NattyBo

I am disappointed in Brandon's silence

130 posts in this topic

I feel that it's a bit premature to say that he has chosen silence as his answer. I think he'll inevitably have something to say about it. In the meantime, I'm hesitant to make assumptions on his reason for silence.

I do hope that Brandon says something about all this soon, but at the end of the day I believe the work he does in his fiction is far more powerful than a Tweet and a black square for his Instagram followers.

He has done, and will continue to do, far more to eradicate racism in the world than I ever will.

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Unlike some of the recent mod voices, I am...mostly keeping my mod hat on. Not because I feel like I need to mod anyone right at this moment, but because my mod hat comes with a heavy filter that is absolutely necessary for me on topics like this. I can't talk here like I can on my personal social media, because when it comes to social justice issues I'm kind of a firebrand. I'm know that ultimately, I'm not capable of keeping a cool head discussing this subject.

Which means I'm not capable of moderating this subject.

So I'm trying not to read too many of the replies here. The mods who are watching the thread directly are better able to keep an even keel on things. And in return, there are situations in which I can keep a level head when some of the others get riled up. But it's part of the responsibility of moderating to know what we can handle and when we're about to lose our cool - so if it seems like some of the mods are being inhumanly dispassionate about moderating the thread, it's because we self-select for who can keep that level head in any given discussion. Sometimes it'll be a distinct set of people, sometimes one person will handle it until they start getting frustrated and then pass it off to another. I do keep up with the staff chat, and will chime in on those discussions, but this post is really about as deep as I can get into the discussion here without losing my crem.

We talk to each other a lot. We know each other really well, and do a lot of teamwork behind the scenes when it comes to moderating. Sometimes this means we're slow to respond to a situation, either because we're hashing out a lot of different opinions or we're having trouble coordinating time zones to get one or more voices in that we absolutely need to hear before we act. I know sometimes people can get a little frustrated when we don't act on something as quickly as expected, but we're never not paying attention. We just all have jobs and families and pets and a wild variety of different sleeping schedules. It may take us some time to juggle things to where we can figure a thing out, but we absolutely will get there.

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Posted (edited)

I believe celebrities and similar public figures have a right to speak on social issues (and use their personal platform to bring attention or rally support) the same as anyone else but they also reserve the same right to remain silent. We all have our own opinion and perspective concerning one issue or another but none of us, regardless of our social status, should ever be obligated to share those opinions.

Personally, I think the advent of social media has created something of an entitled expectation of personal and private information, especially from celebrities and other entertainers. I also believe that this expectation has been perpetuated by the many people who use social media for just that purpose, sometimes even sharing thoughts that they likely wouldn't have expressed openly on any other format.

In a lot of ways, I am a very private person and I like my privacy to be respected. I extend that same respect to other people. If Brandon (or any other artist or entertainer) were a politician or some similar public figure, then I would understand needing to know where they stand on certain issues. But I couldn't imagine going into work only to have the people around me demand that I share my opinion on any issue. I would feel like they only want to know so that they can (silently or otherwise) judge me when the hard truth of it is that it's just none of their business. 

Edited by ShawnMC
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Perhaps I too will take off my mod hat for this and provide my opinion from the perspective of someone from different country, who has only the most general knowledge of the situation in USA.

First of all, I have to tell you that compared to what I've heard from all of you here and on Discord, we have surprisingly little coverage of this in the media in Poland. Most likely because there are more locally important news to be shared, or maybe just because the news portals don't think it's that interesting for Polish readers. And I'll be blunt - this seems  true, from foreigners perspective, the fact that you have riots in your cities will be interesting to hear once or twice, but without any effect on our lives, there's not much more to be added so the topic is dropped.

I personally don't care at all if Brandon comments on this issue or not. He didn't comment on a lot of important and tragic events in the past, so I would actually be surprised if he did comment this time. However, with such a strong demand from his fans I guess he might eventually. I can only guess why he didn't comment. Perhaps he likes to stay focused on work and doesn't really enjoy hearing about the situation outside. Perhaps he doesn't really know what to say, because he doesn't want to just repeat what a lot of others have said. Perhaps he's worried that not matter what he says, someone will not be happy about it and label him "racist", "leftist" or whatever... Anyway, I believe he has the full right not to share his opinions on any matter. At the same time, his fans have the right to emotionally react to his silence. Jumping to conclusion and conjuring a verdict that "if he's silent then he thinks X" is not justified however here. I have not made a statement about the situation and I'm not going to - does that mean I'm racist or support murder? No. If someone asks me what I think about that police officer killing that citizen and I refuse to answer - does that mean I am happy that a person was murdered? I don't think so.

