The Last Gasp of the Irrelevant

Y’all, I’m pretty proud of the timeline I’ve curated on Twitter. This week it delivered in real time shredded-sackcloth couturier Kanye West demonstrating that reading will forever be fundamental and how he needs to let go and let God and keep Amber Rose’s name out of his mouth. Her Mortal Kombat-style FATALITY still has me gasping for air. EDIT: He’s still talking.

[BONUS: Watch a Shakespearean actor read Kanye’s tweets. You’re welcome.]

But unfortunately, humpday Twitter also brought a fresh round of bookworld nonsense that I didn’t have nearly enough spoons in the dishwasher basket for.

Backstory here.

What I pictured as I read it:

"I will NOT decenter Whiteness! Je refuse!"
“I will NOT decenter Whiteness! Je refuse!”

My reaction:

Y’all. I’m tired. So, so tired. Ti. RED.

Like, I can’t even explain the levels of exhaustion.

That post had the nerve to have a We Need Diverse Romance pic beside it while claiming it’s A-OK for readers to stay in their “comfort zones” and never read books that might have characters that are gay or black or — heaven forbid — both in them because they’re, I dunno, squicky or something.

The alabaster audacity of it all! That woman’s reviewing in Kirkus. That woman wields serious power and she’s basically calling another author out by name, out of alllll the other commenters on her previous post, in the guise of responding to “eloquent” criticism, but it reads like a passive-aggressive takedown, simply because that author challenged her precious worldview.

And said response? Racist gar-BAHGE. Yet folks continue to let her (and others, truth be told) cook, admonishing anyone who disagrees with “be nice.” Because that’s how it’s always been: Tone policing 101. Calm down, you “others.” We run this.

Despite claims to the contrary, people like this aren’t interested in “diverse” anything. They regurgitate what they data-mine from those actually doing inclusion work and/or write harmful depictions that earn beaucoup accolades and rewards (“Oh, how brave! Here’s a six-figure deal!”) while not actually doing a daggone thing to affect positive representation in the industry.

Because doing so involves sacrifice, generosity, and a crapton of guts. And people like that post’s writer aren’t about to risk comfy positions, sales margins, and fanbase for anything or anybody. They sure as hell don’t want to actually have to work harder or make room. But keep on telling us that you “support diversity.”

Oh, bihh.

The jig is STRATOSPHERIC. This is so ridiculous, it’s almost funny. It’s truly theater, how these “nice” people perform diversity, as long as it doesn’t threaten them in any way, shape, or form. They may even represent marginalized communities, but somehow at least one nasty -ism always manages to trump all.

Here’s what’s painfully clear: many in the lit community agree with that post’s writer, either outwardly or via their silence when someone speaks on it and gets heaping helpings of abuse.

Either way, thanks for revealing yourselves. It would be cool if you were on our team. Better together and whatnot. But we see you. And we’re moving around.

Because guess what? This whole “minority” business? That’s a fallacy. Do the math. Collectively, globally, we’ve got the numbers. And we’re not here to assuage your guilt. We’re not here to make you look good. We’re definitely not here to serve you cookies.

We’re here to do good work. We’re here to make a living.

And we’re not going away.



4 thoughts on “The Last Gasp of the Irrelevant”

  1. Adrianne, when I saw this RT’d I hope-hope-hoped you were saying what I inferred from the headline. Really glad to read this. If I say the (self-appointed) gatekeepers are irrelevant, it sounds flippant — an easy thought for me to fling into the world from relative privilege. But every time I see one of them defending their fort, I think, “The world has passed you by. Your gate doesn’t matter.”

    That could be flippant too; their crappy sentiments can still hurt people. I hope that soon there won’t be anyone close enough to the gate to be hurt by their shit.


  2. This reminds me of the time last year when K Tempest Bradford wrote her challenge to stop reading White Cis Male authors for one year – not forever, mind you, just a year – and all of online SFF collectively LOST THEIR SHIT. What kills me is the fact that not only do people who rage at simple things like reading challenges end up outing themselves as not only irreparably racist and sexist and homophobic, but also – and in my opinion damningly – as lousy, lazy readers. Because readers, by nature, are curious, voracious, ominvorous, and unbound by the limitations of their own experience. The purpose of reading is to rid ourselves of our own experience and be in the headspace of another. If the Another in books is just like us, then we are not challenging ourselves. We are not growing as readers. I deeply believe – and always will – that the blight on the soul of sexist and racist and intolerant thinking is a thing that can be cleaned and healed. I truly believe that transformation is possible and that every person has the ability to transform – to have the scales fall from their eyes like Paul. And I also believe that books are a powerful and dynamic way to help that along – hence the need for deep diversity in publishing. But lazy, lousy readers? Hoo boy. There’s healing for sinners and forgiveness for sin, but you can’t save Lazy.


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