This blog is written by Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Posts appear Monday & Wednesday.
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.
|Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life
|12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos