Some of the greatest books that I’ve read lately have a lot to do with politics, but not in the sense of what you may be thinking of (guns, wars, policies, and officials), rather in a different way. I like to define these books as being “woke.”
I walked around saying, “I hate politics,” but I have to admit, for a long while I was ignorant between the difference of hard news and political socialization among people. I thought it was all the same when in reality I just don’t have a liking for the way that journalists are taught to publish their opinions in newspapers and throughout media (a different conversation for another day.)
However, I’m here to help you redefine politics. Instead of thinking about bombs and wars consider the fact that it is the social topics that surface in our day to day conversations. That’s it, it’s just that simple. When you comment on the way a celebrity dresses or acts you’re making a political statement.
We can’t dislike politics because everything is political, the way that we access and process information is a form of politics. But, I’m here to talk to you about the political socialization through novelizing.
Political socialization is a means of communicating social justice topics through a form of media. Usually, these socially charged messages are backed by a bias which we then subconsciously learn. When you’re politically socialized you’re introduced to politics through a medium where an implied belief was already attached to the message, whether you agreed or not.
There are many, many novels that do this and it’s why young adults love a good dystopian novel. The thing that scares us the most has nothing to do with vampires, zombies, or ghost, but everything to do with the “what if” portions of our psyche that is curious about what’s to come. That portion of our world matters the most because it deals with the politics of our everyday life.
As novelists, we have you drawn to our work when we use politics in order to either make you confrontational and wanting to activate change or see something through a different lens. I argue that the best novels always have something political to say.
You can take these books off of a shelf eighty years from now and they will still be relevant, why? Because they commented on something about ethics and morale which govern the way that humans create laws, policies, and change. In that sense, a novel will never be old or “out of date” because it lives in an eternal state of being.
The next time you pick up a book, ask yourself, why did this writer write this today? And, what you will find is that the context of the book changes. Whenever I read something by a friend or off of the shelf of the library I’m always engaged with the larger conversation.
I always wonder if the politics of the book was to make me reconsider something or highlight a certain parameter of politics that I hadn’t thought of before. I invite you to ask an author, why did you take more than twenty-four hours of your life to write this specific story? What are you politically socializing me to believe?
Categories: Essays W/ SA