Originally Posted by gmw
Yes, I think it is those "Unfortunate Implications". I would have said that often you are not even criticising the text so much as the social mores reflected in that text - and I think that is a good and worthwhile thing. But the risk is that such criticism carries by implication to the text and author - and yet the author is writing a story, often intentionally reflecting current mores rather than trying to influence them. So when you speak of "Twilight imprinting on infants" (as one example) you are, it seems to me, criticising a book, and by extension* the author, for a level of influence the book has gained (although cause and effect here are open to question).
* It is difficult to separate the author from criticisms like these. There is an inherent accusation that the author should have presented a better example for the readers - as if they knew they were going to be held up as an example (most aren't).
I don't think there needs to be an "inherent accusation" of that. The whole point of Unfortunate Implications -- as I see them -- is that they can occur against the backdrop of a larger society, and that the author's intention doesn't automatically need to be impugned.
For example, the TV Trope picture for Unfortunate Implications
. The picture itself would be much less problematic in a vacuum or in an entirely different Alternate Universe context; it's all the existing Real Life cultural context around it that really causes so much of the problem.
And, yes, sometimes authors/artists/what-have-you genuinely don't notice or know. The point of pointing out Unfortunate Implications isn't to critique the author, but rather society at large.
I suppose we could
argue that the author "should have known better", but I would consider that a waste of time. One person's thoughts and actions are a curiosity at best; an entire culture's attitudes and reactions is something that affects us all.
In my humble opinion.
(Please also note that the "imprinting on infants" example is complicated
. I was making a flip statement to Eileen, not an argument about it in general. I do believe that the author's intent was to provide an example of truly unconditional love, in whatever form it took. But, yes, since you mention it, there are seriously Unfortunate Implications of consent and creepy that surround the issue -- and which I doubt the author intended.)