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Twitter mob gets fantasy novel cancelled.

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Mouthwash, Jan 31, 2019.

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  1. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    This is the novel: "In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled and enslaved. Their varied abilities to control the world around them are unnatural--dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, might be the most monstrous of them all. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls."

    To those wondering about what the terrible crime was - it was having non-race based slavery in a fantasy universe, thereby, somehow, denying the experience of black Americans. This is now the party line of the social justice movement.

    Spoiler NSFW :
    You can read more about the craziness here.
     
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  2. Lexicus

    Lexicus Warlord

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    Reactionary Identitarians Do Something Stupid On Twitter not much of a headline really.
     
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  3. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    This seems like a big deal for fantasy readers. I've never heard of an actual novel being cancelled before.
     
  4. Peuri

    Peuri Game

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    You call them reactionary. Interesting. I would in all sincerity love to hear your take on why these kinds of things are happening, and should something be done about it.
     
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  5. Arakhor

    Arakhor Dremora Courtier Moderator

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    "At this time" suggests to me that it has been postponed, rather than cancelled.
     
  6. Lexicus

    Lexicus Warlord

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    Of course they're reactionary. Identitarian politics on what is miscalled 'the left' in social media has largely lapsed into outright race-realism. Race-realism is one of the most reactionary political positions there is.

    In any case, I doubt I think something should be done about it in the sense you mean here. I advocate workplace organizing as the strongest way to build class consciousness; yelling at these people on social media, their chosen ground, will accomplish nothing.

    Well I assure you it happens all the time. Not for the same reasons as we see here, probably, but plenty of books experience problems that prevent them from ever reaching publication, of that you may be sure.
     
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  7. AdamCrock

    AdamCrock Chief Executive Officer

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    This is madness :hammer2:
    What about the Gaul, Hispanic,Syrian, Germanic, Breton and Greek slaves that were drawn by the Roman Empire. Did author forgot about those too ?! How shocking ! :eek: How dare he deny the experience of white Europeans , Iberians nad Celts !! :crazyeye:
     
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  8. Peuri

    Peuri Game

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    Nice, I'm glad we can agree there. Your position suprised me a bit, thanks to some of the discussions we had during the summer, but I guess it was more on my part, because I was trying to figure out what is this new puritanism we are living in and where did it come from. So I was a bit tribal, angry and vitriolic, because I see these people as diverting the cause.

    I agree that calling this thing "left" is a bit misleading, but has it not grown out of some of the things that the more lefty academics have been working on for the past couple of decades, like decolonialism, various fields with "studies" at the end? Just pushed to their logical extremes?

    It is interesting how this sort of ideology is tangled in very much bourgeoisie concerns about who gets to climb the corporate ladder.

    I just find it funny how it was the right in the 90's and 00's who were telling me what to think and say, but now it's these people, be they on the left, or what ever. And they think that the right was bad, but they are just their mirror image.

    It's funny reading YouTube comments from accross the political isles. Everyone says the same thing about the "Other", only the nomenclature changes.
     
  9. Lexicus

    Lexicus Warlord

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    Estebonrober, Yeekim and Silurian like this.
  10. onejayhawk

    onejayhawk Afflicted with reason

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    Book burning has returned. You could see it coming with the Proper-speak on campuses. How much longer til we get the next Joseph Mcarthy seeking to stamp out MAGA.

    J
     
  11. Arakhor

    Arakhor Dremora Courtier Moderator

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    If he restricts it to Twitter only, probably about as many people will notice as they did the book's postponement.
     
  12. Dachs

    Dachs Emissary of Hell

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    This is gross and the people who did this should be ashamed.

    Singal's thread hits most of the important beats. Some of those beats are missing from this thread. If you want to read a similar take from somebody with a less contentious Twitter history than Singal, Kat Rosenfield has written up the same events for Vulture here. It's also worth pointing out that the headline for her article implies cancellation when we don't know if Zhao will try to release the book, perhaps in edited form, at some later date.

    YA Twitter is brutal, and some people there will use any weapon at their disposal to trash authors - whether that's wokeness or an alleged whisper campaign or accusations of plagiarism. All three of them were on display in this particular pile-on, not just "wokeness" as implied by the previous replies to this thread.

    The nature of this particular weapon does matter. But you don't even have to go as far as, say, the article by Professor Reed that @Lexicus posted. Even by the standards of people who claim some sort of wokeness, the criticisms leveled at Zhao were absurd. It doesn't take a True Scotsman to point out that people who complain about the marginalization of black American voices and the whitewashing of American slavery probably shouldn't assume that every commentary on any form of racism in the world is intrinsically about...American slavery...and not, say, the actual East-Asian background that the author brought to her book, or any number of other things that she cited, most of which had nothing to do with America.

