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Publishing Milo Yiannopoulos’ book is wrong. My magazine is fighting back.

4 January 2017

As an introduction for those who are not familiar with Milo Yiannopoulos, he is a gay right-wing political celebrity who has a talent for effective and attention-getting sarcasm directed toward officials and supporters of the Democratic party in the US. He rose to prominence as a backer of Donald Trump during the recent Presidential campaign.

PG has tried to keep TPV from descending into nastiness during the recent political season in the US. Absent the Simon and Schuster publishing connection, he would likely not have posted anything pro or anti about Yiannopoulos.

This article is written by the editor-in-chief of the Chicago Review of Books.

From The Guardian:

Last week, the literary world gasped when one of the largest publishers in the United States, Simon & Schuster, rewarded America’s most infamous internet troll, Milo Yiannopoulos, with a $250,000 book deal. But we probably should have seen it coming. After all, 2016 taught us that ridiculing women, people of colour, Muslims and members of the LGBTQ community can make someone immensely popular.

For Simon & Schuster, it can also be immensely profitable. During Yiannopoulos’s tenure at Breitbart – where he’s told gay people to “get back in the closet” and women to “log off” the internet – he has amassed more than 1 million followers on Facebook. Threshold Editions, the Simon & Schuster imprint dedicated to “innovative ideas of contemporary conservatism”, has a hit on its hands.

But Yiannapoulos is not a conservative intellectual leader with a political agenda. He’s a clickbait grifter who has made a name for himself spewing hate speech. As the editor-in-chief of a small literary review, I wanted Simon & Schuster to know that broadcasting his rhetoric would have real-world consequences. So I made a decision that has nothing to do with political ideology and everything to do with human rights and decency: the Chicago Review of Books will not cover a single Simon & Schuster book in 2017.

According to thousands of Twitter and Facebook users, our stance is equivalent to censorship, fascism and book-burning.

. . . .

Some writers, editors and publicists have pointed out that our decision isn’t fair to hundreds of other Simon & Schuster authors who had nothing to do with the publisher’s decision to sign Yiannopoulos. I agree. It’s unfair. Simon & Schuster will publish some wonderful books in 2017 through imprints I admire, such as 37 Ink, Salaam Reads and Touchstone. But I strongly believe the literary community must hold the publisher accountable.

Link to the rest at The Guardian and thanks to Barb for the tip.

A bit of clarification is in order for those not familiar with the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

This is the portion of the Constitution protecting free speech.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment protects speech and religion of all sorts from restraint or prohibition by government through laws or via government actors. The First Amendment applies to state and local governments as well as the federal government.

The Chicago Review of Books is not, to PG’s knowledge, a publication of any government entity. The First Amendment actually protects the right of The Chicago Review to publish or not publish almost anything it pleases.

Writings and discussions about whether the actions of The Chicago Review are correct or moral or wise or detestable, etc., etc. are also protected from government censorship or restraint by the First Amendment.

“Hate speech” is usually defined in the eye of the beholder. Regardless of how offensive, almost all “hate speech” is protected from government censorship or restraint by the First Amendment.

PG says “almost all” because certain narrow categories of speech may be regulated by government without violating the First Amendment. For example, “fighting words” – words which would likely make the person to whom they are addressed commit an act of violence – are not protected by the First Amendment.

Here’s an excerpt from a US Supreme Court case, Terminiello v. Chicago, 337 U.S. 1 (1949), that speaks about the limited nature of the fighting words exception:

[The] function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger. Speech is often provocative and challenging. It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions and have profound unsettling effects as it presses for acceptance of an idea. That is why freedom of speech, though not absolute, is nevertheless protected against censorship or punishment.

While PG is not an expert on First Amendment matters, he is unaware of any court case in which the contents of a book constituted fighting words.

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87 Comments to “Publishing Milo Yiannopoulos’ book is wrong. My magazine is fighting back.”

  1. And the idiots screaming to try and stop it only draw the attention of those that didn’t know or didn’t before care. It’s almost like they were trying to get the book ‘more’ publicity.

    There’s a name for that effect …

    • I wouldn’t have even heard of the book deal if not for the outrage.

      • There’s a saying almost as old as the Internet itself…

        “Don’t feed the Trolls”

        What this means in terms of usenet discussions is simple. Don’t respond. At all. No matter what. Trolls thrive on engagement and cannot keep up a one-sided conversation.

