June 25, 2021
New press caters to “silenced” conservative voices; free speech confusion reigns
by Mike Lindgren
We were both startled and delighted to read in the Wall Street Journal, natch, that our nation’s long-suffering right-wing scribes have finally found people brave enough to bear the withering opprobrium that comes from publishing
extremely dumb and also super-racist books conservative writers.
According to the WSFJ, “industry veterans” Louise Burke and Kate Hartson founded All Seasons Press LLC because, according to Burke, “conservative authors are finding it harder to get published in the post-Trump era.”
As an example, Burke pointed to former Trump official John Bolton and his book The Room Where It Happened, the entire print run of which was unceremoniously seized by the FBI and destroyed in a series of late-night raids on printers and warehouses.
Kidding! Bolton’s book sold thousands of copies and dominated major review coverage, despite sounding like nothing so much as a 300-page Mad Libs. Unfazed by mere reality, Burke remains “increasingly concerned and somewhat outraged about what’s going on in terms of free speech and free press.” Showing a frankly alarming lack of basic command of fundamental concepts, Burke “declined to discuss” All Seasons’s financial backers because she doesn’t “want people coming to their houses or bullying them on Twitter simply for supporting the First Amendment.”
(Before we begin our now-weekly Remedial Civics for Conservatives seminar, can we take a moment to reflect on the origins of the echt-conservative name “All Seasons,” because really, it’s kind of stunningly perfect. The reference, one supposes, is to Thomas Bolt’s deservedly now-forgotten 1960 play about Sir Thomas More, who is portrayed as a principled martyr courageously refusing to yield to royal tyranny. This is pretty funny because a) these guys just can’t not see themselves as lone defenders of truth and honor, which borders on the delusional, and b) you ever notice the “literature” that conservatives are forced to mine in order to find names for their squalid little endeavors is always, without exception, dismal, pretentious, middlebrow crap that everyone else has [rightly] forgotten about? I mean, just saying?)
Anyways … take notes, kids. The First Amendment, like every amendment, protects people (such as Louise Burke) from interference by the government. So if, as in our fanciful example above, the police come and take your book, then your First Amendment rights have been violated. If a group of private citizens decide not to support your book, or criticizes you for publishing it, then your First Amendment rights have not been violated. In this latter case you are not a brave free speech rebel; you are instead, most likely, an asshole.
The distinction is likely lost on All Seasons author and former Trump staffer Peter Navarro, who bemoaned “a publishing world that has devolved into a Cancel Culture [sic], Virtue Signaling [sic] cesspool.” If I were Mr. Navarro, and indeed anyone at All Seasons, based on this sentence I’d be a little more concerned about a cesspool of unnecessary capitalization and erratic hyphenation. I guess we’re just kinda old-fashioned about stuff like that over here on John Street!
Michael Lindgren is the Managing Editor at Melville House.