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Ian Fraser said:
The brandy-soaked Churchill had some good quotes, but he's hardly a shining example to writers. He was also an Imperialist in the true sense, doing everything possible to hang onto England's colonies, without any interest in what the oppressed people thought about it.
Who thought that using poisoned gas weapons on those who resisted was just a dandy idea.

WHDean said:
That's definitely relevant. I also think Hitler's love of dogs should be counted in the assessment of Mein Kampf.
A peculiar observation. I would think that a better comparison would be Hilter's belief that Jews should be exterminated and Churchill's comment that: "I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes."

http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHU407A.html

Churchill was a politician. His political beliefs would seem rather relevant to me.
 

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WHDean said:
Churchill's politics might well be relevant to you. But they aren't to whether he was a good prose stylist. I can admit that Marx was a good rhetorician without endorsing the death toll that his skills brought about.

As for the poised gas business, Churchill argued that tear gas was more humane for pacifying rebellious tribes for much the same reason police forces currently use it to pacify uncivilized mobs. Seems like a better idea than killing them. I don't know for sure that Churchill asked his war planners to consider mustard gas, but it wouldn't really surprise me. I think we find it more brutal because we know what it feels like to choke, but not what it feels like to get shot. Were we as familiar with the latter as the former, we'd probably see no difference between them--i.e., they'd both be perceived as painful deaths.
He wasn't talking about "tear gas" although he does admit to the possibility of not using the MOST lethal possible gases, nor do I find it an attractive assertion that the Kurds or any others who resisted British rule such as the Indians are "uncivilized". Not wanting to be taken over by Britain is not an example of being "uncivilized".

If you think poisoned gas doesn't kill people and do so horribly, I suggest looking at the WWI death and invaliding tolls. Whatever his style, most of Churchill's writing was political in nature so his politics are certainly relevant. He wasn't a fiction writer. He was a politician. His politics matter.
 

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If just anyone could do it, a lot more people would have done it. ;)
 

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CarlG said:
True, but not even Dean Wesley Smith is saying to send stuff out with typos.
You do realize that when he says "my wife looks my work and says go ahead" he is talking about one of publishing's highly respected editors. Not to mention that he has done a fair amount of editing himself.

Anyone who thinks he doesn't edit his work isn't really paying attention to what he says.

ETA: His writing isn't particularly to my taste, I possibly should say. That doesn't affect the fact that his method is rather different than an inexperienced author putting their unedited work up for sale.
 

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CraigInTwinCities said:
I reserve the right to admire great writers regardless of their politics... Or not to... Based solely on the quality of their writing.

I means, c'mon folks, the election's over... Let's not muddy up the waters by dividing our ranks over politics.

Something is either well-written or not, based on the writing itself. Otherwise no one would have realized, ever, how skilled Stephen King is....

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I don't think Winston Churchill was in the recent US election. At least I didn't see his name there, so I don't see what that has to do with anything, but I will also at times take other considerations into my opinion of artists in all areas. Supporting people, for example, who are openly racist isn't something I can bring myself to do whether I might otherwise admire their work or not.

ETA: Although darn if I know what that has to do with the OT. As a matter of fact, what WAS the OT? ::)
 

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CraigInTwinCities said:
JRT, I had the post in mind that someone put up listing writers by their personal political views....

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Ah, I think he was trying to say we shouldn't judge writers/artists by their political views. Mostly I agree with you but there is a point at which I draw a line. Each of us has to decide for ourselves where a line is or whether to draw one. Had Pol Pot been a writer (a thought to make one shudder) I wouldn't have cared whether he was good at it or not. An extreme example of course.

ETA: I don't really put Churchill into that category largely because it is also unfair to judge someone by the standards of a different age. His rather racist, classist views were rather typical of his period. On the other hand, I'm not an admirer of his to the extent of some people and this isn't really the forum to discuss that. :)
 

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Arkali said:
Eh. I don't generally care too much about an author's politics as long as they aren't trying to subtly preach at me through their prose. That cheeses me off. If you want to be pro polka-dotted jackelopes, knock yourself out. But I get really torqued when the protagonist of a book takes a moment (or a page or three) to talk about how awful it is for the polka-dotted jackelopes. Now, if you want to describe their little rabbit warrens and how horrid and dark they are when the protagonist arrives on the scene, that's great. But don't roofie me and call it romance.
Like I said, it depends. Generally I don't care what someone's politics are... but there are things I simply can't tolerate. If a writer starts publicly advocating apartheid or something like that, I really do decide I can't read them. On the other hand if they are voters for the Monster Raving Loony Party, I'll probably just ignore it. I do agree that I don't want to be the subject of propaganda, either political or religious, in my fiction.

Of course, that's just me and I'm sure other people feel differently.
 
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