Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Editorial April 2012 and e-issue #34

Guest Editorial By Bill Lindblad

There's an established principle of polite conversation that suggests three topics should be carefully avoided: politics, sports, and religion. Horror is not one of those topics, and there's a very good reason for that. Horror is like many other interests; it tends to separate most people into two categories: those who enjoy it, and those who don't.

There are, inevitably, those who are offended by it and will wage campaigns against it, but such people are rare. For the most part there is very little "us vs. them" involved in horror, and that is beneficial for both the industry professionals and fandom. The typical response to a horror fan by a non-horror fan is dismissal, not revulsion. How many times has any horror fan heard the reply, "Oh, I don't [read/watch] that stuff." (Often from people with Dean Koontz paperbacks on their bedside table and Stephen King movies in their DVD collections.) The respondent is not issuing judgment on the horror fan, they're simply internalizing the concept and declaring their lack of interest.

I could argue that any such response is false, that every human being enjoys horror and/or thriller elements in one format or another. More important to me, though, is the existing community.

We are the people who don't disclaim the darker side of fiction. We may have different views on what constitutes an enjoyable trek through the shadows... some enjoy short pieces, some longer; some enjoy graphic violence and some prefer none; some prefer movies, books, music, games... but when the crux of the matter is examined we all find pleasure in horror fiction.

Just because someone has a different set of priorities doesn't mean they're wrong, and it doesn't mean they're right; it means only that they have different priorities. As with any conflicting viewpoint, the parties involved can focus on the differences of they can focus on the similarities. The results of the first are generally grudges, feuds and anger. The results of the second are discussions, friendships and parties.

I prefer the parties.

This is especially relevant today because much of the world is heading toward contentious elections, energizing political debates. Simultaneously, athiests and theists alike are feeling oppressed and are striking back at their perceived enemies. In the midst of all of that, sports seasons continue, igniting local pride and rivalries.

Remember above: politics, sports, and religion?

These are principles which help define people's self-perception, and which they feel galvanizes their world toward right or wrong. There's going to be a lot of emotion tied up in these things, and it's easy to allow our differences to create wedges.

But the later analysis holds. Differences of opinion are simply that, and just because you perceive something as fact doesn't preclude an equally educated, equally intelligent person from perceiving it as not only opinion, but incorrect opinion.

There are enough things diminishing the horror community. We don't need sniping and grudges undermining us from within. Yes, we have differences; heartfelt, firmly held differences. But amidst all of that, we share a common love of a particular style of entertainment. We can focus on what pushes us apart or we can focus on what brings us together.

It's horror, and I want to welcome everyone to the party.

--Bill Lindblad
(Thanks to Bill for his timely and wise editorial.)