Mean Green

The demonization of John Green is all of a piece with the relatively-new identity politics-fueled received wisdom that an author should not create a character save for one exactly like him- or herself.

I can’t understand it, really. And I have no interest in being an author, but if I were most or nearly all of my characters would probably be female, though I doubt I’d write any teenagers as that category has been well-covered indeed.

The reason is that I don’t really understand modern masculinity and I could not write a realistic male character who seemed to exist in this world.

Perhaps some far future sf where masculinity had been utterly redefined. I don’t know. But I’m just not interested.

But I really can’t understand the whole idea that authors should only write about characters exactly like themselves. That means that a novel like Seveneves would not exist. Most of the main characters are women, and nearly all of the important ones. (And if you are wondering if you should read the work, hell yes you should. Best hard sf book in a decade at least and I am not a true Stephenson fan.)

By conventional identity politics wisdom, fucking great characters like Tekla Alekseyevna Ilyushina, Ivy Xiao and Moira Crewe would not exist. All of the characters would’ve been white males just like Neal Stephenson.

Does this somehow make sense? Is this desirable? I can’t imagine how requiring Neal Stephenson to write white male characters just like Neal Stephenson helps anyone.