Much of the thread really does seem to me to deny that criticizing the implicit messages of fiction is at all valid. But if it's valid to criticize porn and its fans, then it's valid to criticize other genres.
And yes, it's a matter of degree. Skipping over the zombies (which do seem to symbolize masses of some malign Other) to the more purely post-apocalyptic side, I must say that anyone who's never felt a cheap thrill at the thought of the end of the world, just hasn't been paying attention. (Apologies to JMS.
) People en masse can really get on your nerves. But there's a difference between occasionally entertaining an idea (and politely showing it the door,) and consuming hours and hours of drama and thousands of pages of fiction, no?