The other day, BuzzFeed ran this dense, nuanced, deeply literary examination of author Pierce Brown, and I dutifully scrolled through it and then took a calm breath…and turned into a raging Hulk-monster and destroyed all of Seattle.
(My apologies to everyone in Seattle. I rebuilt it overnight. I may have gotten some bits wrong.)
If you didn’t click the link, the whole article is a series of photos pointing out how dreamy Pierce Brown apparently is. And we get other tidbits, like he got a publishing deal at the age of twenty-three goddammit, because why not.
I object to so many things here.
For one thing, I am deeply suspicious of attractive writers. This is also true of musicians and actors as well, but I suppose we sometimes expect them to be more attractive and still good at what they do. Possibly it’s just because I’m a writer.
I don’t know Pierce Brown at all, but I do know many writers who are very attractive. I won’t name them, that would just be weird, but I’m friends with them, I goof with them on twitter, I read their books, and they look fantastic, and I just don’t think that’s right. You’re beautiful and also you’re sharply dressed and furthermore you’re funny and clever and to top it all off, you’re actually a very good writer as well.
I mean, it’s too much in one package. It should be more spread out, you know? You can be a brilliant writer who will produce stunning novels of unbelievable power and skill which will resonate through our culture for the next ten generations…but you should probably look like a weird troll and live in a scary house next to a bridge and have a zillion cats.
Or you can be gorgeous and fit, and be completely illiterate and write incoherent books nobody can quite read. All your book signings are people filing by, bouncing quarters off your abs. All your reviews are “I dunno what the hell the book was about BUT DAT ASS THO”
“Funny” can kinda go in either camp. I’m okay if you’re a brilliant writer who happens to look like a Jim Henson creation, and also you’re witty. I’m also fine if you’re an escaped Calvin Klein model who writes books by beating the keyboard with a ham…but you tell good jokes and make everyone laugh. That’s fine.
It’s the complete package, that’s where it’s all suspicious and wrong and an affront against the world. I don’t know what to do about this, except possibly begin hiding attractive-funny-talented authors behind false author photos, or possibly under heavy prosthetic. “Yes, I am looking forward to retiring from my award-winning literary career so I can finally take off this Nanny McPhee makeup.”
Furthermore, I object to that Buzzfeed article. We shouldn’t objectify writers based solely on their attractiveness (When oh when will society stop viewing us men as merely sexy objects?) we should focus solely on their work.
Or, I mean, you know, we should be more varied about it, I mean not just novelists or anything but treat other writers as sexy objects as well, like redhead writers for book-and-civil-unrest websites or you know whatever I’m just saying. Dammit.
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