Waited a long time to write this. From Bill Cosby to Kevin Spacey, 2017 has been the year of the Silence Breakers. Why did it take so long, we ask. Why didn’t we see this before? How can we prevent this from happening again? None of these are new questions for Hollywood. Bad behavior among creative people has been a thing since Charlie Chaplin met Mildred Harris.
People will behave badly as long as the community lets them. Hollywood’s interpetation of noblesse oblige begins and ends with how bankable an entity you seem to be. When the money stops, the party is over.
Until now, that is.
Personally, I’m looking forward to an era of transparency and good behavior. As Tom Hanks said, “It’s never too late to learn new behaviors. And that’s a responsibility of anybody who wants to obey a code of professional ethics.” I hope we get there. The business of storytelling is about finding our heroes, not enabling our monsters.
What, though, about the sci-fi and author communities? What is our role in all of this? To me, it’s quite simple and anyone can do it:
Tell your stories, hone your craft, build your worlds, hold nothing back! At the end of each day, claim a full twenty-four hours of progress.
What will that accomplish? Plenty. When you see someone doing something wrong at the Comic-Con, you’ll stand up. Why? Because you won’t tolerate that kind of behavior in the world you’re trying to grow! When you see someone getting trashed online, you’ll offer them support. You won’t fight fire with fire. You’ll utilize the methods offered by other non-violent Outliers. You’ll push back agains the darkness. You won’t give their negativity fuel to feed on or space to grow in. Why? Because you’re writing. You’re making. You’re doing. And when you do those things, you won’t have room in your universe to put up with the bad actors.
No, we aren’t ready to revolutionize the world. What we can do is arm ourselves with knowledge, and power. We can raise warriors who can use their hands, their minds, and their hearts. If we can’t fight the fight ourselves, we can still contribute the momentum. We can do it without needing to be in the limelight. We can just be the guys who are for the right thing.
The best time to have had this conversation was twenty years ago. The second-best time is right now.
Just write. Because it’s just right.