On diversity in the publishing industry, JK Rowling and echo chambers

(39 Posts)
ChristinaXYZ Fri 07-May-21 15:26:53

"there is one area in which the political left appears to have an absolute clean sweep of the profession. In the book publishing industry 100% of respondents in the survey identify as being on the left, the sort of echo chamber that even academia can only look at with envy"

An essay on the publishing industry open letter that claims “transphobia is still perfectly acceptable in the British book industry”.

unherd.com/2021/05/publishing-is-now-a-leftist-bubble/

OP’s posts: |
TheHandmadeTail Fri 07-May-21 15:45:59

DM really writes well on this topic.

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Fri 07-May-21 15:52:24

Glorious.

From the outset this anonymous letter is framed in Lutherian terms. “Somebody, sooner or later, must speak up,” the authors bravely begin. This is proper “Here I stand” territory. Yet whereas Martin Luther was simply facing down the Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Emperor at the Diet of Worms, the anonymous authors of this letter are taking on the might of children´s fiction departments across west London. No wonder they wish to keep their identities secret. The retributions could be unimaginable.

VladmirsPoutine Fri 07-May-21 15:53:50

Am I missing something here? How can transphobia still rule the current day orthodoxy yet publishing is still on the left? Or considers itself as such. If anything it's filled with people who are champagne socialists. Who don't want, for example, immigrants to drown at sea, yet still will say the country is full.

FlyPassed Fri 07-May-21 16:09:47

Very good stuff from Murray, again.

Quick question, wasn't actor Gina Cerrano cancelled in part because she mentioned parallels between modern cancel culture and nazi Germany? But I guess it's ok when the uber left do it*

*I think anyone should be able to say whatever they want, interesting that the signatories only want that right for themselves

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Fri 07-May-21 16:37:24

A prominent children's illustrator/author with a much more famous and talented mother has been very active in trying to get other authors cancelled for wrongthink. I believe she has a youngish adult child who has transitioned in the last few years. This makes me suspect that her own passionate unconditional support of her child has led her to believe that no criticism of gender ideology can be tolerated and she is protecting the trans community by trying to destroy the careers of some of her colleagues. I find it contemptible, to be honest. Total lack of critical thinking and tolerance.

No idea whether she was one of the writers of the letter, but I wouldn't be surprised.

IvyTwines2 Fri 07-May-21 16:57:07

FlyPassed

Very good stuff from Murray, again.

Quick question, wasn't actor Gina Cerrano cancelled in part because she mentioned parallels between modern cancel culture and nazi Germany? But I guess it's ok when the uber left do it*

*I think anyone should be able to say whatever they want, interesting that the signatories only want that right for themselves

Her card was marked months before: NME 14/9/20 'The Mandalorian’ fans want Gina Carano fired for “mocking trans people' after putting the words “boop/bob/beep” in her Twitter bio in lieu of pronouns.'

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WinterTrees Fri 07-May-21 17:00:26

Whoever wrote it overplayed the victim hand so massively that even publishing twitter backed away from it in embarrassment pretty quickly.

DM does a very good job of identifying all the ways in which it is immature, unsubstantiated rubbish and I'm very grateful to him for taking it down so comprehensively.

SmallPug Fri 07-May-21 17:05:35

I am pretty sure said author is one of the writers of the letter. It's a shame she's besmirching her mother's legacy by getting her involved.

As someone who works in publishing, Douglas Murray has got it absolutely right. There's a serious problem with groupthink. Though there may be some preference falsification - the ideologues shout the loudest and many don't dare challenge that. That's in terms of social media. But in terms of what editors want to buy, it's so often agenda driven: "inclusivity", "diversity", etc (as long as everyone thinks the same way). Sad to think that those laudable aims have become so sullied by the way they approach it.

PurgatoryOfPotholes Fri 07-May-21 17:18:50

I don't have any publishing connections; I just read children's and YA book twitter because it's like immersing yourself in a dystopian novel for free.

