Welcome back to the Q&A column! We’re another week into the future, more sh** has gone down, and we’ve got plenty of things to discuss. Among them, how Chuck Wendig managed to accidentally “cancel” himself — read more about cancel culture here — by stepping into the Internet Archive controversy.
We’ll also talk about objective journalism in light of a big post I have coming out later today on Michael Jackson. If you’re someone who cares about justice, you won’t want to miss that one, so keep your eyes peeled around 2 PM EST.
I’ll give you the lineup for my upcoming short story and poetry collection Metamorphosis, and last we’ll take a look at what The Times has to say about that Tom Cotton op-ed — a week and a half later.
What’s up with Internet Archive?
On June 1 (that’s right, 12 days ago), a conglomerate of book publishers filed a lawsuit against Internet Archive, provider of a large online library. During the pandemic crisis, Internet Archive had begun a free, unrestricted e-book lending program. As a result of the suit, Internet Archive announced two days ago that it would end this program. This announcement prompted anger from many corners of the Internet.
People directed a lot of anger at author Chuck Wendig, who had previously denounced Internet Archive’s program as “piracy.” All across the Twitterverse, angry patrons of Internet Archive railed about how Chuck had sued a free, public service — wait, what?
Chuck Wendig isn’t suing anyone. He’s not connected to the lawsuit against Internet Archive. He stated that he didn’t intend to shutter Internet Archive by any means. Some people don’t believe him. A lot of people are misinformed.
How do I feel about Internet Archive? I’m very conflicted. On the one hand, it’s wonderful that people who couldn’t otherwise access books were able to do so through Internet Archive’s services. On the other hand, authors and artists deserve to be paid for their work. I wish we could trust people to buy the book if they have the resources and to borrow it if they don’t. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is possible.
Internet Archive flies in the face of traditional library setup and against traditional copyright law. It was (probably) only a matter of time before it landed itself in trouble. Chuck Wendig has almost nothing to do with it. The real story here is the clash between a free, nonprofit, online service and book publishers. Who will come out on top? It remains to be seen.
Is objective journalism dead?
This kind of connects to the whole Tom Cotton piece that’s yet to come, but start off by giving this New York Times article a read for me. It’s about liberalism and the liberal media — sort of. It’s about a lot of other things, too. And then read this one about “both sides” of journalism.
Objective journalism isn’t dead yet. But it’s under attack. In media outlets across the country, liberals — let that sink in for a second… liberals, the proponents of free speech and free press, liberals — have decided that objectivity should be replaced by what they call TRUTH. The problem is, they firebrand everyone who reports anything different. This is not what journalism should look like. Journalism should look at all sides of an issue and represent many different points-of-view. Otherwise, there is no equality. There is no justice.
We used to trust people to read an objective piece, to be able to understand and parse out the author’s inherent bias (hopefully slight), and to draw their own conclusion and their own opinion from analyzing both sides of an issue. The spoon-fed truths of today’s journalism represent both a disgrace on all journalism, but also a fundamental disrespect of American readers. Journalists who advocate for a single truth are telling you, obliquely, they don’t think you can parse out the truth with your own eyes and ears. That they are that much better and smarter than you.
I have nothing against opinion (obviously, since I’m writing this column). But opinion belongs in the opinion section, not in the evening news. Give us objective journalism! Let us make up our own minds about the truth!
What’s the lineup of stories for my upcoming short story and poetry collection Metamorphosis?
Are you ready for it? Here are the short stories and poems that will appear in Metamorphosis, in the order in which they’ll appear. A few are reprints; I’ll note them and link to their pages.
- “Breath,” a poem — REPRINT, read “Breath” here
- “Where the Wind Blows From Far Away,” a poem — REPRINT, read “Where the Wind Blows From Far Away” here
- “Metamorphosis,” a short story inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” and by Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which is the namesake of this collection
- “The Lion Boys,” a short story with transgenderism as a central theme
- “I Do Not Know You But I Know You For What You Are To Me,” a short story with a very long title
- “Hiraeth,” a short story whose title in Welsh means something akin to nostalgia mixed with regret — a nostalgia for something you’ve never known
- “Coming With You,” a short story and the most disturbing pick in the collection
- “The Line of Elucidation,” a poem with a disturbing twist
- “The Piano Tuner,” a short story about second chances
- “Goddess,” a poem — REPRINT, read “Goddess” here
The plan is to release Metamorphosis in mid-July. It’ll be just $0.99 for the first month, so start scuttling up those 99 pennies!
What’s the continued scoop on that Tom Cotton op-ed?
Long story short, after editor James Bennet apologized for printing the op-ed, he resigned. Maybe because he wanted to, maybe because he was told to. If he was told to, it’s anyone’s guess whether it was because he ran the op-ed or because he apologized for running it.
This week, several opinion pieces came out in defense of the initial decision to print the op-ed. Here’s the one that I think lays it out the most clearly. Let’s just say that many people are echoing my thoughts, the thoughts I voiced in the last Q&A column.
What do you think about these questions and answers? were you a fan of internet archive? Vehemently against it? Do you think objective journalism is dead? Does one of the short stories stand out to you from its description? And what about that Tom Cotton Op-Ed?
I’d love to hear your voice in the comments. Talk about any of the above, or address the articles I linked, or start a conversation about another question in your head. If you enjoyed this column, check out Q&A #1 and Q&A #2 and certainly watch out for my mega-article on Michael Jackson later this afternoon (2 PM EST)! Thank you for reading.
Signing out, Voyage of the Mind.