Authors Facing Increasing Pressure To Retroactively Edit Their Work To Appease Critics

We have been discussing writerseditorscommentators, and academics who have embraced rising calls for censorship and speech controls, including book banning and blacklisting. That movement has now become retroactive. Authors are now being successfully pressured to remove lines from published books that are deemed objectionable by some readers. It appears that even speech that has published can be retroactively “corrected” under the threat of public accusation.

One of the authors who has agreed to curtail her own prior writing is Elin Hilderbrand who agreed to retroactively remove her own lines in the 2021 book, The Golden Girl.  According to an article in Publishers Weekly, there was an objection to a line of the character Vivi who responded to the suggestion of her friend Savannah that they hide out for the summer in the attic of Savannah’s parents’ attic. Vivi asks. “Like … like Anne Frank?” The two friends laugh at the absurdity, but Vivi thinks, “Is it really funny, and is Vivi so far off base?”

That led to some readers to declare that the line was “horrifically” antisemitic and demanding an apology for thinking “antisemitism is funny.” Hilderbrand responded with a profuse apology and a promise to remove the line.

Author Casey McQuiston also yielded to such demands after readers objected to a line the gay romance novel Red, White & Royal Blue when the president in the United States in the book complains “Well, my UN ambassador fu**ed up his one job and said something idiotic about Israel, and now I have to call Netanyahu and personally apologize.”  Readers decried that the line “normalizes the genocide & war crimes done by Israel that will always be backed up & unashamedly supported by America.” It was a bizarre objection since the line could be viewed as an implied criticism of deference shown to Israel in American politics. Nevertheless, McQuiston caved to the pressure and promised to remove the line.

What is striking is how few objections were made to these books and how quickly the authors yielded. The point of cancel campaigns is to create a chilling effect for academics, writers, editors, and others. No one wants to have their careers or lives altered by being labeled racist or anti-Semitic. It is easier to yield.

We just discussed the one year anniversary of the disgraceful action of the New York Times to sack an editor and to issue a cringing apology for publishing the views of a Republican senator. The action of the Times sent a loud message to all writers that the ability to continue to work depends on avoiding any such accusations.  Following the Cotton controversies, various writers were forced off major publications in a purging of those with conservative or opposing views.

The decisions of these book authors will fuel greater calls for retroactive censorship of controversial lines in creative works. Works can then be sanitized to remove any material objectionable to readers.  That may be advantageous for these authors but it will only further erode the protections and expectations of free speech for writers as a whole.

78 thoughts on “Authors Facing Increasing Pressure To Retroactively Edit Their Work To Appease Critics”

  1. “Anonymous says: June 10, 2021 at 12:36 PM

    Jonathan Turley has found his niche.”

    It’s his safe space.

    1. Anonymous, if you are meaning to point out that Professor Turley stands in the breach against censorship and the fear that ones life can be destroyed by the new priests of the left you would be correct in your evaluation of his niche. If your intent was to make jest of his positions it must then follow that you are in favor of censorship and placing others in fear for their future. Are we surprised?

  2. BRUTAL CRACKDOWN BY COMMUNIST CHINA

    NO FREEDOM UNDER THE CONSTITUTION – ONLY ARBITRARY DICTATORSHIP

    Ever wonder what the genesis of the BLM, ANTIFA, NFAC and other anti-American riots is, it’s the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

    Just ask the Uighurs.

    I can’t wait for the total nullification of the Constitution, and the communist (liberal, progressive, socialist, democrat, RINO) takeover in America to be consummated.

    Oh, Happy Day!!!
    ______________

    BREAKING: Chinese Police Storm Rare Student Protest Inside Nanjing Normal University – June 08, 2021

    Chinese police stormed a campus protest Tuesday inside Nanjing Normal University, where students were rising up against a plan to merge the school with a vocational college in fear that it would devalue their degrees. Police said students held the dean hostage for over 30 hours, beginning Sunday. Some students “shouted verbal abuse and blocked law enforcement,” Danyang city police said in a statement. The Jiangsu education authorities suspended the merger plans, which affected five local universities, late Monday evening. But, that didn’t stop the students from raging forward. One video spreading through social media like wildfire showed police shoving their way through a sea of students. Police used pepper spray and batons in attempts to disperse the protest. While it is being referred to as a hostage situation, students say the dean was sitting with them voluntarily.

    Here are some pictures (WARNING: Blood)

    https://humanevents.com/2021/06/08/breaking-chinese-police-storm-rare-student-protest-inside-nanjing-normal-university/

    – Human Events

      1. Technocrats don’t accept criticism from the unwashed masses. So instead of challenging him on his calculations, they will attack him on his (lack of) credentials.

          1. I’ll bet Egypt is ecstatic that the Israelite slaves were out of Egypt before the ink was dry on their release papers.

