…

Posted by Anne Rice on Monday, August 10, 2015

Rice specifically addressed the controversy surrounding For Such a Time, Kate Breslin’s romance novel about a relationship between a Nazi concentration camp commander and a Jewish prisoner. For Such a Time was published in 2014 (and nominated that year by the Romance Writers of America for Best First Book and Best Inspirational Romance), but has gained attention online recently after a reviewer wrote an open letter condemning the book’s nominations.

According to Rice, the book’s recent attention has led Internet users to abuse Amazon’s review system:

Want to see the new censorship in action? Want to witness an internet lynch mob going after its target? Check out the…

Posted by Anne Rice on Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Rice, (who has a bit of a history with “internet mobs,” herself) went on to explain that she personally has yet to read the book, but that its subject matter should be irrelevant:

Screenshot 2015-08-12 at 2.38.10 PM
Screenshot 2015-08-12 at 2.38.00 PM

I’m certainly not going to deny that the Internet can create a scary group mentality (sometimes on both sides of debates), but it’s exhausting to see influential figures continuing to get on the nonsense podium to conflate political correctness with censorship.

I understand why Rice thinks readers should at least engage with a piece of media before condemning it (although I sympathize with people who elect not to, especially with For Such a Time), but giving an ill-informed opinion about a book is not censorship; and to characterize it as such, particularly while using the phrase “lynch mob,” is ridiculous and irresponsible.

Say it with me: criticism is not censorship, even if it feels that way. And, although this obviously doesn’t need to be said, “people demonstrating understandable concern about power dynamics in a questionable romance novel” is not a lynch mob.

(via Mediaite)

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