Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Artistic freedom and problematic words

Writer John Green regrets using the "r-word" in one of his novels. He tweeted, "Yeah, I regret it. At the time, I thought an author's responsibility was to reflect language as I found it, but now... eight years later, I don't feel like a book about humanizing the other benefited from dehumanizing language."

As someone who likes to see language reflected as it is, warts and all, I hope he isn't doing this because of online pressure to erase anything that might be offensive, irrespective of context. To be clear, I don't think it's good to litter one's writing with slurs for shock value, but this kind of overcorrection that's now seeping into literature scares me greatly.