[From the desk of Timothy the Talking Cat, editor in chief of Cattimothy House Publishing]
As the foremost voice in modern publishing, no issue concerns me more than the forthright defence of free speech. Free speech is the principle on which our industry, our nation and our civilisation has been built. Without it, what are we but vassals to the hoi-polloi?
How committed am I to free speech? More than anybody. More than [insert famous example here that I’ll look up later] who said once that while I may disagree with what you say I’ll will defend to the death your right to be called a stupid head by me. Fine words and a fine sentiment for these dark times.
Free speech are the broad and strong walls that protect us from the outer chaos. Upon those walls there must be proud warriors ever vigilant to defend the stones beneath their paws. I count myself as one such warrior.
As such it behoves me to seek out the many ways my speech is threatened. For example, people being meany-heads to hard working publishers like myself. When those people pick on me and say “this book makes no sense” or “this book is full of horrific cliches” or “this book is just the wikipedia page of Winston Churchill with a find/replace to make it a book about a talking cat”, what are they hoping to accomplish? TO SILENCE ME that’s what and as such they are the enemies of free speech!
The only way to maintain
my our freedom is to prevent such meany heads criticising me. Really in any sane world they wouldn’t even be allowed social media accounts. But that’s not the only threat.
I recently read some snooty author being mean about Lord of the Rings. Let me be absolutely clear about this:
- Being rudely dismissive of classic literature is MY prerogative. How dare somebody else do that and hence rob me of an opportunity. Stealing my chance to speak is an attack on my free speech.
- When people say bad things about authors and books that I regard as my personal territory THAT HURTS MY FEELINGS. Why are people trying to hurt my feelings? Because they hate FREEDOM that’s why.
I have written to the United Nations (not that I expect much from them) as well as the heads of Amazon and Twitter and Facebook demanding that we all unite to defend free speech to its utmost with the following universal laws:
- NO BEING MEANY HEADS TO PUBLISHERS. We get to do what we want without criticism or ‘reviews’ and certainly with nobody forensically auditing our accounts on behalf of the authors we didn’t pay.
- No talking about the systemic racism or sexism in my hiring practices, editing process, choice of inspirational posters or making a big deal of whatever I posted on social media when I was high on catnip. That’s just RIGHT OUT OF ORDER.
- No pointing out the very human flaws, foibles, crimes, horrible behaviour, appalling decisions, public failings etc of any author from the past that I happen to like. There are plenty of authors I don’t like that you can be as horrible as you like about, so clearly any discussion of the ones I DO LIKE is a direct attack on me personally and I will treat it as such.
- No making clever hot takes on issues, books and genres that I haven’t made yet thus robbing me of a chance to be thought of as clever and insightful. That’s just plain theft.
Only with stalwart measures like the ones above will
my our freedom of speech be secured for future generations of people who happen to think and talk just like me.