(insert pithy rejoinder here)

First Amendment Battle Royale

My son Junior considers himself a burgeoning Political Science expert (read: Insufferable teenage know-it-all), so when I came across this brand new Editorial Policy on the contact page of the Krill Press website I immediately asked him for his opinion:

EDITORIAL POLICY: Krill Press does not support liberalism and the liberal progressive agenda prevalent at this time in America, and is not interested in receiving submissions from authors whose personal ideology runs along these lines. All new, submitting authors will be vetted for Conservative values, and publishing contracts will be awarded, rejected, or recalled based on the results of this vetting at any time during the pre-publishing or post-publishing process. Our first requirement for acquisitions is, and always will be, excellent writing, and we do not in any way screen or censor the content of submissions based on apparent liberal content. In other words, you can write the most liberal-themed novel in the world, and as long as it is excellent writing, and you have satisifed us through the vetting process that you are a Conservative person, your submission stands a very good chance of being considered by us. Only you know if this policy applies to you or not, so please consider this seriously before making a decision on submiting your work to Krill Press.

My take on this policy is that it borders on, if not downright defies, the First Amendment right to free speech. Junior, however, disagrees.

He states that as long as Krill Press is a for-profit enterprise that doesn’t receive monies from the government they can choose to publish or not publish anything or anyone they want to, and that the First Amendment protects their ability to do so. I didn’t see how that was plausible, so he took the time to look up and then cite the following:

The First Amendment does NOT protect the right to make or distribute obscene material. – Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476 (1957).

Junior believes this is the piece of our Constitution that justifies Krill Press’ editorial policy. He states that if Krill Press believes liberal content to be obscene, then they have the right to deny its publication.

He and I went round for round with this one, and in the end we agreed to disagree. His last statement to me was, “Just because you don’t like it, doesn’t make it wrong. There are some things that can’t be done and some things that shouldn’t.” Nothing like having your own words hurled back at you by your fifteen year-old kid.

At the end of it all I suppose I see his point, but there is something very distasteful in what I am reading above and I can’t put my finger on it. If anyone out there has any ideas, I’d love to hear them.

For the whole sordid story visit Krill Press. By the way, the misspelled words above were taken from the site exactly as is. I left them to prove a point.

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59 responses

  1. The Elite of Just Alright

    Your son is wrong. That’s not covered under obscenity. Obscenity as defined in American law has to be seen in society as profane and obscene. Liberal ideals are not, therefore it’s not counted as obscenity. The press can censor like this because they’re for profit and can do or say what they want. Though it is rather dickish.

    And I’m nearly 20 and I AM a Political Science major in college so tell him my experience trumps his. ;)

    November 9, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    • Oh he is going to LOVE hearing that. :)

      I guess what confuses me is the phrase, “seen in society as profane and obscene.” I remember Socrates saying something to the effect of “morality is defined by the opinion of the masses at any given time” which I took to mean that the definition of the profane is abstract and given to change based on the culture/climate of society at the time. If American Law states that obscenity is defined by society, then Krill Press can’t decide in and of itself what it views as obscene because it has to agree with the masses. Krill Press states that the climate of today’s world (society) is liberal, which in their opinion is profane. Socrates would say that the fact Krill Press has stated the masses are now Liberal, that, by definition, makes them NOT profane because they ARE the masses and they are the keepers of the moral standard.

      I agree that as long as they are privately owned they can elect to only publish works that are submitted in crayon if that’s how they choose to operate. I guess what I was looking (hoping) for was some law that made what they are choosing to do illegal.

      Of course I may be talking out my ass. I didn’t go to college so I truly appreciate your offer of education and experience here. If I am misunderstanding what you’ve said above please let me know.

      November 9, 2012 at 11:53 pm

      • The Elite of Just Alright

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_obscenity_law#Definition_of_obscenity

        Read that haha. It’s easier than me explaining it using my texts for Political Science haha.

        November 10, 2012 at 12:40 am

        • Thanks, I am heading there now.

          You need to go to sleep. You need your rest so I can vote for you someday.

