The Isabel Allende Affair: So Fucking What?

The internet offence machine is in full swing over Isabel Allende’s comments about disliking crime fiction. The fact that she recently released a thriller called Ripper as a “joke”, and that she appears to have little respect for crime fiction or its authors seems to have gone down like a lead balloon. Authors like Val (Rent-A-Gob) McDermid and Mark Billingham lined up to slate her, and a variety of crime and other genre fiction fans did the same. She has been pilloried to such an extent that she was forced to issue an apology.

But here’s the thing: why the fuck should she apologise for her opinion? It’s one person’s opinion, and she’s entitled to it – in much the same way you are entitled to yours. So fucking what? Ultimately, Allende’s opinion doesn’t mean anything. It has affected nothing, with the exception of some delicate sensibilities. The world will continue to turn, people will continue to buy crime fiction, along with any other kinds of fiction, and in a week or so it will all be forgotten.

So she wrote a piece of crime fiction that she considers to be ironic, a joke. So fucking what? If Allende doesn’t like crime fiction, that is her business. If she writes a crime novel as a meta-joke, that is again her business. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. But please spare us all from your whining.

Oh, you were offended? Well, you know what, fuck you. How’s that for offence? That’s right, you read those words correctly.

I’m tired of these wretched, easily-offended souls, who whine about opinions or statements that run counter to their beliefs. Everybody with a computer or smartphone and a sense of indignation feels it necessary to piss and moan when something derogatory is said about their favourite author, pop act, piece of technology, style of fiction, or some other abstract that really doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things.

I’m a fan of crime fiction, and I’ll continue to be a fan of crime fiction regardless of what other people say about it. If you look down on me because of my literary tastes, if you consider me to be your intellectual inferior because I’m reading Jim Thompson or David Goodis rather than David Foster Wallace or Gabriel Garcia Marquez, then that’s your business – I refuse to make it mine.

You know why? Because I simply do not care. Because your opinion changes nothing. In the same way that Allende’s opinion changes nothing. Why do you care what an author or anybody else thinks of your choice of reading? What difference does it make to your life?

I’ll tell you how much difference it makes – none whatsoever.

However, if you don’t like what Isabel Allende says then don’t buy Ripper, or don’t buy any of her other books. But kindly spare us all from your outpourings of outrage. They’re tiresome.

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