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Sigrid Rausing of Granta, ability, merit, and blatant discrimination

Friday 2/2/24

The more well-rounded one is as a person and thinker, the better a writer and artist one can be. Publishing people are often among the least well-rounded people in society. They don't know much about very much, and live their lives, such as they're living them, as though they're trying to experience as little as possible. To feel as little as possible, too.

Let's say that for one of them their "field" is fiction. They will know very little about fiction in terms of what they read. They read the same things. When I mention all the books I mention on here that I'm reading, they usually haven't heard of any of those, because they're beyond the narrow parameters of their narrowest of worlds, which is largely shaped by peers.

We talked about this recently: They usually chew the exact same meat--for points, props, and attention--and then spit that meat in the mouth of the person next to them, arms intertwined, in their circle.

Publishing people almost never like sports, which is a prospective interest, the having of which can also make one a better thinker and artist. There's a simple reason for why publishing people are usually disdainful about sports, and it's not the reason they try and pass it off as.

It's this: Sports are overtly about ability. Having ability--or not having ability--is out there right in the open. Sports at all levels are meritocracies. From the playground to the NHL, sports are merit-based. The people with the most ability who are able to display that ability fare the best.

Publishing people hate that idea. They need to be enabled and lied to, and nothing can be out in the open, or they're exposed. They get exposed in terms of what they're doing and how they're behaving, and they get exposed for having "no game," if you will, to use a sports phrase.

They try to say that they don't like sports because sports are the province of "the commoner." Publishing is really this galling class system. We see that in example after example in these pages.

Look at Granta and Sigrid Rausing. That's classism. Everyone knows--when they look at it, that is--that what we see in the likes of the Motorollah story is terrible. That's not up for debate. If it was up for debate, people would be mounting their counterarguments and having at me. But no one is, because no one can. It's axiomatically bad. That story was included for one reason and that's because of classism. "You're one of us."

We went through the bio of the writer of the Motorollah story. We saw her credentials. Not credentials born of ability, but credentials proving that she was a member of their class. Of their group. That's why she could come in the house. Her work was, and is, embarrassingly bad. There is no one who can honestly suggest otherwise. That's not hair-splitting, subjectivity, opinion. And that work being embarrassingly bad doesn't stop her from getting teaching gigs at an Ivy League school, publishing in these kinds of places, having a book deal with a large house, etc.

I am being discriminated against by the likes of a Sigrid Rausing because I have been singled out as not one of them--further, because of my actual abilities, I've been singled out as the person who is least like them. Things went on for years with Rausing. I didn't come here to these pages to share the truth after having offered a single masterpiece and then had it summarily turned down in condescending fashion. I allowed everything to play out for many years. I allowed myself to be degraded. I had a hand in my own degradation. I never should have done that, but I did it, in part because I loathe confrontation. I am the least confrontational person there is or could be. This--this right here--is not what I want to be doing. I have no recourse. I did not take it here, if you will. This was not of my choosing. I tried everything possible to stop it from coming here.

I knew what this person in Sigrid Rausing was all about. I would apologize for bothering her. You talk about eggshells. It's like having a trillion of them under your feet, each more fragile and ready to crack than the last. After many years I said something, very benign. Words to the effect that I didn't think my work was being given a fair shot. This was an all-timer of an understatement. I was being discriminated against. Plainly. And she reproached me, like how dare I question the queen. The condescension, the entitlement. Even now just thinking about it, I have that sensation of repulsion in my body. That sickening feeling.

She was never going to let me in if I had a say because I was not in her preferred--insisted upon--class of people.

People can make the mistake of thinking that bigotry solely pertains to skin color. Bigotry is discriminating against someone, or a group, because they have qualities or traits that automatically rule them out. There is nothing they can do outside the house to come into the house because the person at the door looks at them and thinks, "You're not like the people in here."

That's bigotry. I wouldn't use a word like that for shock or theatrics. I use it because it's accurate. I am accurately describing Sigrid Rausing, billionaire heiress and publisher of Granta, who no more thinks that the Motorollah nonsense is any better than anyone who's had it brought to their attention because of these pages does. And obviously no one thinks it compares to my work. That prose off was like a competition, almost like a sport, where ability was the main thing. Well, we all know the result.

I'm not some random squirrel out in the deep woods. I've achieved far, far, far too much. I've achieved all of that essentially against the system and the people with the locked arms of it. A system that is anti-meritocracy. Rarely, if ever, does anyone think and say, "This is so good, I want it to run this." Things are not running for those reasons. Books are not put out for those reasons, and nor are they put out because anyone thinks they'll make any money. It's all a very sick kind of indulgence. Ego indulgence. For control. Power, and, as we've seen, what's really a very pathetic, petty kind of power, that has nonetheless negatively impacted the world by not only killing off reading, but creating a world in which there are very few good writers, because to get along in the publishing system, you have to go down the same track as everyone else in it.

You won't get any good writers with that approach, when that's how those people live, how they approach their work, how little they work at their work, with what they imitate, regurgitate. Their absence of character, morals, vision, purpose. Their total disregard for those people I love so much and who I think are so important to the well-being of our world: Readers. I want to give readers everything I am. Everything I am and can do and have evolved into, is for readers.

Writers in the publishing system only want readers insofar as what readers can give them. They want the life version of that like button being hit. It's for their cheap, ultimately empty gratification only. That's what a reader is to these people. It's like using someone's body solely for sex, that gratification, and it's just use, it could be anyone under there. If the hole is available, you'll fuck it and it'll feel good. With this person you don't respect.

That's most writers in the publishing system now. They never put the reader first, because they don't care about the reader that way. Whereas, there is nothing I care about more in this life than that reader.

Now, if you interviewed Sigrid Rausing on TV, and you said, "How did that happen? How were you running Motorollah but you were dismissing this man for years? What do you have to say about that? Do you honestly think his work wasn't as good as that?" She'd end the interview. She couldn't say, "Well, there are so many stories, I wasn't sure who he was." She has known exactly who I am. I don't like talking about "achievements" in these pages, because having X here and Y there ultimately doesn't really mean anything in terms of what I'm after, which is so much bigger. But if I was someone else, those things--even if there were just six of them, and not thousands--would be what I talked about constantly. That's not me--I move forward, and when I mention what I do mention, it's only if it's a part of moving forward.

I'm not saying anything incredibly insightful here about someone like Sigrid Rausing and what she's up to and about. I'm simply speaking to how blatant this discrimination is, because that's important, and we can't be too clear about something like this.

This has to change.


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