August 28th, 2011

don't mess with me today, think so do ya?

Straw men and courage; clearly I need to fit the Tinman in here somewhere.

Mostly in locked posts, I've seen people talking about how badly Connie Willis handled the British setting details in Blackout/All Clear, and as a result the comments I want to point to are also mostly in locked posts: it seems that a great many people feel that the appropriate response is to say something like, "Well, when was the last time you saw a book do every detail perfectly?"

Look, people. This is not just a straw man. It's a stupid straw man. Nobody is claiming that Connie Willis's books or anybody else's books need to be flawless to be worth reading. They are claiming that the flaws they're discussing are meaningful. If you don't think they're meaningful, say so. Have the guts to stand up and say that you feel the other person is nitpicking. If what you mean is, "I don't think getting the details of how your country handles things should be important to someone from my country," say so. If what you mean is, "I think that the detail you are talking about will not mislead anyone severely, and I think the author got at some very important emotional truths," say that too. But don't wave it away with, "Well, no one's perfect!" That may be the standard we'd like, but it's not the one anyone is actually using.