But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?

Amanda apologizes. Racist images will, at the very least, be removed from future printings of the book.

I am glad to employ my “Good News” tag today as well. It needed to be dusted off.

Should I even use the word “healing” at this point? Well, is it my place to do so? No. But I do hope that something good will end up coming from this.

“I have no fate, I have no will,
All that remains is hope.”

– Lesya Ukraiinka

10 thoughts on “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?

  1. Should I even use the word “healing” at this point? Well, is it my place to do so? No. But I do hope that something good will end up coming from this.

    Me too. You took the words right out of my fingertips.

    This is the Amanda I remember and like, straight-up and no nonsense. I want her to have a successful book and I’m glad that the second printing minus those pictures will mean I can buy it.

  2. FWIW, I’d like to repeat here the gist of a comment I posted to Amanda Marcotte’s above-linked apology on Pandagon, because my comment there is apparently still in moderation.

    The gist of my comment is:

    Seal Press, in its apology, stated that “we were not thinking” when they selected racist illustrations allegedly for the pictures’ “ironically” humorous appeal. But Seal Press is lying through its teeth in pretending that their selection resulted from negligence or thoughtlessness. Seal Press, in selecting racist illustrations to add “ironic” humor to a text that does not even deal with race, is employing an ancient advertising/marketing strategy when targeting a very specific niche audience, namely, to “sell” to that audience’s conscious or unconscious anxieties. My guess is that Seal Press decided that white American audiences would include more purchasers with the disposable income to buy the book, so, in order to increase sales as quickly as possible, Seal Press selected “retro” or “campy” racist illustrations to sell to the conscious or unconscious anxieties of a very specific kind of white audience, namely, whites who, on a very conscious level, would see explicitly racist but dated imagery, when attached to a supposedly progressive text by a white progressive, as divorced from their own (white) cultural world — but, on a less conscious level, would identify with the blonde Caucasian heroine fighting off opponents who (surprise!) just happen to be black “savages”, because white racial anxiety is still alive and kicking even among self-consciously progressive whites of the “millenial” generation, as African-Americans can attest. A Pandagon commenter named PinkyEye indicated that this initial printing with the racist imagery was a pre-publication trial run rather than a galley proof, so Seal Press might have been testing the market for this racist imagery. Fortunately, enough readers caught on to the racism in the imagery, so Seal Press backed down and apologized. But Seal Press’s initial use of the racist illustrations was not an oversight but a deliberate marketing tactic which, this time, failed.

    I note Amanda Marcotte’s apology and I’ll assume that she herself wasn’t aware of the use of “retro” racist illustrations to appeal to subliminal racism. But I also note that, in her second paragraph in her apology on Pandagon, she mentioned a potential boycott, and I wonder if that’s what actually motivated her apology. Seal Press, at any rate, is not telling the truth when they claim that they “were not thinking.” Seal Press was thinking very hard indeed, and I assume that this initial printing was a trial run to test their racist marketing tactic. Thank God, it failed.

  3. Correction to above post:

    The Pandagon commenter who described pre-publication trial runs is PinkyLeftBrain, not PinkyEye.

    Sorry for the mistake. It is now corrected.

  4. or, well. at minimum I agree that the apology is largely meaningless except in terms of CYA.

    it does seem hard to explain how anyone could be THAT clueless, though, it really does. still, stupid: never underestimate it.

  5. Oh, and I agree, James.

    And oh, oh, I clicked on the thread I linked to, and the stupid is out in the Pandagon comments like nothing before. But I’m also glad to see people taking it to task.

  6. Good post, Natalie. I have to disagree with the trend about Seal’s “planning”, though. I’ve been in the printing business for years and I have seen hundreds of examples of our trained blindness to racist and sexist images. I’ve done it myself and have realized my mistakes with great horror when it is pointed out.

    The two women who have been the public face of Seal Press have struck me as completely clueless. As an independent bookseller, I was horrified that they nonchalantly posted links to purchase their books on fucking Amazon.com. It was a kick in the gut. And that is puny compared to the crap they pulled on Black Amazon.

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