Imagine for the moment you have invested mucho bucks in a treasured speculative fiction series. Imagine further than one morning you peruse Twitter and discover that the author of said series eats babies. On the one hand, baby-eating is probably bad and certainly unpopular1. On the other, nobody likes to walk away from something in which one has invested time and money. Is there some way to somehow justify to one’s judgmental peers continuing with the series2?
In fact, there are at least five. In no particular order…
The author is not their work
This gambit is straightforward. Just because an author has a regrettable quirk or two does not mean those quirks are reflected in their works. Therefore, focus on the books and those qualities that attracted one, and not their creator.
(Note: This works best if said quirks are not reflected in the books. If the series is about time travellers altering history by tracking down and consuming history’s greatest monsters while they are still infants, you may get pushback. Firm assertion is your friend here.)
Products of their time
Social conventions are forever evolving. How could someone in late March 2022 know that by April 2022 public mood would suddenly take a firm negative stance on baby-eating? Demanding that historical figures satisfy modern sensibility is nothing more than simple presentism. Surely, the responsible reader will simply accept the now mildly regrettable baby-eating as yet another excess of a bygone era and move on.
(Note: under no circumstances dwell on all the people who were the products of the same era who were not enthusiastic baby-eaters.)
The good outweighs the bad
It may be impossible to deny a link between author and books. In this case focus on the books’ virtues. Surely, the good the books have done more than compensates for the author’s personal foibles?
(Avoid asserting this to someone whose baby was eaten by the author.)
Perhaps the books are a farrago of indisputable baby-consumption advocacy. Perhaps the author is even now posting lengthy threads on Twitter extoling the benefits of baby-eating. Even in cases like this, an argument can be made in favour of the series provided it sells well enough. Innocent people in the supply chain between manuscript and home bookcase could be thrown out of work if the author’s somewhat regrettable proclivities in print and real life killed publication of the series, not mention the legions denied work if the enormously lavish film series and associated television spin-off is never made. Simple economic prudence demands continued purchases of this series.
(Note: this requires the series to be popular. However, this sort of dispute rarely comes up with unpopular series.)
Distraction from the real crisis.
Sure, baby-eating is bad. But should efforts to limit and discourage it occupy so much time? Surely other issues affect more people and therefore more important. Or perhaps they are more focused (narrow, not broad) and could be solved more quickly. The key point here is that just as a nation can either be a republic ora democracy and waffle can only be square or a delicious breakfast treat, society can only tackle one problem at a time. If baby-eating isn’t the most pressing issue facing society, surely spending time on it is objectively undermining efforts to tackle that more pressing issue.
(Note: some people favour class warfare as the One Big Problem and others climate change, but for my money you cannot go wrong with the Great Oxygenation Crisis, which to this day no government has tackled effectively.)
No doubt you have your own favourite coping mechanisms2. Feel free to mention them in comments.
1: I do not present this quirk entirely at random. Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper was once accused of eating babies, which was never proven. Today the accusation alone might today be a career stumbling block, but in the apparently more paedophagy-tolerant days of the early 21st century, it did not prevent him from winning several subsequent federal elections. For the record, the vast majority of Canadian prime ministers have never eaten a baby (or if they have, it was only a few).
2: Of course one can always publicly claim to have virtuously sworn off the author, then purchase more of their books surreptitiously.