All Press, Good Press

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Publicity is a fundamental component of the book-selling process—it’s unlikely a reader will buy something she doesn’t know exists. So why do we find public relations so despicable? In an essay for Jacobin, Jennifer Pan reminds us that capitalism is a system within which both PR and the creative industries operate, and asks us to consider the gendered implications of our higher respect for the latter:

When writers attack bad PR, the unspoken heart of their criticism is the failure on the part of the publicist to adequately conceal that she is performing emotional work for money. The creative industries, so often seen as a liberatory alternative to the corporate grind, trade on the passion of their workers…So the idea of performing passion for a wage becomes especially anathema, and the phoniness of PR work is used as a foil for the more authentic work of the writer or editor.


Roxie Pell is a student at Wesleyan University, where she writes for Wesleying and The Argus and tweets hilarious nuggets of pure wisdom @jonathnfranzen. More from this author →