          November 10, 2012 at 12:43 am

          • The Elite of Just Alright

            It was a Friday night. Who the hell goes to sleep before 3 on a Friday night in college? :)

            November 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm

            • Sorry. For a moment there I forgot how old I was. ;)

              November 10, 2012 at 5:08 pm

              • The Elite of Just Alright

                It’s ok haha. :P

                November 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm

  2. Have to agree that they are within their rights to deny publication.
    They aren’t restricting your free speech, and they aren’t preventing you from getting it out through another source.Kind of like Fox News castrating any liberals they put on the air.

    Doesn’t mean they aren’t douche noodles though.

    November 9, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    • Just so you know, I am making a point of using the phrase “douche noodle” on someone at least once tomorrow. My money’s on HR.

      November 10, 2012 at 12:01 am

      • Enjoy!
        My girl gave it to me as a delightful alternative to douche canoe.

        November 10, 2012 at 12:15 am

        • And…there’s number two.

          November 10, 2012 at 12:21 am

  3. kat

    I agree with El Guapo.

    (Although I would call them shit-filled raviolis, because I like noodles, and douches are useful. Raviolis, though.)

    November 9, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    • Ayy…w’as a matta you? You no lika de ravioli?

      November 10, 2012 at 12:02 am

      • kat

        Blame it on a bad can of Chef Boyardee. :)

        November 10, 2012 at 12:04 am

        • Oh God, that’s not even food.

          November 10, 2012 at 12:06 am

  4. Tom Elias, Writer

    Insomniac Tom says: Junior’s right but not for the reason he cited. Obscenity has nothing to do with this. He should have just stuck to his for-profit hand and played that. As for douche noodles, douche canoes, and shit-filled raviolis, those are now noted for my future use as well. I’d offer “douche nozzle.” Personal fave.

    And for H.E.: OMG sharks fighting narwhals with electric swords. That just broke the awesome barrier. [makes worship movements]

    November 10, 2012 at 2:32 am

    • If you like that then I’ve got one word for you:

      Bearshark.

      Google that shit.

      November 10, 2012 at 8:29 am

      • Tom Elias, Writer

        *snicker* I’ve seen bearshark, and your narwhalsharksword has that shit beat hands-down. You got mad skilz.

        November 10, 2012 at 8:36 am

  5. The press is well within their rights to restrict what material they’ll publish, or by whom.

    Conversely, it’s well within my rights to say I think their stated restrictions make them sound like a bunch of useless twatwaffles.

    November 10, 2012 at 3:00 am

    • And “twatwaffles” just went down in my book of words to use today. I bet if Krill Press were to “vet” me they’d reject me based on my uber-awesome collection of bon mots.

      November 10, 2012 at 8:31 am

  6. No matter who is wrong or right in this case, I think that by having this discussion between a Father and a Son, you both win. Great job stimulating thought in the younger generation.

    November 10, 2012 at 3:49 am

    • You’re new, but you can stay. :)

      November 10, 2012 at 8:32 am

  7. “The management reserves the right to refuse service for any reason.” They’re still a big pile of used ass-wipe when they do it, but there’s no law against it, says the Canadian about the American legal system.

    November 10, 2012 at 4:05 am

    • I say the Canadian is right, having the removed perspective with the least investment in which to offer and opinion. That, and you’re wicked smaht.

      November 10, 2012 at 8:34 am

  8. “Insufferable teen-age know-it- all?” You’re right. I do notice a family resemblance. Let’s blame HR.

    November 10, 2012 at 4:08 am

    • Yes! Let’s blame HR!! I think I need to make that a bumper sticker.

      November 10, 2012 at 8:34 am

  9. See the point is not the politics. Junior and I both have the special gift of being a middle child, this means were can talk ourselves out and around most situations. My friends say never argue with Megan because she will always win whether she right or not. It’s just a word thing. ahaha us middle children ay! Who would have three children?

    November 10, 2012 at 4:51 am

    • Holy Crap you are right! No one can win an argument with him, no matter how wrong he is or how right you are. Middle child, huh? I’m the oldest so I’m the bossiest.

      November 10, 2012 at 8:36 am

      • And the youngest are the neediest and the most emotionally unstable. Sorry HellisSpawn no3! .

