Last night, INTERN went out to hear a panel discussion about the impact e-books are going to have on readers and writers. More than once over the course of the evening, a panelist or a member of the (publishing industry-heavy) audience used the word “evil” to describe either themselves, their publisher, or another publisher (e.g. “OK, so I’m a publicist at one of the big evil publishers and…”)
As she sat there, INTERN started thinking about how weird this was.
For one thing, the word “evil” gets bandied around a lot. Consider the following not-so-uncommon formulas:
“Evil” = Big 6 publishing conglomerate+Risk-Aversive and Market-Driven/racism*2
“Evil” = self-absorbed nutcase + print-on-demand technology*shockingly terrible cover design.
“Evil” = Agents who reject anybody for any reason(wrath of millions)
“Evil” = Publishers who print “those awful books people actually buy” + people who buy those books, thereby encouraging publishers to publish more of them
“Evil” = The publishing industry in general/those people on the subway who evangelize about The Obvious Merits of Self-Publishing*0.5
“Evil” = (Those cliquey indie presses who only publish obscure bearded guys)(those other totally cliquey publishers who only publish people with, like, agents)
“Evil” = (“Those slatternly peasants in publicity/marketing aren’t doing enough to promote my book”)/(“Those slatterns in publicity/marketing are such slatterns for even attempting to commercialize my book!”)
“Evil” = Technology That Threatens to Rip Our Beloved Hardcovers From Our Very Breasts, Yea Verily
And on and on.
When INTERN really thinks about it, there are few aspects of publishing that she has not heard pronounced evil.
So what’s going on?
Is publishing a total Orgy of Iniquity, or does everyone just like to talk smack?
INTERN wants to believe that everyone (readers, writers, and people in different aspects of publishing) are basically good people trying to do good things. But that doesn’t seem to jive with this whole “evil” mentality.
Wiser readers: Please educate! INTERN is going to start making a Good/Evil list.