the author’s worldview matters

pho4cexa

There’s been a lot of ink spilt over whether it is ethical (yes), or effective (sometimes), to boycott a work (of art, fiction, software, etc.) in response to its authors’ politics.

Regardless of the answers to those questions, I think one should avoid it anyway, because it is probably not very good.

Science, fiction, art, technology, software, and other works all risk major flaws when authors cling to biases, and that’s reason enough to avoid them.

Authors with shitty politics are more likely to produce shitty work.

Enhance

The reflection in the eyeglasses of the person across the street. Zoom in on it. Again. Enhance.

Zoom and Enhance,” popularized by CSI, is a widely panned trope. Why is it so annoying?

When the viewer realizes that the author doesn’t comprehend the universe it can quickly shatter the viewer’s suspension of disbelief, ruining the story.

This is especially true when their work is one of fiction, where they present a story set in a universe entirely of their own invention. Unconscious biases and misinformation gets presented as matter-of-fact natural laws of physics.

The suspension of disbelief is shattered when it becomes apparent that an author

Eich and Mozilla

There was a lot of discussion over whether it was appropriate for Mozilla to promote Brendan Eich to CTO due to his support of anti-gay legislation. (It’s not in Mozilla’s best interests, because they’ll lose the support of the community.) Is it ethical or effective for us to boycott Mozilla products if they had kept Eich on as CTO? (Yes.) But my position on that is not the point here.

My point is: a Mozilla with Eich at the helm is more likely to produce shitty work, doing things that harm the sinful minority to please the normal godly majority: “real name” policies, ignorance of diversity and inclusiveness, etc.

Honeybees

A person’s social environment changes how they view the world, influences the questions they ask, and how they interpret their observations

The story of how we discovered the honeybee has sex is a very good demonstration

At every step along the way, we can show that the social environment of the observers kept them from seeing things that are obvious to us today.

The social environment of the time kept the society from accepting some rather obvious observations.

@BugQuestions’ Twitter thread (2018-01-20)

FOMO

One of the strongest impulses to waste my money on bad work by nasty people is the Fear Of Missing Out:

I want to be able to join in the discussion when it’s what all my friends are talking about.

I want to understand the references when other works call back to it.

But there’s no reason to waste several hours of your life on Ender’s Game when you could be binging Sense8 instead.

Perhaps a good defense against this feeling is to queue up a long list of works that you want to consume, from known good creators. That’s also an opportunity to try on less-popular authors (filtered to those with good politics) who are still struggling to make their names known.

References