        November 10, 2012 at 12:59 pm

        • It’s like you live here or something.

          November 10, 2012 at 8:19 pm

  10. I don’t know the legalities of it one way or the other, but it does seem to me that for-profit publishing companies always have the right to establish what types of work they publish, and their own guidelines for publication. While their choice is disturbing on many fronts, I believe it seems that it would be within their rights to do. I’d be interested to hear what someone informed about constitutional law would have to say, but as for me . . . I guess that is simply one place I will NEVER look to publish.

    November 10, 2012 at 7:43 am

    • You bring up a very good point- I wonder what the authors who are presently published with Krill Press feel about this? Will their staunch policy on anti-liberalism create blowback enough that it would be felt by the authors associated with the publisher? I am curious to know if they had a say before this editorial contract was implemented.

      November 10, 2012 at 8:39 am

      • Never. Any publicity is good publicity. This post is proof of that. Currently there are 14 likes on this post alone and 411 emails sent to followers. Now if half go to see what is “morally questionable” then the site alone has now gotten your attention.

        November 10, 2012 at 9:12 am

        • All the more reason to be offended. What Krill Press says above is that it will “vet” its authors during pre-publication for liberalist ideologies, but not their body of work. That is like saying, “We will not publish a story about pedophilia written by a pedophile because we find pedophilia offensive. But if you are not a pedophile we will be happy to publish your pedophilia story as long as it’s well written.” Sounds to me like their morality ends where their pocketbook begins.

          November 10, 2012 at 9:17 am

      • According to the publisher’s Facebook page:

        “We had our first submission casualty this morning, an author who withdrew her awesome cozy mystery manuscript from consideration with us after reading our change in Editorial Policy which took effect on November 7, 2012. Yes, it is sad, for…both her, and us, because based on what we had read so far we would definitely have made an offer on her book, all things being equal. Which, by the way, they are not anymore. But we respect her honesty, and her wilingness to defend her core beliefs, and we hope she can respect us for doing the same. For our current in-print authors, we are instituting a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. We realize that the vast majority of writers, actors, directors, and musicians in this country are liberals, and that by instituting this new editorial policy we may be hastening our own demise as a small press. Then again, we might not. We shall see. The only thing we are sure of post-November 6 is that finally….finally….the lines have been drawn in this country and in this culture, the sides are clearly defined, and we, as a small press, are now standing on our own side, for all the world to see. And if you don’t like it? If you vehemently disagree? Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

        Something I didn’t catch at first until going to the FB page is that he instituted these new “guidelines” the morning after election day, elevating him to the status of “Petulant Twatwaffle, Second Class.”

        I also love the part about having lines drawn and sides taken. Why is it that the only people drawing such lines these days are angry old white people?

        November 10, 2012 at 10:50 am

        • Good question. Let’s ask Bill O’ Reilly, self-appointed leader of the White Minority!

          November 10, 2012 at 11:06 am

      • To answer your question, the authors were not informed prior to the change in policy.

        November 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm

  11. Sounds like clever marketing to me. Would you invest in something without looking into its history first? It sounds to me like the only people who may have a problem with this are the ones with something to hide.

    November 10, 2012 at 9:40 am

    • Sounds like exploitation to me. There’s nothing immoral about being a liberal, and therefore nothing to be ashamed of or hide. Maybe a better example would be to take my comment above, remove the word “pedophile” and insert “black man.” There’s nothing profane about being black, either.

      As far as pre-screening or looking into their authors first, all I can say to that is that it seemed to work for them before now. What it all comes down to in my opinion is the powers that be at Krill Press are taking their ball and going home because the guy they wanted for President isn’t.

      November 10, 2012 at 9:45 am

      • And…there go half my followers.

        November 10, 2012 at 9:45 am

  12. It’s sounds more like they’re taking their ball and playing a new game because the guy they wanted in office isn’t there. Just because the world changes doesn’t mean you have to change with it.

    November 10, 2012 at 9:52 am

    • Ah…HR Nightmare. Always the Devil’s Advocate. That’s why you are Lucifer. :)

      November 10, 2012 at 9:54 am

      • I am. With a great hairline.

