If You Can’t Beat Them, Stick Them in Their Own Literary Ghetto

| November 11, 2009 | Reply

What is it about progressives that the very notion of competition should turn their bowels to water? It’s as if the phrase “the marketplace of ideas” is the intellectual equivalent of a rotten fish stuffed with limburger and wrapped in the pelt of a road-killed skunk.

In a Nov. 9 entry on The Huffington Post that laments Fox News host Glenn Beck pulling a feat not done before – holding the number one spot on The New York Times’ four lists: hardcover fiction, hardcover non-fiction, paperback non-fiction and children’s – they suggest a separate category altogether, not for political non-fiction, but conservative non-fiction.

“Should The New York Times create a separate bestseller list for conservative blockbusters?” the post said. “Think of the history: we have a children’s bestseller list because of “Harry Potter” — Harry was knocking adult books off the top spots on the hardcover fiction list so publishers complained. The same thing must be true for Beck, Palin, Cheney, Bush (George W. and Laura), Malkin and others. What do you think?”

I think you should pull up your big girl pants, Arianna, and write a book people actually want to read.

Look, the real reason the HuffPo is floating this (and don’t for a second think this is an isolated idea. Arianna and her coterie of progressive pundits aren’t much in to getting away from the safety of the crowd) is because setting up a separate Best-Selling Conservative Book list would be the very best way to further marginalize right-wing authors and their books. It is, apparently, not enough that best-selling conservatives can’t get the New York Times to review their books. Now the left wants to stick them in a ghetto of their very own — a ghetto which, I guarantee you, will be lucky to get listed above the “Graphic Books” section.

The top bestseller lists are great places for a book to be because success breeds success. If you see a title on the bestseller list — the real bestseller list, not one of the secondary lists — you’re more inclined to take a look and bestselling novels sell copies simply because they are on the bestselling list. Bookstores place those books more prominently because they sell better (well, most stores do, at any rate).

Most importantly, a book on the bestseller list cannot be dismissed as “extremist”. If Glenn Beck is selling a bajillion copies of his book, more copies than anyone is selling of any other book, it is much more difficult for people like Arianna Huffington to demonize it. Sales numbers don’t often lie. When a book hits Number One on the NYT list, it’s has to be considered something more than a fringe book written by a fringe wacko that appeals only to a fringe audience.

I’m sure it’s entirely coincidental that this suggestion should come hot on the heels of a certain book by a certain author who scares the living bejeezus out of the left. Entirely coincidental…

Michelle Malkin, one of the scary bogeyauthors, calls this “A Fairness Doctrine from books”. That sounds about right. After all, if you can’t beat them…well, you know.

UPDATE: Speaking of that coming conservative book that has the progressives trembling like a chihuahua an hour overdue for a fire-hydrant stop, how about a few excerpts?

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