The course of the thread was whether or not it's reasonable to use 'it was realistic' as an argument and how bad an argument that is, or at least that's how I interpreted it. If you interpreted it as something else, fine. And yes, as I stated to Shryke you can create a completely ludicrous world just because you wanted to play in it. That being said, someone defending that world with 'it's realistic' is bullshit of the highest order, and the author should be the first to agree. It's not realistic, it's not meant to be realistic, and it's certainly not done to challenge the author's writing abilities or the reader's sensibilities.
Well, that's a relief.
Sorry, I misread auction for action in a prior post. I assumed you were stating that writers are writing to get paid first and foremost and that you were taking the mercenary tact here. Entirely misread on my part.
John Norman was actually pretty famous; he wrote the Gor novels. Do google him, though not on a work computer. Both him and Goodkind believed very strongly that the world they were writing about - and the way they characterized women, races, society, etc - were the way either things were or they should be. In both cases they were very deliberately choosing to write these fucked up stories because that was really, truly what they thought. They are complete misogynists and chauvinists and in general fairly putrid dudes.
Are those valid authorial choices?
On Martin - the Dothraki and pretty much everything outside of Westeros save perhaps Braavos are chock full of fairly painful stereotypes, especially given the lilly-white conqueror in Dany who magically tells everyone Slavery is Wrong and Rape is Wrong. This got a bit better in ADWD, but the stereotypes are really painfully obvious and were back in the day. The Dothraki weren't particularly well fleshed out compared to, say, the individual houses. (The Dorne weren't too much better, mind you, but they were at least somewhat better). The Qartheen weren't great but at least we don't see a ton of 'em. The slave cities were...horrible. Just atrociously bad.
Now, I don't think that GRRM is a misogynist, and it's clear to me that he wants to examine things like classism and sexism by setting his book with it. That he doesn't want medieval times to be all happy princesses and ladies in waiting, and he wants to show how shitty it was as a way to deconstruct the genre in general as well as showcase it for us. And he largely does a good job with this, I think; while he missed somewhat with Cersei he does a good job with Brienne and Sansa and Catelyn and Arya and Asha, and at no time am I thinking how poorly written his women are.
Racism, however - I think he just didn't bother with. Didn't really cross his mind. And I think he got very lazy with the depiction of the Essos world, especially in comparison to the massive detail and pageantry he puts into the Westeros world. I don't think he's a racist. I think he just got lazy. I think that he didn't plan on spending as much time as he did in Essos and as a result, things aren't developed nearly to the degree they are in Westeros. And that's a perfectly reasonable thing to ding him on.
First...you may not be a native English speaker, and I do apologize for picking this nit, but please, please, please spell superior correctly. Please?
Second, there's no evidence that sexism is a universal trait. Anthropologically this is decidedly untrue and varies considerably from culture to culture, as much as racism does. I don't understand why you'd state that 'as long as men in a society have an excuse to ignore logic and be sexist, they will' but how this is somehow untrue for racism. Same with 'obviously still rampant' - racism is obviously still rampant as well. We have great historical records of both. Why would one be more basic and more common but not the other?
Rousseau claimed that tyrants gain followers because people will consent to oppression from above if they can oppress those below them. It was one of his interesting insights, and I think it's relevant to my claim. Level the playing field and the cycle of oppression can soften.
Edited by Marcus Cicero, 25 April 2012 - 11:15 AM.