Vox Day has a good post today about how mainstream publishing has become a negative sum game.
He’s mostly writing about science fiction, which I don’t read nearly as much as I used to during childhood, but it’s also applicable to the broader publishing industry. Vox touches on the demographic issue, but I’d like to go into a bit more detail here.
Anglo culture, like German culture, is hyper-literate. To the extent that both of those cultures are failing to reproduce themselves effectively has clear impacts on the demand for the written word. Mexicans love Telemundo more than they like PBS. A website like Buzzfeed is the Telemundo version of the New York Times. A shrinking and aging demographic is less capable of supporting growth in discretionary industries.
Highly literate culture that produces newspapers, literary magazines, and novels is as North European as tacos and empenadas are for South Americans. When a people diminishes, we should also expect the diminishment of their cultural expressions, both domestically and internationally. Liberals will often lament the decline in, say, newspaper readership, without connecting that decline to the decline in the consumer base who actually wants to participate in that kind of culture.
These cultural expressions are a way that a given population talks to itself, understands itself, and coordinates. As that population becomes less coherent and willing to sustain itself, its cultural expressions must also shrink.
Yet addressing this directly is very hard for people with a more liberal mentality. This is one of the reasons why you’ll see so many prospective writers waste years of their lives and tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars pursuing MFAs and going to novel-writing workshops, in the hopes that more certificates and training programs will cure a fundamental lack of demand for the products.
More-educated novelists don’t solve the problem of a demographic crunch in the types of people who are apt to buy those novels.
Only White people — and the occasional affirmative action hire — would even think of buying an MFA’s novel. It’s just not a major art form outside a rather limited cultural bubble. There’s a reason why Africans are so absent from the long list of great authors — novel-writing was useless for Africans for most of their historical existance, as issues of bare survival were more important to them, and they never really had the level of development to support that sort of cultural expression, and aren’t likely to anytime soon, either.
Further, with higher education teaching the native stock that their culture is evil and degenerate — instead encouraging people to consume other cultural forms from the third world — any demand that might have been generated for distinctly Anglo-American culture gets dissipated. It becomes more important to be politically correct than it does to be conversant in the Western tradition and some of its newer speculative offshoots.
Liberals often profess to care a great deal about culture — they will often spend more of their lives shaping the culture than expanding the raw human material that makes that culture relevant — while simultaneously undermining the carrying capacity of the societies that they enjoy political dominance over.
You can’t promote literacy and literate culture while also suppressing the fertility of the populations which have a track record of running that kind of culture.
We could also say that this sort of over-reach is perhaps a result of excessive literacy and abstraction. Having developed advanced forms of cultural expression and communication of accurate knowledge, those expressions came to be more important than the reality which they were supposed to express, which has lead to our current predicament.