This happened during the BLM protests this summer in St. Loius. The looters she reported were blocks away from any BLM protest, and other looting bands were setting fires on nearby blocks.
Frederick was a vocal advocate and financial supporter of BLM and had attended protests in the past. Didn't stop the hordes from calling her racist and threatening to ruin the careers of agents who dared to work for her literary agency, and authors represented by her.
Her agency was gutted. All over calling 911 to report people crashing a van into a small business to raid it.
(Edited to add: I worked in publishing for years. I left because of the censorship in the arena. And I'm a proud lefty.
It's gotten really crazy. Authors getting death threats. Books literally ripped off the shelves and destroyed. (No, not rabid white supremacist books. Books by PoC authors.) But industry professionals insist this is NOT censorship, just business decisions. And if you disagree? You're a dirty, filthy -ist.)
Another edit to add links to the incidents I was referring to:
Black author/illustrator team had their book ripped off shelves and pulped: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jan/25/censorship-chi...
Asian author was threatened and intimidated into cancelling the publication of her novel: https://www.vulture.com/2019/01/ya-twitter-forces-rising-sta...
Black author was intimidated into cancelling publication of book: https://www.newyorker.com/books/under-review/in-ya-where-is-...
I can think of 10+ more books that belong on this list. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Maybe that's part of what makes things get so extreme on those sites. The most reasonable people know enough not to risk their livelihoods by jumping in and posting, and that leaves the less reasonable people to just sit there and escalate.
His crime? Writing a female character who goes on the run, has limited food, and trains in martial arts--which leads to her losing weight.
This was, apparently, fat-shaming and deeply sexist.
The authors involved in these threats and book-burning talk had literally no punishment. None. Just a bunch of new followers who gushed about what "strong women" they were. (As a woman, I can't think of anything weaker than threatening to burn a book and harass someone, all for internet points.)
The thing is, Publishing Twitter is super safe if you're on the far left. You can talk about harassing people, burning books, and purposely destroying careers. Zero consequences at all.
But if you're so much as a hair right of center left? Forget it. Your career is gone.
Yeah, I remember that one. Link to Scott's interview that infuriated those authors is here: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/child...
Don't want to dox anyone and post which authors had such horrible behavior, but I will say I personally witnessed those tweets discussing book burning, stalking, and public harassment.
But I am not okay with unleashing random internet people on a mentally ill person, which could easily spiral into a mob that involves death threats, doxing of personal info, etc. Hell, I'm not okay doing that to a mentally healthy person.
“It’s a novel with a teenage heroine set in a dystopian future. Which novel in particular doesn’t matter because they’re all the same. Poor teenage heroine, having to go to war when all you really want is to write in your diary about how you’re in love with two different guys and can’t decide between them. These novels are cheesy, I know, and I suck them down as easily as milk.”
“They love this—the school uniform, the flash of seventeen-year-old legs.”
The first quote is a pretty direct attack at the Hunger Games. HG has a rabid following so that was risky. The second is just godawful writing. He still would have been okay but he went a little too far mocking the amount of talent needed to write YA.
Scooter Braun recently learned a lesson about screwing with media that rabid young adults identify with. It’s a bad idea, but if you’re going to do it, bring better prose. Or at least accept that the genre’s bestsellers are way better at the internet than you are.
I think it’s time we start calling out the social media mobbing for what it really is: hateful.
The dude wrote some books at a team with YA was all the rage and got a film deal out of it. He made some godawful marketing and communications decisions and faced predictable consequences. I don’t feel bad for writers who can’t communicate. Nor do I feel bad for writers who aren’t capable of thinking through how their work fits within a genre they’re trying to capitalize on. Businesses that make bad marketing decisions cancel themselves and in this case, the writer made a myriad of awful business decisions. That’s capitalism.
And seriously, who would outright mock the Hunger Games without expecting some sort of disproportionate backlash? YA works in disproportionates - it’s the entire beast, right down to the growth strategy. If you’re not wise enough to understand your genre, you lose. The thought that you could dismiss that entire genre with garbage critiques and not face bizarre retribution is so insane that I can’t take it seriously.
And if you’re going to do that after you’ve signed a film deal?? I’m sorry but you deserve to be cancelled.
The very sad, unfortunate thing is that a lot of these authors are indeed mentally ill. A lot of the ring-leaders of these mobs openly embrace their mental illness as a personality trait (ie: listing it in their Twitter bios).
It leads to this bizarre environment where their reactions are, medically speaking, insane (ie: the reaction of someone in bipolar mania, the reaction of someone suffering from paranoia or extreme anxiety.) But there are so many insane reactions, that it becomes normalized.
And then people who don't struggle with mental illness start to mimic the insane behavior, because hey, everyone else is doing it! And it's now the best way to get internet points, collect followers, and get some profitable attention to your own books.
I believe you're having some selective memory issues. This was back in 2015, when "Hunger Games" was starting to lose steam. And many feminists on twitter were lampooning it for focusing on romance, and having a flimsy love triangle, when the life-or-death situation of the book wouldn't realistically allow for that.
Mocking the "Hunger Games" and any book with a love triangle was totally in vogue.
>He made some godawful marketing and communications decisions and faced predictable consequences.
It's funny, because I've seen dozens of YA authors sneer at "Fifty Shades of Grey." Call it toxic, poorly written, laugh at it, mock it, insist it was dangerous to even publish it.
Yet I've never seen the Fifty Shades of Grey fanbase, or any Romance genre authors, talk about threatening, stalking, and publicly heckling those authors who criticize the work.
You call it "predictable consequences." I call it "hateful, disturbing, potentially dangerous behavior that reeks of censorship."
1) This excerpt is written from the POV of a snarky, troubled 17-year-old girl. Very different from the author himself saying these things.