        Not feeding the Trolls is *agonizingly* difficult for some people to do.

        The term Troll also comes from early usenet. Trolls don’t usually believe the inflammatory comments they post – they just post them to stir up a hornets nest of comments. Thus they are not named after the creature of myth, but after the verb. A Troll “trolls” online discussions dropping such comments and laughing about the chaos left in their wake.

      • It’s called the “Streisand Effect” and I didn’t know about this book until the complaints started.


        The Streisand effect is the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet. It is an example of psychological reactance, wherein once people are aware something is being kept from them, their motivation to access and spread the information is increased.[1]

        It is named after American entertainer Barbra Streisand, whose 2003 attempt to suppress photographs of her residence in Malibu, California, inadvertently drew further public attention to it.

        • I know, just couldn’t spell her name close enough for the auto-correct to get it. As I recall the tale, that picture had been viewed all of four times before she tried to get it pulled (two of those times were suspected of being her lawyers.) In the next week after hearing she wanted it gone it was viewed a quarter of a million times.

          You’d think ‘The Guardian’ had heard of it by now — or maybe that’s what they’re betting on …

      • Ditto. I’ve seen a few of his videos, but would have no idea he had a book coming out if I hadn’t read this here.

        Will the book-banners never learn that trying to ban books just makes more people want to read them? Or did Milo pay them to do it?

        Kind of fitting that it’s currently #1 in a ‘Censorship’ category on Amazon.

    • “If you strike me down, I shall become more fabulous than you can possibly imagine.” —Milo

      • Sorry, dude. Liberace will always be the most fabulous gay man of all time. 😀

        • And nobody could have imagined Liberace; he had to be experienced. Therefore there is room for Yiannopoulos to take second place and still be more fabulous than anyone can imagine; QED.

          • I doubt it.

            What’ll actually happen is him tiring of his own shtick or culture itself shifting and tiring of it and seeking out a new shiny flavor.

            That’s not saying he can’t make a long business of it (if that’s what he wants; he might just end up banking his money and trying something different after awhile). But most former icons of bomb-throwing are just going through the motions and people get bored after awhile and want something new.

            Trying to pull off a persona as a thorn in the side of whichever part of culture or politics one is targeting gets old – both for the thorn and for whatever the thorn is sticking or those who even care to pay attention.

            • Along the lines of cultural shock and controversy (to use just a couple examples) – what’s going on these days with Madonna and Lady Gaga?

              Both very talented and received tons of attention for their daring what-have-you.

              Madonna has reinvented herself and managed to stay somewhat relevant throughout the years. But obviously not the way she used to be.

              I quit seeing pictures and stories of Lady Gaga’s latest outrageous outfit years ago. And as far as music icons she’s been eclipsed by other new flavors du jour – while still remaining visible and still showing that she is very talented.

              Heydays pass – especially when it comes to pop-culture (which includes political bombthrowers who gain a lot of attention for their own outrageous behavior which they either tire of or become unable to continue exceeding or it all just looks like retreading to most people who watch).

    • In recent years we have one thing nothing does a Conservative business benefit like being boycotted
      by Liberals.

      Trying to punish Simon & Schuster because you don’t
      like the politics of an author?

      Be more likely to 1) Sell books for Milo and 2) convince people that the Chicago Review of Books is a waste of time,

  2. I have no problem with a publisher paying what they think a book is worth to them, whether it’s ranting on the left, right, or by aliens. They figure they can profit from it, and it’s a business. As long as no one is forced to buy the book, what’s different from any other book that some people really hate or don’t want to read?

    I want the freedom to say and write what I believe, so I have to allow it for others.

    Unless he’s writing a how-to book on how to go out and murder liberals and offering free knives and a hangout to escape the FBI, so what? Let him rant.

    • I have no interest in ranting from the left or the right.
      But I’d pay good money to read a rant from a real documented alien. Uh, make that extraterrestrial alien. 😉

      I suspect the subject would be about us monkey boys hurting property values all over the spural arm.

    • I understand the “technical” violation argument for the Constitution, but most countries have adopted a more nuanced approach — free speech does not protect deliberate hate speech.

      Deliberate derogatory or inflammatory comments about a particular class of people is hate speech, and most countries have laws that actually make it a crime.

