Junior publishing staff think censorship is part of their job.
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos has sold an estimated 5 million copies. Written by Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson, it remains at position #13 on Amazon.com’s ‘most read‘ non-fiction list despite being two years old.
In other words, 12 Rules is a bona fide cultural phenomenon. Authored by a grownup, it explores grownup themes. Peterson has now written a sequel, Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life. This is great news for his publisher, Penguin Random House. Like Hollywood, publishing needs blockbusters – big successes that make up financially for all the books that sell poorly.
But a news story first published by Vice tells us the Canadian office of Penguin Random House is currently staffed by junior people who imagine big-picture business decisions should take into account their emotional responses and political beliefs
The lower ranks of book publishing now include young people who weren’t taught, by our publicly-funded education system, to cherish and defend free speech. Rather, they were taught that perspectives at odds with their own should be labelled hate speech and vigorously suppressed.
During a recent staff meeting, “staff cried and expressed dismay with the publishing giant’s decision” to publish the sequel. According to these people, it isn’t good enough that Penguin Random House also publishes a range of LGBTQ+ voices. Equal opportunity isn’t what they’re after. Somewhere along the way they got the idea that working in publishing is about shutting down voices of which they personally disapprove. Rather than expanding intellectual discourse, they think their mission is to make the world smaller, narrower, more conformist.
But life is about tradeoffs. You want the prestige of working for a publisher that’s a household name? You want employee benefits, such as dental care? You want to feel confident your salary will be deposited in your bank account like clockwork each payday? None of that happens at small, marginal publishers in which the political views of staffers determine business decisions.
There’s nothing stopping employees who feel they should be working for a politically correct publisher from doing so. Penguin Random House needs to wish them well, and politely hold the door for them.
- Many books are purchased as gifts and are never actually read. But modern technology now provides insight into what happens after a purchase gets made. Amazon is able to track, in a given week, how many people are reading Kindle (e-book) editions of a particular title, as well as how many are listening to the Audio version. Its weekly ‘most read’ list is compiled from that data.
- Over at the National Post, satirist Rex Murphy is caustic. Describing Jordan Peterson as the “most prominent Canadian intellectual of our day,” he asks: “What are the accomplishments of the would-be censors compared with Dr. Peterson’s? What are their intellectual attainments compared to his?…Biggest question of all: Who do they think they are that they should judge him?”
- A bit more Rex Murphy: “If there are people in full employment at a respected publishing house crying over a book yet to be published, and if there are actual tears rolling down social justice cheeks, because the company they work for has the gift of Jordan Peterson as one of its authors, it is probably too late: but send in the therapists. By the bus load.”
- my previous commentary: Why We Need Jordan Peterson
- Jordan Peterson: Making Me Laugh
- Jordan Peterson: Making Me Cry
- Jordan Peterson: Helping Young Men Reboot Their Lives
via Big Picture News, Informed Analysis
November 30, 2020 at 09:43AM