The police officer will be prosecuted and judged, he will forever be known for his actions. Sadly, he was not the first to kill unarmed civilian. Police officers kill unarmed civilians from time to time, this happens in USA, Poland, Germany or any other country where there is an armed police formation. Sometimes those are accidents, sometimes they are not. What makes this incident different, I believe, is the fact that it was recorded. If it wasn't recorded, it would sadly just be another statistic and hardly anyone would notice. The act itself is, tragically, not that special or unique. For example in 2016 in Poland, there was a young man, totally innocent of anything, murdered at the police station by excessive use of tasers and violence when 6 police officers were "interrogating" him.

Now, back to Brandon and his silence - perhaps he lives in a way that provides him with a perspective similar to my own, so kinda detached and a bit cold. There was a murder, it was recorded, people are rioting. Stating something to support one side or the other can easily turn into a big problem. It can easily make both sides unhappy, while in practice it will not change much in the big picture. His characters are brave, take risks and sacrifices, but they do it when their actions can actually change something. Writing on twitter won't change the way police works. Supporting legislation that puts more control over them will. Putting people who care in positions of power will make a difference. I hope he does try to make a difference by supporting the politicians and initiatives that actually work for the cause, because just joining the shouting crowd on social media will not have a lasting effect the crowd expects IMO.

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In the meantime, readers of ASoIaF are pleading G.R.R.M. spends full time in writing.

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1 hour ago, DataLoreHD said:

In the meantime, readers of ASoIaF are pleading G.R.R.M. spends full time in writing.

You hit too hard, mate

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11 hours ago, sooyangi said:

I don't really post anything (I enjoy reading other people's thoughts more) and I'm not well-spoken but I'm also really, really disappointed by Brandon's silence. Brandon Sanderson is the ONLY author I will buy a hardcover book for on the release date. He's also the only author I've ever attended multiple signings for. As a person of color and as an Asian-American, I feel seen when I read his books (does that even make any sense?). I like that his characters are people with problems. I like that they overcome their struggles and hardships to help those who can't or struggle to help themselves. 

I feel like Brandon has a platform in which he can let others hear his voice. I know sometimes people feel like saying something won't change anything but I know how important it is to feel seen. The reason I enjoy his books is also one of the reasons I feel even more disappointed by his silence. 

I can understand where others are coming from, in that they don't want to put unnecessary pressure on Brandon. I even find myself thinking of reasons as to why Brandon hasn't posted anything. But the fact that he's choosing not to publicly support the BLM movement and Black Americans is really disappointing to me. I know not everyone feels this way... but I find myself sad that an author I look up to is choosing silence as his answer. 

 

This is painful, but important, to read. Thank you for sharing.

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Posted (edited)

Brandon posted an answer to a user theory on Reddit 18 hours ago, which amounted to a couple of paragraphs.

 

 

I think it's fair to say at this point Brandon is making a choice. Whether or not you agree that choice carries certain implications, of course is up to the individual. When I saw that he had done that...I can't tell you how depressed and sad I was.

 

Folks here have been saying well, he's busy, well he might not be seeing things, etc etc.  I don't think that holds water any more, personally. 

 

Edited by NattyBo
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The words I posted in my second ever post here were censored and deleted.
I appreciate this site for what it has been for the many years I’ve enjoyed it. Thank everyone for contributing to the countless hours spent researching my favorite series and author, reading the amazing opinions of members and learning so much I wouldn’t have without it. I will not be a 17th shard member or advocate any longer because of the censorship I’ve had to endure for posting my gentle opinion.  I sincerely regret leaving my absolute favorite website on the internet, but my conscience won’t accept the short sightedness. 

Bridge Four- Good luck everyone!

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We are moderating more than usual to make sure discussion stays extra respectful. We have hidden posts and PMed several people over the last couple of days, usually for small tonal changes on posts that do have points, but the way they are written will lead to conflict. We have always stated in each PM they are welcome to repost their comment with some slight adjustment. We believe being overly respectful is extremely important for the fabric of the community, especially in contentious discussions that are very personal in nature. We need more respect when people disagree, not less. 

Except for one person who was deliberately trolling (who has been removed from the site), I believe everyone is very close to our ideals in our Code of Conduct. And again, I recommend reading the Guide for Contentious Discussions, particularly point 1 and 5 in it. If anyone in the thread hasn't yet read that topic, I implore you to do so.

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Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, Kanadin said:

The words I posted in my second ever post here were censored and deleted.
I appreciate this site for what it has been for the many years I’ve enjoyed it. Thank everyone for contributing to the countless hours spent researching my favorite series and author, reading the amazing opinions of members and learning so much I wouldn’t have without it. I will not be a 17th shard member or advocate any longer because of the censorship I’ve had to endure for posting my gentle opinion.  I sincerely regret leaving my absolute favorite website on the internet, but my conscience won’t accept the short sightedness. 

