On Stephen King, privilege, and douchery

Continuing the discussion from A thread of our own- misogyny, split by request:

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I’d so much rather focus on the women trying to make a difference, than the perpetual parade of asshole men.

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Muzzled? Ugh, fug off with that shite, Mr. King. Woody can just get another publisher.

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He can self publish or set it up as a book in demand.

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Someone please muzzle Stephen King. He hasn’t been relevant in decades, and was a hack even then.

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I suspect “Joe Hill” is actually him, but can’t prove it.

He has a son named Joe Hill, but I suspect this son is getting daddy to write his books for him.

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The books are different enough that I have no doubt that Joe is the actual author.

Also, I wish there were a few more ‘hacks’ with King’s skills and productivity…

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Before this thread goes off-topic about King and whether or not he’s a good writer outside of his numerous White Dude With Privilege flaws, can one of the leaders split it off, please and thanks?

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Oh, you mean like how King’s books are set in Maine and Hill’s are set in New Hampshire?

They write in the same genre (supernatural horror, with a touch of psychological horror but not suspense), the same highly visual style, and use the same tropes. Hill’s a little more up to date, but they write about the same subject matter. Their writing styles are close enough, within tolerance. I’ve read enough of each of their books to make a comparison. Hill’s books contain a laundry list of Stephen King tropes, but not too much that King would have done differently. Compare this to Richard Matheson. King writes like Matheson, and was obviously heavily influenced by him, but there’s enough differences where I can tell the two apart.

Then you must love arena rock. After all, if arena rock sucks, then how do they fill arenas?

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Although that could be said for almost any writer. The books that make the bestseller lists are overwhelmingly white. Not trailer park white, but “grew up in a bucolic New England town, dropped out of NYU, partied a lot, used family connections to get back on my feet” white. This isn’t a universal experience by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s what gets published. And if I have to read another white dude author’s guesstimate of what a woman or a person of color is like, I will throw the book across the room.

Yes, please do.

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These are all valid points, and I agree, even as a POC who actually likes King’s work… but it’s still off-topic.

Getting back on it:

“Cancel culture” isn’t really a thing; as all too often, any negative consequences for shitty behavior are usually pretty short lived for most rich White dudes with power.

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Inasmuch as there is anything that might be called “cancel culture”, I think it flourishes online, in mostly progressive spaces on social media and among fandoms, where young people lash out at one another for not agreeing hard enough, or go on harassment sprees because someone supports a “problematic” ship, or wrote something with stuff in it the other person thinks is absolutely unacceptable. It’s mostly silly, occasionally breath-takingly vicious, and it has nothing to do with the white privileged men complaining loudly about it.

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Thing is, though, it’s usually not rich white dudes with power that get “cancelled”. Very often it’s the liberal/progressive/woke/insert-your-synonym-here or even minority/oppresed communities doing it to their own prominent (or less prominent) members, where it can be potentially devastating and leading to fragmentation, loss of faith and trust, to say nothing of the loss of online social safety net for the victim who may or may not have done something wrong but is not even given a chance of reflecting and growing. And to make it worse, for a lot of people (not all - but a lot) it’s really not even about being honestly outraged or hurt, it’s just tribalism and confirming identities, and a justification to get the high of dogpiling and bullying someone. (Having seen a number of these cancel campaigns, a disturbing amount of people seem to really relish in them. I suppose because as a “good person” you’re not supposed to be mean to others, so many jump on any chance that justifies doing it.)

This is nothing new, mind you, it’s been going on for decades, but it’s reached really troubling heights (or lows, as it may be) in recent years, what with the growing polarization of online speech and the growth in people’s tendency for bad faith interpretations and jumping to extreme conclusions.

A lot of people have talked about this, but I think the most comprehensive is Contrapoints’ excellent video:


Yes, it’s long, but it’s absolutely worth a (full) watch, even if you have heard of this particular kerfluffle and already have an opinion on it.
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You’re obviously allowed to hold your own opinion.

Aside from Weinstein, Louis CK, & Cosby (who is rich and powerful, but not White, obviously) most of the men of wealth, privilege and power who are also sexual predators rarely seem to suffer any long term negative consequences for their actions, once the dust has settled and there’s another scandal capturing people’s attention.

I’ve already seen the Contrapoints video, and frankly I’m tired of people posting it in support of their belief in “cancel culture” because they think it adds substance to their argument.

Contrapoints has made some good vids with valid points in the past. Regardless, she’s still human and therefore fallible; and her personal opinion on ‘cancel culture’ is likely rooted in her own bias and self interest, as she’s come under fire recently from other members of the Trans community.

Targeting marginalized and disenfranchised groups and individuals in order to silence them IS a problematic issue, but I wouldn’t call it “cancelling,” because that minimizes the problem.

I’d call it what it is: fascism.

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Ronan Farrow said that it would not be ethical for Hachette to publish Allen’s memoir.

There is certainly a moral argument to be made against Allen’s work.

The legal argument requires evidence beyond a reasonable doubt-- which may well come; it hasn’t yet.

But ethics? In the book publishing world, what ethical principles are breached by this contract?

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by the most relevant definition, no less. King has some great books, and films and TV shows adapted from them.

But he is such a prolific writer that it’s more like him tinkering with different combinations of the same shit until he gets a winning combination. Crappy Stephen King adaptations have a very specific kind of “Saturday Movie Night” flavor of crappy.

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What ethical issues are breached by not purchasing the work and allowing Allen to shop it elsewhere or self publish?

Is this a silenced group of people he represents? Is it an important viewpoint on issues that are stifled in the marketplace of ideas? Is he poor and powerless? Will he have to worry about a place to live or eating?

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Depends on the terms of the contract. Hachette may have breached it–i.e Allen gets the advance, but it’s not an advance, it’s an outright payment.

That’s not an ethical issue - it’s a financial one.

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Are those two mutually exclusive ?