Professionalism Out the Window

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Not too long ago I talked about the explosion of crap that is Mr. Sanders’ rather bigoted and, well, disturbing rejection letter. Now it comes to my attention that Mr. Sanders is actually mentally handicapped in a way that most of us aren’t. We all have an inner editor, that little person that sometimes goes “yeah, you probably shouldn’t say that” or “that sentence looks like crap”. I have it (most of the time it works, though occasionally something moronic slips through, usually as a failed attempt at a joke). Well, Mr. Sanders doesn’t have an internal editor. Rather than attempting to do what any intelligent person would do at this point (what with bloggers and authors alike throwing the Book of Dumb*ss at him), he has made the glorious decision to open his big mouth once again and shove his foot all the way to the back. I’m surprised he hasn’t choked himself yet.
Recently some authors have taken offense at his recent heavy-handed approach in a rejection letter and have since requested he remove their work from Helix’s archives. One such author is Yoon Ha Lee, someone that I’ve never heard of, but apparently is a good writer. She sent a notice to Mr. Sanders requesting that her work be removed from the archives. It’s a very professional letter and one I think anyone with some integrity might treat with some respect. Not Sanders. Oh no, professionalism and integrity have apparently left Mr. Sanders’ building. Here’s what Sanders should have said:

Dear Ms. Lee,
I have decided to remove your work from our archives per request and must give you my humble apology for my poor behavior. I have been a very bad boy and hope that we can move past this in a later date, and after some therapy.

William Sanders

And what Sanders actually wrote (this is taken from Lee’s post, so her writing is in here too):

Sanders flounced off in a huff, stating that the story “never did make any sense” and that he only accepted it to “please those who admire your work”–what altruism!–“and also because (notorious bigot that I am) I was trying to get more work by non-Caucasian writers.” If I were a writer currently submitting to Helix, I would kind of worry about that bit–all things considered, if a story really does suck, I’d rather have it rejected so I can fix it.

He then played psychic and claimed that I only asked for the story to be withdrawn “because, let’s get real here, you feel the need to distance yourself from someone who is in disfavor with the kind of babbling PC waterheads whose good opinion is so important to you, and whom you seem to be trying to impress with this little grandstand play.”

He closed with: “There was a suggestion I was going to make, but it is probably not physically practicable.”

A note here: just because you publish work by non-caucasian writers (which is interesting, because I wonder how he knows who is white and not and whether he was making a very general assertion that her name meant she was asian) doesn’t mean you can’t be a bigot. You know, when blacks started showing up on TV I bet a lot of the folks working for those stations didn’t like it one bit, but didn’t have much of a choice if they wanted to stay in the market.
Just keep putting that foot in your mouth, Mr. Sanders. Seriously. You’re not making yourself look good one bit. I’d be surprised if any authors with any integrity are still sending you work. Look, it’s entirely possible that you didn’t mean what you said that way people are taking it, but right now it doesn’t look like it. All we see is an angry, grumpy old codger attempting to put people down for not wanting to work with someone who hasn’t done anything to prove they aren’t a bigoted nutjob in the first place.
Sanders has also taken it a step further by posting on the Helix webpage for her story the following phrase:

Story deleted at author’s pantiwadulous request.

Really? This is the make of a professional quality magazine? Are you sure? Good luck with that buddy. Seriously. You’re going to need all the luck you can get, because at this point you’ve gone from trying to be the innocent victim of a misunderstanding to full-blown wacko with a grudge.

For those who want to offer a little support to Lee you can find the story that she asked to be removed here as well as some other work here and here. Maybe another magazine will pick her up. I certainly hope so. Anywho.

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

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