June 15, 2022

"I apologize for saying white male writers having trouble finding work is a form of racism. I absolutely do not believe that racism is practiced against white writers."

"Please know that I strongly support a diversity of voices being heard — in literature, in Hollywood, everywhere."

Said the best-seller writer James Patterson, quoted in "James Patterson Apologizes for Saying White Writers Face a ‘Form of Racism’/The comments by Mr. Patterson, the prolific author of best-selling thrillers, had been widely criticized" (NYT).

How dumb do you have to be to make that point if you're not willing to stand by it? The criticism was utterly predictable, so the apology means just about nothing.

It only makes me wonder, why is he such a big success? And yet he wanted to try out the idea that guys like him are held back while others are promoted ahead of him.

A staple of best-seller lists, he has written children’s books and biographies as well as works of science fiction and fantasy.... Mr. Patterson has also written two books with former President Bill Clinton and one book, “Run, Rose, Run,” with Dolly Parton, published in March. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2019. A White House citation accompanying the honor called him “one of the most successful American authors of our time.”

Not one of the best American authors of our time, just one of the most successful! Not even the most successful, just one of the most successful. He got a medal for that — from the President of the United States! Funnily, Trump's name is left out of this article, but it was 2019 and the medal is presented by the President of the United States. So that was Trump, and right after Patterson had co-written a novel with Bill Clinton. 

Speaking of white men, did Bill Clinton deserve his position as co-author of "The President Is Missing"?

And speaking of apologies, Lizzo — who is neither white nor a man — apologized after she got criticized for using the word "spaz" in a song: "I’mma spaz; I’m about to knock somebody out." See "Fans told Lizzo a word in her song was offensive. She changed the lyrics" (WaPo).

62 comments:

gilbar said...

racism Used be Prejudice plus Power.. it NOW means.. i ain't white!!

rhhardin said...

Country music still exists, e.g. Wheeler Walker Jr "Which One O' You Queers Is Gonna Suck My Dick?" Presumably announced on walking into a Texas bar.

Lurker21 said...

Being a Friend of Bill doesn't give you any immunity anymore.

"Never apologize, never explain" always seemed like an arrogant maxim, but right now there is something to be said for it.

Other options: "You know, obviously I was being ironic," and "Hey, I was just putting it out there for discussion."

tim in vermont said...

Walk into a bookstore and see what is. being promoted and you can see that if you are a white male writer, you are going to have to do it for love of the art, but this guy seems pretty good at shameless self promotion.

Jersey Fled said...

Patterson needs to grow a set. Like J.K.

Old and slow said...

The woke would certainly enjoy Spasticus Autisticus ny Ian Dury and The Blockheads...

Another old lawyer said...

Reportedly worth $800 million, $90 million annual income. Eff You money used to mean something in this country.

Temujin said...

Since Hillary lost her election, I think the deplorables have actually come forward and shown themselves. The woke are utterly useless people. Craven. No character. No moral compass. Nothing. Just mealy-mouthed meaningless apology words, hand-wringing, and finger pointing.

Ugh. What a horrid class of people.

Buckwheathikes said...

"the apology means just about nothing"

I'd say the apology means a whole lot. It means he was got to. He's being forced against his will to apologize. The apology means he was right.

Temujin said...

PS- I never read Patterson. I don't typically read the best seller people who crank out a book a year. The few times I have read them they lived down to my expectations. But nonetheless he lost me forever when he started co-writing books with Bill Clinton. What's the point of that?

I mean- who's been hanging around waiting to read something from Bill Clinton? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

stlcdr said...

Isn’t the offense of offending someone (doesn’t matter who as long as someone thinks someone, somewhere may take offense) in our criminal statutes, yet?

David Begley said...

Patterson was the CEO of J. Walter Thompson in New York during the Mad Men days.

Clyde said...

Never, ever apologize to people demanding one. The only proper response is a middle finger.

Amadeus 48 said...

