Last night I heard that author P.C Cast incorporated some real life criticism she faced in her latest book, Destined. In this installment of her popular YA House of Night series, she focused an entire conversation about defending the use of the term ‘Retard’ because the author faced criticism from a parent who disagreed with that term in a previous book. Blogger and reviewer Cellidhann has written a great post on this
as well as the latest about PC’s latest book which you can find here
. It has the excerpt in question and a great commentary on this issue.Now as a disabled person, this struck a real chord for me especially since I had faced ignorant attitudes about disability. It can be hurtful and at times really humiliating. However, I can understand the fact what P.C Cast’s main aim was on why she did this — by using the anti-censorship slant and Un-PC slant. Nonetheless, she made a personal issue and incorporated it into her YA series to make a point and to get back at her detractors. What really pisses me off — and the more I think about this issue the more pissed I get — is the plain old fucking ignorance and arrogance of her attitude regarding the issue and the fact that most people/fans will be unaware of this personal slant because they have not read about her disagreement with that parent.People with disabilities face discrimination every day, and I feel that more strongly right now as I have seen blatant disregard about disability issues. She could have handled this matter in a more skillful and nuanced way instead of the ham-fisted and clumsily written scene to prove a point that she can be Un-PC. It’s just as bad as those who are vehement on the PC brigade train. If she was aware of the real life issues, experiences of disability, this reaction against her wouldn’t have panned out the way it has.
P.C Cast has also done this in the past with snarking on Laurell K Hamilton and her Anita Blake series which was pretty unprofessional to do. It’s one thing to NOT refer to name and author while parodying or mocking a character, but it’s totally another to blatantly do so in a book that is published. There are other authors who have reacted similarly like Victoria Laurie who named and killed off an undesirable and unattractive character after a person disagreed with her. Another is Michael Crichton who named a character, who was a paedophile in his book, after a critic who trashed his book. I find this really petty, childish, and arrogant to get personal when authors incorporate their personal disagreements in their books. It is fine to vent privately with friends or family or do a blog post, but to add it in a book just makes you no better than the detractor who attacks you.
This author basically did a HULK SMASH on the issue of disability which is complex and a very sensitive issue for a lot of people. And I find it that it is pretty ironic that P.C Cast as a writer couldn’t make her point more eloquently in her book to a young audience that could have opened a real discourse on that term.
I find the issue with disability discrimination a hidden one. Unlike racism or sexism which is more overt and has a bigger profile, disability issues is ignored and even derided and it’s treated not as a serious issue. I find this infuriating. I think P.C Cast has totally missed the point and sees this view as an avenue of free speech and anti-censorship. But practising free speech has consequences. If you are going to insult or use weighted terms so cavalierly and with no real thought, then expect to have a reaction against that.