2) I can excuse 14-year-old fangirls losing their minds over the Hunger Games and lashing out at anyone who criticizes it.
I can not excuse 35-year-old adults encouraging their huge following to harass the author and cheering on the idea of burning his books.
That interview was the first time that anyone had taken any notice of Bergstrom. So then, everyone read his excerpt.
(Incidentally, that’s a bad flow in writing. If your press insults an entire genre, your excerpt better be damned flawless. This goes 100x if you’re talking YA.)
The first paragraph delivers a really traditional out of touch old dude description of the Hunger Games. That’s treading on dangerous territory because you’re dealing with a universe that young people have become deeply invested in.
The second quote violates one of the genre’s rules about writing women.
So, you’ve got a writer who signed a big contract and a film deal. His introduction to his genre’s fans was an absolute disaster. So, the genre’s fans did what they always do and made a huge mess.
Some might call it disproportionate but then they don’t understand the genre either. YA is about disproportionate reactions. That’s essentially marketing.
All of that should make everyone seriously question whether this is a Paramount growth hack. Heaven knows Paramount wouldn’t be the first company to try to create controversy when they own rights to a book.
I think you are entirely missing the point of these comments, which is: the "disproportionate reactions" of the YA community are hateful, bizarre, mob-like, and often dip into censorship.
You're also stating that the "genre's fans" are to blame. As the comments above clearly state, the criticism in this thread is toward the professional authors who take part in these mobs. Not the "young people."
What’s scary is that this behavior is now acceptable. As long as it’s against group X
>> Looking in a mirror he was startled to see a much thinner reflection of himself than he remembered: it looked remarkably like the young nephew of Bilbo who used to go tramping with his uncle in the Shire; but the eyes looked at him thoughtfully.
> Pauline Baynes's illustration of the Fellowship, done while Tolkien was alive, shows all four hobbits as being of very much the same proportions. Oddly enough, the movie shows Sam as more or less the same build when he leaves Hobbiton and when he reaches Mordor, even though he had some weeks of semi-starvation.
It's early in the book.
Samwise did hard physical work regularly, and Meriadock and Pippin while also somewhat pampered (remember, of the four hobbit, only Sam wasn't nobility!) were somewhat known for their adventures.
If you're looking at people being criticised because they're not writing characters of their own skin colour or sexuality, or 'staying in their lane' with their culture, or because their own experiences don't conform to some expectation (like the author criticised for describing slavery but not how it was in the US), then you're still looking at segregation and oppression, but approaching it in a way that is falsely empowering. It is still massively authoritarian and oppressive and extreme, no matter how virtuous people think the left wing is, and it's certainly not liberal. There's just nothing good about being at the extreme end of anything.
But that aside, and with the crowds on twitter, I just wonder what it will take for people like that to be happy, and not perpetually angry. So much aggression couched in seemingly kind language.
Authoritarians are invariably toxic damaged people who are full of rage and are looking for a target to make themselves feel better.
Sometimes they end up on the left. Sometimes they end up on the right. Sometimes they end up in management or venture capital.
Same issues, same dynamic, different context.
The difference is authoritarians on the right are more likely to use physical violence. "Cultural" authoritarians are more likely to use social exclusion - brigading on social media, getting people fired, and so on.
The key point is that the presenting issue is irrelevant. The social dynamic and mode of relationship - angry tribalism used to justify violence without any sense of context - is the real tell.
Kinda hard to be authoritarian if one of your central beliefs is in the fraternity and equality of all. It's more useful to describe Stalinist USSR or Maoist China as right-wing regimes cloaked in leftist rhetoric.
This sums it up pretty well: "Left-wing authoritarians, in Costello's research, typically strongly agree with the following statements: the rich should be stripped of their belongs and status; deep-down just about all conservatives are racist, sexist and homophobic; classrooms can be safe spaces that protect students from the discussion of harmful ideas." (https://www.newstatesman.com/international/2020/05/there-suc...)
All of which lines up with the rhetoric from the Bolsheviks and the Maoists and a lot of the modern day critical race theorists.
Critical race theory has more in common with National Socialism than with the leftist values of equality and solidarity, because when you get past the verbal subterfuge which ostensibly denies that race exists, you find a deeply racist ideology of racial collectives locked in a struggle for supremacy, with one particular collective singled out as evil beyond redemption and in need of destruction. We have seen that before, and it is undeniable where it must lead. Critical Race Theory is Nazism barely disguised by a light sprinkling of leftist pixie-dust.
The common factor between the extremes of left and right is collectivism. Totalitarian demagogues, left or right, favor collectivism as a tool of control because it detaches people from their moral obligations to other individual human beings and transfers their loyalties wholly to an abstraction controlled by that demagogue.
I don't know how we get out of this. I can't think of a good way to encourage empathy over outrage, as the former is often too painful and the latter often too enjoyable. In the information age it is far too easy to find the hedonistic outrage-dens, and there's a lot of money to be had running such places.
Speaking of likening echo chambers to opium dens, the Rat Park experiments suggest that environment does play a significant role in drug-seeking behavior, and it does seem that a lot of this extremism can be traced back to things like the increasing wealth-gap, the hollowing out of rural America, systemic racism, rampant political corruption, and other societal ills. Therefore, maybe it isn't necessary to address the symptom of extremism directly --by, say, trying to teach people empathy-- but instead focus on treating the underlying illnesses. Of course, since our politicians are elected by the people they represent, and it would seem far easier to manipulate people's outrage for votes than to focus on actually fixing things, that might not be possible either.
Liberals are not considered the "far left" and people on the far left dislike them as much as people on the right do.
This isn't a "no true Scotsman" issue either, there are clear distinctions between various left-wing ideologies and mainstream liberalism (radical or not). Finger pointing and blaming individuals, the type of behavior your describing, is classic dominant capitalist ideology, something that all flavors of the left are deeply skeptical of.
