Douglas Lain, publisher of Zero Books, which put out Angela Nagle’s Kill All Normies, has released a short rebuttal to recent accusations of plagiarism. [Our Response to Charles Davis’ Attack on Angela Nagle, Zero Books, May 22, 2018] It makes for an interesting read. First Lain claims that the so-called “plagiarism” is not so bad, and is just over-hyped sloppy citing. Then he claims that much of the attacks on Nagle and her book are really motivated by her opposition to Western intervention in Syria—and that pro-intervention voices seek to discredit her by any means possible. He then closes with: “that the piece [the Daily Beast article about Nagle] is now being used by misogynist trolls like Roosh and Vdare to further attack Nagle should give the authors of such smear campaigns pause for thought.” In other words: “Don’t call out our missteps, lest the Right weaponize them.”
To be clear, in case my earlier post on the matter wasn’t, I do not think Nagle purposefully skimmed Wikipedia and other sources, and then said to herself, “I’ll just copy this, nobody will notice.” It’s more that the book was clearly written as quickly as possible and hit the presses before any editor thumbed through it. That rush is clear throughout the book in a number of different ways; one of them is the perhaps cribbing, perhaps accidentally regurgitating, of various websites without proper citation.
I maintain, as I have said before, that all of this happened because Zero Books and/or Nagle knew that the very first book about the “alt-right” would get astronomically more attention (and ergo sales) than even the second book about the alt-right. Hence, careful editing was pitched out the window for the sake of winning this race. And indeed Kill All Normies won it. And indeed subsequent books about the alt-right have received considerably less attention, regardless of their quality, simply because they lost the race. (e.g. Making Sense of the Alt-Right by George Hawley, Everything You Love Will Burn by Vegas Tenold, Alt-America by David Neiwert.)
Lain, in his response to the “smears” about Kill All Normies, subtly confirms my theory about why the book went to press in such awful condition by noting that the book was put together in “haste,” and that it went on to be “an explosively best selling book.” He has also said elsewhere that it is by far the post popular title ever released by Zero Books. Since Lain is apparently reading VDARE.com, I’d like to ask: Do you feel at all guilty about what shabby condition Kill All Normies was in when you released it? I’m sure plenty of fans spent their money on a book absolutely riddled with embarrassing and easily avoidable typos. Do you feel bad about that? Do you feel like you let them down or didn’t quite give them their money’s worth? Nagle, if you are reading this, I’m curious as to your response to the same questions.
Two other points in Lain’s response are worth addressing. First, that the accusations against Nagle are motivated by pro-war factions of the Left attempting to silence her. This is utterly absurd and Lain knows it. Nagle’s biggest critic on the Left is Noah Bertlasky. Bertlasky is also opposed to Syrian intervention and has written a number of books. No one is accusing him of plagiarism. There are also plenty of other public figures, Right and Left, who are against Syrian intervention and not being accused of plagiarism: Tucker Carlson, Daniel Larison, Jeffrey St. Clair, et al. If the pro-war Left were striving to discredit anti-war figures with spurious accusations of plagiarism, they would start with bigger fish than Nagle, frankly.
Secondly, Lain writes “misogynist trolls like Roosh and Vdare”—which is a silly and uninformed characterization of VDARE.com. VDARE.com does not write about the war between the sexes to any degree. VDARE.com writes about immigration, human biodiversity, and politics. Nor can VDARE.com be accurately labeled as a “troll” of any kind. VDARE.com has never picked a fight on Twitter and never publishes articles or blog posts with the sole intent of irritating somebody. If we are to be smeared with a mainstream label, it should be “racist,” not “misogynist.” I am curious to know what evidence Lain might cite to buttress the claim that we are “misogynist trolls.” But like Kill All Normies, Lain’s post seems to have been written very quickly, and because of that, no time was taken to note the substantial differences between VDARE.com and Roosh V. In this way, Lain’s defense of the book only reinforces the issues with said book.
However, and again, as I said before, this will all probably make little impact in the respectability of Nagle and Zero Books. After all, both admire Slajov Žižek, the philosopher king of the socialist Left, and he plagiarized American Renaissance, and suffered no consequences for it.