Bridge Four- Good luck everyone!

I have wondered how the shard justifies censorship, while being a public forum. As technically (too my knowledge) that is illegal I'm the United States, but then after the case of [removed by moderator, off topic], court precedent is in favor of the shard. I personally think that the mods where wanting a change in how you spoke, not what you had to say. I don't know how it was handled on this instance but I want you to know that this doesn't happen often and hope you stay(assuming you haven't already left for good)

Edited by Chaos
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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Frustration said:

I have wondered how the shard justifies censorship, while being a public forum. As technically (too my knowledge) that is illegal I'm the United States, but then after the case of [removed by moderator, off topic], court precedent is in favor of the shard. I personally think that the mods where wanting a change in how you spoke, not what you had to say. I don't know how it was handled on this instance but I want you to know that this doesn't happen often and hope you stay(assuming you haven't already left for good)

The first amendment applies to the government censoring speech. Not private forums. It's not a public forum. When you sign up, you agree to a terms of service/code of conduct.

Edited by Chaos
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Posted (edited)

4 minutes ago, NattyBo said:

The first amendment applies to the government censoring speech. Not private forums. 

There is a law about it, I can't remember what it is called but basically, a website can be either a public forum, or a publisher. If it's a publisher it has full control of everything, but it is responsible for the content on it, a public forum is not responsible for anything a user says, but has no censorship authority. (If you need I'll find what it is called)

Edited by Frustration
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Posted (edited)

[REMOVED BY MODERATOR.]

And that brings me to my last post unless/until Brandon says something: 

 

Brandon HAS spoken out before on social issues. He came out AGAINST gay marriage before he evolved. Expect better from him.

Edited by LadyLameness
I have removed the inflammatory part of the message. Please try and keep the peace instead of attacking each other.
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You are not quite accurate here, Frustration. Private entities are generally shielded from liability by Section 230. For example YouTube is not liable if people post copyright infringement stuff, and can also delete videos they seem unacceptable for their platform. (They obviously still need to comply with DMCA requests.) The absolute vast majority of sites on the internet are shielded by Section 230. Freedom of speech is about what the government can't do.

Anyway, this is off topic. Everyone must abide by what I said before about being extra respectful. 

This topic should solely be about sharing what your own opinion on Brandon and his silence so far. There is no need to ever attack other people here. Share your thoughts and not take down others. Read the guide to contentious topics I linked above.

Off topic stuff will be removed. If we cannot stay respectful and on topic, this thread will be closed. 

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Posted (edited)

I'll take the optimistic route

Look back on Brandon's general update posts on reddit, he's talked about the quarantine tons and been very understanding in them too

Maybe he's just crafting a mega-post on the issue after seeing how much doing so would mean to his fans

Edited by Chaos
Removing off topic comments.
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I’m going to be blunt here and cut to the chase. I’m not accusing or insulting anyone, and my tone is generally respectful, and this is on topic, so I don’t think anyone will have problems with it, but if I somehow misstep please tell me how and I’ll fix it. 

Speaking is hard. All the other reasons why Brandon might not be saying anything are valid too, but if I was in his position and wasn’t talking about it, this would be why: giving your thoughts on a subject, especially one so huge and important and divisive as this, thoughts that tons of people are begging for and will use to base their opinions off of - are already basing their opinions off of - it’s difficult to do, plain and simple. Or at the very least it can be for some of us.

You take in everything that’s happening and have to stay steady even though some of it is crazy and some is shocking and some is heartbreaking. To some people that’s all galvanizing, and to others it’s incapacitating. To some people it becomes a focal point of their life, and others just can’t deal with it all. People react differently, and some react with a desire to just leave it all alone, to back off and let others do the brunt of the work. It means they’re not the heroes, the ones actively helping the state of the world, putting themselves out there and making a difference - but to me, that’s okay. Because other people are, and sometimes you just need a break, sometimes you don’t have the perfect thing to say, sometimes talking is confusing and impossible and could go wrong a thousand ways and you don’t want to mess it up, so you let other people take the spotlight and do “the right thing”. And I put quotes there, but it is the right thing. The people who speak up are helping. 

But it’s not the wrong thing not to. We’re all human and we all have breaking points, things we can’t and don’t want to handle. And shouldn’t have to

Yes, Brandon’s commented on other things. There have been times when there have been things that I should technically do, but I just can’t face them for one reason or another, so I put it off (sometimes indefinitely) and do other things instead. I’m still around, still clearly existing and aware of what’s going on, but the thought of jumping in exhausts me. So I prioritize my mental health. 

