Author Topic: Should I feel offended?  (Read 5492 times)

Offline Dina

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Re: Should I feel offended?
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2015, 04:07:08 AM »
I don't remember French names. Actually, I remember having seen one French name besides Bayard but I don't remember which one now.
On the other hand, Itasca it's a name from USA if wikipedia serves right, but it was created from Latin.
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Offline Brightbane

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Re: Should I feel offended?
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2015, 06:46:48 AM »
I don't remember French names. Actually, I remember having seen one French name besides Bayard but I don't remember which one now.
On the other hand, Itasca it's a name from USA if wikipedia serves right, but it was created from Latin.
Itasca is a county from the state I lived in. I think it was a native American word
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Offline Shecky

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Re: Should I feel offended?
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2015, 03:30:55 PM »
General, undirected point of advice: never think anything is obvious where Jim is concerned.

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Offline Second Aristh

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Re: Should I feel offended?
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2015, 03:55:43 PM »
It may or may not be relevant, but there was a ship named the Itasca involved with Amelia Earhart's disappearance.
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Offline Aminar

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Re: Should I feel offended?
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2015, 04:27:36 PM »
I wouldn't worry about it. If you have to ask if you should be offended the answer is no.
Instead it's useful to examine other points of view and see what can be learned from what others have said and done.
Being offended is a waste of time.
Learning about other viewpoints, even blatantly wrong ones is not.
In this case, as has been said,  there are a number of hints that the book is making a point about the disfunctional nature of stereotypes and propaganda, not espousing a view point on said stereotypes.
And remember these are not Earth Cultures. Just loosely based on them.
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Offline Dina

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Re: Should I feel offended?
« Reply #20 on: October 24, 2015, 05:43:24 PM »
That is your opinion, Aminar. I think they are Earth cultures all right.
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Offline Aminar

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Re: Should I feel offended?
« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2015, 04:47:58 AM »
That is your opinion, Aminar. I think they are Earth cultures all right.
At best that's like saying Mad Max is misrepresenting Australians.
We've got millenia of cultural evolution if they are earth cultures. At which point drawing enough comparison to take offense is reaching.
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Offline Dina

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Re: Should I feel offended?
« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2015, 04:51:51 AM »
Yes, that is true.
In fact, I am wondering if they are colonies (each spire) specially created to preserve a way of life.
That said, the point of the thread was not so much about my particular case with this book but about discussing if someone should be offended for the points of view of characters in a book, even if they are the main characters.
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Offline Arjan

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Re: Should I feel offended?
« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2015, 11:23:09 AM »
Especially because writers often give them to protagonists just to create problems for them.
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Re: Should I feel offended?
« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2015, 01:33:46 AM »
Hubby has began reading the book. He is struggling with it because he is irritated for the constant racism against the Aurorans (corrupt, inneficient). As we are Latin Americans and have Spanis inheritage he feels offended when the Spaniards are attacked. I've told him that the book only reflects the English point of view of British against Spain, at least in the Victorian times. So, it's accurate. He feels it is offensive anyway.

I know you are not of Spanish descent, but do you think someone should be offended by a novel written by the point of view of something who hates your country? I actually loved this book but I am wondering if I should have resent its treatment of my people. I am being not patriot enough?

So my question is not about the particulars but about the general idea of "should we be offended when a book speaks poorly of our country, even if it is in the mindset of an enemy country?" What do you think?
I
No more than the Brits for being displayed as arrogant,racist, @sses, discriminating others based on perceived superiority?

Offline Dina

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Re: Should I feel offended?
« Reply #25 on: October 26, 2015, 01:39:20 AM »
I didn't realize they were depicted as more racist than others, in fact apparently Aurorans are more racist against warriorborns than Albionites. But even accepting it, yes, would they be right in be offended? Again, I don't want to discuss particularities, only if people should be offended by characters opinions, basically.
Missing you, Md 

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Offline Roverbey

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Re: Should I feel offended?
« Reply #26 on: October 26, 2015, 02:57:32 AM »
I didn't realize they were depicted as more racist than others, in fact apparently Aurorans are more racist against warriorborns than Albionites. But even accepting it, yes, would they be right in be offended? Again, I don't want to discuss particularities, only if people should be offended by characters opinions, basically.
In my opinion at least, the only reason someone should feel offended by what opinions are expressed by characters in a story is if you believe that the author is championing them as the "correct" view.  Jim seems to be giving us characters that are consistent with the society that they come from.