Both "radical" liberalism and rising right-wing extremism are different varieties of nihilism, stemming from the same root cause of a degradation in our overall material conditions and the breakdown of late capitalist society. Both are essentially empty systems of rhetoric with no underlying values that ultimately lead to a totalitarian way of thinking.
To reiterate, the thinking your describing is absolutely not "far left".
Note that the targets of cancel culture are in the most proper sense "class enemies" since their sins are not directed against specific individuals but entire classes of people: blacks, women, transsexuals, etc.- and can be as vague as dismissive attitudes or generic antagonism.
Indeed. Graffiti in the wake of a recent riot read: "Liberals get the bullet too "
For now. There is a deliberate tactic on the left to become more and more extreme. A sentiment expressed today that's totally fine may not be fine tomorrow. It will be used against you. The left will turn on itself once it has made Conservatism illegal.
Many on the right still can't, even now.
If you want your philosophy to remain legal, acting like this is a very bad thing and not something that can really be excused - for any reason - might be a good start.
I've witnessed it happen to a colleague early on in my career. He posted how trivial it was to cause an IoT device to reset because they had a reset password only protected by hashing an English word that they changed every update. There are multiple security lapses there, and he didn't even mention the really scary ones, this one was almost silly.
Turns out the parent company of the IoT device and his parent company were the same, and calls got made, his post misunderstood by management, and he got told to find a new job somewhere else.
Still makes my blood boil, and I'd name names, but neither company exists anymore. It did teach me to be _very_ careful what I post online, even when I'm anonymous.
It would just be your friend that got an (admittedly mandatory) wake-up call - other employees would too. The best remedy is just a totally neutral post/tweet detailing what happened, with no judgement at all - 3rd parties will get angry on your behalf, and a lack of initial anger will only motivate that moreso.
Closest thing I've ever had to a social media presence is here on HN, where I deliberately remain anonymous.
Social media without moderators was a really bad idea, as we learn now.
See also: https://www.socialcooling.com/
Only use social-media as a read-only medium, or for marketing.
Anything you say there can, and will, be used against you in the court of public opinion, FOREVER.
On other sites, such as HN and reddit, retire your username after a few weeks / months. Your internet points don't matter.
Also try not to be doxable in general but sucks like when YT forces you to use your actual name in comments otherwise changing it would change it in email. Can make another account too. At least the comments I don't think are indexed publicly.
That's always fun finding dumb things you posted online as a kid.
The older I get, the more I understand the push for a right to be forgotten. I wish that (most?) public sites had some kind of filter where things disappeared. There is no reason why comments made as a kid should follow you forever. Or, if not entirely removed, then maybe the authorship masked.
I mean, if bad decisions fall off your credit report after 7 years, why shouldn’t the stupid tweet you posted 7 years ago? This is especially true for accounts where the person was under 18 at the time.
Well, people can delete ill-advised tweets, but it doesn't matter - if somebody else screen-shotted it, they can hang on to the screenshot for as long as they like and use it against you when you run for congress some day.
I'm very, very thankful that the internet didn't exist when I was a kid. And am very worried for my own children because it did when they were - I've been counseling them since they were old enough to use a computer that whatever they write will be there forever.
I’m as left as they come, but I don’t trust that the winds won’t change or I will make a stupid decision, and my future is too important to risk that. And honestly I’m not missing much. If I want to talk politics, I do it with my friends over a beer.
As a former Soviet citizen, this is particularly funny to me. Where the safest place for political discussion was at home, in the kitchen, with vodka and couple of good friends. It was part of Soviet culture back then.
While not anywhere nearly that extreme, it makes me nervous that we're moving in that direction culturally (where it's socially acceptable and encouraged to turn someone in for having the "wrong" thoughts).
This is literal victim blaming. US culture leaders have deep and worsening problems that need to be discussed openly.
That's not cancel culture. That's common sense. Don't make your coworkers so angry that they'd rather be jobless than spend time in your presence.
The freedom of speech isn't the freedom to speak without consequences. Frederick spoke her mind in a public square, and signed her name to those statements, and other people freely chose not to associate themselves with her. That's bound to happen from time to time. It's a free country.
Happens probably every day somewhere, why has this even become noteworthy?
That's unfair but it's not a sign of hysteria, other than for the general shittiness of viral internet communication.
As for not being mass hysteria, from the outside looking in it's clearly exactly that. Firing someone because of a mobile app they have installed, when that app was briefly at the top of the app store, is ludicrous and wrong.
The US left appear to be descendeding into full bore anti-conservative hysteria. This is exceptionally dangerous because when the left has taken power in the past with that kind of mentality it ended up in bloodshed on massive scales. That must not happen to America.
I wouldn't single out any particular faction on this to be honest. The Obama birther movement purportedly started in 2004 and Trump himself peddled the narrative that Obama wasn't a US Citizen. There was also the general narrative that Obama was the "Anti-Christ" and a secret Muslim.
Now you have a portion of the GOP who believe Democrats and "Hollywood elite" are harvesting children's adrenochromes in a massive paedophile ring.
Any argument that hysteria is the domain of one party is not based in fact.
What we're seeing now is not merely a set of hysterical beliefs, but widespread pulling on the levers of power on the basis of them. That seems pretty new.
The corporate actors involved here are nowhere near the left, they are closer to the center-right; the problem the Trumpist faction is facing isn’t that the Left doesn’t like them, its that they’ve earned the firm enmity of the centrist factions that, even when they opposed conservatives them on certain issues, kept good relations with them because they knew the next day they might need them as allies against the Left. And, beyond that, they’ve also lost a substantial minority of the Right; the various long-time and recent Republican figures that have come out in opposition to the Trumpist faction – and not just in the usual intraparty opposition sense but to the extent of either making a dramatic exit from the Party and/or advocating for the defeat of not only its Presidential candidate but of its downballot candidates as long as the Party adheres to Trumpism is telling.