(Yes, this subject is much bigger than many of the subjects I normally talk about. I am not attempting to make racism or the BLM movement into something small, merely making comparisons with the only materials I can pull from: my own life experiences. I believe this particular aspect of mental health is something that carries over despite the size of the topic being addressed, and do not intend to sound ignorant of that size.) 

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I hear everything you're saying @AonEne - I just think Brandon has an obligation to remember those who have been forgotten, and protect those who cannot protect themselves.

 

I was naive for thinking an author would live up to the stuff he writes. Or at least this author. 

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36 minutes ago, NattyBo said:

I hear everything you're saying @AonEne - I just think Brandon has an obligation to remember those who have been forgotten, and protect those who cannot protect themselves.

I was naive for thinking an author would live up to the stuff he writes. Or at least this author. 

We do know that those oaths apply to yourself, too. I’d say that it would be fantastic if he helped the world out, but all he has an obligation to do is more good than harm. While your opinion may differ, I believe his books are doing far more to help than he could ever undo by not speaking on this subject, especially when he rarely writes up something big for this type of thing in the past. 

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*takes deep breath*

I have been following this thread since it started. While, there is much I could say, I will just shorten it to my two cents. I can see both sides of the argument on whether or not Brandon should say anything. Both sides are tempting and make sense. 

It would be great (absolutely great!) if Brandon said something, but personally my feelings and excitement about Brandon, his works, and the cosmere, does not hinge upon him saying something. Again, it would be great but everything doesn't hinge upon it. 

39 minutes ago, NattyBo said:

I just think Brandon has an obligation to remember those who have been forgotten, and protect those who cannot protect themselves.

I get this, it makes sense, but I think that Brandon does speak through his books.

40 minutes ago, NattyBo said:

I was naive for thinking an author would live up to the stuff he writes. Or at least this author. 

Trying not feel attacked (this is my favorite author you are talking about). Everything he does or thinks does not have to be on the internet. This comment really bothers me because of the fact that it is very "judgy". You don't know his personal life, you don't know if he has "lived" up to the stuff he writes. The whole point of the BLM movement comes down to not judging. Whats up with that?

5 minutes ago, AonEne said:

I believe his books are doing far more to help than he could ever undo by not speaking on this subject, especially when he rarely writes up something big for this type of thing in the past. 

Amen.

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Posted (edited)

The whole point of the BLM movement doesn't come down to not judging...what kind of nonsense is that?  It comes down to protecting vulnerable minorities from those who are brutalizing them from a position of power in the name of the state.

 

Again, I note people saying he doesn't have to state his opinion, and again I note he has not been apolitical in the past.  At this point, I don't expect Brandon to say anything, and I won't be purchasing any of his stuff moving forward. It sucks, but it's how I can sleep at night. Y'alls mileage may vary. 

 

Super glad COVID 19 prevented my getting a Bridge 4 tattoo.

 

At this point, the oaths might as well be "I will profit off of those who have been forgotten. I will remain silent about those who need to be protected, so long as it is convenient."

Edited by NattyBo
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That’s a bit of an overreaction, I’d say. Brandon isn’t profiting off of what is happening in the slightest; his (debatably) worst action here is not saying anything and continuing his life as usual. He’s not selling BLM stuff and saying it’ll go to charity, then keeping all the money, for example. He’s just not getting involved with it at all so far. 

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He profits off writing about people of color in fantasy. Specifically Asian people, but also others. He writes about social justice themes such as classism, racism (in terms of eyes), etc. Please stop making excuses for him. He. Is. Making. A. Choice.  He posted on reddit a day ago about something totally inconsequential in the grand scheme!!!

 

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3 minutes ago, NattyBo said:

He profits off writing about people of color in fantasy. Specifically Asian people, but also others. He writes about social justice themes such as classism, racism (in terms of eyes), etc. Please stop making excuses for him. He. Is. Making. A. Choice.  He posted on reddit a day ago about something totally inconsequential in the grand scheme!!!

 

If you want stop supporting Brandon Sanderson because you are disappointed in his silence, feel free to do so. I'm not. I think his books already illustrate his stance.

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Posted (edited)

30 minutes ago, NattyBo said:

Please stop making excuses for him. He. Is. Making. A. Choice. 

That’s possible, but we have no proof that he isn’t speaking on it for that reason. In fact, if anything, I’m with Knight of Iron - his books very clearly show that he is against discrimination, and I don’t think holding them up as examples of why him not speaking up is bad quite works. Because - through them - he has spoken up. He’s expressed his opinion in them. 

My previous point also still stands: he isn’t specifically profiting on this, no more than any other person who continues to live and work in this environment. My parents aren’t evil for doing their jobs and not going to protests, etc. It’s one thing to say you want someone to speak out because they’re famous and can use their platform for good. It’s another to say they’re bad because they’re still fulfilling their vocation. 

Edited by AonEne
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