      It is no more censorship than banning people from yelling “fire” in a crowded theatre…and it is not subjective, or a slippery slope, as most people fear.

      Nobody is prosecuting people they don’t like, or who they disagree with…they’re prosecuting people who, if words were sticks and stones, would be charged with assault.

      I am free to write what I want; I’m not free to assault others with words anymore than with fists, or to inflame passions to get other people to do it for me.

      It only doesn’t “work” in the USA, that’s not the same as it “doesn’t work”. Courts still err on the side of freedom, it’s when it rises to the level of racial pornography that they block it.


      • Nobody’s prosecuted? I guess you never heard of Oriana Fallaci? You claim it’s not a slippery slope, but I take it you never noticed that even telling the truth in plain language is taken as hate speech for no other reason that that the hearer doesn’t like it?

        Nope. I’ll stick with the good old USA here, where our laws know that “hate” is in the eye of the beholder, and that the best remedy for “hate” speech is more speech, and letting the audience decide where they stand or fall.

      • Considering a lot of people cry ‘hate speech’ when a Christian pastor says that the Bible says homosexual acts are sinful, I’m with Jamie on this one.

      • I am free to write what I want; I’m not free to assault others with words anymore than with fists, or to inflame passions to get other people to do it for me.

        In the US, you are free to do just that. The only thing you cannot do is engage in speech that is an immediate incitement to criminal acts. That means immediate, like right now. No way a book could ever qualify.

        See the US Supreme Court Brandenberg v Ohio. What is often called hate speech is protected from government action in the US.

        If the federal, state, or local government interferes with that, it’s not a “technical” violation of the constitution. It is a very serous violation of a basic right guaranteed by the First Amendment.

      • What value freedom of speech if it only protects popular or sanctioned thoughts?

        The more offensive the words the more vigorously they need protecting because freedom of speech is either absolute or it doesn’t exist. And those “nuances” are illusory, a smokescreen disguising the absence of the real thing.

        And it should be noticed that the “fighting words” exception isn’t about the words but about the incitement, which is an action, not a thought.

  3. It’s a little like attacking Kim Kardashian by saying her Instagram page has new pictures of her looking like a tramp.

    And its completely untrue to say that “Yiannapoulos is not a conservative intellectual leader with a political agenda”. He had a very specific agenda, and it was to get Trump elected, which he advocated well before anyone thought that was possible. He did play at least a small role in convincing gays and younger people Trump was someone to at least consider. (Sammy Davis jr. played a similar role in getting Nixon elected. That Trump had an outspoken gay supporter provided cover against charges of homophobia, like Sammy with Nixon and charges of racism.)

    Part of Milo’s technique is to say really outrageous and often offensive things to get attention, which he argues exposes progressive efforts to silence debate. But he can also be very articulate, well researched and argue in depth when he wants to. Clearly his political methods are working for him, and this silly attack on a book that hasn’t even been published only gives more attention to his conservative political beliefs.

    Attacking him for the trolling things he says is likely to be as effective as demanding Trump stop tweeting.

    • I’ve engaged Milo and his supporters in debate and conversion before. He controls his space with an iron fist. If you challenge him with an argument that he can’t refute then he generally will reply with sarcasm to end that line of discussion, change the subject, or if he controls the venue he will simply delete your text or otherwise silence you. He is articulate in presenting his pseudo intellectual propaganda, but clearly realizes that most of his arguments cannot stand up to scrutiny.

      • Brian. Would you mind posting links to some of your engagements? I would like to judge for myself.

        • I went searching and it looks like they have all been deleted on Facebook. That is where all of my interactions have been.

          I like to debate politics and policy without resorting to name calling and insults. My comments don’t typically get deleted in most GOP/DEM forums even if it is not popular with the audience. Milo’s facebook page and a few other alt-right spaces are the only places this has happened. People get really touchy about their politics.

          • Brian. Thank you for responding. People do get very touchy, of course, though I must say my experience is that it is not unique to either right or left wing extremists. Though of course we can all only go on our own experience.

  4. I find it troubling that Andrew Morgan sees nothing wrong with punishing many writers for the crime of being published by Simon & Schuster. He is going to use their pain, financial hardship and perhaps damage to their careers to bend Simon & Schuster to his will.

    If Morgan has a beef with S&S, take it up with them and only them. If he has a beef with Milo, Milo’ll be more than happy to debate Mr. Morgan, I’m sure, as he believes in more speech not less.