"Not one of the best American authors of our time, just one of the most successful! Not even the most successful, just one of the most successful. He got a medal for that — from the President of the United States! Funnily, Trump's name is left out of this article, but it was 2019 and the medal is presented by the President of the United States. So that was Trump, and right after Patterson had co-written a novel with Bill Clinton."

I can tell Althouse is reeling from the discontinuities.

I wonder which version of Patterson contains "his truth"? Hint: he could be a literary relief pitcher/utility man. I suppose Trump had Patterson warming up in the bullpen just in case Trump wanted to become a best-selling co-author--imagine the opportunities to boast about his book sales!

Amadeus 48 said...

A further question: does Patterson himself have a ghostwriter? I bet he does.

MikeR said...

"I absolutely do not believe that racism is practiced against white writers." Silly. We all know that publishers are looking for books by transgender disabled people of color, or whatever the intersectionality list is today. If you're spending effort and choices on them, white writers are at a disadvantage. Racism.

JAORE said...

Yep, the very existence of a highly successful white, male writer is proof positive that white, male writers are not discriminated against.

Using that logic I can say without fear of contradiction.../sarc... there is no discrimination anywhere.

Amadeus 48 said...

And here is the answer from Wikipedia:

"Patterson has often said that collaborating with others brings new and interesting ideas to his stories. Of his process, he has stated that he is simply more proficient at dreaming up plots than crafting sentence after sentence."

The man is a machine. I am sure that he is setting up a President's mystery club, with Obama, Trump, and Biden ready to roll.

Amadeus 48 said...

"Silly. We all know that publishers are looking for books by transgender disabled people of color, or whatever the intersectionality list is today."

Look at the carnage in young adult fiction, where promising writers are regularly eviscerated by the mean girls and boys and others for using their imaginations. The watchdogs love it when they get a book withdrawn or blocked from publication, usually on grounds of cultural appropriation.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

I despise the Maoist insincere public apology rituals. I don’t think he was inserting himself in the group of white writers facing discrimination. I thought, simply seeing his quote, that he was simply describing the current state of publishing. After all there have been widespread reports of publishers and editors refusing to take on new authors unless the writer is “BIPOC” or having hissy fits after publishing fiction from a minority point of view before realizing the author was — horror of horrors — unfortunately pale skinned. The rabid overcorrection of “historical wrongs” in which mostly white male writers were celebrated has turned absurd. The point Patterson seemed to be making was indisputable. Not limited to publishing you can see students rejecting college courses that use textbooks with “too much whiteness” and Hollywood is imploding over unwritten rules that say only specific ethnic or self-described genders can even portray “their kind.” Sure up until recently all the good progressives would happily wear blackface but the Woke are in charge now and white males are the new “other” that is socially acceptable to hate in public.

Not just acceptable it is expected. What a coward he was with his lofty perch, unable to speak truth to power.

boatbuilder said...

The more important question is: "Why didn't Bill Clinton collaborate with a transgender woman of color instead of an old white guy?"

boatbuilder said...

Since it's in the NYT, I didn't read the article. Is there context? I.e., did he say that he wasn't speaking about himself, but about young authors trying to get published and promoted? Because if that is the case what he said is almost certainly true in today's woke regime.

MadTownGuy said...

"Fans told Lizzo a word in her song was offensive. She changed the lyrics"

Mark Knopfler did the same in live performances of "Money for Nothing," even though he was using the untrustworthy narrator style of lyric writing (think Randy Newman's "Short People").

Mike Sylwester said...

I think Patterson must be well informed about the business of publishing books.

Humperdink said...

I apologize for saying African-Americans have trouble succeeding in the US political system. (B. H. Obama)

I apologize for saying African-Americans have trouble succeeding in the US entertainment industry. (O. Winfrey)

I apologize for saying African-Americans have trouble succeeding in pro sports. (L. James, M. Jordan)

I apologize for saying African-Americans have trouble succeeding in the US military. (C. Powell, L. Austin)

Michael said...

