My conversation with American culture writer, novelist and podcaster Kat Rosenfield
I will add this comment as I have for the sites I most value. Many of us do not have the time nor the inclination to listen to podcasts/watch videos. Luckily, there are auto-transcribers that will take the spoken part and reduce it to text with 99% accuracy. We readers can figure out the errors and read past them. They are inexpensive/free and most of the sites where I have brought this up have started posting transcriptions when they post podcasts.
Anything for which one has to sacrifice minute for minute to learn is likely to be underused -- there are only 1440 minutes in a day. But a 15 minute podcast can be read in under a minute. This is wonderful for your visual learners and will greatly broaden your scope.
Hope you can figure out how to do this. Your stuff is wonderful. Just don't want to miss any of it.
Please consider transcribing the podcasts…
All this does is offer a significant competitive advantage to smaller, independent publishers. Random House, Penguin, etc., need to realize that there is nothing that guarantees them future success based on past performance. If they want to adopt an Orwellian business model, they are likely to find that their best authors simply find another publisher. And guess what? No reader ever bought a book because of who the publisher was.
Scribners was an unknown tiny publisher until they signed Hemingway; it is great writing that creates large publishing houses, not the other way around.
Oh good, I’m not crazy. I am an avid reader of popular fiction and over the past few years I have noticed odd insertions of characters and ideas that were not pertinent to the storyline. Yes, there’s an increase in soap-boxing of woke ideology, but I like to be for warned about such things in the book’s write-up. Instead, they are not so stealthily sprinkled in. I was thinking it was an attempt for a positive ESG score and to avoid backlash. Fiction in peril.
I remember listening to an interview with Alberto on Blocked and Reported. The novel sounds really good. I do love Kat's reporting on this.
A friend who recently published a successful work of fiction stated something (I'm paraphrasing) along the lines of: they wanted the character to be Asian Canadian, but not that the whole book is about that fact, i.e. that the character was a complex human being, whose racial or ethnic identity was only one aspect of that complexity. And that to this author, that feels like the way forward and more of what they would like to read themselves. It seems to me that with the type of 'sensitivity reading' discussed, publishers are simply generating a new and sneaky version of fetishizing immutable characteristics. Personally I don't see how that leads to either good art, or to greater awareness, inclusion, or kindness in our society.
I enjoyed the conversation and I enjoyed Kat's "No One Will Miss Her".
This is definitely a problem. I've written a few books adapted from screenplays and sensitivity readers is one of many reasons why I've been more reluctant to get my work out there as much. I don't want the hassle. Most of my work is not featuring someone who looks like me or anything I have personal experience with in the way a sensitivity reader might take issue with. It's part of the reason why I'm on Substack and looking at putting my stuff up here in the future. Because I'm unlikely to see this happen.
I haven't listened to this, but as advertised, it is not about "literature". It is about PROPAGANDA.
If you insist on mis-stating the fundamentals, your conversations become less than uninteresting. They become dangerous.
I found Lean Out through The Unspeakable, and I've been catching up.
I really wish this had been a longer interview because I know a lot of authors have a lot to say about the current state of the publishing industry — including myself — but I'll leave you with what I've learned in the midst of this mess: The gatekeepers are not the key-masters.
That was a wonderful and insightful conversation. I used to read a lot of fiction but after reading non-fiction books like 'Beyond the Horizon' by Colin Angus and 'Be Different' by John Elder Robison, I just haven't been able to go back to fiction. There are so many engaging real life stories to learn from.
And the thought of 'sensitivity readers' being the new gatekeepers really turns me off. I can't imagine how they can think that one person can speak on behalf of a whole culture is okay. Individuals are too diverse.
Thanks for the listen. Sad but not surprising. Liberal racism masquerading as equality.