Wednesday News: Simon & Schuster pulls “Dangerous,” the future of books, rom-com heroes, and controversial ‘sex-ed’ book
Simon & Schuster cancels Milo Yiannopoulos’ book – I am left wondering if Simon & Schuster was looking for a reason to drop Dangerous, despite their insistence that they were ‘doing the right thing’ and defending free speech. That claim was just about as convincing as Yiannopoulos’s insistence that he was just defending free speech. In the end, I think both are focused on money and attention. Which is not to say that even the most craven provocateurs don’t share the protections of the First Amendment and the civic benefits of free speech, but there’s a difference between engaging in protected speech and being a free speech advocate. Yiannopoulos has tried his hardest to conflate the two in order to keep up his ‘bait and bite’ show, while Simon & Schuster seemed more than willing to play along – until they weren’t. After, that is, the Conservative Political Action Conference dropped him as a speaker due to a video on which he makes some troubling comments about pedophilia and molestation. Roxane Gay’s comments seem pretty on point here:
“In cancelling Milo’s book contract, Simon & Schuster made a business decision the same way they made a business decision when they decided to publish that man in the first place,” she said.
“When his comments about pedophilia/pederasty came to light, Simon & Schuster realised it would cost them more money to do business with Milo than he could earn for them.
“They did not finally ‘do the right thing’ and now we know where their threshold, pun intended, lies. They were fine with his racist and xenophobic and sexist ideologies. They were fine with his transphobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.” – Al Jazeera
What’s next for books? – John Biggs takes on Chip McGregor, who, among other things, is predicting that Barnes & Noble will “create mini bestseller stores” and that “indie authors will return to big-name publishers” (which, as it happens, is, indeed, occurring). Biggs disagrees on both points, going to far as to call Barnes & Noble “dead.” What does Biggs see?
Instead you’ll see more long-tail authors picking and staying in the indie realm. Eliot Peper comes to mind as someone who is finding more indie success than he would at a mainstream publisher, and there are more. He also suspects that ultra-low, 99-cent pricing will go away in indie titles, something that is also a bit far-fetched; 99-cent pricing is still a clever way to drive up sales and Amazon rankings, and giving up on that odd tweak could be the death of most indie writers.
In short, we agree on a few things — mobile-only could become more popular and Christian fiction and other niches are going away (“There are only a handful of houses still acquiring Christian fiction these days, and some of them are shifting to doing high-quality literary or women’s stories for a broader people of faith, or a slim list of suspense novels, rather than clearly religious stories aimed only at the faithful,” he writes.) – Tech Crunch
Kumail Nanjiani on His New Rom-Com The Big Sick and Being a Brown Leading Man – If you haven’t been following Vulture’s “The RomCom Lives!” series, you can start here, with Jada Yuan’s interview with Silicon Valley‘s Kumail Nanjiani and his new film, The Big Sick, which is based on his relationship with his real-life wife, Emily V. Gordon. Nanjiani is a longtime fan of rom coms, and many of the issues he touches on in this interview (and many of the issues in the series as a whole) are relevant for genre Romance, as well, especially when it comes to the representation of race and culture in love and courtship stories.
Was it all on your mind that in American comedies you never see a Pakistani or Indian or East Asian guy in the lead? I actually wrote a piece for Vulture about Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and how revolutionary the character of Josh Chan was — because I’m Chinese and it was so great to see a Filipino bro as the object of lust.
Yeah, you don’t really see a lot of Asian men as romantic leads particularly. I mean, we have Asian leads in action movies and stuff, but we haven’t seen romantic leads. You know, my concern was, is there going to be somebody who will make this movie because — spoiler alert! — I’m a brown guy and we haven’t seen a brown guy be the lead of an American romantic comedy, as far as I remember. My question was, “Are we going to get money to make this movie?” And my concern continues to be that I hope people will go see this movie, because I do think a lot of different kinds of audiences will connect with it. I just hope that there’s a market for somebody who looks like me as the lead of a rom-com, you know? That’s the step we’re at now. – Vulture
Children’s sex book causes stir in Indonesia – I have read this article twice now and I’m still not sure whether this book is truly sex ed, or whether it’s actually demonizing masturbation in young children but is still being misinterpreted as a masturbation manual. And while I get that Indonesia, as a Muslim country, is coming at sex ed from a different perspective, there seem to be a lot of conflicting messages here that could cause controversy in any country or culture.
But there is a growing awareness about the importance of sex education for children, in part to prevent them from being sexually abused.
Despite this, the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) has said I Learn to Control Myself is harmful for children and could lead to “sexual deviance”.
The publishers, Tiga Serangkai, said the book was meant to educate children about why they feel how they do, but that “this behaviour is inappropriate and has potential health risks”.
“The target of this book is parents who feel their children might have this behaviour. But it also good for all parents and kids as a precaution.” – BBC