Right now there’s a kerfuffle in literary circles over the “cancelling” of an anthology by Norman Mailer. His son put together some previously unpublished essays and offered them to Random House.
The official story is that a low-level Woke editor at Random House didn’t like Mailer’s currently unfashionable language. Censorship!
No, it’s not censorship. It’s just a consumer choice. Publishers CONSTANTLY reject offered books for all sorts of reasons. In this case a smaller publisher picked up the book, and Mailer’s son will make money from it.
I’ll bet he will make MORE money this way, because smaller publishers tend to pay better royalties. (I speak from experience.)
The reason for the rejection, if true, is irrelevant. Random House simply decided that the trouble wasn’t worth the likely profits, given their scale of operation. When you buy a new Ford instead of an old Jaguar, you’re making the same kind of choice. The Jaguar is dramatic and fun, but it will be in the repair shop most of the time, and the parts will be wildly expensive.
Cancelling is a sin when it’s aggressive and imperialist. When a mob ruins an innocent person who didn’t have any sort of commercial or employment connection with them, it’s a crime, and can be prosecuted as a crime.
The muddlers are trying to decriminalize the real mob action by applying the word to these simple business decisions.
In this case we might not even have muddling, let alone cancelling. The smaller publisher may simply be smart. Censorship has ALWAYS been a great way to publicize a book or movie. Hollywood has been playing this game for 100 years.