April 3, 2012

DAVE FREER: Yes, You Can.

I’ve always avoided bringing politics into my posts, but it seems to me that publishing went wrong when they brought political philosophy into their strategy. The strategy essentially boils down to : You’re inferior. We know what is good for you. Trust us, we (the government) will look after you. Oddly enough every good communist or socialist I ever met (and yes, I have met some earnest good people believing in these philosophies), wanted to _help_ people, but assumed they’d be ones deciding what was good for those (inferior) people. Not them, of course. The first part of the philosophy is often left unstated but, hell, if I’m not inferior, why would ‘we’ know better than ‘me’ what is good for me?

And out of this Nanny-state-in-publishing spilled into a sequence of pro-their-political-outlook (because it is good for you) and anti anything that actually smelled of the individual triumphing, especially without authority helping. The core message, the mantra of ‘nanny’ is just “You CAN’T. We know what is best for you (and for readers) and you CAN’T DO THAT. If you try, it’ll all end in tears. And thus a lot of what they brought out was predictions of the misery those who didn’t sing their song (and march in time to their music) would bring. The BAD people, who weren’t good (the correct kind of) government…

Which, in a nutshell is why “Can-do” books are out of fashion. (which – as a South African, I was raised to believe was an intrinsic American value. My Dad picked it up from his dealing with ‘Yanks’ in the war. Do you know how weird I found the shattering of this illusion? It’s certainly still true of some… but there is an awful lot of ‘I can’t, nanny must. I’ll be good so she will’, which makes me want to puke in my breakfast.).

Read the whole thing.

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