Human beings are not binary “good” or binary “bad.” Real people have been capable of doing incredible acts of altrustic charity and sacrifice (as much as we can, some might argue the best would be to abolish humanity entirely for the sake of the Earth/other species, and I used to agree with that argument to some degree - and I actually credit my fandom for helping me shake it off a little bit when I realized I was sounding like a certain “Nice Guy” in it, lmao) and sometimes, even at the same time, acts of unfathomable evil and harm.
I get the need for fiction with no surprises and clearly drawn lines of “good” and “bad” for people who need it for that reason. What I absolutely don’t like:
the condemnation of fictional characters that are capable of depicting both, that flip sides, that atone or repent, that conversely sink into further and further evil until they’re screaming past the moral event horizon, that even flip back around to do that THEN come back from it again with a deeper understanding of what drove them to it/who they are.
the condemnation of fiction from Unreliable Narrator or similar perspectives that makes the readers question their own ethics and morals, their support of the protagonist, or similar.
the idea that writing a deeply ethically or morally flawed/questionable character is a bad reflection on the author’s ethics and morals in real life.
the idea that there are Good People and Bad People as unchangeable classes, that one is placed into either side and has to be there because that’s just how it is (that’s actually INCREDIBLY fascistic as an idea to promote, if not itself racist/sexist/homophobic/etc, and yet some people on here actively promote this idea as leftist or feminist or similar)
the idea that ethics and morality and responsibility are a hivemind of social approval based on disgust and emotion in the moment as opposed to evaluating actual harms, and trying to pick the path that causes the least unnecessary suffering/the least environmental damage/the least violence/etcetera, and that any fiction that portrays an ethical or moral decision (or contains one in the writing process) that seems disgusting or emotionally upsetting is BAD AND WRONG (as opposed to being “not all that is disgusting or upsetting is ethically wrong, and not all that is comforting and happifying is ethically correct” or being “here is why this decision is so wrong, and you get to see and feel WHY.”)
I personally WANT nuance and complexity in my fiction (both in what I consume and what I create.) I want bad characters who go good, good characters who go bad, and people in the gray and murky middle just trying to survive another day. I want fiction that makes me think, and where I may end up thinking one thing at one point and another a couple years down the road, and I want to write the same. I think the movement I see toward “good people write good happy no-conflict stories about good people doing fluffy things, and anyone else can kys,” is troubling in so many ways and you should think about that (namely because adding the last part essentially does make you a bad person)
And before anyone starts discourse over any of the following: this post is not about p*dophilia, maps, or even shipping discourse. (I’m actually thinking more about plot that focuses on things like war or violence or mental illness etc). Nor is this post arguing about tags and warnings: if you write upsetting or angsty content BY ALL MEANS TAG AND WARN IT.
(The ONLY exception to “tag and warn” IMO is if your content is nonfictional - I do think that sometimes people need to see reality, and if you would rather not “tw: concentration camp” on your images of what’s going on in America, that is itself IMO just as moral a decision as TWing it. Because surprise, sometimes two opposite decisions can be equally ethical or moral, albeit just toward different goals - for example, tw: concentration camp is toward the goal of protecting those with triggers, but NOT TWing concentration camps is toward the goal of forcibly informing people who would deny their existence of them in the hopes of awakening them to the reality we are in…)
It is merely saying that unreliable narration, angst, characters of questionable morals, etc etc are NOT INHERENTLY BAD, writing them doesn’t mean a writer is a bad person or intentionally trying to put bad stuff out there into the world, and “good vibes only” culture itself can be creatively stifling and outright toxic.