Writers live lives of curious contradiction. Their work succeeds only by means of a monastic interiority and lonesomeness, and yet they yearn for that work to deliver them the very things most likely to murder it: whole continents of fans, invitations to claim and cash fantastical checks. They’ve heard the warning that says celebrity is one of the toxins which contributes to a writer’s artistic contamination, but they can’t help themselves—writers spend lots of time being overlooked, and thus lots of time fantasizing about the opposite predicament. There’s no such thing as a writer who yearns to be ignored. (…)
Norman Mailer once said to Gore Vidal that in the future they’d both become cults, and Vidal replied that a cult might be suitable for Mailer—he himself wanted a religion. When Vidal suggested that Truman Capote’s premature death was a smart career move, he was hijacking the prominent Hollywood cliché that deified James Dean—a cliché that owed much to the myths of Byron and Keats. But Vidal couldn’t possibly have been certain that three decades after Capote’s death we’d be glamorizing him still, or that Philip Seymour Hoffman would somehow manage to make him look even more ridiculous than he actually was. The immortality-making contraption has a multitude of moving parts, each of which must be perfectly greased and tuned or else the whole thing stalls.
Cathy Young writes…
Plenty of male writers across the political spectrum have harrowing war stories.
Charles Johnson, a blogger who started out on the right and then moved left, received so many threats that he decided to move to a gated community.
Milo Yiannopoulous, a writer for the conservative website Breitbart.com, not only had his home address posted online last year, but received a padded envelope in the mail containing a syringe.
Some male bloggers have been targeted by phony emergency calls that resulted in police SWAT teams being dispatched to their homes.
Female writers who are critical of modern feminism, such as Christina Hoff Sommers, have also been on the receiving end of both personal abuse and occasional threats.