The writer who failed to mention Trump negatively when given the chance won’t be around long.

What's emanating from your penumbra said...

The left continuously injects poison into our society. But it still surprises some people.

Tom T. said...

He's had a gig going lately where he would collaborate with other writers. My assumption would be that the lesser-known would do all the work, in exchange for the marketing boost from Patterson's name. It was easy money for him, but presumably it's over. No one can afford to partner with him now.

Howard said...

He's a big success because he writes formulaic simplistic repetitive novels that are easy to digest by the punters the great masses the unwashed.

h said...

If you look at any "best books" list in the WaPo or NYT (best beach reads, best mystery and suspense, best new fiction, etc) it is rare to find a cis white male author. For example on this list of 50 best fiction books for 2021, we see Chris Bohemian, Jeff VanderMeer, Amor Towles, Colm Toibin, and Gary Shteyngart -- that's five out of 50. I think the journalists/reviewers making these lists are writing for their friends and acquaintances and are hyper aware of the "diversity" of authors on their lists. (I do note that most of the recent winners of the Pulitzer for fiction are White men).

h said...

Best 50 fiction books list referred to in last post is https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/2021/11/18/2021-books-fiction/

Lurker21 said...

A further question: does Patterson himself have a ghostwriter? I bet he does.

Yes, he has a veritable fiction factory.

So did Dumas père.

Sebastian said...

"How dumb do you have to be to make that point if you're not willing to stand by it?"

Pretty dumb, particularly in misjudging your own cowardice.

"The criticism was utterly predictable, so the apology means just about nothing."

True, but this could be smart: presented abjectly enough, groveling semi-wokeness occasionally redeems evil white supremacist.

William said...

I've never read anything by James Patterson, but at sometime in my life I must have read something by Agatha Christie. I've certainly seen movies and tv shows based on her books. She's said to be the most successful writer of all time.....Some writers have a knack for plots and plot hooks with curlicues and reversals that keep you turning the page. It's a skill, but perhaps more of a mechanical than artistic skill. You don't win critical acclaim, but it sells books and a few hundred million dollars is far more enduring than critical acclaim.....Can't spazz just as well refer to spasm as spastic?

rcocean said...

I apologize for telling the truth. I apologize for my counter-revolutionary thoughts. I love Big Brother and support the fight against racism in all its forms. Please don't destroy me.

LOL.

We've had white authors pretend to be Native Americans or austrailians or women in order to get published. But there is no discrimination. And even if there is, shut you bigot.

Not Sure said...

I wonder what an anonymized survey of writers' agents would say.

Well, no, I don't really wonder.

rcocean said...

I have nothing against Patterson or best selling authors except my Library has to stock 100 Patterson books or 50 Evanoitch books or 20 Ann Rice books. Meanwhile, try to find a copy of less famous Tolstoy or Conrad book, there's one copy and a wait list.

madAsHell said...

Have you watched the TV, and TV commercials lately??

You would think this country was 50% black!! Even Joe Biden notices!

Ralph L said...

The more important question is: "Why didn't Bill Clinton collaborate with a transgender woman of color instead of an old white guy?"

Jessica Valenti and her sweater would be proud to do it.

Narayanan said...

I had the impression that he was The Brand and the books are all written by various others who may be any complexioned

Anthony said...

MadTownGuy said...

Mark Knopfler did the same in live performances of "Money for Nothing,"


That's one song I'll change the channel on if possible. It's utterly despicable to me that they removed that entire verse.

Joe Smith said...

He has been a huge success for years, long before reverse discrimination was the norm.

But the pendulum has certainly swung, and I would bet a lot of money that it's far easier getting a book deal if you're a differently-abled, indigenous, left-handed lesbian of color than a boring old (he's 75) white guy.

Don't even try to argue that it's not; we all know where the world is today.

I wonder why he just doesn't pull a J.K. Rowling and tell everybody to fuck off...a cursory search reveals he is worth around $800M.

Joe Smith said...

