Yesterday, good friend and fellow author Eric Desmarais posted a list of five pet peeves (which you can read HERE). I'm joining in with one of my top pet peeves.
Talking about something from a place of ignorance. It makes one look like a complete ass.
Of particular note, is discussing a book without actually having read said book. Now, I was lectured a little while ago on a link share I made on my Facebook page about the glorification of abuse in the book Fifty Shades of Grey. In my opinion, the book does glorify abuse, and gives the mistaken impression that the abused can change the abuser from being an abuser to being a decent human being just by loving them more.
Which, everyone hopefully knows, is kinda bullshit.
Anyway, I had done a fair amount of research on the subject, reading both sides of the supposed debate (I say 'supposed' because after having done the research in my mind there really was no debate), and even attempted to read the book. I admit that I didn't get very far with the first book itself. I found the writing too poor to tolerate, even for the sake of research, and I immediately recognised the abuse. It turned my stomach a bit and I just couldn't read farther.
So, I hadn't completed the series. I couldn't bring myself too.
The point is, someone slammed me for speaking on the subject even though I had not read (finished) the book. I had read the book. I hadn't finished the book. There is a distinction.
Were they right to call me out? Well, yes and no. Yes, I hadn't finished the book, so how could I speak on it? However, I had read the series plot summary, and copious amounts of articles about the shape and effect of abusive relationships, the psychology and tricks of abusers, and the actual rules and practices of real BDSM.
I heard the furore created by the book and did all I could to understand it.
That's more or less the way I operate. I try to understand the problem before wading in with my opinion.
Because I have been that idiot speaking from a place of pure ignorance, and I vowed - because I had hurt someone with my ignorance and been made to look the fool I was - to never do that again.
John Scalzi is currently dealing with a tool who is claiming his Hugo Award winning novel Redshirts only won because it was a Social Justice Warrior-y book, filled with the leftist messages so beloved by the secret cabal in charge of keeping leftist message-y books in the nomination slots. Or something. The person slamming his book has never actually read the work in question. If he had, he might have been surprised at how much it resembled the 'good ol' sci fi' they claim their fighting to bring back (or something).
For my part, I really enjoyed Redshirts and I reckon it really deserved its Hugo win. It's not easy to write something funny that also pulls at the heart.
Actually, now that I think on it, we did a Nights at the Round Table episode on it:
In the age of easy access to information, there is absolutely no excuse, no excuse, for ignorance. We live in a world with information literally at our finger tips 24/7. How on earth people can perform the mental gymnastics that enables them to double down in their ignorance is utterly beyond me.
And I hate it. It's as stupid as the ignorance itself, and infinitely more idiotic than ignorance ever will be.
So, my top pet peeve would have to be wilful ignorance.
Stop it. Just don't do it. If you don't know anything about a particular book/subject/current event, keep your mouth shut. There is no shame in not knowing.
There is a great deal in being the dumbass who talks about stuff you know nothing about.