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Troy

Is “Shithole” Really Such a Profoundly Obscene Word?

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I just sent a sponsored mailing with the subject line: We Proudly Publish Authors From “Shithole Countries”  The published asked if it would be OK to use the word I said "sure."  In fact, I thought the word, in this context, might actually help the mailing.

 

Well I won;t know for a few days one way or the other, but I can tell you two people immediately unsubscribed from the mailing.  The list is 14,000 names so this is not at all alrmining or even unusual.

 

Are you or do you think anyone would be or should offended by it's use?  Have I damaged my brand?

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IMO, this eye-catching headline has the potential to be offensive.  It could be construed as your saying that you publish books from these countries because it doesn't matter to you that they are shit holes. This makes you look almost as bad Trump because you are reinforcing rather than reprimanding his choice of words. If it was meant to be a joke, it's a bad one.  What if a white marketer used this phrase?  

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Yeah, I had not seriously considered this... I'll report back the the results relative to other campaigns.

 

I plant to resent the same message on Saturday to those who did not open the first message by then.

 

Do you think using the subject

 

We Proudly Publish Authors From “Sh_thole Countries” would make a difference or should I craft something completely different?

 

 

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24 minutes ago, Troy said:

We Proudly Publish Authors From “Sh_thole Countries” would make a difference or should I craft something completely different?

 

 

@Troy aren't those the words from the publisher of The Mantle?   

If yes, it seems then those words  should remain.  It makes a strong statement.   

 

If those are your words, then  :eek: :o .... 

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Yes they are the publishers words, but I'm the one sending the email.  Right now the open rates are a bit higher that normal, but again I'll now more early next week. 

 

Actually it might make sense to post a link to the actual email that was mailed.  I think, in context, it is a strong statement.

 

Literature from Shithole Countries

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Here is some of the feedback from the email -- almost all of these messages came from a cell phone.

  • “Love it..."
  • “Yes, you do...and we, from the USA who have to put up with that ignoramus, are glad you do!”
  • “Terrific!!”
  • “I understand what you're doing here but I really wish people would stop perpetuating what the asshole said in making reference to these countries!  When they go low, we go high and this does not represent high.”
  • “I received your email this morning and would like to remark that my family has been publishing books from Haiti, another “shithole country.” Please forward some information about aalbc specifically marketing information at your earliest convenience. Thanks in advance.”
  • “Right on Troy with respect”
  • Brotha, you on point. I'm thinking of a podcast with "shithole" Harlemites in the arts. Your stepping towards the word and not away from it is a great new year present.

  • Immeasurable respect and admiration for the awesome work you are doing! I want to make an observation that I hope you will accept in the spirit of community and uplift in which it is given. I, like so many others, was devastated to learn of the President’s derogatory reference to El Salvador, Haiti and Africa. I believe we subconsciously advance his remarks and sentiments when we repeat and replay them. 

 

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On 1/19/2018 at 1:29 PM, Troy said:

  I think, in context, it is a strong statement.

 

Also, it's the publisher's unique selling proposition - I know from that one line, their authors are from the motherland.. That's powerful marketing lol

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Hi Everyone -- thanks for engaging in this conversation. And thanks, Troy, for kicking it off. 

I'm the publisher for The Mantle. I came up with the headline and the mailing that Troy distributed. For me, the use of "shithole" (or a censored version, like "sh*thole") was a way of co-opting the unfortunate (SAD!) phrase uttered by the president. It was an attempt to take control of the conversation by using the president's own words against him. One of the replies Troy received to the mailing said as much: 

On 1/19/2018 at 5:52 PM, Troy said:

Your stepping towards the word and not away from it is a great new year present.


Just this morning I received an email from a friend who lives in Haiti, who referred to the island as "my shithole country" with a mix of irony and pride. The journalist and iconoclast Chris Hedges used the phrase repeatedly in his piece, "No Telescope Needed to Find a 'Shithole Country,'" to recount the many misguided American policies toward Latin American in the past 50 years, and to declare that the U.S. is the real shithole in this dialogue. Weeks later the phrase continues to be used on Twitter to describe all kinds of political arguments and claptraps. 


Elsewhere, the women's movement has made a similar play in turning Trump's words against him by proudly proclaiming "pussy grabs back," in protest to his sexual abuse. 

Anyone who opened the email and read the content beyond the subject line would see the anger I felt in having to even write such a message: 
 

Quote

Donald Trump’s description of African countries as “shithole countries” is an outrageous slur. Sadly, the sentiments are not new. Last year Trump wondered when Nigerians would return to their “huts.” (And let’s not even get into the Obama-Kenya-birther issue.) The man is unconscionable.


