I really didn’t plan on my first week back blogging on a regular basis would mainly be a week of political posts. But damn, it’s been impossible to ignore the idiocy going on around us. If it isn’t coming from one side, it’s coming from the other. The latest hits not only on the political spectrum but also on the literary/publishing spectrum. And it is all thanks to those folks doing the knee-jerk thing we talked about the last could of days and reacting before knowing all the facts. Or, more accurately, reading until they find something to object about.
In this particular case, there is now an open letter begging–there is no other word for it–Penguin Random House to cancel its contract with Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett to publish her memoir.
I don’t know what bothers me more: the fact a group of folks in the publishing industry are trying to force a publisher to silence a Supreme Court Justice simply because they don’t like the way she voted on the abortion issue or that they have the audacity of doing so after saying they “care deeply for freedom of speech”.
Of course, past actions by many of these same folks prove they really only care if it is their freedom of speech being threatened.
Their attempt to justify their demand is to allege that publishing the book–even though these same signatories have not seen the book or know its contents–violates Randy Pengiun’s and Bertlesmann’s code of conduct and–get this–is in violation of international human rights.
It’s clear what this really is. It is an attempt to silence the voice of a woman who doesn’t toe the political line these folks believe is the one true way. We’ve seen it before when they’ve pressured publishers to back out of other deals made with conservative voices.
But, if the tables were turned, their nose in the air attitudes would quickly chance to cries of victimhood. How dare we try to silence their voices!
I am not a big fan of Randy Penguin or most traditional publishing. I’ve watched as these companies have caved to the outcries of a few loudmouths. What happens now will tell us a great deal about whether PRH actually cares about publishing books its customers want to read or whether it is more interested in forcing what they view as “right think” down our throats.
I know where my money stands on the question. I hope I’m wrong but my guess is we will see them try to quietly back out of the deal. If they do, I hope Justice Barrett takes them to task. It’s about time someone did.
BTW, take a look at the list of signatories. I won’t tell you what to do. But I know there are some folks there who will never see another of my dollars gracing their sales figures.
Featured image created using Midjourney AI.