Other virus (shitty men; e.g. Woody Allen) update

(Photo from AP)

So, as noted over the weekend, Hachette listened to the protest of their employees and decided to cancel the Woody Allen memoir. Of course, as Ronan Farrow’s publisher, they shouldn’t have snuck around like a Marvel supervillain trying to find a way to profit off selling arms to both warring parties in the first place, but once the deed was done, it looked locked in until the employees went on a wildcat strike in protest. The problem is, this looks on the surface, to some (like Stephen King, who is generally a hero of mine, but is wrong on this), like censorship. It isn’t. It’s really just a business making a business decision. Make no mistake, if he takes it back out to auction, someone will publish Allen’s memoir, just not Hachette. Further, he could self-publish. So the book hasn’t been banned, but it has succumbed to market forces. Does it make me uneasy? Yes. But what makes me uneasier is the that publishing is a fully economic game, that sales drive editorial decisions into morally grey areas simply to please shareholders or meet bottom lines. Publishing is one of the last mass market industries to retain a veneer (real or false) of expressive independence, and it’s nice to see that people within the industry are still willing to take risks to ensure that doesn’t change as fast as it has everywhere else. I’m sure a lot of analysis of this decision will follow in the coming days.

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