OK. Now that the dust is clearing on the election, there's a thing us liberals, leftists, not-centrists, whateverthefuck we call ourselves, are going to have to work on: our storytelling. (Thread.)
It's not that the right is better at storytelling. It's that their stories are simpler, more viscerally satisfying. "A Black woman stole your job!" "They want your guns!" Easy, reductive us vs them, you in danger girl level stuff. Even when it's not true, it provokes a reaction.
These stories are like snacks. They satisfy a (forbidden?) craving. They have good mouth-feel. They make you want more. Thing is, try to *live* on snacks and you'll die of malnutrition.

The left's story is a meal. Some crave-able comfort food, but also stuff that's good for you.
But "eat your veggies" is always going to be a harder sell than "have another snack." (Vegetarians sit down, I'm making a point. :P) So the problem isn't that the left doesn't understand the right. It's that we learned to like (or at least eat) veggies too, and they... didn't.
A lot of left analysis I'm seeing rt now disregards this. "We need to understand why these people love salt." Bitch, no, everybody loves salt, some of us just moderate. "We need to sell snacks, too!" That's an uphill climb -- and it elides the fact that snacks are *bad for you.*
Leftist points *can* be distilled into simple visceral stories, sure. "Eat the rich." "Defund police." But they don't hit as hard bc they're shorthand for complex topics. Like kale chips -- superficially snacky, actually good for you, offputting to ppl who prefer potato chips.
Also? Ppl who choose to live on snacks aren't doing so for any rational reason. It's literally killing them. They're doing it anyway because it satisfies some other impulse: in-group approval, a sense of power over a complex and changing world. Snacks are soothing that way.
You cannot reason with folks who've chosen to do something against their interest, because their interest isn't what *you* think it is. They probably know America is better off unified and equal... but ooh, it feels so good to hurt others.

Some folks just got raised wrong.
So I'm not concerned about them, personally. Folks like that might fix themselves, but *you're* not gonna do it. What concerns me is *leftists* falling for snack-style stories. Way too many of y'all buy into the right's "both sides" nonsense, or "white working class" rhetoric.
(As a reminder, both sides are *not* equally bad, and Trump's base is actually wealthy white people. About half the working class is BIPoC and they are disproportionately disabled, queer, immigrant -- groups the right hates. "It's about the white working class" framing is a lie.)
And here is where the failure of storytelling kicks in. Why do leftists -- people who ostensibly believe in a balanced diet -- continually fall for this malnourished bullshit logic?

Same reason right-wingers do: bc on some level these leftists prefer snacks to good nutrition.
We see it again and again -- reductive class analysis that ignores the impact of race and other intersections. White pundits who empathize with racists but find BIPoC equality terrifying ("cancel culture!!!1!"). Black male hip hop stars who throw their own people under the bus.
Some of this is human nature. We often draw causal connections that don't have much to do with logic (e.g. superstition). Some of it is culture. Capitalism is a doctrine of selfishness, after all, and most of us have been indoctrinated with it from childhood.
But a lot of it is that many leftists have chosen false simplicity over the complex, often bitter flavors of truth. "Whiteness is the core of America's problems? That can't be true*. I'd rather believe [salty snack #1]."

*It can be. But it's more complex than "white ppl bad."
Somehow we have to get these folks to swallow "it's the racism, stupid" pills without choking on them and vomiting back Trumpian talking points.

I have no solution for this, btw. I'm trying to tell good stories, but mine are kind of long and chewy. Not very snackable.
End of day, this is probably a question for marketing/PR people to answer, since their specialty is very short stories. But it's important to target those stories at the right audience. Not everybody likes everything, after all. My books aren't super-popular in the Western aisle.
So, know your audience. Stop trying to sell wholesome meals to ppl who've chosen to live on chips -- hell, half the reason they're doing that is to spite you. Focus on folks who claim to want good food but are eating a lot of crap. Remind them that salt is not a food group.
And more importantly, focus on those who already know the complex stories, but don't trust the storytellers. The BIPoC who don't vote completely get that it's the racism -- but they don't think leftist politicians do. Because the best-known leftist politicians *don't* get it.
That's the danger of class reductionists & white liberal pundits who sound straight out of MLK's Letter From A Birmingham Jail -- more devoted to "order" than justice, constantly cautioning BIPoC to put their needs off for the greater good. Nobody likes a story with a bad ending.
The great non-voting masses of America have fallen prey not only to voter suppression, but also the stories told by GOP/billionaire think tanks: voting is meaningless, both sides are bad, doesn't matter who's in charge, life will always suck. This is a narrative we must counter.
And the way to do it is NOT with messages of conciliation toward fascists, or unity with bigots. Not by handwaving consequences because trials and equality are too hard. The way to do it is to SHOW people (don't tell!) that who they vote for matters. That justice is possible.
We all want life to be better. But we have a chance right now to achieve the positive peace which is the presence of justice, to paraphrase MLK, and not just negative peace which is the absence of conflict. Elevate the powerless, not the powerful. Focus on justice, not "unity."
Put some fucking Republicans in jail. (Prob the biggest reason I can't commit to prison abolition; I want these mfs to die in prison.) Put ICE officers in jail if they raped or abused immigrants. Put bad cops in jail.

