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More on my "Fox" gaffe

August 3, 2011
Posted at 11:11 pm

Have had many interesting discussion concerning my isolated "Fox News" reference. Despite my avoiding political discussions, everyone decided I'd suddenly exposed my long standing plot to espouse Marxist theories after 47 chapters of set up. <Gesh!>

However, on a positive note, I managed to talk to a lot of readers I haven't talked to before, and most seemed to be more understanding once I stated my position.

It also brought out several interesting issues, possibly the most interesting being how readers frequently feel they have to resort to emotional blackmail when they don't like how a story is going. This goes along the lines of "I'll stop reading if you don't change X". It's sort of financial blackmail, but without any financial incentive whatsoever. It's also particuarly ineffective, since most people tend to respond to threats by become more, not less, defensive. That's certainly how I responded.

While it's not as easy, a better approach is probably to simply explain what your problem with the story is. What interests the writer is what works and what doesn't. If there's something that turns off readers, or something that doesn't get his point across, will get the writer's attention. At least the one's who care what readers think, that is.

What would be ideal is if you can suggest alternatives which convey the same thing, but in a more acceptable manner. The writer may not accept it, but he'd be more likely to consider it. But that's expecting a lot from a reader.

The fact is that I wasn't trying to make any political points, and not everything is part of a grand left-wing conspiracy, despite the kind of talk that wings Fox it's loyal viewership.

I was trying to portray an individual who took in a lot of information from a variety of semi-related sources, without questioning or thinking about the topics. If that sounds too close to home I can't help it much. But Alex doesn't care if some is Republican or not, he's concerned about protecting his followers. And he felt that Clara, from her actions and attitudes, was likely to react poorly if Alex failed to act according to the preestablished role Clara had for him.

Did Alex react appropriately? Of course not. The whole point of the scene was to show that while Alex was looking forward to handling new followers better than he had in New Orleans, when faced with someone that presented a potential threat to him, he folded like, well, like a naive high school kid.

Alex's girls had been waiting for a troubled woman to show up sooner or later. Frankly I'd played with the idea of a crack whole, but I thought that would be a bit stereotypical. I was looking for something a little more original.