American Dirtbag: Why Publishing profits off “Othering”

Posted on January 25, 2020

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I’m part of “the other.”

I’m not the reader base many major publishers salivate over. Thus my opinions and objections over how my culture is depicted don’t mean shit when there’s money to be made. Having created this blog back in 2010 when Kathryn Stockett’s The Help was the IT book, I think I can both relate and tell those offended by Flatiron books projected bestseller “American Dirt” by Jeanine Cummins, DON’T LET UP. THAT’S WHAT THEY’RE COUNTING ON.

 

What else to expect:

Copycat books much, much worse than American Dirt, some by well-meaning novice authors, others by those smelling an opportunity to “be a bridge” (Jeanine Cummins words). That’s not to say there aren’t already books on Amazon that rip-off the Mexican immigrant experience. But now that American Dirt has shown that there’s no real quality control or caricature that can’t be mined for profit, the flood gates are open.

Take it from someone who’s witnessed this in real-time after The Help made many people nostaglic over those poor, poor colored maids in the 1960s.

There were WTF? books in the Young Adult and also Childrens genre as other publishers rushed to cash in. Why even Mammy from Gone With The Wind was resurrected to speak in the first person with her own origin book:

https://acriticalreviewofthehelp.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/reconstructing-mammy-new-book-planned-for-gwtw-character/

 

Oh, and if you have a blog that dares to criticize the depictions in American Dirt, expect Google search terms like . . . like . . .  well, I won’t spoil the surprise.  

 

The Toad and the Cat - by artist sketchshark-Megan Nicole Dong

Cartoon by the talented @sketchshark, Megan Nicole Dong

 

 

Anyway this is gonna be a long commentary type post, so until its edited to my liking, in the meantime there’s: 

https://acriticalreviewofthehelp.wordpress.com/2020/01/22/rinse-repeat-american-dirt-novel-and-the-help/

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