    • Exactly. Don’t buy Milo’s book, but don’t punish the rest. I saw a few people point out on Twitter that there are many good diverse authors pubbed by S&S and instead they should be highlighted over Milo.

    • I find it troubling that Andrew Morgan sees nothing wrong with punishing many writers for the crime of being published by Simon & Schuster.

      Eagerly awaiting comment from Douglas Preston and the writers of Authors United.

  5. Brave post, PG.

  6. This is going to work as well as Milo’s being banned on Twitter. Boy, he sure lost a lot of his audience, didn’t he? Number one in his category on Amazon. He’s laughing all the way to the bank.

    In the meantime, the rest of Simon & Schuster’s stable, as Barb pointed out, gets punished–for the crime of having their books published by S&S. How very junior high school of Morgan. It’s like the whole class being punished for the one kid mouthing off at the teacher.

    • He wasn’t just number one in a particular category. For a brief while he was the # 1 selling book hardcover on all of Amazon.com.

      He’s also presently # 1 in “Coming Soon,” ahead of Neil Gaiman, J.K. Rowling, etc. How long that lasts is anybody’s guess, of course, but I doubt any of the suits at S&S are going to have much trouble deciding on publishing Milo’s book vs. whatever dubious exposure S&S books might or might not otherwise get on a rather niche website.

  7. Does anyone* read professional reviews anymore? Most people won’t even notice this boycott, imo.

    *”anyone” meaning book buyers and readers.

  8. It doesn’t surprise me that the Guardian published this, seeing as 1) the European intelligentsia still haven’t learned anything from Brexit, and 2) free speech isn’t nearly as protected in the UK as it is in the US.

    • This has nothing to do with hate speech laws, and everything to do with the Guardian being the paper that caters to the left-wing literary crowd. The Guardian prints what they want to hear, and what they want to hear is that people they don’t approve of are being silenced.

      Even if this bloke isn’t actually being silenced and probably doesn’t need some “small literary review” to review his book. After all, now they’ve told me about it, I can go and buy a copy if I want one… 🙂

      But you’re absolutely right: the European left-wing intelligentsia have learned absolutely nothing. Probably because they’re convinced that they already know everything.

  9. Seen elsewhere: fighting Milo with outrage is like fighting a dog by throwing bacon at it.

    Interesting question, though: how essential is the Chicago Review of Books? Who uses it? In other words, if they boycott S&S, will anyone notice? Will it actually harm any S&S authors? The article author seems extremely convinced of his importance in the publishing world, but is anyone else so certain?

    *grins* Can you use the outrage to force contract negotiations, a la Amazon vs. Hachette? Hey, if you could get their reputedly extremely slow legal department to respond with “Due to my outrage at your publishing Milo, I demand reversion of all my backlist!”, go for it!

    • fighting Milo with outrage is like fighting a dog by throwing bacon at it.

      🙂 just for the imagery of the dog and the bacon.

      I’m also amused by the idea that anyone would think S&S is enough of a brand that readers would look for their logo and reject any book bearing it. It’s not as if it’s Baen or Harlequin 🙂

    • As far as I can tell, the CRB reviews about two books a week.

      If they normally spread out their reviews roughly evenly across the Big 5, that makes about twenty S&S authors a year. I suspect this boycott will not be particularly noticeable, nor will it hurt the hundreds of S&S authors who weren’t going to be reviewed anyway.

    • “Interesting question, though: how essential is the Chicago Review of Books?”

      Anecdotally speaking, I’d heard of Milo before this article. I’d never heard of ‘The Chicago Review Of Books’.

    • Mmmmm…bacon.

      Oh. Where were we?

  10. Why is the left so full of censorious pearl-clutching biddies? The universities suppress free speech, the sciences try to suppress free speech, and now the book reviewers?

    (Note: This is not necessarily a political statement. I remember H.L. Mencken defending banning Dreiser’s book back in the day, so I’m very well aware that extremists at both ends of the political spectrum favor closing the door on people they don’t like. It’s just the left’s turn now.)

    • Why is a niche publication newsjacking the presumed outrage about Milo’s book deal among their potential audience equivalent to the “left” being “full of censorious pearl-clutching biddies”?

      Tempest in a teapot, IMO – and an attempt to drum up attention for their magazine from like-minded members of the general public. Rather clever, really.

