‘No Book Deals for Traitors’
President Donald Trump has left the building, and President Joe Biden is calling for unity, but not everyone is ready to kiss and make up. In some left-leaning spaces, resentment at having been subjected to four years of a Trump presidency is still running high, as is a desire to ensure that his cronies and enablers are hit with a karmic boomerang for their misdeeds.
In media and publishing, this quest to hold members of the Trump administration accountable has resulted in a remarkable document that takes aim at Trump loyalists who might now seek to pivot away (or, God forbid, profit) from this period in their lives by writing a book. Organized by author Barry Lyga, who is best known for the young adult thriller series I Hunt Killers as well as several comic book novels featuring DC Comics character The Flash, the document opens with a confessional tone: “We all love book publishing, but we have to be honest—our country is where it is in part because publishing has chased the money and notoriety of some pretty sketchy people, and has granted those same people both the imprimatur of respectability and a lot of money through sweetheart book deals.”
These book deals, the letter argues, should not be granted to any “participant in an administration that caged children, performed involuntary surgeries on captive women, and scoffed at science as millions were infected with a deadly virus,” nor to those who supported the January 6 riot at the Capitol. To allow Trump’s people to disseminate their ideas “through our beloved publishing houses” would be an affront; a comparison is even drawn to the “Son of Sam” laws that bar convicted felons from profiting off their crimes.
The letter originally had an amazing title, “No Book Deals for Traitors,” which someone apparently thought better of in the days since it started garnering more mainstream attention (hosted on Lyga’s website, its headline now reads, “THIS IS A LETTER OF INTENT FROM PUBLISHING PROFESSIONALS OF THE UNITED STATES.”) But the McCarthy-esque sentiment invoked by the original title is apt: In substance, the letter is not unlike the famous 1947 Waldorf Statement by Hollywood executives promising not to employ communists or anyone who intended to overthrow the government. As of this writing,
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