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that this means that books that don't meet the woke standards of left-wing employees of publishing companies should not be published.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.

NEXT: "Court-Packing Isn’t Just a Bad Idea—It’s Downright Unconstitutional"

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  1. What an intelligent, important, gay man.

      1. That's where Oppenheimer went to HS!

        I don't see nothin about chasity.

        “This objectification and denigration of Black and Brown young women and their bodies at Fieldston are clearly rooted in racism, sexism, and classism, and serve to continue their oppression dating to the slave era, when Black and Brown women were considered subhuman,” the suit states.

        Emile, who is also an alumna of the school, says two white students called her son a racial slur during an October 2020 Snapchat conversation. Those students were allegedly given leniency while Bagby retaliated against Emile’s son with an investigation into his behavior, according to the suit.

        She also claims that her daughter was bullied over her hair and placed into academic groupings beneath her qualifications.

        The suit is seeking damages and calling for the immediate removal of the school’s entire board, as well as Bagby, who announced last month that she would step down from her post after next school year.

  2. And Mr. Charles background is.....

  3. Prof. Bernstein, you are making a basic error. You are assuming that the person who wrote this wrote it in good faith, that his words represent his ture ideas, and therefore they must have a logical consistency. Not so.

    It is a classic radical tactic to use labels for things that are the exact opposite of what they are, so as to confuse people, and be used as an attack on their opponents. Remember the old days when communist countries called themselves the "People's Democratic Republic of ____?" They were the exact opposite of Democratic Republics, but they used those words to obfuscate the truth and attack their opponents (who but a fascist would be against a "People's Democratic Republic?")

    Same here. "Diversity" is a bad faith label meant to obfuscate that what is really meant is conformity of thought and censorship of disagreement. The naive are fooled, and the opponents can be attacked as adversaries of "diversity."

  4. Somehow judging people by the content and character of their heart instead of the color of their skin has become controversial. All blacks do not think alike. All whites do not think alike. All Southerners do not think alike. All gay individuals do not think alike. All religious people do not think alike. All educated people do not think alike. All "uneducated" people do not think alike. All people in "flyover country" do not think alike. All "white-collar professionals" do not think alike. All "blue collar workers" do not think alike. All rich people do not think alike. All poor people do not think alike. "Identity" does not determine how you think or what you think.

  5. "So by his own logic"

    As if this Washington Post fellow is going to be constrained by anything so cold and heartless as logic. There is a world to be saved here!

  6. The employees are often the problem. All information businesses are tech dependent now, and the tech people have enormous power over the companies. And many of them went to elite schools and marinated in the critical theory, and think their jobs are where they will make their difference in society.

    I am not really sure it is solveable.

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

    Mike Pence may have a book in him. He surprised everyone with his purposeful and courageous response to January 6. If his name somehow appeared on a readable book, he would surprise everyone again. If he authored an original book, or broke any new intellectual ground, he would astonish the world. I suggest Simon and Schuster consider giving Pence a contract, conditional on his personal authorship of every word.

    Just in general, I don't think it is the role of the nation's leading publishers to distribute judiciously opportunities for apparently ill-read political figures of various stripes to deploy ghost writers. If publishing has no higher mission than as handmaiden to political hackery, then it isn't even worth Bernstein's foolish attention, let alone anyone else's.

    1. "I don’t think it is the role of the nation’s leading publishers to distribute judiciously opportunities..."

      No, it's their job to make money.

      Past vice presidents have released books that have sold quite well, in the hundreds of thousands of copies. Pence's book could sell quite well also. Publishers get a cut of that, to keep their business afloat, and to pay their employees.

      If the employees really want to protest, and cut off their source of income, they can resign. But management's job is to keep them paid, and to do that, they need to make money.

      1. Armchair, I think ghostwriting for politicians is a particularly nasty species of political fraud, in which publishers should not involve themselves, whether or not they can make money by doing it.

      2. “No, it’s their job to make money”

        Apparently not, if they’re willing to tell the author of what will likely be a bestselling book to go elsewhere.

        Apparently their job, like so many other businesses and universities, is now to virtue signal at any opportunity.

        I hope that the people who actually create things of value will figure this out eventually, and stop paying attention to these people who can only destroy.

  8. You go to easy on Mr. Charles. If lawyers don't mercilessly parody the publicly stupid, who will?

  9. Nobody has to publish anything. And publishers' employees can gripe about what their company does or doesn't publish all they want. And if their employers are anything like most employers I have ever known, they will ignore them. And if they don't, that's their business. See proposition one.

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