October 6, 2008

Why I Hate Stephen King

I’ve been given some flack over the years for my distaste of Stephen King. But things have recently gotten out of control, and I must state my case once and for all. First, a disclaimer that you are free to use to claim my argument is invalid:

I have never read a “real” Stephen King book.

I’m not really a thriller person. But even though I haven’t read the work that made him famous, I’d be crazy to not have some respect for him, what he did for the horror genre, etc. And, yes, it was absolutely terrible when he was almost killed in that hit and run accident.

That being said, I have read this, and I have been forcefully fed different variations of this over the last 2 years since Mr. King became a guest columnist in Entertainment Weekly. What drives me insane about him is that he relies on His Relevance essentially as his thesis, explaining nothing and giving no big picture insight. I am supposed to think he’s interesting (and correct) because he’s Stephen King.

His latest entry in EW is the epitome of what I’m talking about, and this is where I draw the line: Why I Love ‘Prison Break’. I honestly thought this was a joke. It’s like a third grader’s book report (I read “Superfudge.' It was good. It taught me that it’s okay to not always like my sister. The end.), except that it’s authored with some kind of authority by supposedly one of the most respected literary minds alive.

When a writer is given an “extracurricular” forum, doesn’t he/she have a responsibility to use that power for good? To show that good language transcends format, and demonstrate the power of words by doing? (See: Dave Eggers. And how interesting that his Wikipedia page doesn’t even mention 826 Valencia.) But, instead, Entertainment Weekly pays him to share with us such illuminating opinion pieces as: “Cool and the Gang” (Billed as: "Stephen King sizes up who's cool...and who's not.") and “Stephen King’s Guide to Movie Snacks.” No, I am not making this up.

I long ago got in the habit of just flipping past the guest commentary page when I saw his photo – but I now might have to make it a habit to tear out the page and throw it away. Because now that he's offered an entire column devoted to "a rough summary of Our Story So Far, concocted not with help from the usual Internet sources but from my own little Break-obsessed head," really, what illuminating insight could possibly top it?

And btw, Uncle Stevie – as you insist on referring to yourself – you do not speak for Red Sox Nation or the Average Baseball Fan (We don’t do this or this …or this), so please stop pretending you do. (This research led me to another infuriating piece of self-promotion. Enjoy.)


Anonymous said...

Agreed I personally dislike stephen king because I hate all horror book writers for the sheer reason that they are probably horrible people. No one could write the amount of vile shit Stephen King has wrote without being sick in the head.

A. said...

Anonymous, do not diss the horror genre.
It explores fear; one of our most basic emotions.

And as someone who writes horror fiction personally, I can tell you, it's not easy to stare horrible, or terrifying things in the face and then write about them in a captivating way.

Don't dislike Stephen King because he writes horror. Dislike him because he's a bad writer catapulted to fame by a couple of good ideas.

(And yes, I hate Stephen King. He's not a good writer, yet feels he is in a position to tell people how to write, what he thinks of other writers, and everything about horror.)