Shouting about the Left is, I’m sure, cathartic, but it is also very much irrelevant to what is going on here. That’s not where the change that is driving outcomes comes from.
I expect this to change once Trump is gone and mainstream liberals aren’t so terrified of being compared to him.
I personally take issue with his heavy-handed approach to the George Floyd protests, but I consider George Bush Jr to be by far the worse president between the two. He's mostly just an arrogant asshole.
The left's response to him however... And I've spoken with many many other centrists online who agree with me so it's not clear to me why you think the centrists are anything but just silent so they don't get swept up in the hysteria (which is where I've been at for years now, which is why I've never been on Twitter, instagram, etc. Was on FB briefly and promptly left it long before it got popular to do so).
They quit likely because they are in a rep-based business and their boss is stained.
The 'mass outrage' is to some extent, outrage on them by virtue of trickle down or association.
The public outrage adds emotional momentum to it.
That the woman did something slightly questionable makes it one of the better examples of cancel culture, because were she to have done truly noting remotely wrong, then none of the actions would have any justification at all. Because there's a shade of possibly bad acting, we see the disproportional response.
Imagine if every redditor was fired or or had their employees quit because of the absolutely horrific things some other users post there.
The hysteria is literally facing HARM from opinions.
Why is death threats and intolerance noteworthy? Maybe because intolerance, hate, bigotry and threats of violence should always be noteworthy? especially when concerned with those who claim to be tolerant?
Nobody anywhere would care a single bit were there not mass hysteria.
Also it's not necessarily harassment to call out people if they are not doing their jobs. It's just very (almost pathetically) petty.
Trying to discuss in good faith here so hopefully this doesn't garner venom: it doesn't feel novel to be fired or quit over public perception of actions or statements - all my corporate employers since the onset of social media have had disclaimers to not enter the public discourse in such a way that might cause negative publicity for them.
>Nobody anywhere would care a single bit were there not mass hysteria.
This is what my original comment was getting at: claims of 'mass hysteria' come off as something like a conspiracy against a specific group or unfairly targeted wrong-think, which feels like a much more exciting answer than the mundane reality. It seems hysterical in itself to not just assume we're in a politically polarized climate and certain topics of discourse easily earn you close friends and/or committed enemies - something that can make any group dynamic fall apart.
>Also it's not necessarily harassment to call out people if they are not doing their jobs. It's just very (almost pathetically) petty.
Entirely agree! I do think social media has had a tendency to allow people to indulge in their worst sides without much consequence in the case of doxxing and, well, harassment by mass-reaching out to personal lines of contact. That's really distinct in my eyes from filing a complaint to their public employer for the public perception of their public statements.
I think frankly it's driven a small group of unimportant people, causing more serious forces to act out of fear or opportunity, which snowballs into overreaction.
A 'fear' moves over a group of people causing weird effects.
Maybe we need a term for this - but how do we have 'serious consequences' out of essentially 'inconsequential acts'?
It's leveraged consistently by those that want to use 'every little interaction' as 'proof' of their particular ideology.
It's just too much, it's wearing on my otherwise sympathetic view of people.
People in East Germany were free to speak, they just got consequences.
Freedom of speech in the US means that the government can't punish you for saying something, except in situations where they can (incitement, copyright, libel, contempt of court, etc)
What you're referring to is called a constitutional amendment, which also gets pulled under the umbrella term 'Freedom of Speech' because it's a practical implementation of the ideal.
This idea that it's defensible to actively work against the ideals of Freedom of Speech because of a constitutional amendment just doesn't fly. It would be akin to me claiming it isn't immoral to cheat on my spouse because there are laws requiring lawyers to avoid breaching the trust of their clients and therefore trust isn't anything people should consider unless they're lawyers.
What is being said, however, is that we should reverse this spiralling cultural trend of thinking it's OK to rail-road/strong-arm those not on your "side".
It's a base, mob instinct that has caused riots, factionalism, witch hunts and genocide all throughout human history. It's arguably responsible for a lot of the damage in US society in recent years
I mean, her employees quit because she posted on Twitter that a business was being looted and someone should call the police (I believe, the original tweet seems to have been deleted). Resigning over something so innocuous surely points to a disturbingly reductionist world view, and that path leads only to violence.
Police shoot someone dead. There should, at the very least, be a reliable public inquiry into each one of these incidents. We could treat it as an air accident or a murder inquiry, either would work; but instead, there is nothing. Over the years, the anger about being exposed to the risk of being shot dead without consequences boils over, and suddenly there is fighting in the streets and on Twitter. The way to "reverse the trend" is for justice to be seen to be done within the system, so people don't go outside the system. After all, there's no way to end calls for people to be fired without infringing free speech.
Is calling the police on somebody making a death threat? That's how SWATting came to be a problem, after all.
And declaring war on policing is a horrific response to the (huge) problem of under 0.1% of interactions having inexcusably terrible outcomes. Lack of policing causes far more problems than policing. And if you disagree with that, do you deserve to lose your job for your good faith belief? The anti-policing extremists hurt the people they intend to help. The vast majority of Black communities don't want to cancel the current police as a whole, they want better police.
This is it. In the last 10 years or so mob instinct has shown up in many ways - in looting stores, in doxing people and cancelling people who say the wrong things, in trying to overthrow governments, or just simple pile-ons. In part this has been fanned by big tech, but not entirely
The trick is tackling the causes of the creation of the mobs. "You're either with us or against us" is not new - Clinton and Bush were using it 20 years ago, but Cicero used it in Rome and it's in the bible. Big Tech is certainly a key part of the creation and expanse as it connects people, and people are encouraged to "pick a side". In traditional discourse what you'd say to your sportsmates up the pub could be a very different conversation to what you say to your collegues at an awayday. With social media, what you say to one, you say to all -- walking between worlds is difficult.
