Meet the new Robespierre

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

3 thoughts on “Meet the new Robespierre

  1. Pingback: Searching for… Discouragement – Tony D. Writes Pulp Fiction

  2. Goddess have mercy, I could go on quite the rant in agreement with you. I’ll try to keep it mercifully brief.
    I’ve always tried to be considerate of what other people may be going through. I’ve always been aware that if I haven’t experienced certain things I should probably leave the “what it’s like to live life as this kind of person” narratives to those who have actually experienced life as that kind of person.
    However, to say that no-one who isn’t “this kind of person” can write anything involving any character who isn’t a carbon copy of the author is ludicrous and, frankly, smacks of segregation.
    I can’t write a true account about living as an impoverished black man in the South in the 1940’s, because I am a white woman who was born in the West in the 1960s. But to say I can’t have a character in a story who fits that description is strange to say the least. It would be my hope that after reading about my character, people might be inspired to learn more about segregation in the South and to try and be more inclusive of people who may be in a different age range, a different race, etc.
    As far as the TRA’s go, I have always been sympathetic towards transgender people. I can’t say that i know what it is to live as a transgender person. I have never had any dysphoria regarding my sex. I was always fine with being a girl, but I didn’t like how girls were treated in society. I wanted the same rights and options as boys. I didn’t want to be a boy.
    In a story I wrote last October about a Voodoo priestess who gets revenge on her niece’s assailants by switching their genders, I tried to modernize things by saying that people at the college were surprised by the sudden onslaught of gender reassignment surgeries that had taken place. My mention of gender reassignment surgery was a neutral plot point. I said nothing negative about transgender individuals. Yet almost every comment called me out on my “transphobia.” I’m surprised none of them referred to me as a TERF (aka Feminazi covered in glitter.)
    I’ve since changed the ending of the story to have the assailants waking up and, as they go for their morning pee, realizing that they now have a hoo-ha rather than a willy. I don’t think the new ending is quite as strong, but better a somewhat weak ending than being chided by people afraid of upsetting the TRA’s.
    TRA’s, in my opinion, do more harm than good for transgender people. Instead of bringing understanding to the real prejudices faced by transgender people, they shout down anyone who disagrees with any aspect of identity politics. When there is no room for discussion, people tend to say, “eff it, then I won’t discuss it.”
    This culture of calling out Wrongthink would be enough to have George Orwell and Rod Serling quaking in their boots. It reminds me a bit of the ending of the 1979 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers where Veronica Cartwright’s character encounters Donald Sutherland’s character. He recognizes her as one of the unchanged people and points at her, giving a spine-chilling screech to alert the other pod people to her presence. Anyone who questions the least aspect of the Woke screed is in danger of having the Pod People sicced on them.

    Liked by 1 person

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