This blog isn’t a place where I want to comment on politics. I only bring this up as an example of how easy it is for a writer, facilitated by the internet, to quite possibly say too much for their own good. Frank Miller, graphic novelist and screenwriter – The Dark Knight Returns, 300 – recently posted a vitriolic piece about the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Here is a flavour of Miller’s post:
The “Occupy” movement, whether displaying itself on Wall Street or in the streets of Oakland (which has, with unspeakable cowardice, embraced it) is anything but an exercise of our blessed First Amendment. “Occupy” is nothing but a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists, an unruly mob, fed by Woodstock-era nostalgia and putrid false righteousness. These clowns can do nothing but harm America.
This has led to some interesting reactions, not least almost 10,000 comments on Miller’s own blog. So one might argue no publicity is bad publicity. Unless it turns your readers against you, destroying your reputation and future book and movie ticket sales in the process.
There have also been interesting responses such as Rick Moody’s piece for The Guardian, Frank Miller and the rise of cryptofascist Hollywood and by novelist David Brin (best known for the Kevin Costner version of his book The Postman), who dissects the historical distortions in Miller’s 300 arguing that they make both graphic novel and film works of ‘blatant, outright-evil lying propaganda’.
Which raises the question, what is the moral responsibility of the writer? Is Miller’s work really akin to ‘the propaganda machine of 1930s Germany’, or is the argument all over the moment someone evokes the Nazis?