All of that said, this was a piece of marketing. The headline was deliberately provocative. I'm a book publisher, not a charity. I need to sell books so my writers can earn money to keep doing what they love, and so I can continue to bring emerging and under-heard voices to the American public. And if it takes a shitty headline to get your attention, I'll use it as thoughtfully as I can. 

Peace.

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On 1/18/2018 at 1:16 PM, Troy said:

Are you or do you think anyone would be or should offended by it's use?  Have I damaged my brand?

 

I have a few thoughts on this Troy.

 

Yes, the word in and of itself is offensive and obscene. But is it a problem for me? No. Why? Because it is being spouted by a spiritual/emotional/intellectual infant who has no understanding of history, and even more, has no understanding of context. Within the context of world history, America and most European countries have been the biggest shithole countries on Earth. Europe was such a shithole country that many of them left there to populate most other places on Earth, hence why melanin rich people have been forced to deal with their shithole behavior and have suffered for hundreds of years because of it. Why did they leave Europe in droves? Why did they need to send even their criminals away to other parts of the world? Anyone who has studied even basic history in school can point to just about every war in Western history and see that it is due to Europeans combatting shithole conditions and shitty people who oppressed them in Europe, THEIR shithole countries...that they had to run away. 

 

Then they come to places where melanin rich people are, oppress them, thereby turning OUR countries into shithole countries, just like what they left. PRIOR to European invasion, there was nothing shitty about our countries. Europeans discovered a good 80% of the world sciences in OUR shithole countries. THEY turned our places into shithole countries, and could only do that because they were bringing their shithole ways of living to our doorsteps. Shit produces shit. Still, we overcame their behavior and remain above the fray overall, with some specific issues we still need to overcome...if we can get them out of our countries.

 

At the end of the day, I am far from offended by what Trump said. Why should I be? He's an imbecile. That is like being upset with my 3 year old child because she says, "Mommy, you are stupid." Alrighty then. This infant who just got here is gonna tell me something about myself. Trump is spouting the sentiments of many Americans who have no knowledge of history, or wish to ignore the facts of history to make themselves feel better about the shit they've transferred to us and our countries. These infants in world history are going to insult brown cultures that were around and established when Europeans were just getting on a boat to "discover" us.  Even with their transference of cultural shit, we STILL are not as bad as many European countries (Europeans in general) who even in recent times, were in an uproar and burning down even police stations. Look at Greece in recent years. Any shit we are under in our countries, it's mainly because of European influence. The mere fact that some of our countries have "democracy" in a formal government structure is the clear evidence of the taint on our way of life. Why are we living under their social structures? 

 

My fear is not what Trump said, but what that imbecile will DO. We concern ourselves too much with the ramblings of children when we need to focus on what these children have done, are doing and may do again. Their words merely highlight their potential. But we need to be talking about and focusing on his actions and the havoc he could wreak because he was ignorantly placed in a position of "power". 

 

It is ironic that a man with a shithole mouth and zero class would be calling whole countries shithole; countries that, were it not for their ancient knowledge (math, science, biology, etc.), discoveries that precede the existence of the United States by over 5,000 years, he would have no Twitter account or a camera to spew shit from his shithole.

 

 

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Thanks @Shaun Randol I folks do indeed use this to discover he work of some of gth writers you've published.

.

@zaji, I hear you, while your three year old has the same mental capacity and can probably exert more self control than 45, she is not in control our military nor does she have the ability to write and executive orders. In other words, your three-year-old is not dangerous.  Unfortunately, what 45 says matters.

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On 1/29/2018 at 7:28 AM, Troy said:

 

@zaji, I hear you, while your three year old has the same mental capacity and can probably exert more self control than 45, she is not in control our military nor does she have the ability to write and executive orders. In other words, your three-year-old is not dangerous.  Unfortunately, what 45 says matters.

 

My point exactly! As I wrote, we need to focus on his actions, what he does, because at the end of day, that is where the danger is. I don't get offended by his words. I expect them. I've watched his behavior for decades. His comments are not surprising in the least. I am on the lookout for the actions his words produce. I prepare to defend against and/or brace for the impact of his actions, not his childish ramblings. 

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@Troy Would you have any misgivings marketing Colin Kaepernick's forthcoming book by using  a phrase like "we sell books by black "sons-of-bitches"? :o

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