    • Being a publisher, whether books or magazines or what have you, means being a gatekeeper. They are upset that S&S opened a gate to someone who they (the Guardian) wouldn’t have.

      This is totally “who let that riff-raff in here?”

    • Orthodoxies do what orthodoxies do.
      Whether it be the orthodoxy of the right or the left doesn’t matter.
      Young rebels that achieve power always turn around and treat as they were treated. And in the process create the next generation of rebels. Or martyrs. Or both.

  11. Milo is “right wing?” Lol

  12. S&S lost a ton of money on “Hard Choices” and “Stronger Together”, publishing Milo means they’ll make some of it back, especially as his advance was a lot, lot less than HRC’s…


  13. it would seem that if milo is not breaking laws, that he is a voice that has always existed somewhere. Father Coughlin [sp] comes to mind as do some of the imams, and preachers, and george wallaces and madame chang kai chek’s [sp] of the world … those old ones were daily radio bellowings about this one and that group and most everyone except themselves.

    I think the lesson might be in american psycho or franzen or others who are unlikable by some/many. Some who are not cared for because of the harshness of their personas,
    [think andrew dice clay for instance too] often meaning something like arrogance, breathing rarified air [they try to put over], vulgarity for vulgarity’s sake,

    saying whatever base thing comes to mind [donald trump taking his daughter on howard stern show and trump agreeing with hs that it was fine to call his daughter a ‘fine piece of a##, with daughter sitting there smiling weakly],

    speaking/writing fictions about malevolent tortures far beyond malificarum for gratuitous shlock value, and other ways of proceeding that are meant to, in prior and purposeful deliberation, grab more or less decent people by the gut reactionary system most humans carry.

    You too could grab the money and well-known-ness and being #1 in a mechanical totting up system. It is not hard to do. Rather, it is amazing in a way, that given the money in it, more do not engage in screed for cash and especially, for attention. In some persons, predictable contrarianism is their only way to gain the currency of attention. It does get old. And, most of the time, for those so inclined, the ‘act wears out’ after a time, and one had better have other talents if one still craves attention foremost rather than engagement that might matter.

    • Just looked up Father Coughlin on Wikipedia, and all I have to say is that the Left really hasn’t changed at all. Milo’s shtick is all about exposing Leftist hypocrisy, especially regarding free speech. And here in the 1930s we have the FDR administration itself trying to redefine the radio spectrum as a “limited national resource” in an effort to deny Coughlin of his first ammendment rights. Holy. S***. The 30s must have been a really terrifying time to believe in Liberty, on this side of the pond as well as in Europe.

  14. thanks PG, also, for the lesson in the shades of 1st amendment. Many do not know the sidebars. Thanks

  15. Milo reposts all the outrage articles on his Facebook page.

    It’s hilarious.

    I’m confident enough in my world view not to be bothered by contrary opinions. I can appreciate the comedic skill involved in the level of trolling this guy does.

  16. Somehow I’ve gotten this far into my life without having heard of Milo Yiannopoulos before — and I follow political coverage pretty intensely. Now, I’ll promptly forget him.

    • Don’t let Milo know. He’ll take it as a challenge. 😉

      • Heard about him frequently, but never paid attention. Now, I’m not going to promptly peruse him.


        • I kept hearing awful things about him on my FB feed, so a few weeks ago I went and Youtubed him. The guy is actually entertaining. There, I said it. Maybe that’s why he has a following, whether they care about what he says or agree with him (I was roundly anti-Trump, myself.) He actually has personality. You can hate him, you can love him, you can not give a fig, but he’s not boring.

          He does seem to enjoy having protestors.

    • A few years back I thought he had some interesting things to say, but then the noise to signal ratio leaped and I lost all interest in him.

      Unlike the editor of the Chicago Review of Books, I just decided to stop reading him because I don’t care for much of what he writes and says. But then, I’ve always known there are options besides announcing my offended feelings to the world. It’s called growing up.

  17. Thanks PG. I was waiting for someone to step up to the plate and defend free speech. I know your antipathy towards politically controversial topics on TPV and you did a great job implementing this during the US election. I’m sure you probably agonised over this post, but it was the right call. Free speech is very important and worth defending, even more so if you don’t agree with what is being said.

    Once again, thank you.

