Like clockwork, yet another pre-publication book has come under fire from the idpol outrage culture. This time, there’s a delicious Schadenfreude twist: The victim was part of the mob bullying Amélie Wen Zhao into pulling Blood Heir, and served as a sensitivity reader for Big Five publishers. Hello, Robespierre!
Just like Ms. Zhao, Mr. Jackson is also part and parcel of this woker than thou SJW culture, and so wanted to get back into the group’s good graces. Of course, he lists his freaking pronouns in his Twitter bio!
My Spidey sense tingles when I see pronouns. I’m sure some people are just innocently copying what they see modelled and aren’t raving SJWs and TRAs, but a huge percent of the people I’ve blocked for my own safety list pronouns. Just saying.
Yet again, WTF does “the book community” even mean? It sounds so creepy and cultish! Mr. Jackson’s tearful thanks to Big Brother is only aimed at this loud minority of people looking to find “problematic” content in every little thing.
He also didn’t follow his own advice on strictly staying in one’s own lane and only writing about people exactly like oneself:
Mr. Jackson’s website also ran a kowtowing apology to Woko Haram in the wake of the struggle session:
While there are some things it can be difficult or painful to read (e.g., racist and anti-Semitic epithets, lynching and rape scenes, loss of a grandparent), they cannot actually hurt us. Words are not literal violence. I bear zero lasting damage from reading anything which emotionally distressed me.
Shockingly, Mr. Jackson’s publisher went along with his cowed request.
Yet again, the mob leapt into action after reading an angry ARC review on Goodreads. Almost none of the people ranting against A Place for Wolves actually read the book. In the wake of this drama, I’ve discovered, thanks to Jesse Singal’s four-part series on YA Twitter culture, that many agents are in on this too—keeping blacklists of writers deemed racist or problematic; telling people to only write about characters exactly like themselves; rejecting books by people daring to write about cultures beyond their own.
Mr. Jackson’s crime? Making an Albanian Muslim a villain during the Kosova genocide, and making two American teens the protagonists. Because nuance, moral ambiguity, and being forced to make sense of complicated situations outside our familiar world are now verboten in literature.
Have these pitchfork-wielders never heard the suggestion to write your own story, exactly the way you want, if you can’t find it in other books?
Under these new rules, there can be no more books about, e.g., British colonists in India; the Dutch in the East Indies; antiheroes or victims who become villains (e.g., Magneto); or Jewish and Russian refugees in Shanghai. People of certain groups must be 100% saintly, while others can only be 100% evil. And forget fantasy and sci-fi worlds where race doesn’t exist, or people are segregated for other reasons!
One of the bullies from the Blood Heir debacle showed up again, promoting another book in her new handle. How dare Woko Haram pretend they’re not engaging in the ultimate form of censorship!
Congratulations, Woko Haram. You’ve derailed yet another new author’s career in the name of progress and inclusivity. Word is there’s a fourth book which may soon be targeted, and I hope that author doesn’t bend. These bullies become more emboldened to keep striking when they see their targets obediently rolling over and crying uncle.
More on this ridiculous development:
“Teen Fiction and the Perils of Cancel Culture,” Jennifer Senior, The New York Times, 8 March 2019
“A YA Sensitivity Reader Watched His Own Community Kill His Debut Novel Before It Was Ever Released,” Ruth Graham. Slate, 4 March 2019
“Another YA Author Withdraws Book from Publication After Backlash,” Katie Rothstein, Vulture, 28 February 2019
“He Was Part of a Twitter Mob That Attacked Young Adult Novelists,” Jesse Singal, Reason, 28 February 2019