You might agree with group A on one thing (say housing), and group B on another thing (say BLM), and group C on another thing (say economy), but if those don't all align with your side, you won't fit in.
ETA: Since then, she’s also been able to leverage that experience into redemption/victimhood profiles on Good Morning America and an article in Elle UK. Both opportunities I guarantee she never would have had with her debut novel, so she’s fine.
The no-eating rule is a fairly big deal on Metro. A twelve-year-old girl was famously arrested for eating a single French fry , in a case (Hedgepeth v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority) that went all the way to the U.S. Court of Appeals, where the arrest was upheld. A teenager was arrested in 2016 for carrying chips and snacks into a Metro station . If I saw an employee flouting this rule, I’d be indignant too. I wouldn’t have posted a photo of the person, but the kind of vitriol, racism, and naked hate this novelist faced in response to her tweet was totally unwarranted. The potential for negative consequences on the part of the Metro employee was greatly exaggerated.
That said, if it's true that metro passengers have effectively been harassed and abused and arrested for years over this no-eating rule, then I can see how it would be more offensive to see an employee breaking it publicly, and this person's reaction makes more sense to me.
But in doing so they have become what they hated. They are now actively helping maintain and rooting for the stupid rule instead of fighting against it.
I see no compromise of principle in people who maintain and enforce stupid rules they disagree with. The most honest response is to argue for and support sensible rules, not to turn a blind eye.
I'm not saying that I think it is a good idea to follow bad rules - but people who disagree with rules and follow them anyway on solid moral footing and should reasonably expect others to do the same.
it's been my experience that people generally don't follow rules they disagree with, unless they are afraid of the consequences. As such, seeing someone breaking the rule who is also someone in power over them with ability to enforce the rule can be especially galling.
Moreover, the Metro had been ordered to cease citing people for jumping fares or eating on the train in 2019. I appreciate the author may not have known that. She still had no reason to use her clout to publish a photo of the employee and call her her to be punished. She was literally snitching someone and then cried tears of sorrow when she was snitched on back. I’m really struggling to garner sympathy in this particular case, although again, I don’t defend or condone the hate she received in return.
She also sued the publisher (an extremely small outfit with two employees) over canceling her book and they wound up publishing it anyway out of fear of litigation. She also tried to sue the distributor (Rare Bird, which is also small), who she didn’t have a contract with (these were the people that commented publicly they wouldn’t distribute it), but wound up dropping the case. I’m not trying to drag her for having a book deal with a boutique imprint, I just think it’s important to realize that this wasn’t Hachette or Simon & Schuster, this was an imprint with two employees.
And she then leveraged her experience to get positive international coverage/redemption arc. And you know what, if GMA and Elle UK want to buy into her narrative, kudos to her for selling it. But it really goes against the idea that her life was ruined, when again, she was able to place sympathetic stories about herself with Hearst (Elle UK) and ABC News (GMA).
Reporting it privately is still "narcing", isn't it? You're saying she'd have been ok if she kept her anonymity while doing the snitching that the twitter mob seeks to "cancel" people for? Well sure.
It's perfectly reasonable to think one or both is wrong while still thinking one is far worse than the other.
The adoption of “no snitching” culture well outside of its original contexts confuses me somewhat, but also in this case, how is this a situation someone should even concern themselves with? The entire thing is baffling to me: the original tweet, the Twitter mob against herself and firing afterward. Just seems out of this world.
Exactly. She knew better and was sophisticated enough to discern what was proportionate to the situation.
To be fair, the DC metro is among the cleanest in the NE USA. It's not North Korea clean, but it's far better than NYC and Philly. The reason it's clean is because the system does a decent job of policing the trains and hires enough people to keep it clean.
I've seen people eat entire large pizzas on NY subways, I've seen people eat massive wet smelly hoagies in Philly and deliberately plop a handful of the onions on the floor of the train like it was nothing. I can at least understand her outrage, but she could have handled it differently.
Maybe she took the "if you see something, say something" directive a bit too seriously?
As for “vitriol, racism, and naked hate”, is that not just standard stuff on social media? Any tweet that goes viral for better or worse will get it.
I couldn't care less about how strict the rule is, highlighting your disagreement with it by shitting on the little guy isn't a good look.
In this case, the original post didn't pass the sniff test to me. If I tweeted:
"Hey $operator, the person manning the gate at the station at James Street this morning was really rude, yelling at people and telling them to f-off"
I can't see any situation where the skin color of that person would come into it, so how would it be possible to get someone fired "because they're black" when that information isn't even made available.
Perhaps a black employee is more likely to get a complaint about rudeness. If so, the race wasn’t made available but still changed the interaction.
The Metro employee faced no disciplinary action.
Apparently lots of people make internet death threats all the time. Every single case like this mentions death threats. I don't think these death threats are in general credible. Clearly at least some of them are made by people who just join in with and escalate online arguments for amusement. I assume at least some of them are made by people hoping to 'discredit the other side'.
Flippant dismissal of facts isn't going to help things get better either.
For the record, I’m not saying she should have been harassed. I’m not even arguing she should have lost work or had her book distributor who didn’t have a contract with her say they didn’t want to distribute her book. I find the outcome fitting given the circumstances, but I’m not rallying for that outcome. What I am arguing is that framing her as a victim of cancel ignores a much bigger part of the story and as dguaragalia says, dismissing the facts and eschewing the nuance for optimum outrage is extremely unhelpful.
The entire point of the situation is that the nuances are not hugely relevant in the big picture.
Moreover, the nuances are never catered to in cancel culture anyhow.
Nothing remotely significant happened in this situation that should have involved anything other than maybe some stern retorts on the medium she started on i.e. Twitter.