    • Especially when you don’t agree with what is being said, as pointed out in the Terminiello excerpt.

      You might be able to stop people from saying uncomfortable/unpopular things but you can’t stop them thinking them. Drive them out of the public sphere and they might end up venting in “less verbal” ways.

      Free speech is a pressure relief valve.

  18. It’s a marketing dance with both sides playing to the lowest motives of their respective customer segments and ultimately degrading political discourse.

    I think Milo is an a** but Chicago Review of Books is betraying their role as a venue for book reviews. Their historical role is to review books, which means discovering unknown good books, and evaluating important bad books. If a book is bad, it’s on the reviewer to demonstrate why it’s bad, with arguments and evidence and all that good testing of ideas and discourse stuff. Who the publishing house is and what else they publish shouldn’t be a factor.

    It’s sad to see this. The book hasn’t even been written yet.

    • The first draft was submitted this week. He’s Cambridge educated. He can do this.

    • It is sad. Why he doesn’t know that he can fisk the book if he doesn’t like it, or write a rebuttal. I don’t remember, say, Bernard Lewis calling for the boycott of anyone who published Edward Said. I just remember reading rebuttals of Said from him and a variety of scholars. That’s how it’s supposed to work.

      The only way it would really make sense to boycott a publisher — and punish all the other writers in the process — is if it’s something like Paladin Press publishing a manual on how to kill people. Someone used the manual in real life. People died. But boycotting a publisher because you don’t like someone’s thoughts? No. Just no.

      • On the other hand I have seen a lot of calls to ban Lewis, especially after 9/11.

        • Ah. I did not know that. I shouldn’t be surprised. No doubt they claimed he was purveying “hate speech” or something else just as self-serving for their desire to silence facts or opinions they disapprove of. Glad those people didn’t prevail in his case.

  19. Given all the previous blather about books being passe or even “dead,” it’s nice to see so many people paying attention to a book. Even if it hasn’t been written yet.

    • Has the Chicago Review of Books covered any works by indies? Or Amazon imprints? Maybe this will free up some slots for works outside of the Big 5.

  20. The funniest part is that S&S publishes a LOT more progressive writers under multiple other imprints than they do right-wing ones under this single one.

    As no one on the right-wing is likely to take their purchasing queues from these guys, in effect, the Chicago Review of Books is boycotting progressives in the name of progressivisim.

    But I’m sure Milo appreciates the additional publicity. This provided a lot more exposure for him than a normal review from them would’ve, as have the other similar articles of outrage.

    Like most, I wouldn’t have even known he published a book without all the outrage.

    • I’m actually starting to wonder whether Milo is paying these kind of people to be ‘outraged’ to sell more books. There are few better kinds of advertising these days than S** ‘outrage’.

  21. Milo isn’t right wing, or any wing for that matter. He is a novelty seeking narcissist whose claim to fame is being a campus outrage icon, similar to Ben Shapiro. Milo’s politics are not particularly insightful, just very boring libertarianism. The Chicago Review of Books editor reacted in the worst possible way (though not surprising for a liberal publication) by publishing this piece. The book deal is probably a stunt on S&S’s part to have a celebrity book to boost their sales overall.

    • Oh, it may be many things but a stunt it isn’t.
      Look at the numbers: $250k advance suggests they’ll break even at around 25k copies and the book will earn out at 100-200k.
      Now, I know little about this latest flavor of the week but by the comments here and elsewhere the dude clearly has more than enough followers to sell at least 50K copies and likely even 500K if the current fury endures.

      So, business-wise, it’s a slam dunk.

      This is just the beginning, though.
      See, the Manhattan mafia is just now starting to realize what Madison ave and the rest of the parochial NYC media are already coming to grips with: there are living breathing conservatives out there in the “wastelands” west of the Hudson. Millions upon millions. And they spend money, too. Lots and lots of money.
      Try this one:


      Signature quote:

      A few days after the Nov. 8 election, the chief executive of the ad agency giant McCann Worldgroup summoned top executives to discuss what the company could learn from the surprising outcome. One takeaway for him and his staff was that too much advertising falsely assumes that all U.S. consumers desire to be like coastal elites.

      “Every so often you have to reset what is the aspirational goal the public has with regard to the products we sell,” said Harris Diamond, McCann’s CEO. “So many marketing programs are oriented toward metro elite imagery.” Marketing needs to reflect less of New York and Los Angeles culture, he said, and more of “Des Moines and Scranton.”


