Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.
When you choose the hill you are going to die on, don't let it be this:
You would have to be living under a rock to not be aware that Anne Rice is in a pitched battle with a few people in the amazon forums, as well as all reviewers who don't hand out 5-star reviews like they are candy, and, not coincidentally, Jenny Trout, who got on her bad side (again) by pointing out how offensive this book is.
Let's just take it apart for a small moment. Some self-published author with a stupid pseudonym (in this case, Fionna Free Men) slaps together a bunch of crappy erotica and equally crappy covers, and then puts them on amazon for sale. So far, nothing to see here, right?
Except one of those pieces of erotica is a "master-slave BDSM fic" about Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. Sally Hemings is a real historical personage. She was the half-sister of Jefferson's dead wife and Jefferson's slave, and, while there is dispute amongst historians, there is significant historical evidence to demonstrate that Jefferson raped her for the first time when she was between 14 and 15 years old, and continued raping her indefinitely, fathering six children with her.
Let me not mince words. I use the word "rape" intentionally because Sally Hemings was an enslaved person and was unable to consent to a relationship with Jefferson. One can only consent if one can refuse consent. A slave is not an owner of her body, she has no agency. She cannot say no, and therefore, she cannot say yes. So the idea that Hemings "consented" to a relationship with Jefferson in any fashion whatsoever is bullshit.
But that isn't the point of this post. The point of this post is that Anne Rice - and honestly, I still expected better of her, which I guess makes me nuts - has chosen to defend that book because she hates Jenny Trout more than she hates racist rape apologia. Which even I didn't expect of her.
Here is her original facebook post, screenshotted:
And here's her response to another person who is going to go buy the book to "support free speech":
For completeness, let's get the original offending post linked as well:
Now, let's get a couple things straight.
First off, this has nothing to do with free speech. Fionna Free Men, wherever the fuck she is, has a right to write all of the racist, disgusting and despicable rape apologia that she wants. She is free to speak. What she doesn't have a right to, actually, is a platform. The government is prohibited from interfering with her free speech. Neither amazon nor Jenny Trout are the government. So the next person who mentions "free speech" in the discussion should be sent back to high school and forced to attend civics class until they can pass the section on the Bill of Rights.
Second, Jenny Trout did not tell people to pirate the book. She told them neither to buy nor to read it. But if they, for whatever reason, couldn't stand the thought of not firsthand experiencing 19 pages of glorified racism and rape, then by all means, they should pirate it rather than giving the author one thin dime off of the pile of shit that is this book.
And that, my friends, is the hill that Anne Rice has chosen to die on. She hates Jenny Trout so much that she will support that crap over Jenny. And she hates the "bullies" so much than anything that they think is bad, she must go on record as calling good. Even if that thing that is "good" is a disgusting rape fic about a 14-year-old black enslaved person who was raped by her 44 year old white owner for decades.
When this fight started, did she imagine that it would end with her defending the glorification of child abuse and racism? Somehow, I think not.