Laurie Forest’s first YA novel earned the kind of reviews most authors dream about. Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) swiftly transformed those raves into a woke nightmare. Yet Forest persisted, and overcame the mob. And other artists should, too, if they have any hope of surviving the next wave of unseemly politically correct attacks on their work.
Forest’s book, The Black Witch, is the story of a girl living in a world where her race is deemed superior to other creatures (think: wolf men and selkies). She slowly learns to shed those ugly social constructs as the tale moves forward. One reviewer hailed the book as “an uncompromising condemnation of prejudice and injustice.”
But that wasn’t enough for SJW blogger Shauna Sinyard, who decided to make it her mission to defame Forest and her work with a meandering, aggrieved, 9,000-word blog post, as New York magazine reported. “It’s the most dangerous, offensive book I have ever read,” Sinyard raged, suggesting she hasn’t read very widely if that’s the case. YA Twitter, along with a few other influential authors, spread Sinyard’s rant far and wide. Forest was called a Nazi sympathizer. SJWs demanded that Harlequin Teen, the book’s publisher, do something about this hateful story.
Here’s where the story took an interesting turn: The publisher didn’t back down. Nor did Forest. And as New York notes, despite the vicious campaign launched against it, The Black Witch “scored a No. 1 rating in Amazon’s department of ‘Teen & Young Adult Wizards Fantasy’ a few days after its release and has been overwhelmingly well-reviewed since.”
That’s a lesson for artists girding for the next battle in our larger culture war. Give in to SJW demands via a carefully worded apology and the matter may not resolve itself. Stand your ground, ignore the Twitter mob, and do your work, and chances are the SJWs will eventually move on to other, more “problematic” topics.
That doesn’t mean we should ignore the online revolt against Forest’s book, of course, which was deeply unfair. The incident, and other, nearly identical attacks, speak volumes about those who start and fuel them.
Sinyard’s initial post attacking Laurie Forest and her book snared the kind of traffic any blogger craves. Her followers clearly enjoyed piling on with an intense bout of virtue-signaling, so much so that many of them actually admitted that they hadn’t bothered to read the book in question. They didn’t need to; they knew it must be bad because someone on Twitter said so.
In other words: these days, being “woke” means never having to understand the issues you’re so “woke” about, evidently.
And it’s not just books. Take the outrage over William Shatner’s recent comments on Twitter. The eighty-six-year-old actor took on SJWs, as FoxNews reported, when he tweeted: “Why is it that SJW’s think they can align themselves with those that demanded social reform in the [’60s]?” He continued: “And this is your failure of logic. SJWs stand for inequality, where they are superior to any one else hence my use of Misandry and Snowflake.” Rather than engage the point Shatner was making (that today’s social justice campaigns are neither as compelling nor as serious as those of the Civil Rights Era), Twitter SJWs simply called him “elderly” and “privileged.” Shatner hasn’t responded to the angry virtual mob.
Actor Jamie Foxx also stood his ground when he caught heat for using made-up sign language gestures while appearing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Select members of the deaf community called the bit outrageous. Foxx ignored them. The issue went away in short order. Compare that reaction to the one made by Chris Pratt, who looked absurd apologizing to the deaf community for a silly joke tied to an Instagram post.
The lesson in all of this for writers and artists, and even the previously safe liberal celebrities such as Amy Schumer and Tina Fey? Apologizing to the SJW crowd only emboldens it. Apologies are chum in the water for SJW sharks. Don’t feed them.