There's a mistake that people are inclined to make because they don't want to cost themselves things, when the reality is, as the situation is presently constituted, they have no chance of getting those things.
What do I mean by this? I'm talking about doors. People will operate under the falsehood--or even the delusion--that a door that is completely closed to them might be open at least a sliver. They think--or hope--that the people in control of the door might open it all the way for them and welcome them inside.
They cling to this fallacy of the door that is not entirely shut. Which is exactly what a door-shutter wants if and when that person deserves to come through the door and have what is on the other side of it, but is not the door-shutter's kind of person. Or the door-shutter has something against them, or they're the wrong color, the wrong gender, they don't know the right people. Whatever it may be.
Let's say you're the second best writer in the world. The Paris Review is not going to publish you if you're not one of their cronies. Their kind of person. In the right circles. It's not going to happen. If you're work is a million times better than what they publish, it doesn't matter. That will actually be held against you.
If this theoretical second-best writer in the world was out there, they'd say nothing for fear of offending that person and people who are not going to let them in anyway if they sit there and do nothing. That's what they want. For you to delude yourself with false hope, while they get away with doing what they do.
This isn't just a publishing thing, but publishing makes for a good example. But you can extrapolate this to many things in life where what is going down is going down for all of the wrong reasons.
When the door has been entirely shut, and it's welded tight, with all of the furniture in the room stacked up behind it, what's been done has been done. You saying the truth and speaking out doesn't make anything worse for you. It's part of the solution.
Scott Stossel of The Atlantic is a broken, gin-stained wreck of a man who did me so dirty at The Atlantic that he confessed to me that he couldn't sleep on account of how badly he had screwed me over.
But he wouldn't rectify the problem. He'd make sure his sister was hired, and people just out of college who had virtually never published anything. He accepted a short story of mine and didn't ensure that it ran. More on this later, because it implicates a racist at the Kenyon Review, too, and that should be out there on record.
This pathetic smear of a human, who does nothing and has a net worth in the millions because he's carried--he couldn't even handle doing his job, and had to resign his position--by The Atlantic--he has no real function; they just tote him along--essentially went about the breaking of a butterfly on a wheel because of his own weakness. Everyone I know knows all about it. A lot of people know about it, too, because of this journal.
And finally I said, "You've put me in a horrible, horrible position. You cannot expect me just to let this be done to me. I don't want to do this, but I'm going to have to put it up on the blog."
First of all, that's bullshit. There will come a time when I'll write for anyone I want to write for, if I want to. Things change, people are exposed, people lose their jobs, someone else has all the leverage, all of the people behind them. Nothing is frozen in how it is just then when you're me. So what he said meant nothing to me. And that was one reason why. Another reason was because this pathetic weakling of a human, and a bigot like literary editor Ann Hulbert and a bigot like culture editor Jane Yong Kim, had already taken care of that.
So what he wanted--and they wanted--was for me to cling to a delusion, that if I went along with their inexcusable conduct against me, I'd be looked upon more favorably and perhaps down the road...
And they wanted to intimidate me. And also dupe me.
Hi. It's Colin. What's up? Have we met?
Intimidate and dupe me. This guy.
How far gone do you have to be to think, "I can frighten Fleming, and I can trick him, too"?
Remember Mark Warren? Remember that attempt by that disaster-zone of a human with the outsized anger issue to intimidate me? Same guy who was then aired out so baldly and clearly as to what he was that he had to hire someone to scrub search results from Google because he looked so bad. How'd that work out?
Or how far gone do you have to be to just act that way, without considering the viability of the endeavor?
The intention/hope was that I'd be silent, they'd be free to discriminate against me because of everything I am and my abilities--and I have quotes here from Stossel that I can use anytime--that dwarf those of anyone involved with that venue. In every single form of writing.
The door was shut, welded tight, reinforced. So what did it matter? How do you make a closed, welded, secured door more shut?
A lot of people aren't going to do the right thing, unless they have to. Unless they are made to. Unless they feel like they have no choice. Unless things are out in the open. Unless they need the money. Unless they can't say no for reasons pertaining to the above or other factors. Someone above them catches flack themselves and says, "What the hell are you doing?" It can be a lot of different things. I'll light you up if you make me light you up. I don't want to light you up, but I'll do what I have to do. I will not contribute directly or indirectly to anyone's attempt to fuck me over, though. I am a person of the highest principles, and I answer to those principles. I cannot knowingly go against them. And more importantly still, I have unique things for the world to do the world good and large measures of good.
So yes, I'll light someone up. But I'll also listen to them. My door, anyway, is always open. Even if you're an asshole. Because I don't care about you. I'll talk to you professionally. There will only be honorable conduct and communication on my end. But all I care about is the work. Readers (and listeners). Merit. Value. Reach. Impact.
So then it's about what you're going to do and do in the meanwhile. Silence is not a solution. It's like the Guggenheim and the MacArthur genius grant. I'm not a genius? Well, in a way--I'm beyond that. I'm my own thing. I'm a thing a person has never been. And that's very obvious. Which is why I can say it, because that is reinforced again and again and again. Daily.
I'm going to sit back and stay silent about what I know you're doing? Why? So you might maybe, someday, if I wish upon enough stars, maybe, please sir, may I have some, sir, kick a crumb my way?
Fuck that. We'll let people see. I'll keep doing what I do. Something will strike the match at some point, to what is a mighty, mountainous pile of tinder down there on the beach waiting for everyone to see it as it lights up the night's sky, and never goes out, but is only observed to burn brighter and brighter and brighter.
Do not play into someone else's hands when they are fucking you over. Say the truth. Do what you do. Be brave. Stand up. Don't enable them. Don't help them to silence you. Don't help them in screwing you over, which is the same as working to screw yourself.
Your time will come if you are this thing in point of truth, and you do not accept being fucked over. Your time will even come with them, or that place where they used to be. If you want it.
Hell--you may be the reason it all changed at that place, and others besides.