The Volokh Conspiracy

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Washington Post Book Critic Suggests that Accommodating a Wide Range of Ideas Means Only Publishing Books that Meet Woke Approval


Washington Post book critic Ron Charles writes, "I suspect some major publishers still don't understand what having a diverse workforce entails. It was never just about making your office look like a Benetton ad. The real goal behind a diverse workforce is a wide range of experiences and ideas — and people empowered to act on them."

In one of those impossible-to-parody moments, he explains in some detail that this means that books that don't meet the woke standards of left-wing employees of publishing companies should not be published. No books that leftists don't like at this publisher! We want to accommodate a wide range of ideas!

Charles himself is hardly the voice of reason, suggesting that publishers shouldn't publish a book by Mike Pence because he is a "fascist."

Let's see how many levels of absurdity we can discern here. First, as suggested above, "a wide range of experience and ideas" apparently totally excludes and right-of-center ideas, or close to it. So the wide range is in fact quite narrow.

Second, in turn this is apparently because Charles believes that only white men hold right-of-center ideas. So a diverse workforce wouldn't include any women or non-white who aren't sufficiently left-wing. More generally,  it doesn't even occur to the author that Simon & Schuster may have employees who are not leftists, much less conservatives, much less Trump supporters–and that some of them might not be white men.

Third, and perhaps most self-parodyingly, as near as I can tell from the picture up at the Post's website, Charles himself is a white man. So when he says that editorial judgments in the past "were based on what White men considered important, valid and entertaining," he could be talking about his own column. By definition, his column focuses on what a white guy finds important, valid, and entertaining. So by his own logic, Charles should be canceled.