No. 20

Fuck you.

Fuck you.

You don't need talent to land a book deal; you just need followers.

Of which Marlon Bundo has an abundance. The Pence family's pet rabbit has almost 15,000 Instagram followers*. Cashing in on the only White House inhabitant with any popularity, Marlon's owners are making him the subject of a children's book. Here's a quote from Mike Pence's office: "Hey kids, Congress let CHIP expire, and my administration seems open to deporting your friends and neighbors if Congress doesn't come up with a replacement for DACA (President Tremendously Big Hands, as he likes to be called, asked me to shout 'BUILD THE WALL! BUILD THE WALL! BUILD THE WALL!' in this message, and since I don't have a spine or integrity I've sneaked it in here), every week the president inches us closer to war with North Korea and we're eagerly undoing or undermining whatever progress we made in the fight against climate change because we honestly don't care what your future looks like and besides we're going to be praying for global warming after the impending nuclear winter—so here's a book about a bunny! Your parents, if they're cynical and un-American, will say this book was written by the same self-serving ideologues who are more interested in shifting the U.S. toward theocracy than ensuring you and your friends have a future that's worth living in. My rebuttal to that argument is—Bunny!"

I'm about to be unfair. I'm about to rail against the entire publishing industry when the crime of publishing a book from the point of view of the Pence family's fucking rabbit was committed by a representative of one sector of the publishing industry. You could make an argument that bookstores are more to blame for some of the malignant and dangerous propaganda that gets printed every year than publishers, since bookstores keep ordering this trash, and maybe one day I'll make that argument. This stupid bunny book is being published by Regnery Publishing, which is a conservative publisher. I could rewrite this tip as "You don't need talent to land a book deal; you just need to be a soulless right-wing stooge willing to say anything, even if it contains no truth, to advance your team's narrative." But I don't want to let the rest of the industry off the hook because it's still true that followers and a big platform are more important than talent or skill, and mainstream publishers are also guilty of publishing horrible books for horrible reasons and horrible purposes. Ann Coulter used to be published by a division of Random House. Ivanka Trump's latest book was published by Portfolio, a division of Penguin. Milo Dumbracistfuckwadopoulos's book was set to be published by an imprint of Simon and Schuster. I could turn this into a very long post if I just kept reciting the names of shitty people who got undeserved book deals and the names of the publishers who gave them to them. I acknowledge the unfairness of the following words; I believe there are people within the publishing industry who have good hearts, who want to create a better world, but they need to get better at fighting bullshit. The following words, unfair as they might be when leveled against an entire industry, are also true:

I'm not going to go to the trouble of finding out the names of the toadies responsible for bringing this fucking waste of a book to print, but I am going to use this opportunity to express my formal fuck-you to the publishing industry. I've suggested this fuck-you many times, but today I say it openly: fuck you.

You bleat about how important it is for children to see representations of themselves in children's literature. Then you give a book deal to some rich white people who aren't writers, who don't need the money, who don't need the representation, but they have a famous bunny! This country is full of unknown writers who could make better books. Fuck you.

You bleat about the importance of diversity in books and give a book deal to a family that rose into power on the wave of bigotry and white supremacy that carried Trump to victory. Mike Pence can argue that he's not a bigot or a white supremacist, but he's clearly willing to make alliances with bigots and white supremacists, willing to accept their support in exchange for power.** Fuck you.

You bleat the right things because those things are trendy and your bleating makes you feel good about yourselves, but ultimately all you care about is making money. Publishing isn't a nonprofit enterprise, so don't act like you're in this for altruistic reasons. As agents, editors, and publishers, you're slaves to the market, and you know there's a huge market for trash. The Pences don't deserve a book deal. They didn't earn it. But they get one anyway because they're already rich, they're already powerful, they're already famous(ish). Fuck you.

Fuck you.

On a more positive note—just fucking with you: fuck you.

*I don't know if President Pussygrabber regards USA Today as fake news, but I'm trusting it for that 15,000 figure because I don't want to look at Mike Pence's pet rabbit's Instagram thing. 

**The power to what? you say, rightly. After all, he doesn't do anything except stare at North Korea and walk out of events that normal people would kill to be able to attend.

©Alan Good 2017