Friday, April 25, 2008

Quote of the day, 4/25/08

I don’t get it. People are saying these apologies are refreshing. Refreshing?! If someone strands you in the desert for days then comes back and presents you with a glass of warm piss, that is not refreshing. That is the bare fucking minimum they could do to keep you alive. Refreshing would be some, I don’t know, ACCOUNTABILITY, for AM and the editorial masterminds at Seal Press.

--commenter Corey


littlem said...

And for those meditating on the whisper of the wind through the tumbleweed of the empty *cough*apology*cough* - sorry - desert who would like something of their own to whisper,

here are some useful and interesting suggestions for activities for your downtime.

An addendum to my previous post to accommodate apparent recent developments.

Should someone decide not to read or purchase the book, they might want to
POST A REVIEW ON AMAZON INDICATING WHY (an excellent and concrete suggestion from another blog’s commenter).

Should someone who chooses not to read or purchase the book write about their concerns to
- Seal
- Perseus (Seal’s parent company)
- Their own local press
- The press of cities scheduled for the book’s tour stops,



Until that time, should you write to the local press of cities scheduled for tour stops to tell them you will not be attending,

Should you decide to reach out quietly, by private telephone call or email, to your friends who are
- publishers
- booksellers
- university administrators
- university professors
- conference organizers
- mainstream and alternative print, radio, and television journalists

to let them know that you will probably not purchase the book until an edition is released without the images in question,

(Because somehow I can’t quite see the author or the original press including a statement in the second edition as to WHY the first edition was pulled).

That way, you and your friends have an opportunity to thoughtfully consider the extent to which you want a press – or an author’s voice – that purports to be justice activist but will suppress, but not concede, an error of privilege, in the
- classroom
- lecture hall
- conference
that YOU call YOUR "safe space".


Alon Levy said...

It's not going to work. If the press writes about a controversy, it'll just generate more publicity and hence more book sales. If you write reviews on Amazon without having read the book, people will just tag them not useful and instead concentrate on the reviews written by those who have read it.

littlem said...

Alon, I do admire you, but it boggles how IMMEDIATELY some men -- and most of you do seem to be men -- leap to the one thing out of, let's say, 5 or 6 suggestions, that they just know will not work. ELEVENTYONE!1

How about instead of shooting things down, we
- read the whole list
- focus on things to try that we think will work
- if we think nothing will work but we are interested in the premise, expend a little creativity to contribute something new and original to the strategy??

(And just so you think I'm not *gasp*horror* responding to your point -- you all do get testy when you think that -- I did think of that. I've crunched a few numbers; I've done some analysis. This isn't my first run in with either Seal Press or "the" press, and I wanted to offer some suggestions for people who were tired of sitting around complaining but didn't know what else to do. Plus, you don't know what the reviews are going to look like. Maybe some people read the book at B&N but didn't buy it, and want to prevent their friends from doing it. Geez.)

Of course, if you're just up here arguing to sharpen your arguing chops, and don't really give a **** about the issues on the table, I'm sure you'll understand if I just gently put you on *ignore*.

*lights incense and hands Alon a martini in the hopeful hope of defusing some of the negativity*

belledame222 said...

I <3 you, littlem.

belledame222 said...

I am thinking writing to Perseus could be interesting.

What I am wondering is, though, how much of this dismal douchebaggery is due to Perseus acquiring Seal in the first place. And whether, if there's an outcry against Seal, Perseus is interested in rectifying the situation, or may simply decide to axe the thing altogether. not that i am saying i'd be particularly protective of them as it is, mind. just thinking: I mean, -someone- hired these assclowns, right? -Someone- decided to take it in its ah new and improved direction...

Alon Levy said...

I honestly don't think any of them will work - I just gave specifics about the two tactics that I thought were the most counterproductive.

You're talking about a book, not a movement. If it were a movement then yes, creating controversy would work.