'A further question: does Patterson himself have a ghostwriter? I bet he does.'

These guys all get lazy when they get old.

Their names will still sell a lot of books at the airport, but they don't write them anymore.

They bring in a not-so-ghost writer.

"The thrilling new novel by JAMES PATTERSON (in 3-inch gold type) with joe smith (tiny 12 point type)."

Joe Smith does all the work while Patterson maybe reads some pages every once in awhile and signs off on the final effort.

It sells a few million copies at O'Hare and JFK. Smith takes a writer's fee of $100k and Patterson keeps raking in the millions on his name alone.

Those mansions in the Bahamas don't pay for themselves, you know...

Joe Smith said...

My comments show up and then they disappear almost immediately...weird...

Howard said...

I tell Google whom to censored, Joe Smith. Up your game

LilyBart said...


Modern racism, better than the old racism!

MadisonMan said...

I'm not a fan of Patterson's writing. Along a different line, I ponder what was the last book I actually bought, for myself? I think it was by a white guy: Alexander McCall Smith. It was 6 months ago!

Jeff Weimer said...

When there are open calls in the publishing industry to not publish straight white male authors, it's more than an open secret. Many an author has gone indy after their agent told them no publishing house would even consider their manuscript.

Michael K said...

But nonetheless he lost me forever when he started co-writing books with Bill Clinton. What's the point of that?

Marketing to lefties. That seems to be his audience, hence his apology. These book a year writers are mostly writing the same book over and over. The exception is Andrew Wareham who has about 40 books in print, almost all of them good.

n.n said...

Diversity [dogma]. Inequity, and Exclusion, including color bloc quotas, affirmative discrimination. Some, Select [Black] Lives Matter.

Michael McNeil said...

Many an author has gone indy after their agent told them no publishing house would even consider their manuscript.

Sarah Hoyt would say, don't even think about doing anything else.

M Jordan said...

Solomon must apologize for his Song. It contains the line, “I am black but comely.”

Wisest man in the world my ass.

Greg The Class Traitor said...

"I apologize for saying white male writers having trouble finding work is a form of racism."
Translation: please dont' destroy my life for telling the truth

"I absolutely do not believe that racism is practiced against white writers."

Except, of courses the entire "diversity" movement and all its actions

NMObjectivist said...

"How dumb do you have to be to make that point if you're not willing to stand by it? The criticism was utterly predictable, so the apology means just about nothing."

He didn't fully grasp how brutal cancel culture is. He wants to keep working. Common reaction.

Joe Smith said...

If you're a man writing popular fiction today and don't have a female nom de plume, you are a moron...

Mrs. X said...

“Patterson was the CEO of J. Walter Thompson in New York during the Mad Men days.”

Not during the Mad Men days which were the 60s (unless I’ve wildly misremembered) but during the 80s and 90s. He was my boss, and a nice one, too. Don’t like his books, though. (Sssh! Don’t tell.) I think he got the idea for those super short chapters from writing in 30 second chunks for TV.

bentoak said...

He felt compelled to recant his heresy. It's striking how this resembles religion in its bad forms.

I didn't know 'funnily' was a word till today.

Bunkypotatohead said...

So there's a spaz community looking out for their own?

Marc said...

I've seen Mr Patterson's stories on the large print edition shelves at the public library (indeed, multiple shelves of them) but will admit that I remember that many years ago he appeared (as himself) in an episode of the television series Castle.

ElPresidenteCastro said...

A month or so ago I went to my city art museum. As I walked through, I thought "I am old enough to remember when straight white men made art."

Literally no straight, white men's art less than 20 years old was hanging on the walls. Gay, Trans, Black: pick any two and they will hang anything. Of course Marcel Duchamp and Andres Serrano sort of ruined it for white dudes.

matism said...

Jew hunting season opens soon.

The real shame is that the Germans were not significantly more efficient in the 40s!

realestateacct said...

I enjoyed the book "White Man's Problems" - stories self published because publishers were not interested in white man's problems.