Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I Quit -- A Guest Post From James Thompson

We've been lucky to have Jim Thompson as a regular guest here on MURDER IS EVERYWHERE.

Jim, for those few of you who might not yet know it, is Finland's best and most popular representative in the field of Nordic Noir.

His first book, SNOW ANGELS was selected as one of BOOKLIST'S Best Crime Novel Debuts of the Year. His second, LUCIFER'S TEARS, was chosen as one of the Best Novels of the Year by Kirkus. And you still have time, if you haven't yet done so, to read the excellent HELSINKI WHITE before he launches this one:

HELSINKI BLOOD will be the fourth in the Inspector Kari Vaara series. It goes on sale, in North America, on the 21st of March and is already up for pre-order on Amazon.

Here, and elsewhere, Jim has been doing a series of posts on the subject of Finnish racism.
But no more.
He just quit.
And he tells us why in the post below.

Cara - Tuesday

I Quit

When I started writing a series of articles discussing the feelings of disenfranchised immigrants, I was so naïve that I thought raising public awareness was a good thing, that it would be viewed as I intended, an attempt at fulfilling a social responsibility. I had no idea it would generate such anger. But it did, and so, in an attempt to be fair and objective, I presented the other side of the coin, the views of “critics of immigration.”

A coordinated attack was launched against me on their website, Homma Forum. This despite the fact that I agree with many of their policies concerning Finland’s relationship to the international community. I simply dislike racist rhetoric. The discussion concerning me has been viewed by well over 4000 readers. I had no idea so many people would be interested in me. Hmmm. Should I be flattered?

I was heartened today to see that the latest posts focus on my novels, rather than attacking me personally. A rather lengthy commentary was published that discussed two of my novels. The verdict: I am possibly the worst writer ever born. I’m more than fine with that. The man exercised his right to free speech and is entitled to hate my work as much as he likes. In fact, I was thrilled. It appears that most people on that site who are rambling on about how much my writing sucks have never read any of my novels. At least the man took the trouble to read my work before voicing an opinion about it. I respect that.

I do wish that readers would recognize that I’m a noir writer, and the events and attitudes expressed in my novels are genre appropriate, that writing noir set in Finland doesn’t mean that I view Finland as a violent, corrupt, and dangerous place to live, any more than James Ellroy’s noir writing means that he hates America and in particular, Los Angeles. Folks, it’s fiction. After fifteen years here, Finland is my home, I’m happy here. The culture suits my personality better than anywhere I lived in America ever did. But that’s neither here nor there, and I’m digressing.

My mistake was believing that the public at large is interested in the welfare of all—that an objective examination of the situation from differing viewpoints might be valued. That was idealistic bullshit. I made a mistake and learned a lesson. It isn’t wanted or valued. To not take a side is to be the enemy of all. I offered Perussuomalaiset/Basic Finns a guest blog, and because I’m a man of my word, if they wish, I will honor it, without comment from me.

I view no one as an enemy and don’t want there to be a perception that I do, and so I will write no more about this subject. My views aren’t wanted or needed. There will be no thoughtful discourse. Minds are made up and hate from both sides will reign for another generation. If it makes you happy, go ahead and hate your brains out. You’ll see no more essays about it from me.

I quit. 


  1. "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

    You tried.

  2. Wish you'd change your mind about that.

    1. Hi Velma, I might continue if I had something valuable that has gone unsaid to the dialogue, but I don't. The series has been read by tens of thousands of people. Tomorrow, this essay will be published again on International Crime Authors Reality Check, and thousands more will read it. I feel that for me to contribute more right now would be repetitious, and I don't want to beat a dead horse. Also, I think the conversation would devolve to a childish level. In fact, on some blogs and discussion groups in Finland it has already done so. I do hope that others will continue the dialogue from their own, unique perspectives. But thank you. I appreciate your support.

  3. I don't think one should take people who comment on blog posts/in blog forums as representative of the world at large. They are only a tiny, skewed minority with time on their hands. (Ditto Twitter users).

    1. According to a comment on my blogsite yesterday, the site, Homma Forum, where some members take exception to my writing, as of three days ago, had 1,092,302 posts and 8087 members. Pretty big. Likewise, this site has a wide audience, mine also does pretty well, and this article was reposted today on International Crime Authors Reality Check, which had had well over 3,000,000 visitors. Some thousands of people will read this today. If you would like to see more reader comments, visit my blog at http://www.jamesthompsonauthor.com/blog/?p=887 So while it's not as if the debate is in the New York Times, all told, tens of thousands of people will read this essay. Between all the sites mentioned, there have been approx 100 comments, most in Finland and in Finnish. So, not representative of the world at large, but perhaps noteworthy. Always a pleasure to hear from you, Maxine.

  4. Maxine: Err...um... YOU are commenting on a blog post... :-))) Sorry, couldn't resist the irony.

    THIS blog is one of the very FEW where I actually read (and ENJOY reading) the comments. It's my perception that most decent folks have far better things to do with their time, and far too many folks who post comments on blogs have nothing better to do than make "troll posts" to try to inflame "the opposition." The lower the cost (such as posting something on the net), the higher the ratio of chaff to wheat, I'm afraid.

  5. You've hit the nail on the head: we, as a society, are unable to have a 'thoughtful discourse' on any topic it seems, these days. (See America's recent election for a prize example.) I've proposed the idea on my FB page and often tried to generate such discussion, my approach must require thought as the response has been short of nothing. As for the criticism of the writing, I think it comes with the territory. I write travel articles, uncomplicated - usually flattering - pieces with travel recommendations. I finally had to quit reading the reader comments left on the publication; there seems to be a portion of the world out there just waiting to attack.