Observations of life by author and poet Charles L. Chatmon. (Matthew 16:18)
Ladies and gentlemen, we are living in perilous times. Racism, the economy, our health are of major concern right now but I propose to keep the eyes on a more serious if not immediate threat to watch out for; the purging of creativity. We live in a new generation that wants to change the wheel metaphorically. They have their Agents of Chaos in our creative world setting boundaries on what we can or cannot envision. They insist we writers add characters for the sake of 'inclusivity' and if those unwritten social demands aren't met, there are a slew of social media platforms where you will be cancelled. Speaking as a man who graduated from college with an English degree, I will say this.
If I as a writer have to sacrifice my art for the sake of your politics, then I will walk away from every social media outlet my face is posted on. That includes Twitter and Facebook. I'm keeping my website though (smile) Without using a dictionary for reference, I can tell you that the word create means simply to imagine. Imagination leads to new ideas, concepts that belong in the individual writer's mind until it is shared in the form of a book or another medium. This is my personal view of this topic. In a broader sense, this new generation has already significantly altered television franchises that have been established for decades. They may have had a moral component in a story or two, but morals are a way for everyone to grasp the message of the written or spoken piece. Aesop didn't present his fables for one political faction or gender even for a single ethnicity, he shared his fables in the hope those who heard it would understand and learn from them. Ever since then, the general goal of telling or writing a story, poem or song is for the audience as small or broad as they are to think about what they just read or heard. Regrettably, in this new era of society, this isn't quite the case.
We live in a societal era where a 'fanbase' can turn on an author for the tweets she posts regarding a certain gender issue rather than a critique of her work. We live in a time where an op-ed can be quickly written about that author and how she has 'failed' a certain fanbase. It appears past authors may face this insane scrutiny over comments they've made in the past, hunting down every disagreeable quote or statement. Maybe it's because we were all quarantined for months due to the pandemic, or maybe because the death of a young man who shares the same skin color as the author of this post has finally âwokeâ folks up, but this insanity among the new generation has to stop.
As an English major, I read past authors from a different culture who supported regimes, kingdoms and the emperors we deem as villains today. My intention was not to cancel them but to learn from them. Perhaps I'm about to reveal too much into my own thinking, but doing your research of past history will help bring an understanding to the mindset of a populace and decisions made in those times. For example, on social media there may be a question of why there were political compromises made, why there was a rush to build so many nuclear weapons, what measures were taken to stop an earlier pandemic in this country? As written in the last entry, we are now living in the Super Information Highway era. We have all of this information at our fingertips. Yet, we treat history as subjective, twisted and turned into any point of view we wish. Creativity should not suffer the same fate. Let artists create! You decide whether what's imagined appeals to your tastes or not. I would ask that you don't waste time in canceling an artist you don't agree with. Simply do your own exit from them. It's not that hard. Instead of broadcasting it on social media, just step away. That's all you have to do.
The goal of a writer is to create a story, poem or play (for starters) in the hope you as a listener or reader can gain a moral message out of the piece. When that piece is compromised, there is a loss of creativity. That project is now developed under your terms, not the writer's vision. If a writer is sharing their works for a broad audience, it doesn't make sense they should pander to a small base of fans who instantly denounce said writer when they don't create under the pressure of their demands. I will say this again and I do mean this; the day, the hour, the second I feel as a literary artist I feel pressured by the larger society to write in terms unrelated from a creative standpoint, I will leave social media. Let literary artists create because of a story they want to tell, not because you as a fanbase forced them to do so. It should never be this way. Sadly in our 'advanced' world of 2020, it is.