Lit Lib: Ethics vs. Marketing
March 21, 2013
As a consumer, it is important to remember that, though we want the best product, the company selling it is out there to do one thing: make money. However, even keeping this in mind, there are conventions that seem like they should not be broken, even just to make a dime.
Though there have been far worse instances of bad taste, consider the actions on the behalf of the publisher of All Quiet on the Western Front. After that book was published, they approached a freelance author named Evadne Price, asking her to write a parody. To me, it seems pretty tacky to request a spoof of your own book, but further consider the book that was being parodied. They wanted the parody to be called “All Quaint on the Western Front.” Making satirical remarks over such a grave and serious subject as the suffering of soldiers is completely tasteless, no matter the time.
Thankfully, Price declined the request. Instead, she opted to write a different novel dealing with serious WWI issues. She obtained the diary that a female ambulance driver had kept during the war with the only stipulation being that she had to stay true to the tone of the diary. Evadne Price used the pseudonym of Helen Zenna Smith, writing the novel through Smith’s perspective as an ambulance driver. The novel, Not So Quiet, is an evocative tale that highlights the particular troubles of women against the brutal backdrop of the Great War.
This just goes to show that even an insipid request can be the catalyst for greatness. What do you think? Do ethics enter into commerce, or is it just all fair in the name of capitalism?
Oak Grove Branch