Will the Cancel Culture Endanger Book Publishing in the Future?

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B.L.

Puritan Board Freshman
Morning,

I've been thinking a lot about the speed at which Western Civilization is crumbling and wondered whether the "cancel culture" might reach new heights in the future leading to the outright banning or decision not to reprint literature from authors who held or hold views that are deemed to be out of step with the times. If not by law perhaps by heaping so much social pressure on the publisher that they refuse to publish the works of "author x" any longer.

What are your thoughts? Is there no better time to build up your library than today?

This is more of a curious musing than a real fear that I have, but given the rate of decay underway...

:book2:
 
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Jo_Was

Puritan Board Freshman
In the broader publishing world, there has already been instances of this. I know of an instance wherein an Asian author for Young Adults (teenagers) had her debut cancelled and pushed back when people were outraged that she had slavery in her book and some of those characters were POC (people of color). People saw that as an offense to Black Americans, yet it flew over their heads that her influence was being an immigrant from Asia aware of the slave trade that still exists within many Asian countries for women and children in particular.

Secondarily, Macmillan has a conservative imprint (just like many houses have lots of different imprints from childrenn-specific, to artform-specific, to gender-specific etc) and people are trying to cancel culture that as harboring racist, sexist, etc voices. It's especially weird to me, because book publishers can and do often publish a variety of books, and have many imprints that focus on specific demographics (some even very liberal) and opinions that even directly contradict, so people feel attacked by a space for conservative voices, when there are often imprints for every other perspective also.

So, for non-fiction and religious works, it is certainly possible. There's not as much vitriole/Twitter hate culture in general for non-fiction works, but it does and can happen (American Dirt was a more journalistic piece that caused some controversy because the author wasn't writing "their own experience").

I don't know that the cancel culture fans are as rabid and/or even reading the books we would be most afraid of "getting out" though.

Take solace in how Martin Luther, even as the powers that be attempted to burn his works, it was near-impossible to snuff it all out. How much moreso do we have the privilege of having not just print, but internet capabilities. Even countries with great censorship (one comes to mind that starts with a "c") there has been ability to bring in Gospel literature (like Westminster Confession of Faith and Bibles) to these places. While there are loud (even *very* loud voices), I don't think it is emblematic of the whole, and I largely believe we are at a point of having so much ability to share in traditional and untraditional ways, that we (at least in the West) don't have to worry *too much* about disseminating the truth.

This is why we also need more students and people in general who take it up to transcribe the old works that are only in scans at the moment and unavailable to a wider audience...also more ebook formats would be nice for some larger theological works (commentaries, minutes) to make accessible to more people across more places. I'm optimistic that while there is some 'cancel culture' in our midst, that we're actually reaching a time with greater ability to disseminate resources to the rest of the world in greater number and access than we ever have in all of history. For that, I rejoice. If our own culture will not appreciate, I rejoice that the larger church can be reached with it and profit from it.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
:agree:

Also, the outrage culture lacks the ability to focus on one thing long enough to actually accomplish anything.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
Squirrel!
For that outrageous slur against innocent rodents, I am prepared to cancel.

As for cancel culture, it's like epidemiology. Everyone will be exposed to cancelling for some transgression or another. When enough have been cancelled, cancelling will no longer be effective. Voila: herd immunity!
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I believe there is a real niche market for publishing the most offensive books out there that we can write. If we have the spines to refuse to be unapologetic for them. My current favorite marriage book is entitled, "First, kill all the marriage counselors!" for example. Ha ha. We need more books like that.

I remember paying top dollar a decade ago when I heard media was cancelling all the old non-PC Bugs Bunny cartoons and I wanted to make sure I had a copy of the Ducktators and Southern Fried Rabbit and especially Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips. Even Speedy Gonzales disappeared from television even if my Mexican friends in the military loved that little guy (Ariba ariba!).

So....we should band together and purposely offend and I believe the market will win out and we'll get rich from folks tired of the current cultural abyss we find ourselves in.
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
Depending on how things go in official politics, I see the bible being banned at least for publishing and selling. After all it calls homosexuality sin, Paul told slaves to obey their masters, it claims Jesus is the only way to God, and countless other triggering offenses. I've been trying to collect extra bibles, and just thinking about this makes me want to get more.
 

chuckd

Puritan Board Sophomore
How much moreso do we have the privilege of having not just print, but internet capabilities.
All it takes is pressure on google, facebook, twitter, etc. and *poof* it's gone. Sure, maybe the book exists on some random website, but you'll never find it even if you go looking for it.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
As long as there is an internet, publishing cannot be cancelled.

See, I just published a sentence.
 

Pilgrim

Puritan Board Doctor
At the present time, I see this as being similar to the hard left people taking over institutions like the New York Times and wanting to turn it into Mother Jones or The Nation or whatever. All of those are generally on the left, but the latter two are much more narrowly focused in that way.

It is going to impact more "big name" or "general interest" publishers who have tended to be committed to publishing a wide variety of material from a wide variety of perspectives. But with the attempts to cut off financial tools for gun manufacturers, (such as access to loans, for example) it's possible that we could see something similar with "bigoted" material in the future published by smaller companies. I don't know that we'll ever quite see overt Soviet-style censorship, but publishing could be pushed underground to such an extent that you really have to go looking for it. Plus, the surveillance tools the big tech companies are developing for China could be deployed here if the courts allow it.

Amazon could probably make certain ebooks go "poof" if they really wanted. (Unlike Logos, you don't actually own Kindle books but simply have a license to use them.) Their platform was built on the idea that you could buy just about anything there, but that could change under pressure in the future, especially if they succeed in putting more competition out of business. I've been trying to persuade Christians to support other Christian sites instead, but they'd rather give business to a company like that than they would to sites that don't meet their standards for purity. Some don't even buy from RHB or WTS when they are often cheaper.
 

