How the Left Has Changed the Publishing Industry

More from our inbox:

  • A Lesson From Kansas: ‘Purple Is a Beautiful Color’
  • Act Against Monkeypox Now
  • Pelosi’s Support for Taiwan
  • The Pope’s Spotlight on the Aging
  • In Wartime Amsterdam, Photos of the Doomed

Credit…Illustration by Rebecca Chew/The New York Times; photograph by Mimadeo, via Getty Images

To the Editor:

Re “There’s More Than One Way to Ban a Book,” by Pamela Paul(column, July 25):

Thank you, Ms. Paul, for calling out the pernicious strain of moral absolutism that has hijacked the message of the center-left in the U.S. in recent years.

Ban Dr. Seuss? Defund the police? Do these culture warriors want to pass progressive legislation or just tick people off? Worse, the backlash they create makes it even harder to move the ball forward toward laudable goals like universal health care, the Green New Deal and policies that strip millionaires and billionaires of their precious tax breaks.

Instead of harassing publishers and chasing conservative speakers off campuses, let’s get busy electing the lawmakers who can actually enact a progressive agenda.

Charles Ault
Haverford, Pa.

To the Editor:

Pamela Paul’s column is very disturbing. Although publishers may be limiting the works they greenlight for politically motivated reasons, I find comfort in hoping that we continue to have access to authors who post their work on the internet.

However, if the effort to censor books spills over into a movement to control content on the internet, will we be any better off than information seekers who live in China and Russia? I am very worried about the progressive effort to chip away at our democratic freedoms.

Frances R. Curcio
Staten Island

To the Editor:

This thorough and fair-minded essay is marred by one omission: Sometimes sensitivity readers actually do improve a manuscript. I’m grateful for those who read my book-in-progress and suggested several wise additions and subtractions. They made it a better book.

In recompense, I’m now doing a sensitivity read of a novel that innocently engages in a number of disability stereotypes. I hope my pointing them out will ultimately help more readers enjoy the book and not be turned off by it.

This isn’t censorship; it’s simply better, more informed editing.

Ben Mattlin
Los Angeles
The writer is a freelance writer and editor.

A Lesson From Kansas: ‘Purple Is a Beautiful Color’

Credit…Arin Yoon for The New York Times

To the Editor:

I hope my progressive, liberal and Democratic friends who, like Trumpians, view opponents as enemies to be defeated, even destroyed, learn a lesson from Kansas.

In a very conservative state, thousands of Republicans helped defeat a hate-fueled, extreme ballot initiative on abortion. Fanatics are a lost cause, but I believe that most Americans, conservative and progressive, want vigorous but respectful debate on a path to consensus.

Beware those who see only red or blue. Purple is a beautiful color.

Steve Stone
Richmond, Va.

Act Against Monkeypox Now

Credit…Dado Ruvic/Reuters

To the Editor:

Re “U.S. Let Vaccine Doses for Monkeypox Expire” (news article, Aug. 2):

It is infuriating to read that the U.S. government allowed for millions of monkeypox doses to expire over the years. But that vexation must give way to immediate action, especially for those of us who work in communities where this virus is of growing concern.

In Palm Springs, where I live, we are anxiously awaiting our equitable doses of the monkeypox vaccine. While our city may be small in population, we believe that we merit an immediate rush of vaccines because of our city’s popularity among L.G.B.T.Q.+ travelers and residents.

I grew up in Queens, N.Y., in the 1980s, and this type of mishandling and tragically slow response is reminiscent of the inaction from our government to combat another virus that affected members of the L.G.B.T.Q.+ community in its early stages: H.I.V./AIDS.

At DAP Health, an advocacy-based health center whose board I serve on, we are mobilizing town halls, creating public service announcements and leveraging our trusted relationships in the community to raise awareness about monkeypox and help our most at-risk patients seek assistance.

As our community awaits our fair share of vaccines, we are not waiting to lay the groundwork to successfully protect our residents and visitors.

Scott Nevins
Palm Springs, Calif.

Pelosi’s Support for Taiwan

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan this week has drawn sharp reactions from China, including a formal protest.Credit…Ann Wang/Reuters

To the Editor:

Re “Pelosi Prods China, Stoking Simmering Tensions” (front page, Aug. 4):

China is clearly wondering whether, with the world distracted by Ukraine, now might be the moment when it can move against Taiwan. Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit gave Beijing a timely hint of the answer. The criticism of this trip seems to dance around the real problem: China’s continued military threats against Taiwan.

Thank you, Speaker Pelosi, for standing up for Taiwan’s right to exist as a free, democratic and sovereign nation. Ms. Pelosi has the courage and integrity that we expect from a leader.

Kent Wang
Potomac Falls, Va.
The writer is a research fellow at the Institute for Taiwan-America Studies in Washington.

The Pope’s Spotlight on the Aging

Credit…Ian Willms for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Pope Makes His Frailty a Lesson in Compassion” (front page, July 29):

Pope Francis is not only an unparalleled worldwide spiritual figure but also a leader willing to display his declining health on a public stage.

His intent in avoiding hiding his vulnerability is purposeful: Neglect of an increasingly large number of people using wheelchairs, walkers or canes walls off the able-bodied from the wisdom and goodness in those suffering from the ravages of aging.

As an independent-living resident of a continuing care retirement community, I know that those unable to walk without medical devices have intelligence and life experiences to share. Like the pope, they suffer from malfunctioning knees and sciatica. They refuse to live solitary lives devoid of human interaction.

It is easy to view the elderly as disposable — as no longer productive and having little to contribute to a society that thrives on the young. That sort of thinking is badly misguided.

Pope Francis has rightly shone a spotlight on the aging.

Howard Freedlander
Annapolis, Md.

In Wartime Amsterdam, Photos of the Doomed

The photographs are “quite exceptional” because they “show the Holocaust taking place in a very well-known place in the center of Amsterdam,” a NIOD researcher said.Credit…BeeldbankWO2/NIOD/H.Heukels

To the Editor:

Re “Propaganda Became Evidence” (Arts pages, July 30):

Photography does not lie. These photographs showing the persecution of Dutch Jews in World War II, regardless of who took them and how they are cropped, are so chilling and real.

It is horrific that a Dutch Nazi was using them to promote his work. Somehow, though, these images are beyond the scenes depicted; they have such an emotional and vital feel as to be multidimensional.

You see people in the background, but they are doing nothing, only watching. You see women and children, the elderly and the young walking to their deaths, unknowing. The faces are beautiful regardless. You feel empathy and horror.

Images like this tell the truth in a most basic way that is impossible to challenge. The camera was the window, not the artist.

Susan McHale
Greenwich, Conn.

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