Sensitivity readers, once a secret sect of the new woke order, came out of the shadows this year.
Passages that have delighted readers for decades now read differently to protect minds from triggering, troublesome “thoughts.”
The authors in question have long since passed, and their respective estates either agreed to the changes or feared blowback from the “safe space” generation. Major publishing houses like HarperCollins appear on board with the updates, too.
Most artists (actors, writers, musicians) haven’t raised an objection to sensitivity readers and their Orwellian handiwork.
Hollywood activists, so vocal on so many issues, effectively stood down on the matter. Powerful scribes like Stephen King and Joyce Carol Oates have either publicly pretended the subject doesn’t exist or suggested it only matters if consequential authors find their work disfigured.
There are some notable exceptions.
PEN America, a left-leaning group dedicated to free expression, spoke out following news of Dahl’s literary dissection but hasn’t said much of late on the newer incidents.
The most surprising blowback came from former New York Times Book Editor Pamela Paul. She penned a blistering column attacking the new woke rules which inhibit writers from telling their stories, their way.
What about the literary community in general? Dozens of organizations exist nationwide which nurture emerging artists, offer resources to writers and otherwise fight for our right to create.
HiT reached out to seven organizations to get their take on the subject. The query offered the chance to either submit a reaction/comment or briefly discuss the topic in a phone Q&A.
None responded to this site’s request. The groups in question are:
- The National Book Foundation
- Festival of Books in the Alleghenies
- San Diego Writers, Ink
- Community of Literary Magazines and Press
- The Center for Fiction
- Association of Writers and Writing Programs
It’s not surprising.
Standing up to the woke mob takes courage. Careers can be damaged, reputations smirched and the social media backlash is often extreme. Time and time again a famous person has bowed to the woke mob rather than stand by their opinions.
Literary groups would be in a more comfortable situation if they cheered on the sensitivity readers, proclaiming the need to protect minds from words. Their silence suggests that isn’t the case, either.
They’d earn plenty of social media adoration for cheering on the sensitivity readers and, possibly, some positive press along the way.
Their silence speaks for them, and it’s an almost deafening, fearful cry.