Monday, April 6

The moonlight's still on the Wabash

          I’m from Indiana. How’s that for starting out with a bang?
         
Our fair state has been in the news more the past few weeks than I ever remember it being before. Even when Bobby Knight threw a chair and Dan Quayle couldn’t spell potato and Bing Crosby stopped for lunch—or was it dinner?—in nearby Rochester, we weren’t so loudly or inaccurately reported on.
          Inaccurately? Did I just say inaccurately?
          Damn right. And I meant it. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act has been, to put it mildly, a nightmare of...er...nightmarish proportions. I’m not going to get into the wrongs and rights of it because, frankly, that’s pretty subjective and enough people have already said what they thought. I just wanted to clear some things up that aren’t subjective.

1.   Not all Hoosiers are illiterate
2.   Or hateful
3.   Or desperately poor
4.   Or desperately rich
5.   Or evangelical Christians
6.   Or not Christians at all
7.   Or completely narrow-minded
8.   Or completely mindless
9.   Or racists, homophobes, or otherwise 19th-century-throwbacks.

          I was going to start this by saying this week’s post wasn’t about writing. But it is. And it’s about a part of writing that I have harped on ad nauseum: stereotyping—and another part that I’ve hardly harped on at all: accuracy. (If there’s an editor in the house, I apologize for that sentence. I didn’t know how to punctuate it, but I didn’t want to leave it out or spend too much time changing it—I’m sleepy.)
          I don’t object to Indiana being in the news for what happened here. At all. I don’t object to anyone standing their ground because of dearly held principles. Ever.
          But tell the truth when you’re doing it, even if you’re writing fiction. Do your research. And if you’re not going to tell the truth, explain why. I’m listening to an audio book right now that I’m enjoying a lot. It was written by one of my favorite authors and it’s just the greatest story. One small mistake, however, concerning shipping a certain item from the post office, keeps clanging in my retired-postal-worker’s mind. Because you can’t mail that item. Would it stop me from recommending the book? Oh, heavens, no—it’s a great book. Would I enjoy it more if that little clanger wasn’t in there? Uh-huh.
          As far as stereotyping goes, don’t paint over six million people with the same brush, especially if it’s an insulting one, because they—okay, we—haven’t earned that.

          Thanks for listening. I’ll jump—carefully, because I’m old—off the soapbox for now. Have a great week.

19 comments:

  1. Well said, Liz! Thanks for standing up for us. Hope your jump off the soapbox was successful with no pulled muscles, torn ligaments, etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No injuries, Judith. I've been walking the Nickel Plate lately--strength building! :-)

      Delete
  2. Hear, hear!!!!! *whistles* YES! Not all Hoosiers think alike:)

    Excellent post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also promise to consult you if my characters ever try to mail questionable items at my fictional post office ;)

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Molly. And yes, by all means, check with me on postal matters! :-)

      Delete
  3. Yay for you! I think one of the things "wrong" in our society right now is that the vocal minority are the only ones doing the talking--uhm, maybe screeching? Until now.

    And I hate it when writers get the details wrong, too. Fifty Shades begins in my town and she totally flubbed it. And a simple look at a map would've fixed that--you don't head to Portland from Vancouver--Wa, not BC--to get to Seattle. Seattle is North and Portland is South.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those simple ones are REAL clangers, aren't they? :-)

      Delete
  4. Well said, Liz. Stand proud and spread the word.

    ReplyDelete
  5. From a fellow Hoosier, thank you very much! Yes, I hate that we're getting such a bad reputation from this RFRA nightmare. Thanks for clearing things up. And yes, to do your research as a writer! So important because readers do notice this stuff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is horrifying, isn't it? Even though everyone who knows us personally knows better, I'm afraid our friends think we are the exception rather than the rule. :-(

      Delete
  6. Liz, thanks for speaking so well about this subject. As a fellow Hoosier I have just hated all the publicity and inaccuracies that have been present in the media and social media about the people of our state. For me also, poorly researched material, or poor spelling or grammar can be very distracting from an otherwise great story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the sad part, that it takes away from--as you said--an otherwise great story.

      Delete
  7. Great post, Liz! I agree with Margie - the vocal minority seems to be so much more...vocal, lately.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know, to tell the truth, who is what. In my mind, the noise wasn't coming from the minority, but I know to those who embraced the other side of the issue, it was ALL minority noise. So... It's hard to know what's right on things that can be construed more than one way, that's for sure!

      Delete
  8. Good post!
    I have to admit, I haven't been too impressed by your state lately. I know there are good people there, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't been impressed by certain factions of it, either! But, yeah, most of us are good people--we just don't make the news.

      Delete
  9. Well said, indeed. I'm a lifelong Hoosier, and the only thing that would make me leave is our weather. Of course, every winter makes me want that winter home in Florida that much more, but still ....

    There certainly do seem to be a lot of people who aren't interested in telling the truth about Indiana, and a lot of them work in the media.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The most horrific things I've read have been on FB, made my natives who speak for the whole state with their opinions (either side of those opinions). I agree the media runs with the story, but...I'm not going any further than that! :-) Thanks for coming by, Mark!

      Delete