So. Has anyone else noticed that these days we live in a culture of societal debt? My mom and dad would have called it entitlement, and a lot of people call it melennial culture, but I'm not sure I can lay it at the door of the next generation. (I'm Gen X, the smallest generation, age wise, of any post Baby Boomer gen.) I think it's a combination of causes, but that's a whole other blog post.
What I'm here to comment on is the debt. Let's start with say, the idea that someone in the public eye, someone like Prince or Robin Williams, owes us, the consumer of their celebrity, some kind of access. Transparency is this huge catchphrase right now. So is need to know, or fear of missing out. The idea is that they OWE us the right to know how they live, or how they died, or why. Whether or not their families ask us for privacy or their legacy is prodigious and should be left at that, we have this sense of ownership, and therefore this idea that they're in our debt. That we deserve more than is really our right when it comes to someone we honestly don't know.
As an author, I often feel that people expect the same from me. Readers and bloggers and publishers I have never approached demand to know why I use a pen name, why I write what I write, and what's going on in my private life. All in the name of transparency. I also feel as if this culture of debt produces this enormous pressure to please everyone. With every review I get that says, " Too much sex. Not enough sex. This was handled well. This sucked," I feel as if I have to make everyone happy. That the people reading my books feel like I OWE them a book that ticks all of their boxes. Not only that, I feel as if I have to be sensitive to everyone's triggers, to everyone's needs, to everyone's wants when it comes to their reading, and provide an error free book. Even if that's not my job as a writer of fiction. And I feel like I have to do it all for 2.99 or less, thank you, because books aren't worth what people pay for a movie or some other form of entertainment. Hell, even Redbox charges $1.50
Now, before you get all mad, I need to mention that as authors, we're no better. We act as if reviewers OWE us a good review. If I gave you a book for free I should get a 4 or 5 star review, right? If you bother to go on Amazon I don't want you bitching about the price or the gay or anything else. There's no reason for me to feel as if any reader OWEs me anything. There's no contract that says you'll like my book because you bought it, or got it for free, just like there's no contract that says I have to write a book any specific reader will like.
So what the heck is with this debtor society? I love inclusion, and God knows I have FOMO sometimes. But does that mean I owe anyone anything, or that they're required to include me/like me? Nope.
I'd love to hear y'all's thoughts, but in reasoned discourse if you please.