The commenter thinking that 'this was a good outcome' gives us a great example of the vindictive pettiness and overreaction of cancel culture.
You don't lose your job and livelihood for a possibly distasteful public remark, probably taken out of context.
It's actually a pretty great example of the stupidity of cancel culture.
Somehow you miss the other side of this: her interaction on her train ride didn't deserve to be more significant than the average unpleasant experienced 10 times a week by anyone living in a city. She actively tried to make it bigger, then it got blown out of proportion by people like her, who blow shit out of proportion.
Maybe we should all start taking responsibility for our actions, instead of screaming 'cancel culture' whenever they catch up to us.
Claims of racism in the national press are ridiculous.
PoC authors in this context refers to "Persons of Color"-authors.
In hindsight it is probably clear from the context - but I didn't immediately get it. :)
Weird term. Doesn't work unabbreviated as an adjective, an adjectival formation ('coloured') is long out of politically-correct favour (at least it is in the UK), and why, is 'of colour' different/better/at all a good description of someone anyway?
I'm, er, 'without colour', so it's hardly for me to object, but I couldn't comfortably use it. Fortunately (or I suppose that's why it 'feels' off to me) nobody ('of colour' or not) here seems to.
Or maybe it's just a lesson in tone etc. being harder to convey on the internet - for ages I thought 'MeToo' was against the alleged victims, as in 'oh yeah yeah me too, I'm Brian and so's my wife'.
Is there? Asians are wealthier, more educated, more upwardly mobile, less likely to be shot by the police, and live longer, than whites. As an Asian-American man, I can expect to live as long as my Irish-American wife. Latinos, meanwhile, have various disparities resulting from the character and recency of immigration, but have similar economic mobility to whites, and within 1-3 generations achieve economic parity with whites. Cubans, who came to the US as refugees with no money, achieved parity in just one generation. 60% of multiracial people, mostly white-asian and white-hispanic, identify as white, and not multiracial.
Black and Native American people, meanwhile, face persistent economic disparities that are both large and are completely unchanged since the segregation era. Almost all black-white multiracial people identify as Black or multiracial, not as white.
The constructed term "people of color" actually obscures the fundamental dynamics of American society:
1) America is incredibly successful at assimilating immigrants, white or non-white, both socially and economically. The term "people of color" obscures the fact that these groups are basically experiencing the same economic and social trajectory that Germans, Irish, Polish, Italians, etc., experienced over American history.
2) America has been unable to make any progress at eliminating economic disparities for two groups that face unique historical circumstances: Black people, and Native Americans. The term "people of color" obscures the fact that these groups are facing American experiences that are sui generis in American history.
"People of color" is strictly less useful of a term than what preceded it, "underrepresented minority." And it appears that people realize that impracticality, because you've seen the emergence of phrases like "assimilation into whiteness" or "white-adjacent" to describe Asians and economically assimilated Latinos. These are phrases (which are offensive, by the way) coined to remedy a self-inflicted problem: defining who is "privileged" in the country in terms of "whiteness" and not something that actually reflects society.
It's different in that it's a different phrase. It's better because it's different; terminology in this area is driven purely by fashion.
It's clear why this happens, having difficulties is viewed as undesirable, most people would choose not to have them if they could (I'm aware some people with disabilities have felt it made them who they are and wouldn't change it, but they aren't the people to start using terms in a pejorative manner). As long as there are real negative attitudes against black people and real negative effects on black people, this is likely to be the same for terms used there also.
I feel the only reason person centered language like "people of color" and "person with disabilities" has lasted so long as the acceptable phrasing is simply because the more wordy phrases are harder to turn into a playground insult/drunk jeering/etc.
I don't really have any suggestions about how this could be handled differently, just pointing out this aspect that does end up making me talk less, certainly about touchy subjects, because I'm afraid of being misinterpreted and seen in a bad light.
Edit: It's also especially bad because English isn't my native language so I might use some construct that seems "natural" to me but insulting to a native speaker
Here we have a too-common case of virtue chasers on the "same side" attacking each other because they have slightly different useless solutions to a problem. (The way you to show more respect to different people with differences is to show more respect in actions, not to play word games that the vast majority of affected people with effects don't care about.)
If anyone cared what the group being described thought about the terminology, no one would ever have tried to say "Latinx".
Like I said above, pure fashion.
I had a look, the wikipedia page indicates at least in the US that the American Medical Association, United Spinal Association and various federal and state bodies recommend it as best practice, but also points out various groups for deaf and blind people disagree.
See also the "Spastics Society", "National Association for the Advancement of Colored People", modern use of the n-word among black people, the use of "Negro" in "I have a Dream". Plenty of cases where a word in use by the group themselves becomes considered the impolite word.
Approximately 97% of "Latinx" people do not identify as "Latinx".
Alas, it seems this thread was flagged. Ironic given the content. But I'll continue to share that article about the purity spiral with others, it captures a lot of the things I've seen quite well.
It’s more complicated than this. I don’t condone any harassment but not accurately disseminating the information is the same non-nuanced mob behavior that causes the harassment in the first place.
"By Claire Kirch | May 31, 2020
The civil unrest in the Twin Cities continues to take its toll on Minnesota's literary community—sometimes in unexpected ways. Thursday evening, the night before protesters set fire to two adjoining Minneapolis indie bookstores and destroying them both, the reaction to a St. Paul–based literary agent’s tweet ended up gutting the boutique agency she owns.
Three agents affiliated with Red Sofa Literary tweeted this past weekend that they have resigned in response to owner Dawn Frederick’s tweet, leaving one subsidiary rights executive besides Frederick still employed there. Frederick's official Red Sofa account on Twitter has been removed."
"Frederick, who founded Red Sofa in 2008, is a well-known fixture in Minnesota’s vibrant literary community, serving on the board of directors of the Loft Literary Center and having launched the MN Publishing Tweet Up social group. She also supervises the team of volunteers working in the galley room during the Heartland Fall Forum regional booksellers trade show each year."