            Egypt hasn’t suffered for millennia, and doesn’t suffer now, a caterwauling, ineffectual and dependent minority which is relentlessly begging for “free stuff,” in all its multitudinous forms, including compulsory free social acceptance, free money, free food, free housing, free matriculation, free grade inflation, free hiring, free mortgage assistance, free healthcare insurance, free immunity from culpability, etc.

            The communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs) in America have made Karl Marx proud – no freedom and self-reliance for them; simply class “untouchability,” dependence and entitlement.

          2. Kamala Harris is an unaccomplished “Empty Trouser Suit” and the false result of a “rigged” election.

            She paid for faux ascendance with sexual favors – she didn’t say “NO” like Me Too Christine Ballsey Ford, and all the Harvey Weinstein girls, she said “YES!”

            She prosecuted marijuana use while using marijuana.

            She is a conforming communist, consumed by an aberrant desire for personal power for personal power’s sake as compensation for her existence as a barren woman with no raison d’etre.

            As Hillary Clinton bore one child for political appearances, Kamala Harris rented a nice white family for the last election.

            Kamala Harris will never be a “natural born citizen” as both her parents were not citizens at the time of the candidate’s birth, and Kamala Harris will never be eligible for vice president or president.

            Kamala Harris IS a tragedy; a walking, talking disaster.

      1. It’s a form of ad hominem argument intended to mock and degrade an opponent.

        That said…

        Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks

        No surprise.

  3. Apparently the authors are afraid of being accused of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, but not of being talentless authors. Both examples demonstrate tacky writing and superficial thinking. But yes, they should not be censored. Even hack writers have the right to express their opinions.

  4. These Orwellian “Ministers of Truth” are not only inane, ignorant, and stupid, they are rabid fascists that the Democrat party has let infiltrate their party and their minds. When you vote Dem you vote for this continued decay of American critical thinking and civility. Sorry but we need to call a spade a spade. Until dem leadership speaks out against this and stops kneeling//bowing to them, the choice is clear.

  5. Dear Galileo:

    We respectfully request that you make two minor edits to your recently published book: _Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems_.

    All references to the Earth “in motion” should read: “is static.”

    All references to the Sun “is static” should read: “is in motion.”

    Collegially yours,

    The Inquisition

  6. It seems we have all collectively forgotten the old childhood rhyme about Sticks and Stones.

    The most liberating thing one can do is to simply stop caring or listening to what others say or think about you.

    Call me whatever you want. I really don’t give a damn.

  7. If all who are concerned about this trend would contact the authors and in a civil way express their concern, I would hope it would help them rethink their position. That and reading 1984!

  8. When we read a book, we have to suspect the author doesn’t mean what he or she is saying.

    Soon the Authors will want anonymity and sign their books Anonymous the Stupid, so they can blame someone else when someone complains about one of their ideas.

  9. Western societies in general, and America in particular are committing cultural suicide. We live in a society that has reached such a level of decadence that the will to defend even the most basic principles of western democracy has all but disappeared. Now even writers of fiction are volunteering to censor their own writings in the face of criticism by a few online thugs. As power aggregates flows the central government, what will happen when these cowardly actions no longer become voluntary

  10. Before the internet and email and social media and even cheap long distance calling, it took some effort to write and post a letter or send a telegram objecting to something. In that environment organizations assumed that for every letter or telegram or phone call, there were dozens or hundreds of other people with similar thoughts. That meant that even a small handful
    of complaints would get a hearing.

    That is now all reversed. Complaining is as easy as retweeting something. But the mindset has not changed, people still cringe before even one complaint, which may be idiotic on its face—e.f., Trader Joe’s reconsidering its humorous ethnic labeling over literally one teenager’s complaint.

    Now companies and schools and everyone else cave in over nonsense from trivial numbers of clearly deranged complaints, which encourages more and worse. It will get worse with no end in sight unless people stand up to the cry bullies.

  11. People are such pussies. Tell ’em go to Hell and publish your thoughts. Why do they collapse to bullies?

    Courage is, was and always will be the sine qua non virtue ’cause from it springs all the rest.

    1. ” Why do they collapse to bullies?”

      It’s based on money. I’ll bet some would sell their souls to China for money? Hmmm. it seems Joe Biden already did.

    2. mespo

      Easier for us; we are old and no longer dependent on other’s judgment.

      We – those of us who can afford to – need to go after the bullies.

      I call people out for their stupidity and ask them if they want to be treated as the Left treats conservatives.

  12. Which is worse? The totalitarian thought police, or their absolute stupidity and hatred?

  13. Much better to just kill everyone who tries to exert their will on others and risk their careers or reputation.

  14. Samuel Clemens:. Look down from heaven and change your name on your books from Mark Twain to Don Trump.

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