Skip to comments.Purifying Publishing-The cultural commissars come for conservative books
Posted on 07/08/2020 5:45:46 AM PDT by SJackson
Of Americas most powerful and prominent cultural institutions, its quick work naming those that arent entirely left-wing satrapies. TV? Fox News, although things are looking less and less encouraging there. Colleges? Hillsdale, I guess, though how many Ivy League faculty members would ever admit to having heard of it? Newspapers? The New York Post (sometimes), Wall Street Journal (kind of), and perhaps one or two others from sea to shining sea. Silicon Valley? Nothing. Hollywood? ¡Nada! Big business? Hmm: what is there, nowadays, honestly, other than that My Pillow guy?
One field in which theres at least a soupçon of ideological diversity is the book trade. Yes, staffers at the major publishing houses are overwhelmingly on the left. Ditto bookstore employees. Plus the people who give out the major book awards. Not to mention that the heftiest advances for political books go to Democrats. Since the turn of the century, the biggest nonfiction book deal, amounting to at least $65 million, was for Michelle Obamas Becoming (2018) and for an as-yet-unpublished opus by Barack; second raking in $15 million was Bill Clintons My Life (2004); third at $14 million was Hillarys Hard Choices (2014).
One more thing about the reflexive leftism of the book scene. Thanks to todays lethal cancel culture, even classics are at risk. Recently, in an article for the School Library Journal headlined Little House, Big Problem: What To Do with Classic Books That Are Also Racist, Marva Hinton identified both Mark Twains The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Harper Lees To Kill a Mockingbird as racist. No, she didnt just say that they contained racist language, which would have been fair enough; she asserted that these two books both of them key texts in the history of the American struggle against racism are in fact racist.
Hinton quoted Julia E. Torres, a Denver school librarian, as saying that when shes consulted by teachers who want to assign Harper Lees novel to their student, she often suggests replacing it with Samira Ahmeds dystopic novel Internment, about a teen sent to a U.S. internment camp for Muslim American people. Alternatively, Torres suggests they teach To Kill a Mockingbird using excerpts or through a critical consciousness lens, which would include lessons on white saviorism and the weaponization of white womens tears. Check, please!
Im not familiar with the novel Internment just out in paperback from Little, Brown but its part of a full-court press by the book business to normalize Islam and demonize Islamophobia. Also in on this effort are the major pre-pub reviewing outlets, all of which gave Internment starred reviews that were short on praise for aesthetic values and long on PC drivel. (*Taking on Islamophobia and racism in a Trump-like America Kirkus. [A] very real, very frank picture of hatred and ignorance . Booklist. An unsettling and important book for our times. Publishers Weekly.)
In 2006 I published a highly critical book about Islam. Even then, it was savaged by bien pensant book-world types. But criticizing Islam has become so verboten on the left that I doubt any major publisher today would touch a book like While Europe Slept even though the problems described therein have grown far, far worse.
Meanwhile, to peruse the latest catalogues from those same publishers is to discover a blizzard of dreary-sounding new or forthcoming novels that, judging from the plot summaries, are drenched in identity politics. (Two quick examples from Knopf, perhaps the most respected of literary publishers: Burning by Megha Majumdar, about an Indian girl whos falsely accused of terrorism and turns for help to a trans woman; My Mothers House by Francesca Momplaisir, a novel that takes on the legacy of colonialism and the abuse of male power. Goody, beach reads!)
Amazons current list of top ten bestsellers includes several far-left books on racism: Robin DiAngelos White Fragility, Ibram X. Kendis How to Be an Antiracist and Stamped from the Beginning, Ijeoma Oluos So You Want to Talk about Race, and Ta-Nehisi Coatess Between the World and Me. You might think theres a market for at least one book criticizing these authors views; but Ive been assured by industry insiders that no major New York house would even consider publishing such a book.
Even in book publishing, then, the left is way ahead. But this isnt good enough for Alex Shephard, a young staff writer at the New Republic, who in a recent article maintained that the book industry is overdue for a major reckoning. Heres his articles subhead (italics mine):
The industry is facing demands to live up to its stated values. That might mean ditching writers like Donald Trump Jr.
And later theres this (italics again mine):
these publishing houses are, like many corporations in the country, being asked by their employees and customers to live up to a set of values. And that would seem to be impossible while also publishing the likes of Tucker Carlson
What does Shephard mean by stated values? Simple: left-wing ideological purity. In his view, conservative books are, with exceedingly few exceptions, valueless. (Shephard implies that quality control alone would eliminate most conservative titles.) Also by definition, theyre awash in factual inaccuracies. Because of course you cant possibly mount a convincing non-leftist argument for anything without radically distorting the truth. (As Shephard puts it: being forced to tell the truth is not an existential issue for most of publishing; it is for conservative imprints.)
Hence, if book publishers began to be serious about fact-checking, it would, argues Shephard, make it impossible to publish a great many conservative books. Indeed, even the more respectable side of conservative publishing, as represented for Shephard by Jonah Goldbergs 2008 bestseller Liberal Fascism (note, however, those scare quotes around the word respectable), would be challenged by a responsible fact-checking apparatus.
According to Shephard, another attribute of many conservative books is that their authors arent serious. He quotes Kimberly Burns, a book publicist: Im OK with books being published from different political viewpoints in fact, its necessary for debate and being able to see a whole picture .The problem is when authors write things only to get themselves attention or to make news, instead of to enhance a dialogue . Apparently this isnt a problem with left-wing books.
