I can't help it. I can't separate the person from the talent. Which is why I wish several authors (and actors, and musicians) would just keep their rantings and ravings to themselves-- or at least pick up a pseudonym for these activities.
I'm not talking about the Mel Gibson alcoholic stupidity or the Michael Richards stand-up disaster, either. Those were both pretty awful, but they were spur-of-the moment tirades, unlike the actually planned out and purposefully written blogs and posts and reviews and whatnot from people who alienate half their fans with seeming disregard.
It was an author's blog that tripped me up this time. There I was, dropping by just to show some love to an author whose work I really like, when I ran headlong into pages and pages of political rants that not only run counter to my own beliefs, but do so in a terribly disrespectful manner. I don't know what authors are thinking when they launch into insult mode, saying things like, "How could Democrats be so stupid?" or "Anyone who voted for so-and-so is an idiot."
And it's not limited to politics. Authors also feel the need to sit in judgment about things like Christmas celebrations, the South versus the North, how people spend their money, other people's eating habits, whatever. Let's pretend that I'm mother whose child has ADHD and takes medication for it, and I run into my favorite author's blog, where she's annihilating people for medicating kids because she thinks ADHD is a bunch of baloney and that really, it's all just bad parenting. Why would I want to buy more of that author's books?
Some people can just separate that out, I know, but I have always believed in supporting people who I feel are good people. Once someone crosses a line and does something that I feel is mean-spirited, I no longer want to put money in that person's pocket, and I can't help but think of that thing when the person's work comes up. Of course, there are varying degrees. I'm probably not going to stop buying an author's books just because he makes one dumb comment about how he doesn't like people who drive SUVs, but even comments like that can be taken too far.
When I read an author whose work I really admire, I have this illusion that we'd get along beautifully. I feel like I would want this author as a friend, which is part of the reason I enjoy the "voice" of the book. I think it's a betrayal of the readers to shatter that after they've invested something in you.
This leaves me a bit conflicted, of course... shouldn't authors be allowed to have opinions? Yes, but.
Yes, but they're expected to show some decorum in expressing them.
Yes, but it's inappropriate to use their platform to sit in judgment of others.
I think that's what I think.