Or refrain from making comments/assumptions about their personal lives when they have no personal knowledge about them.
It'is better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you're a fool than open it and prove it.
If someone was to come up to me and say "Stephen King's books are scary and morally filthy" I would have to nod and agree. Yep. They sure are. That's why they are wonderful. They show life without the polish and pretense of ideal life. The stuff he's describing isn't always scary-because-an-evil-clown-threatens-children, it's scary-because-it's-emotional-and-sometimes-uncomfortable. There's life in his pages because of that. Reading Stephen King is not the same as watching a synthetic world embraced in a 50's sitcom. Scary books work because everyone's had a monster under their bed, or a thing in the closet, or a noise in the night. Personally, I don't enjoy being scared. I don't watch movies that I consider scary. But I read everything of Stephen King's, because it doesn't scare me. It intrigues me. It puts you through dark things, and gets you through them, maybe a bit worse for wear though. There's a truth in that, too.
There was a lecture Stephen King gave called "Banned Books and Other Concerns" some time ago. He recounts an interesting conversation there:
He then goes on to say:A lady who was about sixty-five going on eight hundred stood up and said: "Well you know, I like that story, but I didn't like all the foul language. And I don't know any reason for anyone to tell a good story with all that foul language in it."
And I replied, "Well think of it this way: Think of the way guys talk in the barbershop on Saturday morning."
She said, "Well I've been in the barbershop on Saturday morning, and they don't talk that way."
I replied, "Madam, I am writing about the Saturday mornings you didn't come."
It's worth reading that whole lecture if you can find it, along with other things Stephen King has written on the topic of offensive material in literature.In other words, what I'm talking about is telling the truth...I think that the real truth of fiction is that fiction is the truth; moral fiction is the truth inside the lie. And if you lie in your fiction, you are immoral and have no business writing at all.
Literature itself is filled with inappropriate material. The King Arthur legends (pertaining a man who cheats on his wife with his own sister and has an illegitimate son, along with endless murders and violence. At one point, a honorable knight kills a woman, and as his punishment, is forced to ride into town with her head tied around his neck. Then he's off the hook.) , the fairy tales (those not sanitized by Disney, that is), Shakespeare. In fact, Shakespeare is often considered the greatest writer of all time, and his works contain forms of profanity.
So of course, I would say all of this is scary and morally filthy. Because life is scary and morally filthy. In how you handle fiction is how you handle reality when it comes. Maybe, when the monsters are tired of living under the bed and come out for a midnight snack, we'll be a little more ready for them, and a little less petrified, because we've already seen fear. Seen it, felt it, and overcame it. And one of the most important things you can learn from the works of Stephen King is that even if someone talks differently, is cruder than you, makes obscene jokes or has behaviors you would never be caught doing, you can still care for them. That's a powerful thing, and a hard thing to learn. It is the great lesson of literature...to understand another person's mind.