Bottom line: Shephard really likes censorship of his ideological opponents. And he really admires his fellow woke types who put pressure on publishers to cancel books. He notes with obvious satisfaction that Henry Holt, the publishing house, drew fire for its decision to continue publishing Bill OReilly after multiple accusations of sexual harassment were made against him. (Theres no indication that Shephard believes multiple accusations of sexual harassment should affect Bill Clintons publishing career.)
Shephard approvingly mentions Simon & Schusters 2016 decision to drop the book Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos, whom he identifies as a troll known for shallow publicity stunts. And he tells us that hes spoken to employees at another publishing house, Hachette, who expressed discomfort about the companys conservative imprint, Center Street, which publishes Donald Trump Jr., among others.
Boy, Ill bet they did. Since Shephards article appeared, Hachette staffers largely lower-level Gen-Z brats have said that they wont work on J.K. Rowlings forthcoming book because shes criticized transgender ideology. Hachette is the same house that, in response to workers outraged over unproven quarter-century-old sex-abuse allegations, canceled Woody Allens about-to-be-published memoirs in March. Allen was never charged with any crime, let alone found guilty of one; years later he was permitted to adopt two children. Yet thanks to those junior Jacobins every one of whom shouldve been fired Allen was unceremoniously cut adrift.
And Shephard fully approves. He actually calls Allen a pariah. The ease with which this smug punk swats away the legendary writer-director is chilling. No matter what you may think of Allen or his films, the whole ugly spectacle is just too reminiscent of the way things worked under Stalin and Mao. And its all too representative, alas, of the atrocious attitudes of the rising generation of lockstep cancel-culture creeps who, like it or not, are well on their way to becoming our nations official cultural gatekeepers.
You will be fired and banned from all commerce.
I don’t understand how the Left has managed to take over EVERYTHING. Are we that outnumbered? Are conservatives mainly retired folks?
was Bill Clintons My Life (2004)
Better than accepting the mark of the beast.
There is no Scriptural mention of being banned from accepting the mark of the beast.
Very interesting article. A long read, but well worth it! Thanks for posting.
I think you meant from NOT accepting the mark of the beast. Revelation 13:17
Ah, censorship. The ultimate goal of the fascist anti-fascists.
I meant what I said, you have free will whether to accept the mark or not.
But, there is no Scriptural reference suggesting you would be prohibited from accepting the mark.
I said: "Better than accepting the mark of the beast."
I said nothing about being prohibited from accepting the mark. My very clear point was that it would be better to be banned commerce than to accept the mark of the beast. I then clearly pointed you directly to the Scripture on this very subject.
You replied with: ""There is no Scriptural mention of being banned from accepting the mark of the beast."
I'm so happy for you.
Liberals are the problematic squeaky wheel, conservatives are the other or rest of the wheels that keep moving on even though the squeaky wheel will most likely someday throw the entire operating system out of balance and into turmoil and disrepair. It appears it is about time to grease that squeaky wheel and put it back into alignment, so there continues to be a smooth ride for all.
Everyday the liberals,progressives and dems show us they really do like embracing the Nazi view on everything
The problem with leftist book publishes is an old one, going back until at least the 1950’s. Then it was the CPUSA front firm roughly named “Angus Cameron” and one other person’s name (if I remember correctly). It was a conduit for both communist and pro-communist writers and materials.
I don’t have my old files/articles on this, here’s a true story most have never heard though it was made public in the late 60’s/early 70’s.
Army Special Forces soldier/advisor James “Nick” Rowe was held captive by the Viet Cong for many years, thus the name of his book “Five Years to Freedom” (roughly 1963-68). He escaped while the other American prisoners either died of starvation/medical illnesses untreated, or were executed.
Nick signed with Little, Brown & Co, Boston, Mass, 1971 to publish and promote his book but he said they almost never promoted the book to bookstores and when they did, they slow-rolled it. Check out Little, Brown re other conservative books (I know that there are stories about them being lackadaisical about promoting conservative stories, some within the recent past).
Needless to say, Nick was a friend of mine. He was tragically assassinated by the Communist New Peoples Army (Maoists) while a military attache’ assigned to the Philippines.
The book “Unfit for Command” about the Swiftboat Veterans Against John Kerry (2004), never got any major newspaper review or when a lesser one did or just mentioned it, it was often to smear the 260 Vietnam veterans who participated in its composition (plus a couple of us Vietnam journalists/researcher who also worked on it).
All of this is one reason why smart conservatives/businessmen like Regnery (1947) and Tom Phillips (1970’s) started their own companies - (Richard Viguerie also had a publishing arm during the 70’s. I should remember since I worked on several of the books he published). Also there was the great Arlington House publishers of conservative books that remain building-block publications for conservatives and concerned Americans in general.
Leftist/communist infiltration of the publishing industry, as opposed to serious penetrations of major newspapers, was real and the effects of it linger on today.
Thank goodness for self-publishing and other independent publishers like St. Martin’s Press, who will help publish any book that looks worthwhile or interesting regardless of what political views it expresses. That is a tribute to the power of the First Amendment, one which is under severe attack even within the publishing world, esp. by newspapers whose devotion to the truth is “only the truth that they want to publish regardless whether it is true or not”.
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