For example, take Regnery Press. Regnery doesn't even try to market its books to mainstream audiences. It sells them at cost to conservative book clubs and organizations, artificially inflating sales till the book lands on bestseller lists. The idea isn't to sell, but to get the author interviews on television so that s/he can call liberals and moderates traitors. In fact, many authors who thought Regnery was a legitimate publisher are now suing it for focusing on low-profit, low-royalty sales. When trying to defeat books like this, I'd agree with you that creating controversy is good, since the book is just a vehicle for a movement.

Seal Press isn't like that. It's a legitimate publisher; its purpose is to sell books. If there's controversy that has made 298 million Americans hate the idea and 2 million Americans love it and buy the book, it'll be an immense success. The Da Vinci Code pissed off every Catholic and every person with literary taste; it still got made into a major movie and ensured Dan Brown can subsequently publish anything he wants to. Full Frontal Feminism could arguably be an attempt at launching a movement, which it miserably failed at; the Feminist Survival Guide isn't.

Alon Levy said...

What I am wondering is, though, how much of this dismal douchebaggery is due to Perseus acquiring Seal in the first place.

My guess: very little. Political books that don't have offensive covers get published all the time.

It's just that if you write a book called The Feminist Survival Guide, and market yourself as a firebrand feminist blogger, you'll get treated as someone who's not very serious. I have a hunch that if Amanda tried writing something more political - for example, an exposé about the men's rights movement, or sexual assault politics - her book would look considerably less offensive. In that case, it would also be publishable at many more publishing houses, which would lessen the ability of one bad editor to do real damage.

(Incidentally, I complained about a similar thing with FFF. Jessica could've published any feminist book she wanted; she had more than enough credentials, without ever mentioning Feministing. If she wanted a book about young women, she should've gone to the local public schools, interviewed the students, and write a book letting young people speak for themselves.)

belledame222 said...

Alon, you do know that it's about more than Amanda and her book, right?

belledame222 said...

well, and first of all: you know it's not just the -cover- now, right?

Alon Levy said...

Yes, I'm well aware.

Daomadan said...

littlem you rule and you are completely right how men will latch onto the ONE thing that might be wrong or weak out of a number of good suggestions.

And belledame222...the warm piss analogy is perfect to describe the "apology".

I'm still completely blown away about how you two have been able to keep going and keep responding to everything surrounding Seal Press, AM, and the racist images. I'm exhausted and I've just been leaving a small comment here and there.

Alon Levy said...

Maybe. I find it more remarkable that commenters who are paranoid about trolls just assume that if I don't fisk the entire comment, I'm just latching on to straws. I'm not. I really do think every single suggestion littlem made is counterproductive. Sometimes you only refute a few things in a way that gives the general argument. I felt repeating the exact same point about publicity with respect to every suggestion would be a too repetitive.

Also, blaming it on men is stupid and obnoxious.

Ravenmn said...

Alon, one of the lessons of being an old fart with 30 years of experience in activist politics is that lots of things that haven't worked in the past or haven't worked for me, may work today and when done by different people.

No activists predicted that a gold star mother sitting in a ditch in Texas would initiate a boatload of commentary and discussion.

"it'll just generate more publicity and hence more book sales"

This is never as automatic as you describe it. As a bookseller, I only wish it could be so easy.

Daisy said...

littlem-- you don't know the score, love. It's like this:

Amanda's an atheist.

Alon's an atheist.

And that's IT That's the WHOLE THING. Stop being logical, and understand this is about ALLIANCES made before you (or I) got here.

Some things are far more important to SOME people than feminism, racism, etc. First things first. And being superior for correct-thinking, is what Alon is all about.

((moons Alon))

And my ass is BIG, so the moon was very BIG too.


EthylBenzene said...

Daisy -- that's as may be, but please don't assume that all atheists are on AM's side. I'm an atheist as well, and, well, that's no excuse for being an apologist for AM :)

Daisy said...

Ethyl, rest assured, I know that's true. But Alon will not even TALK to anyone who isn't atheist. I refer to that kind of deep prejudice and nastiness.

EthylBenzene said...

Daisy -- word.

Also? Mind if I join your mooning madness? My ass is as large and pale as they come!