Jo_Was

Puritan Board Freshman
All it takes is pressure on google, facebook, twitter, etc. and *poof* it's gone. Sure, maybe the book exists on some random website, but you'll never find it even if you go looking for it.
Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc don't "own" the internet. They also don't contain it, even if there is much traffic that goes through them. They are primarily places that contain the reposting of other sources and aggregations of things from other parts of the internet. The internet is a big, wide world. These things do not stop [insert heavily censored country that may or may not start with c and others] from getting materials through other means. There are so many web hosting services, ways to make websites and content of all sorts and the ability to spread that content that does not rely on the purview of search engines or social media platforms.

We can even go a step less and not have to use the internet at all (or in the least a file sharing/dropbox). All one needs is a document and a thumb drive. This is actually one of the means by which ministries like Third millennium Ministries is distributing theological and Biblical study resources to pastors in other countries -- by compiling resources on USB thumbdrives and allowing people in other countries to download/upload material.

Also, phones are a big wave too. While not everyone has access to a computer, many people, even in poorer areas, have phones. And that access has increased the ability to share/connect even more because many people can view information through their phone as if it were a computer.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Graduate
Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc don't "own" the internet. They also don't contain it, even if there is much traffic that goes through them. They are primarily places that contain the reposting of other sources and aggregations of things from other parts of the internet. The internet is a big, wide world. These things do not stop [insert heavily censored country that may or may not start with c and others] from getting materials through other means. There are so many web hosting services, ways to make websites and content of all sorts and the ability to spread that content that does not rely on the purview of search engines or social media platforms.

We can even go a step less and not have to use the internet at all (or in the least a file sharing/dropbox). All one needs is a document and a thumb drive. This is actually one of the means by which ministries like Third millennium Ministries is distributing theological and Biblical study resources to pastors in other countries -- by compiling resources on USB thumbdrives and allowing people in other countries to download/upload material.

Also, phones are a big wave too. While not everyone has access to a computer, many people, even in poorer areas, have phones. And that access has increased the ability to share/connect even more because many people can view information through their phone as if it were a computer.
Excellent points...but... :)

Your example is of mapping extremely narrow content to a population that has the instructions on how to retrieve it. While the church can do these things, it makes it difficult to get material into the hands of those who may not be in our circles. Not to mention, Christians may author books for a wider audience that would be de-platformed when the beliefs of the author are uncovered.
 

PezLad

Puritan Board Freshman
Satan is not so concerned with the mere words, and he wants them to remain of such, he is afraid of those who have the Spirit of Christ, proclaiming the word in the Spirit, and hence with power. 1 Corinthians 2:4: and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. When will we see another George Whitefield? I have seen many a persons defend Christianity, even Christ, and they do a good job in the flesh, but it falls on deaf ears, for the hope of the kingdom of Christ cannot be seen.
 

Jo_Was

Puritan Board Freshman
Excellent points...but... :)

Your example is of mapping extremely narrow content to a population that has the instructions on how to retrieve it. While the church can do these things, it makes it difficult to get material into the hands of those who may not be in our circles. Not to mention, Christians may author books for a wider audience that would be de-platformed when the beliefs of the author are uncovered.
I think you underestimate how easy it is to "retrieve" materials. The power in what I bring up as far as ease of access and accessibility IS that consumption of material on the internet and distributing material is an extremely low barrier of entry with MANY avenues that don't require everyone to be even computer literate, if we're talking base-access on a phone, or even something simple like a kindle/e-reader, for instance (especially if it's pre-loaded with stuff). People in [insert censored C country here] have used something as basic as programming code depositories to get out messages and information to people in their churches (who I assure you are not all 'in our circles'). Even people in second and third world countries, who may not have access to our nice, newest technology, or even basic things like electricity or running water, have a phone. Instructions are as basic as "click this" or "tap this" to access. I'm not even talking "underhand" means of getting information out necessarily (though that is also possible). But buying and creating websites is super accessible, posting on blogs and forums, depositories, file sharing, videos, photos, etc. If anything, things that can be easily accessed on the phone are EXACTLY some of the ways we can reach "those who may not be in our circles" because, as noted, while people in 2nd World and even 3rd world countries may not have the glitz and glamour of many 1st world gadgets, phones are a common thing and they are changing the landscape of who can access material. This is already a known arena in socioeconomics, education, and humanitarian circles that are trying to reach these people with different aids. How much more important that the Church also recognize this opportunity?

Just some articles that might help to shed light (not from the perspective of spreading the Gospel, but more general education/socioeconomics stuff):

" Africa is today the fastest growing and second largest mobile phone market in the world. "

" Today, more people have access to mobile phones than to electricity or clean water "

" Mobile phones are increasingly ubiquitous in poor countries, which now account for four in every five connections worldwide "

Imagine if we, as the church, developed accessible materials like this (again, Third millennium Ministries has some of that idea going on): https://www.theguardian.com/sustain...0/mobile-phones-smartphone-education-teaching

All that to say, I think we are seriously underplaying the accessibility that mobile phones, internet brings to reaching countries that have not had the privileges we do. I think we should be spurred on by the fact that there are many others in the world receptive and hungry for education in matters of the Gospel, Christian teaching, history, living, instruction etc and that we can have great impact on disseminating information to our brothers and sisters! These things give me hope whenever the worry of "censorship" in the West comes about, by helping me hold on to perspective of what we do have and how we can share that with others now.
 
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