A collage from old newspaper clippings.
In the second picture, the man in the suit holds an ax with blood dripping off of it. The quote, “This bull market has been built on global peace and prosperity, let’s hope it lasts,” comes from a 1999 edition of Barron’s, the financial newspaper. It makes me sad because since 1999, the economic growth in the U.S. has not been equitably distributed, nor has the U.S. been a peaceful place. We are all serfs to the financial system we live in. I hope the next fifteen years in my country will be better than the last fifteen. Honesty is a good step towards real progress. The truth is not always beautiful, but it is still the truth.
Good Side of the Market:
Bad side of the Market:
I ask myself often why I stopped writing this blog, and perhaps the closest thing to an answer is that I started wondering if words had any value, if the truth matters. The publishing industry claims to value authors, yet they do little to support free speech and diverse voices. Even #weneeddiversebooks is funded in part by a man who made racist remarks. Yet his money has bought him the dignity his words lacked.
As someone who is trying to get into the field of children’s books, one might ask why I dare to say anything at all? It is because the truth does matter. It’s time people in the media industry look in the mirror. Many people I talk to in the publishing industry despise Donald Trump. But when I tell them that in 2016 then Chairman of CBS Les Moonves, said Trump may be “may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS,” all are quick to denounce a leader in their industry as someone who “doesn’t speak for them.”
Since morality clauses are back in vogue now, I quote at the bottom of this post from the court case that upheld contempt of court for the Hollywood Ten. All ten of those men spent time in prison and were blacklisted from the movie industry. History has not been kind to McCarthyism and the moral panic that it created. I agree that publishing a book and working with publishers must be earned through hard work and patience and collaboration.
But when reading the below morality clause, I think publishers themselves ought to hold themselves to the same standards they hold authors and illustrators who sign contracts with them. The media ridicules the public when they print lies about an individual’s net worth; when they sell books of poor quality by celebrity authors, be them talk show hosts or daughters of politicians; when they pull books because of potential offensive material (yet still allow many ideological and religious books with poor fact checking to be published because they are “sure sellers”); when they fire people for #metoo offenses that are not legal crimes while turning the other way to the many sexual abuses on Wall Street that go unchecked; when they try to sell cheap books with low word count to parents and pass them off as educational. These acts violate public decency, incite prejudice, and offend the community of decent people everywhere. The pettiness of their current business models keep new people from succeeding in the industry. It keeps diverse voices muzzled. It helps a small circle of connected socialites.
This is the exact wording of the morals clause in the contract that the Hollywood Ten violated:
"The employee agrees to conduct himself with due regard to public conventions and morals, and agrees that he will not do or commit any act or thing that will tend to degrade him in society or bring him into public hatred, contempt, scorn or ridicule, or that will tend to shock, insult or offend the community or ridicule public morals or decency, or prejudice the producer or the motion picture, theatrical or radio industry in general."
Loew's, Inc. v. Cole, 185 F.2d 641 (9th Cir. 1950)