        November 10, 2012 at 9:56 am

        • GAH!!!! WHY IS YOUR EYEBALL UP THERE NOW????

          November 10, 2012 at 8:21 pm

  13. Are you saying that “vetted” is a mis-spelling, my friend? Because vetted is an actual word that only lawyers or unf***able goonballs like them would use. It means to screen people to see if they’re worthy of a job or something. It’s the kind of words stuffed shirts like them would use. And I totally agree on how stupid it is to want your right-thinking, conservative friends to write liberal stuff. I could research and write a passable story about the greatness of some hockey team, but it’d be much better written by someone who knows hockey, likes hockey, and doesn’t think it’s the boringest thing on earth, where people skate back and forth for an hour and the score is 0-0.

    November 10, 2012 at 11:03 am

    • “Vetted” is correct, as in what is done before a candidate can run for public office. The words I honed in on were “satisified” (satisfied) and “submiting” (submitting). It doesn’t instill much confidence as a potential novelist if the publisher you are SUBMITTING your work to is SATISFIED with posting on his site without running a spell check.

      I agree with the ludicrous notion of writing outside of your area of expertise. Kind of like a woman who consistently writes novels or novellas with a nearly all male character base.

      Uh oh….

      November 10, 2012 at 11:16 am

      • Yeah, I’m no good till my first cup of coffee. Plus I suppose I didn’t feel like reading his whole drivel too closely. What a crybaby he is. Maybe if the U.S. had a policy where candidates had to pass an I.Q. test before they ran for office, the Republicans might have had someone who wasn’t a total moron running for President (and we wouldn’t have a twit like Kristi Noem as Rep from our state). And who am I to get on my high horse and talk about writing against type–I write romantic stuff occasionally.

        November 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm

        • I like your I.Q. idea! And I like the romantic stuff of yours I’ve read. It’s sweet without being sickeningly so.

          November 10, 2012 at 5:07 pm

  14. Tom Elias, Writer

    Anyone else down for a burrito?

    November 10, 2012 at 11:33 am

    • Are you trying to refer to me as a BEANER?

      November 10, 2012 at 11:34 am

      • Tom Elias, Writer

        Uh, no. Just going for a topic changer.

        November 10, 2012 at 11:36 am

  15. This is a tough issue. Should the K.K.K. be allowed to spread hate. Maybe. But it kind of bugs me.

    November 10, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    • In a twisted way I have less of a problem with the KKK in that they make no bones about the fact that they hate (insert random element here). If the KKK were a publishing company they wouldn’t publish any story written by a black man about a black man.

      What Krill Press is saying (in essence) is that they are content to print a story about a black man, so long as it’s written by a white man. They don’t want to align themselves with liberals, but they’ve got no problem making a buck off of them. There’s my problem.

      November 11, 2012 at 8:02 am

  16. Pingback: Happy Veterans Day « H.E. ELLIS

  17. Apparently, it was a “joke.”

    For whatever reason, I decided to look at their FB page this morning, only to see that all mentions of the new “editorial policy” were gone from their Timeline/Wall/Whatever the fuck we’re calling it. The page on their website also has no mention of it, and a single message on Twitter read: “You’ve been pranked, krillers. A word to the wise, though. Never break from cover, until the REAL incoming…is really incoming.”

    No mention on the site or FB of it being a joke, and to be honest, I don’t know that the world at large even took note either change. I just found it “interesting.”

    November 15, 2012 at 10:27 am

    • That’s an awful lot of effort for a “joke.” I think Krill Press didn’t expect to get the reaction they did, and now are calling it a “joke.” I have no proof, but that explanation seems far more logical to me than a random, invisible third-party taking the time to crack all those sites just to post that nonsense.

      November 15, 2012 at 10:32 am

  18. They don’t have to publish anything – forcing them to would violate their free speech. By doing this, though, they marginalize themselves, and reduce their audience and thus their profits. If they hate capitalism, so be it. Last time I checked, a publisher’s goal was to make money.

    This is the same as a company that won’t print Spanish language text on their products. Sure, that company is completely within their rights to cut out 15% of their potential market with a corresponding reduction in profits! More power to them.

    November 17, 2012 at 1:25 pm

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