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