Wednesday, May 31, 2006
In Quest of the Golden Calf
If it's Wednesday, it must be "I" word day.
Idolatry is defined by Webster's as:
1. Worship of idols.
2. Blind or excessive devotion to something.
And why is Miss Begotten talking about idolatry? People give their allegiance to various people and/or institutions. This is a good thing. Or should be. Sometimes, though, people lend their loyalty to those from whom they would do better to run. Loyalty is a wonderful virtue. Blind loyalty is silly. And it can be dangerous. It's an unwise practice to idolize someone you've never sat down with and talked to at length. You may see the outer edges of some cause you believe you agree with, but do not fully embrace it unless and until you have thoroughly investigated every last aspect of it. Know what you're getting into. And once you're into it, keep your eyes open. Maintain a healthy dose of skepticism. Don't allow idealism to supersede common sense.
It is so troubling to see wannabe authors, those who honestly don't stand a chance with mainstream publishers, idolizing PublishAmerica. They would all but die for the publisher who "gave them a chance." Their loyalty is fierce, albeit unearned by its recipient, and that loyalty breeds a distinct "us v. them" dynamic. Let someone in all innocence make a candid remark on the PublishAmerica message boards that is the least bit unflattering to PublishAmerica and watch the mob mentality of the blind followers take over. That PublishAmerica is able to incite passions that way, able to keep their followers respectful, almost worshipful, able to manipulate their ranks into not questioning company policies, able to quell rebellion with harsh rebukes, able to keep people opening their wallets time after time -- these are the reasons PublishAmerica is often described as cult-like. With a former psychologist at the helm, we rather suspect that such Idolatry is no accident. PublishAmerican Idol in the publishing industry. Who ever would have thought it?