    I think that this points to my real concern about the Blood Heir imbroglio: YA Twitter is, if anything, even more prone to using whatever it can as a weapon against people, regardless of the applicability of the weapon. There are healthier ways for people who care about race-based readings of texts to address concerns in a book that hasn't even been published yet: beta reads, sensitivity suggestions, and suchlike things. Plenty of authors and critics do this already. Instead, YA influencers who got advance review copies used them to continue their fight with the author in a public place. And I emphasize used here, because again, the whole fight was about a lot more than just...alternative...racial readings of a text.

    It's easy enough to start Internet outrage, without even necessarily doing it intentionally, with no evidence and sketchy details.
    I think that this sort of charge comes from the same place that blames the likes of Lacan, Derrida, and Foucault (who, fwiw, are not even remotely interchangeable) for some sort of vague, squishy, evil post-factual society. Almost nobody in YA - or indeed the world - reads academic texts on these subjects. If they did, they would find that, in general, what academia is talking about and what social media talk about are vastly dissimilar.
    lol
     
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  13. Lexicus

    Lexicus Warlord

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    For the record, even I don't go that far: I do not reject "identity politics" out of hand, as Reed does, but I do (sort of always have) rejected politics or ideology that makes identity fundamental, what I've always called identity-fundamentalism.

    I am not familiar with YA twitter at all and am reading the Vulture piece to try to get a better idea of the background here.
     
  14. Synsensa

    Synsensa Warlord Retired Moderator

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    My interest was piqued until I saw "YA Twitter". This is par for the course and, as Lexicus described it, is fairly dominated by reactionaries now. YA Twitter is closely linked to YA Tumblr and is largely populated by literal children or people who cater to the aforementioned children. The space is almost entirely focused on American politics and lived experiences. It's a completely different beast in the literary world today and yes, it's a problem, and yes, most people see it as a problem, including those darned lame-o lefties.

    I'm surprised by the postponement. Since she had a trad-pub, she could have forced it through and been mostly fine. Then again, it's very compelling to want to be liked by the people you're supposed to be engaging with online about the art.

    Pure fabrication. About as accurate as saying people who only eat chicken fingers at Michelin restaurants is now the party line of the gourmet cuisine industry.
     
  15. Peuri

    Peuri Game

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    What is that place, from which such a charge comes from? I will be the first to admit that I am not very versed in continental philosophy, I was always more interested in enlightenment era philosophy and analytic philosophy at the uni, but from the little I can remember from the courses on continental and postmodern philosophy, to me it seems that such analyses that this crowd does, of pieces of art say, do employ some of those same tools that originate from there, no matter how watered down or misunderstood.

    I am sure such philosophers did probably not intend for their tools to be used in the way they are used by the twitterati, much like Rousseau probably did not intend his idea of the "general will" to be used by Robespierre to justify the killing of countless people deemed the enemy of the people.

    Where do you see the roots of the intellectual history of this movement, if it can be called such, as originating in and drawing it's fervor?
     
  16. Dachs

    Dachs Emissary of Hell

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    I'm not someone who considers himself well versed in Continental philosophy, or indeed philosophy at all, either! But I am somewhat familiar with a particular aspect of it as concerns history, and I know that it's been brought up in that exact context on this forum before. Frankly, I think the root cause is pretty simple: as with any continuing myths about source material, the root error comes from refusing to engage with the source material itself.

    Of course, most people can hardly be expected to try to muddle their way through, say, Acts of Literature, let alone in the original French. This should, however, presumably mean that most people should not have much of an opinion on the text! They should certainly not have as strongly-held a one as I've seen before from certain forumers. Unless you've read the thing, your opinion is on shaky ground. Everything else is an elaborate and often stupid game of Telephone.

    To circle back around to the original point: this is the same dynamic at play in the Blood Heir mob. The book wasn't even out yet. Only a few people had ARCs. Nobody was sharing any of the alleged screenshotting and whisper campaign evidence. Yet all of YA Twitter seemed to have an opinion on the text and on Zhao as a writer because of it.
     
  17. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Actually, the bigger problem is that anybody takes these kinds of complaints from them seriously in the first place.

    What do we "do" about irrational nonsense complaints? Ignore them, which worked well enough previously in history. There's no clear reason it wouldn't still work. That means *not* empowering this nonsense by cancelling novels or altering business practices/products that are intended for the non-complainers anyway. Taking them seriously is the big mistake here.

    This sort of thing is not twitter only. It's certainly present in game censorship and even in laws depending on where you live. Google has a major hankering for it too.

    It's true that twitter is pretty far up there in terms of being a special kind of garbage though.
     
  18. Truthy

    Truthy Titular character

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    Except these mobs actually have a lot of coercive power over authors, journalists, professors, and so on. There's no denying the power of millions of angry moralizers patrolling the most important space of communication in the modern world.
     
  19. Farm Boy

    Farm Boy I swear..

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    Weird. Perhaps my forays have been too limited, but I'd put Twitter just beneath stall scrawlings as a medium of communication.

    These are basically the people taking, "for a good time call," down and to the left of the scratched out swastika, literally, yes?
     
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  20. Lexicus

    Lexicus Warlord

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    I'm not denying that they have power. I'm just saying that this kind of behavior is hardly surprising.
     
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