So no, this was not during the BLM protests in St. Louis as the date of the article precedes when those began. Furthermore she is a "well-known fixture in Minnesota's vibrant literary community", and has been since 2008, which is something I would have expected someone who "worked in publishing for years" to be aware of.
Throwing her name combined with BLM into search engines like google only returns results after this event, so your assertion of her advocacy is unfounded and not to be believed by the above and what follows.
"Minneapolis attorney Marshall Tanick of the Meyer, Njus, Tanick law firm emailed cease-and-desist letters on Monday to two literary agents and an author on behalf of his client, Dawn Frederick of Red Sofa Literary. The two agents are Beth Phelan of Gallt and Zacker (the email was cc’ed to that agency’s two principals) and Kelly Van Sant, who until two weeks ago worked for Red Sofa. The author is Isabel Sterling, who writes YA novels. SFF author Foz Meadows also received an email, she tweeted, but it contained multiple factual errors and was recalled by its sender."
"UPDATE: On Thursday afternoon, Laura Zats, a principal of Headwater Literary Management in Minneapolis announced that she received a letter from Frederick's lawyer, threatening legal action against the agent for re-tweeting tweets by others alleging that Frederick is racist. Zats is a former employee of Red Sofa Literary, who left it last year ago to found her own agency. She has joined Phelan, Van Sant, and Sterling in their GoFundMe campaign soliciting funds in case of a lawsuit. The campaign has raised almost $15,000 to date.
Several authors have announced that they are severing their relationships with Red Sofa Literary, including Margot Atwell, the head of publishing for Kickstarter. She tweeted Thursday afternoon that she has terminated her relationship with Frederick "due to the choice she made to call the police during the protests against George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis, and her subsequent decision to threaten legal action against her critics."
So Frederick decides to start suing people, which results in agents/authors not targeted in lawsuits to cut ties with her in part due to her legal efforts.
Had she stuck with the apology she released a few days after the tweet, instead of doubling down and even throwing lawsuits around, things would have likely been far better for her. Or even not publicly announcing she was calling the police during protests against police behavior.
In other words she's not the blameless martyr you make her out to be.
And finally cancelling is just a propaganda term on the political right to escape the negative consequences of their actions. This is evidenced by it not being applied when, say the (Dixie) Chicks criticized President Bush and had their careers largely ended. It's also not applied when the 'cancelling' is apolitical, such as a restaurateur who alienates their customers/community (think Cafe Hon from Kitchen Nightmares).
EDIT: Less than 2 minutes after this was posted it was down voted and flagged.
"On April 8, 1933, the Main Office for Press and Propaganda of the German Student Union (DSt) proclaimed a nationwide "Action against the Un-German Spirit", which was to climax in a literary purge or "cleansing" ("Säuberung") by fire."
In practice, the term is used to de-legitimize some opinions, while upholding others.
The term "cancel culture" is cancel culture.
Firing/boycotting someone for doing nothing wrong, not even for something "offensive", but just for appearing to have some observable qualities vaguely similar to people who do offensive things, is unjustifiable.
I couldn't believe people would actually allow white supremacists to have so much power over them that they'd circumvent such a benign symbol.
Just an observation: You are "cancelling" the opinions of those who do the "cancelling." In terms of the OP, you may or may not agree with the opinion of the person who did the firing, but it was based on someone being offended. Whether or not that offense was justified, or a good enough reason to fire someone, is a different question.
If it's a false story, say it. If it's not - what exactly are you saying with your comment?
It’s important to know who’s writing: The article is not an objective list of facts. They did not reach to the publication for comment. Some nuances might have been ironed out. This is true regardless of the political side talking.
> Newsweek reached out to the agency and to Oefelein for comment and will update this article with any response.
Instead, your comment to me sounds likme an apology to the ad hominem fallacy.
When an article about a tweet doesn't bother to embed the tweet, it's probably a good indication that the article itself doesn't really add anything to the topic. Firsthand accounts from _either_ of the parties here would've been significantly more valuable to us as readers.
Comment contradicts what is in wikipedia
Maybe ask for sources before using some random post making unverified claims as confirmation for your own biases.
I've generally taken that not to be down to malevolence but probably just down to the fact those drawn to editing it are most likely of a similar political hue to those from academia.
Has it struck you that maybe the world is actually that way and that they prefer to be that way. Just because it isn't your way doesn't mean that you dismiss the rest of the world.
So you'll need to clarify how I'm "in the wrong lane".
> I've just personally always been surprised by how neutral Wikipedia's political articles tend to be when I've read them
My experience so far is that they manage to polarize even articles unrelated to politics, I think that it is partially caused by the toxicity of the community.
I should point out that there are plenty of editors who lean left that make genuine attempts to keep it out of their editing and are as frustrated as me about those who don't; I genuinely suspect it is an editor-demographics numbers thing that causes the imbalance as much as anything, as previously stated.
To be honest I have no idea who Newsweek were or are and if they stopped being the original group 7-8 years ago it hardly seems like you could maintain any brand loyalty if you were eroding it with wrong doing over that whole time.
These things seem germane to the discussion, though.
The organization that took over Newsweek did it with the intention to improve their own credibility by banking on the name, while removing all the people and processes that built that credibility in the first place. If it’s not an outright scam it’s certainly approaching it.
How would you assess the accuracy of that feeling without knowing or finding out about the facts being discussed? You're saying 'I know nothing about this at all but that isn't germane because the OP is giving me a disingenuous vibe'. It's a curiously strident, stridently incurious position.
The problem here is that many of you are projecting your own brand of morals on these deals, and many people may not share that perspective.
Maybe aggregators like HN can leverage this list, like a pre-filter for the moderators.
