“Sensitivity Readers Are the New Literary Gatekeepers,” reads a story on reason.com. It went on to say: “Overzealous gatekeeping on race and gender is killing books before they're published—or even written.”
It looks like the written word is suffering another blow.
Book publishing has had editors, fact-checkers, and legal readers of its books for many generations. But now it has woke censors scrubbing books of any hint of what it fears could be perceived as not being politically correct.
Our books are being raided of their souls.
We are in the era of sanitized writing, where books come with trigger warnings, where traditional language is bastardized, and where any attempt at authenticity is shredded, filtered, and re-packaged without a personality. Words and ideas are put through a grinder of groupthink that has been possessed by mind-numbing dullness.
There is a cultural terrorism being waged on every laptop in the editorial offices of book publishers today. Above all, publishers just seem to concentrate on a handful of words that could appear in a 90,000-word novel, but those few words, or their absence, change the trajectory of books forever. Make no mistake, the thoughtless police, high on blindingly seeing racism and sexism in everything, are suppressing thought, language, experience, and opinion. We are publishing books in the shadow of an alternate universe.
Publishers already have many issues to confront.
Some accuse them of not publishing books that reflect America’s racial makeup, and that the industry is too white. Others say the abundant appearance of gay characters in books read by the nation’s youth is putting an alternate lifestyle above that of the mainstream. Yet others complain there are few too books that voice conservative and right-wing views and experiences. Writers complain that quality books are not published in favor of commercial trash. Publishing employees go on strike to protest low pay. Men complain publishing is dominated by women. Books get banned, cancelled, and censored.
Is anyone happy?
To have these internal woke audits waged by book publishers is nonsense. Sadly, readers won’t know what they didn’t get to read, of what was excised and made to disappear. But we now are being fed filtered content in a way that would tickle the heart of a government censor in China. Books should come with a disclaimer now, something along the lines of:
“As the new self-appointed thought police, we have subjectively taken it upon ourselves to eliminate select use of words from the English language and to stifle the sharing of any original, heartfelt thoughts that may reflect reality — because we want a handful of snowflakes to artificially feel better about their limited and confused view of the world. In being sensitive to everyone’s distorted view of life, we hope to control your minds and souls in a way the government has only thirsted for. 1984 has arrived. Enjoy it, until we tell you not to anymore.”
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2023. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This award-winning blog has generated over 3.3 million pageviews. With 4,400+ posts over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by www.WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult: www.linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum.
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