When we lack stories to tell, actions speak loudest.
And a big, important story we need to be telling right now is just how terrifying the vote is, to fascists. Fortunately they've helped tell that story themselves, by repeatedly attacking people's ability to vote. It's clearly important. Leftists need to double down on that.
So that's all I got, from one storyteller to the many others out there. Hope it helps.
Belated add, since some are tossing around lefty snack stories now: again, those are a hard sell bc nuance reduces poorly & capitalism indocs the opposite. But my suggestion: "You're better off if your neighbor is, too." Doesn't rhyme, not very snacky. But that's the gist.
Welp, too many replies, so muting the thread. But since I'm seeing it already -- beware people in the comments doing the exact fucking thing I said not to: insisting that voting is meaningless, "we need to focus on the WWC," etc. Some folks just wanna be hardheaded.

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More from @nkjemisin

31 Oct
So, this is fascinating. A racist journalist who in 1995 ruined her career w/plagiarism & inaccuracies has resurfaced... writing an inaccurate story about social-climbing rich parents that still takes the time to complain about Black families' focus on sports.
Really brings home what's wrong with 2020 American journalism when you realize Black journalists *still* have to fight just to be heard but people like Ruth Shalit Barrett are given platform after platform from which to spew their bias. ::coughGreenwaldhack::
Read 5 tweets
11 Oct
Getting a website update, much needed after many years. (Yes, I still need one.) My blog's been on hiatus for a while now, but there's still some good stuff in it. So here follows a thread of the "10 greatest hits" from my blog, which I had to compile to give the designer today.
The post for which the short story collection was named:

An essay I wrote on how hard it is to be an SFF writer when the only myths you're given are full of shit:

Read 12 tweets
8 Oct
Today's a good day to remember the Wilmington Massacre, a violent coup which destroyed a democratically-elected state gov't and replaced it with anti-democratic white supremacy, thus ushering in the beginnings of Jim Crow. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilmingto…
Also remember the Dems back then? Became the Republicans of today, mostly in response to desegregation and civil rights for Black people in the mid-20th century. These people do not ever change.
Other things to remember: this coup was pushed by ex-Confederates with money and power. It destroyed not just Black civil rights and white symapthizers' power, it also crushed a working class white labor movement (since they were working with Black people).
Read 5 tweets
13 Sep
Finally got around to watching Puella Magi Madoka Magica. I got spoiled on it aaaages ago -- at the same time I heard about it in the first place -- so never put it high on TBW list. And missing out on the surprise *does* lose it something... but oh, the journey. Loved it.
And the genre deconstruction was great, but holy shit the witch/labyrinth art. Like Dave Mckean and Romare Bearden got high together, somehow had a daughter despite Bearden being dead, she became a magical girl, and her ultimate attack was collage art.
I'd fallen out of love with mahou shoujo. So many were either too cute or trying too hard to be subversions, without actually subverting much. I fannishly grew up on CLAMP, so... 🤷🏾‍♀️ But this was Utena-level (that's praise). And me only a decade late, lol.
Read 4 tweets
16 Aug
I wonder if white liberals finally understand just how much of a threat white supremacy has always been to this country. Assuming Trump is defeated and the Senate flips in November, assuming the transition actually happens -- are they prepared to solve that problem this time?
White supremacy is the framework for US classism, our misogyny, our tax structure, our education and health care, everything. It's why we lag so far behind similar countries: To hold somebody else down, you gotta stay down with 'em. Our enemies know this is a huge weakness.
And I say "this time" because we've been here before. After the Civil War, Union leaders appeased rather than punished the traitors. After the Civil Rights Movement, white liberals appeased again, cooperating to erode every CR gain and even aiding Black & Brown oppression.
Read 6 tweets
8 Jul
Just catching up with this Harpers nonsense. I see why they didn't name names -- because their argument only works in abstract. The moment you cite specifics, you realize they're supporting mass dehumanization, historical revisionism, and any number of fascist principles.
Fascism sounds great in the abstract, too, when it's framed in this abstract way. Then you notice the bodies it's standing on.
::grumbles in proofreading, seeing two "abstracts.":: That's why I shouldn't Tweet late at night, damn it.
Read 4 tweets

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