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1. Dear Hollywood, How's that Bigotry Working Out for You? from the ever awesome, ever righteous, ever asskicking N.K. Jemisin. I kind of want to quote the entire thing, but since that would be redundant and a little sketchy, I'll excerpt the sweet justice for you:

But I have a question. How's that whole bigotry thing working out for you? Financially, I mean.

'Cause, y'know, from where I'm sitting, it doesn't look like this strategy has been especially effective lately. Last year, one of your biggest flops was a beloved children’s TV show that in its original form was chock full of brown people — which you whitewashed. People are still making fun of the monstrosity that resulted. This weekend past, your “female empowerment action fantasy” got the crap beaten out of it by a wimpy kid, in part because it wasn’t empowering at all, and was actually pretty damn misogynistic. Wow, not even your usual demographic, the straight white guys you’re trying so hard to appeal to, liked that one. And I’m already seeing storm warnings on the horizon re a few new projects coming down the pipe.



I can't nod my head enough to show how much I agree with this, with the entire post. How much I want to point to it every time people want to come to me with the argument that whitewashing or manwashing or any other kind of [insert thing]-washing is just good business sense, that well, it's not that moviemakers don't want POC and women (or women of color) or PWD or GLBT folks on screen (or those characters that are all of the above), it's that audiences just prefer white, straight, cis, thin, conventionally attractive folks, that's all. It's just business.

And for that matter, I want to ask the same of the U.S. book industry, especially the genres I read. I want to ask if those stacks and stacks of nearly identical books is really netting them the big bucks (and judging by the recent state of both publishers, presses, and brick'n mortar bookstores in this country, I'm thinking the answer is "Not really"). Is the "let's not scare the nice privileged folks with scary brown queer disabled fat women-type people" policy doing all that they'd hope, are the profit margins getting that much bigger and better?

I've had this fight/discussion/endless go-round before, with people who have worked in the business who try to justify why they need a cover to have a white face when it's not about a white person, or why it's totally okay for an anthology that's 50% women authors to have only men's names on the cover, or why they can't let a gay romance in a YA anthology even when the author has conformed to all the other standards for sexual content.

And yet, I see a book industry in the U.S. that is not doing all that well. I see a book industry where prices keep getting hiked, where bookstores are closing, where authors are testifying about their diminishing returns and the rise of illegal/unpaid e-book downloading.

And I really want to ask the same question: Is it working out for you the way you'd hoped?

2. Semi-related: HarperCollins Puts 26 Loan Cap on Ebook Circulations (link via @tinytempest on Twitter).

I think K. Tempest said it very aptly on Twitter: "this kind of thing is exactly why people pirate eBooks...and I can't say I blame them.".

As both a reader (and lover of libraries) and a writer this makes me give HarperCollins some serious side-eye.

July 2013

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