November 10, 2016
by Ian Dreiblatt
Real talk: we find ourselves in uncharted waters. Donald Trump’s victory throws a monkey-sized wrench into the works. In his demeanor, America’s president-elect is an unredeemed miscreant of cartoonish proportions. In his policy outlook, he is, for the most part, a cipher, desperately without politics and eager to plug up the void with reactionary posturing that has become all too real. He is an imbecile, and an actual villain. His election imperils literally everybody, in direct proportion to their vulnerability. Every waking American is tired of saying so.
To crib a line from John Cage, there is nothing to say about this, and we are saying it. Or, rather, there is a tremendous amount to say, far too much to deal with — a pipeline spewing unrefined mental sludge, angst and sadness and bravery and love, logical consideration and a derangement that beggars logic, a determination to meet our ethical and moral commitments and a sudden feeling of incapacity that threatens to swallow us whole. In the coming days, we’ll do our best to find what can be said, to talk about the reverberations Trump’s election has sent across the book trade and the world of writing.
Print culture offers us the promise of historical coherence. It seeds our perspective with empathy. It unites disparate threads of thought and offers to catalyze action in one place with ideas from another. We know that we’ll need all of this for the four long years ahead.
A lot might be said, and will be. There will be ample time for sober analysis, wildcat activism, principled collectivity. There will, of course, be a great deal to read, to respond to, talk about. We will cut a path, wending through outrage, disgust, fear, and principled resistance, to a place from which we can report news and opinion with conscience, spirit, and, somehow, a sense of humor.
We’re not there yet. We’re doing what we can, reporting the earliest stirrings of this wave. And we’re not going anywhere. But for right now, at this infamous moment, the only thing we can say seems to be: we’re here. We’re reeling from shock and trying to conceive of how we can write about it. We’ll get there. And to the community of book people we love: we’re standing with you, and we’re grateful to have you standing with us. That’s how we get through this.
More to come, in trickles and torrents. Much love to this bloodied and bewildered republic. Be good to each other, people of America. Hard to believe at a moment like this, but it remains true despite everything: that whale is still out there, somewhere.
Ian Dreiblatt is the director of digital media at Melville House.