If you are caught following someone else who follows feminists, you get publicly called out and you have to make a public statement of repentance and a donation to an approved charity!

NoSquirrels Fri 07-May-21 17:32:16

No idea whether she was one of the writers of the letter, but I wouldn't be surprised.

I’d be surprised if she wasn’t. I reckon I could hazard a guess to some other signatories too.

I loved this article. Especially the bit about the Nazi Germany comparison.

Honestly, publishing is eating itself in its attempts to “listen and do better” as we’re ceaselessly urged.

PurgatoryOfPotholes Fri 07-May-21 17:39:57

I'd be willing to stake money on some of my guesses.

FlyPassed Fri 07-May-21 17:51:26

@IvyTwines2 oh, yes, that's right! The nazi comments were just more fuel on the fire after the initial cancellation

pollyhemlock Fri 07-May-21 17:52:19

What makes the timing of this letter bizarre is that there are now quite a few YA / children’s books being published with trans characters. Even a few picture books. Some are very good, others a bit message heavy, but the point is they are out there. No one is trying to suppress them. Re the author mentioned above with the famous mother: she has been energetically drumming up support on Twitter for the letter and has involved famous Mum. I totally get that if your child is suffering for whatever reason you are going to advocate for them passionately. But unfortunately this will prevent you taking an objective view of the situation.

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Fri 07-May-21 17:54:56

Author mentioned is extremely handy with the block button too, so I hadn't seen that drumming up on Twitter. I did see the rather wincemaking tweet on her mother's account, which I know is run for her.

SmallPug Fri 07-May-21 18:15:52

Also, there's supporting your child, and then there's bullying everyone else.

Ifyourefeelingsinister Fri 07-May-21 18:37:21

There's another YA author who at one point was criticising any author who didn't have pronouns in their bio, so holier than thou. Pretty sure they will be connected with this letter in some way.

IvyTwines2 Fri 07-May-21 18:47:31

How much of this is driven by jealousy towards J K Rowling? She is such a huge figure, and I did get the impression from the tweets of a couple of far less well known writers I used to follow, who hadn't hitherto shown signs of being 'TWAW', that they were seizing on any chance to give her a kick.

Helmetbymidnight Fri 07-May-21 19:58:00

I don't think so.

The most fervent TRA authors I know - and I know a few - have trans teenagers and absolutely feel the JKR is out to get them. sad

GlassBoxSpectacular Fri 07-May-21 21:14:27

Where might an interested person find details of the signatories? I’ve tried searching online but I’m drawing a blank.

pollyhemlock Fri 07-May-21 21:26:10

@GlassBoxSpectacular I don’t think you’ll be able to because the letter was published anonymously .

NoSquirrels Fri 07-May-21 22:39:10

GlassBoxSpectacular

Where might an interested person find details of the signatories? I’ve tried searching online but I’m drawing a blank.

There were none! The signatories chose to remain anonymous confused

GlassBoxSpectacular Sat 08-May-21 01:54:25

Damnit! That will explain why I couldn’t find anything. How cowardly of them. hmm

Though I’ve just spotted that it was anonymous. That’ll teach me to try to speed read blush

Might there be a clue available regarding the “prominent children's illustrator/author with a much more famous and talented mother”? I’ve wracked my brains and I’m hoping it’s not someone I’m a fan of. sad

NoSquirrels Sat 08-May-21 03:13:00

The famous mother is a veritable grand dame of British picture books, with several iconic series familiar to all kids of 70s onwards. She’s in her 90s but still publishing (with the help of said daughter). One book, her most famous, has an unfortunate name nowadays for the main character grin and its central theme is ‘be kind’ - it’s absolutely timeless. It won the Kate Greenaway ‘most loved’.
I still love her. As said, she has a close trans family member. Her daughter really does not come across well on this however, despite her vested interest, so I feel much less charitable there.

GlassBoxSpectacular Sat 08-May-21 07:31:44

Thank you, got it now. Huge fan of the mother, but only know one of the daughter’s books, and my children are past her age range now so I’m unlikely to buy anymore of them.

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