They’re after me!

I guess I am referring to the PC Police, but sometimes it’s difficult to know. A little like Josef K. in Kafka’s #TheTrial. In my encounter with a company called #Voices I was indeed flummoxed at first, but then quickly realized that I was the subject of partisan prejudice. But whose? The left’s or the […]

I guess I am referring to the PC Police, but sometimes it’s difficult to know. A little like Josef K. in Kafka’s #TheTrial.

In my encounter with a company called #Voices I was indeed flummoxed at first, but then quickly realized that I was the subject of partisan prejudice. But whose? The left’s or the right’s?

Because audiobooks are slowly replacing even eBooks as the public’s preferred method of consuming fiction, it has always been my intention to hire an audiobook narrator to create an audiobook version of “Pagan Worship.” There are several companies that provide this service by maintaining their own roster of narrators. The idea is this: as a writer, you sign up with one of these companies, provide them with a copy of your manuscript in digital form, and then audition potential narrators by listening to their voices from other projects they have worked on. You choose maybe three or four and then they in turn have the opportunity to review your MS to see if it’s something that they would like to do.

Such was the state of affairs at the beginning of my experience with #Voices.

But then something strange happened: No one got back to me. None of the people I had selected seemed to have any interest in working with my book and I was starting to wonder what the deal was. “Pagan Worship” is, after all, a very good piece of writing and actually lends itself particularly well to voice work. IMHO.

Then the other shoe dropped. I got an anonymous email from #Voices telling me that I had been kicked to the curb. They had determined that my book was “too violent” and violated some strict code that the company had concocted. Therefore, I was kaput.

So, let’s see: “Pagan Worship” does contain some violence, but in comparison to say, Stephen King or Dean Koontz (with whom either one I’m sure #Voices would be eager to work), the violence can only be characterized as low key, at worst.

But then I understood: the violence does involve Donald Trump, and so, ipso facto, was not something that #Voices was prepared to deal with.

But this is only one scenario: there are others. The above scenario assumes that every manuscript submitted to #Voices is somehow pre-vetted before their narrators are even allowed to look at it. Perhaps an algorithm is searching for certain danger signals. Like TRUMP.

But I think another, more likely scenario is that one of the narrators I had expressed an interest in decided to rat me out after looking at the manuscript. Thus, the partisan prejudice that I earlier referred to. Of course, the important thing is that it really does all come back to #Voices, even if it was one of their narrators who said to someone in authority, “Hey, you should look at this thing; it’s way over the top.” #Voices – they made the ultimate decision.

But the question remains: since the violence in the book is really so minimal, and it is apparent that “Pagan Worship” was only disallowed for political reasons, whose politics were at work? It would be easy to assume that #Voices is a thoroughly right-wing company that isn’t about to encourage any criticism of Donald Trump, but perhaps just as easy to assume that it is a left-leaning company that is terrified of incurring the right-wing’s wrath. How this might play out, in the company’s fevered imagination, is anyone’s guess.

Iny any case, it was startling reminder of just how strange this country has become when either the right or the left is prepared to violate 1st Amendment rights.

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