It seems like this should go without saying, but some news outlets have a better reputation for accuracy than others, and a story can be "true" in a technical sense while still being designed to further some agenda by omitting important context or facts.
I'd submit that understanding the biases and incentives of a publication are prerequisites to taking any of their content seriously. This is true of any outlet. This doesn't mean you discard outright their content, but you may view it through a more skeptical lens and seek out additional corroboration.
I find a warning that a single story might be false much less useful than a comment pointing out that the reputation of the source is no longer to be trusted.
Right now it's not entirely clear what all the facts are. Perhaps she really was just fired for having an account, or perhaps she posted some things that were less-than-savoury. I think the chance that a Conservative publication would do any diligence at getting at the facts of the matter is essentially zero.
A few years ago a Conservative publication had an article that they had "proof" that Conservative accounts were banned more frequently on Twitter, based on "analysis" of the data. It took me a bit of effort to find the data, and it included shining examples of Conservatism such as the American Nazi Party. Yes, literally, the American fucking Nazi Party. It included a list of a whole bunch of other similarly minded people; I wrote down a list here: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Quillette#Banning_Neo-Nazis_is...
This is a very marked example, but there have been many examples where all nuance or details were left out because it was more convenient.
This is the kind of playing field we're dealing with.
Now, I'm not saying that you should trust other publications blindly – trusting anything blindly would be foolish – but trust is not binary, and generally speaking I would trust other sources more on this topic. A Conservative publication on topics like these without details are, unfortunately, not proof of anything right now and carry very little trust.
So, do I know it's a false story? No. Do I know it's a true story? Also no. Essentially a story like this is useless outside of being a lead for further investigation.
It is the literal meaning of "virtue signalling".
Presumably the right-wing are just as capable (and historically have been the aggressor often), but the left have mastered it as a form recently.
As for providing some evidence of cancel culture and deplatforming, somebody would have to have been living on Mars (or have blinkers) to have missed the odious practices (as evidenced in the OP!) that the terms were invented for, and I'm not sure me spending my time googling and linking examples is going to help in that case.
But that only gets you part of the way to understanding. These arguments are & always will be abused. But: just because something is regularly abused doesn't mean there's no validity to it. And of course, pointing out that these arguments are abused is itself a kind of Quake laser cannon argument.
Ultimately, you just have to decide yourself based on context cues whether an argument is valid.
† Obviously, I am one myself
Now on pointing it out, I think a lot of people don't realize they are trying to sway the discourse thru the use of projection rather than logic and reason. I think it is one of those insidious things that just creep in and people don't realize they are doing it. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and think they want to appeal to reason (at lest in life and on HN) and I think many don't see these words work in direct contrast to that, they literally appeal to the mob. I point it out not to gain net fame or quake guns (I will take a pack-o-punch'ed gun in BO Zombies though) but rather I would hope at least one reader of this thread would have the "I never really though about it that way" moments.
Now his comments are predictably and assiduously leftist-political, and rarely on-topic to the article from what I've seen.
> The new "Newsweek" capitalizes on the brand reputation of the old one, but has no connections to it
From an external perspective it seems like the same argument could be made about the tptacek HN account. The posts from years ago which I enjoyed reading are nothing like the posts from recent history. It's like different people wrote them.
I’ve been following him on Twitter for years; and I don’t believe he had changed at all - rather HN has had more political stories as the tech sector grew.
Anyways, this is yet another reason to flag political stories on Hacker News! It blows to lose the ability to enjoy someone else's writing because you learn too much about their politics.
I found claims that IBT's other notable property, the International Business Times (which I haven't heard of), has been a content farm, but I only glossed over it.
I can't seem to find Newsweek on the Median Bias chart, but it's ranked similarly to CNN.
My take is it's mostly accurate, but I wouldn't use it as a primary source.
The perfect example of that is Breitbart's infamous 'black crime' tag: Breitbart didn't need to invent stories, they'd just go and pick up out of the bunch of criminal prosecutions happening every single day in a country with >300 million inhabitants. But by choosing to focus on crimes committed by black people - and conveniently leaving out similar crimes committed by your average white criminal - it reaffirmed on their readers their 'intuition' that black people are clearly more inclined to commit crime.
So, you should always consider who is publishing a story and why.
"Transgender murder epidemic" is an even better example, it was completely made up by the media. Look up the numbers and compare them with the general population.
Maybe your response is ironic: I genuinely can't tell. But clearly "my every-day experience justifies my actions regardless of the facts about (my view)" is not a fair rebuttal, because anyone can make that claim about anything.
And  is in ostensibly "liberal" New York city.
I have upvoted both of your posts that seem to be responding to me, because I much prefer a downvote and discourse to being down voted without comment.
It does however feel weird in the same way that "odd female something", "odd muslim something", "odd socialist something", "odd atheist something".
Leaving out details that are not relevant is IMO smart because it helps the reader to avoid prematurely making up their mind because of irrelevant details.
So my take is tptacek should be allowed to write it and we should be allowed to point it out.
And one more thing: my respect for tptacek has been growing even if we clash from time to time in various settings.
The word I was originally going to use was the one articles about the new "Newsweek" use: "cult". But that didn't seem quite right either.
Seems like this comment is false if wikipedia is to believed: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newsweek#2018_investigation_an...
> The Manhattan District Attorney's office raided Newsweek's headquarters in Lower Manhattan on January 18, 2018, and seized 18 computer servers as part of an investigation related to the company's finances. IBT, which owned Newsweek, had been under scrutiny for its ties to David Jang, a South Korean pastor and the leader of a Christian sect called "the Community".
Would not be surprising really, given what the comment is intended to do.
Waiting for that citation.
At no point does it say IBT is an "odd Christian sect". At no point does it say they were purchased by an "odd Christian sect". Having ties to != owned by. But you know this.