      Like, duh, right?

      Expect less pandering to Politically Correct handwringers and a lot more paeans to small town values and virtues in ads and media. Which seems to work great for Hallmark’s Channels, full of G-rated mysteries and romances, and (come the holidays) loads of 30-something romcoms set in small town middle America where everybody runs small businesses, has a cute precocious kid (above average, because all kids are above average) and are invariably polite even to obnoxious money-grubbing big city folks. (Mostly because since most of the actors are Canadian, polite is in their DNA.) 😉

      It’s too late for this to be reflected in the 2017 network TV series but keep an eye out for 2018. It’s going to be back to 1980.

      Maybe they’ll do a revival of NORTHERN EXPOSURE or EVENING SHADE. 🙂

      So no, it’s no stunt.
      Just more flavor of the week money grubbing.

      • See, the Manhattan mafia is just now starting to realize what Madison ave and the rest of the parochial NYC media are already coming to grips with: there are living breathing conservatives out there in the “wastelands” west of the Hudson. Millions upon millions. And they spend money, too. Lots and lots of money.

        I’m not sure I’d say this is any kind of sudden about-face or wake-up call – especially with Simon & Schuster which has probably accounted for the bulk of books by whatever conservative firebrand happens to be popular.

        The New York publishers have always been very aware and very much eager to participate in lucrative red-meat conservative books for decades.

        Just a few (which include a great many bestsellers):

        * Rush Limbaugh has published 7 books with Simon & Schuster imprints Pocket Books and Threshold Editions since 1992
        * Ann Coulter has published at least 8 books under Random House imprint Crown Forum since 1998 (along with a few more with California publisher Salem)
        * Sarah Palin’s “Going Rogue” was highly promoted by publisher HarperCollins to catch the lightning in a bottle after her sudden celebrity
        * Glenn Beck has published over 15 books through Simon & Schuster
        * Phil Robertson’s “Happy Happy Happy” was also published by Simon & Schuster
        * Bill O’Reilly has published around 20 books, mostly with MacMillan but also with Random House

        Expect less pandering to Politically Correct handwringers and a lot more paeans to small town values and virtues in ads and media.

        I never quite get all the occasional veneration of small-town life or when it’s held up as “real America” or whatever. My family all came from small towns and a lot of family and friends still live in small towns scattered across the south, southwest, and midwest. I’ve spent a great deal of my life in various small towns. Small towns are not better or worse than cities, just…different.

        A lot of them you don’t lock your doors. I have a friend who doesn’t even know where her house key is and often leaves the car keys in the car. And meanwhile, siphoning gas late at night used to be pretty common in the 70s and 80s before locking gas flaps became the norm and cheaper gasoline intervened in the 90s. Drug issues are pretty rampant in many small towns across the country.

        A lot of times, you know who the “bad ones” are if something (like the air compressor out of my grandmother’s garage) turns up missing. And you know the bad areas. And at the same time, people can be extremely friendly and welcome and help neighbors out.

        Authors like Stephen King and Karin Slaughter come to mind when they peel back some of the Beaver Cleaver 1950s rose-colored-glasses veneer of what people imagine small-town life to be like and show some of the warts (and in the case of King, imagine a whole lot uglier ones).

        You get good and ugly anywhere humans congregate and in whatever numbers they’re in. Different enclaves have different character – and a big city has numerous distinct enclaves that could in no way be characterized as all the same sort of blob of “big city” than any small town could be said to be like all the others.

        • It’s all about what sells.
          The “narrative”.
          Note that most of the conservative stuff published by the BPHs is beltway insider stuff. It’s really just a different urban street gang. 😉

          In the linked piece the advertisers even talk about going to the jungle instead of the zoo. All sorts of snark come to mind from that one metaphor alone. (Intrepid ad men venturing into deepest darkest exurbia or, worse, actual small towns, trying to study the elusive creature, homo ruralis.)

          Me, my favorite narrative about big city vs small town is Chad Oliver’s classic SHADOWS IN THE SUN. 60 years and counting and he still nails it.

  22. Looks like Milo has already won the battle.

  23. As eschwartz said in his response to one of my earlier posts, free speech is like a pressure relief valve. Seeking to suppress ideas you don’t agree with does not make those ideas go away.

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