Offline Tsunami

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Re: Should I feel offended?
« Reply #27 on: October 26, 2015, 01:30:55 PM »
General Stuff
I don't think the reader should take the characters' opinions to heart so much.
As long as the characters are working as characters and not just as vehicles for the author's opinions.
In Windlass, and indeed all of Butcher's work i have read, the characters and their viewpoints are diverse and believable enough to stand on their own and make sense inside the story world.

A little Detail
We have seen assholes among the Albions as well as the Aurorans, and we have also seen honorable folk among both. Also, i think it works in the setting for the characters to be somewhat bigoted. Apparently most people in the spires never even leave their home habble. Even less people would be leaving their home spire, resulting in highly insular cultures in the spires.
And then there's the fact that we are seeing that world mostly through soldiers eyes in wartime... no wonder that we are dealing with a certain amount of prejudice.

To sum up again: No i don't think one should be offended in general. And also not in this particular case.

Offline wyltok

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Re: Should I feel offended?
« Reply #28 on: October 26, 2015, 06:00:21 PM »
That said, the point of the thread was not so much about my particular case with this book but about discussing if someone should be offended for the points of view of characters in a book, even if they are the main characters.

My general thoughts: Jim has made it quite clear that his intention when writing is to evoke emotional responses in his readers. In fact, to quote the man himself:

I tell giant, complicated, long-term LIES for a living, man. People pay me to manipulate their emotions--to make them laugh and cry, to cheer for the good guys and to hate the bad guys.

On the one hand, the fact that your husband is reacting emotionally to Jim's writing could be seen as a positive. On the other hand, the fact that it makes it harder for him to "cheer for the good guys" makes it a negative.

In and of itself, I would say it's OK to be offended by a main character's negative traits. What I consider more important, however, is how one chooses to act after taking offense. And before making the decision of how to react, I would recommend taking a moment to try to figure out why the author made his main character(s) offensive.

If, for example, the cause of offense seems to stem from the author's own prejudice, I could see how reading the remainder of the book could be problematic; such an author is unlikely to change the character's behavior, taking away from the reader's empathy for the nominal good guys. As others have mentioned, there's also the possibility of the author being driven by a desire for verisimilitude: if people have historically reacted in an offensive way, having the characters not react that way runs the risk of breaking the audience's willing suspension of disbelief.

Given such circumstances, dropping the book could be considered a reasonable choice - why read something you won't enjoy? On the other hand, I've always enjoyed the argument that fiction should not only entertain, but also educate. Personally, I could see myself still reading a book even if I find the protagonist(s) offensive, specifically to teach myself to better empathize with people I don't agree with. It's always easiest, after all, to appreciate people who think like us.

There's a third possibility, namely that the author intends to address this offensive quality, and so, needs to first establish it, in order to incorporate it in the protagonist's character arc. I suspect that's the direction Jim is going with the racism. In such a case, denying oneself the opportunity to see how the situation will evolve would be a disservice to both the author and the reader.

TL,DR: I believe one is entitled to feel offended by a fictional character's actions  or views(fiction, after all, is about evoking emotional responses), particularly if the guilty party is a protagonist, but I don't believe taking offense would be reason enough to stop me from reading a story.
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Offline Rygar

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Re: Should I feel offended?
« Reply #29 on: October 26, 2015, 07:24:41 PM »
I'd have to reread while specifically looking for this, but I remember the Aurorans themselves as being potrayed well.  Their government was depicted as corrupt and generally bad, yes, but I don't think any scenes involving the Espira and his men left me thinking of them as anything other than professionals operating at cross purposes to the protagonists.