a web thing


Category: Reblog

A letter from the founder of Audible

The following is an email that he asked us to share. I quite like it, so I’m posting it here to make sharing easier:

We support trans rights. 

Our People Principles that define our collective purpose call on us to “celebrate the glories of the human spectrum,” “protect inherent civil rights” and pursue equality as a core purpose. These values underlie our commitment to our colleagues as we build a shared sense of safety and belonging in our workplace, and they inspire our mission to elevate marginalized voices — because we have the ability to foster compassion, inclusiveness and understanding in our listeners through our content.

Trans women are women, trans men are men, and all forms of gender expression and identities including nonbinary and genderqueer are valid. Trans people are more likely to be un- or under-employed and live under the poverty line. They are more at risk to die of suicide or be victims of violence: in 2020, 15 transgender or gender non-comforming people have been violently killed, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Even as we celebrate the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling last week protecting transgender workers, we recognize the trans community continues to face a hostile culture and is highly subject to discrimination in employment, housing, education, healthcare and other aspects of public life. We also implore any political or cultural figure possessed of a public platform to join us in not only avoiding transphobic rhetoric but also to stand with us to protect one of the most vulnerable groups of people in the world.

Because the stories of trans and nonbinary voices deserve to be heard more widely, we will amplify the titles that can be found at Audible in collections like “The Best Trans and Nonbinary Listens by Queer Authors” and “Trans Stories” and spotlight our interviews with creators like Jazz JenningsAnnalee Newitz and Nico Tortorella. Our commitment to trans representation extends internationally, with trans-positive content such as Azaad Awaaz, a series created for our free Audible Suno service in India featuring stories like that of India’s first transman pilot and an activist empowering transmen in rural India, and The Trauma Cleaner, an Audible Studios-produced biography of an Australian trans woman that was a leading title in the UK and that we offered our AU members for free in November in support of transgender awareness week. And Jordan Raskopoulos, an Australian comedian, musician and trans woman, has been a key talent in three of our major AU brand campaigns: “Listen to Your Book” (2017), “Said I Read You but I Lied” (2018), and “Make Words Great Again” (2019).

We proudly sponsored the “Black Queer Town Hall,” starring Bob the Drag Queen, Peppermint and other entertainers, and we will financially support RAIN, which provides shelter and housing to LGBTQ people ages 18-26 in the Greater Newark area, and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, a civil rights organization committed to ending discrimination based upon gender identity and expression and to achieving equality for transgender people through public education, test-case litigation, direct legal services and public policy.

Now is a time to draw together to celebrate the glories of the human spectrum and to protect inherent civil rights for all.

Onward to a better world.

Don Katz

Founder & Executive Chairman

Excerpt: A Prayer for Owen Meany

The quotes of Owen Meany throughout the book are written in ALL CAPS, which is an effective technique in print to encapsulate the character’s voice, attitude, and other deeper aspects of who Owen is. I’ve “translated” the CAPS into regular case letters so that it’s not as jarring when reading the excerpt. The Audible narrated version is perfectly done, too. I think he really captures such a unique character.

A Prayer for Owen Meany was a moving book in so many ways, but in an unexpected dimension, the political commentary (mostly against the Vietnam War) still rings so true for our contemporary situation.

What’s wrong with this country?” he wrote. “There is such a stupid ‘get even’ mentality—there is such a sadistic anger.” He turned on the tv, keeping the volume off; when I woke up, much later, he was still writing in the diary and watching one of those television evangelists—without the sound. “It’s better when you don’t have to listen to what they’re saying,” he said.

In the diary, he wrote: “is this country just so huge that it needs to oversimplify everything? Look at the war: either we have a strategy to ‘win’ it, which makes us—in the world’s view—murderers; or else we are dying, without fighting to win. Look at what we call ‘Foreign Policy’: our ‘Foreign Policy’ is a euphemism for Public Relations, and our Public Relations get worse and worse. We’re being defeated and we’re not good losers.

“selling old Jesus-stories like junk food”

and look at what we call ‘Religion’: turn on any television on any Sunday morning! See the choirs of the poor and uneducated—and these terrible preachers, selling old Jesus-stories like junk food. Soon there’ll be an evangelist in the white house; soon there’ll be a cardinal on the Supreme Court. One day there will come an epidemic—I’ll bet on some humdinger of a sexual disease. And what will our peerless leaders, our heads of church and state … what will they say to us? How will they help us? You can be sure they won’t cure us—but how will they comfort us? Just turn on the tv—and here’s what our peerless leaders, our heads of church and state will say: they’ll say, ‘I told you so!’ They’ll say, ‘that’s what you get for fucking around—I told you not to do it until you got married.’ Doesn’t anyone see what these simpletons are up to? These self-righteous fanatics are not ‘religious’—their homey wisdom is not ‘morality.’

“What’s wrong with both of them is that they’re so sure they’re right!”

That is where this country is headed—it is headed toward oversimplification.You want to see a president of the future? Turn on any television on any Sunday morning—find one of those holy rollers: that’s him, that’s the new Mister President! And do you want to see the future of all those kids who are going to fall in the cracks of this great, big, sloppy society of ours? I just met him; he’s a tall, skinny, fifteen-year-old boy named ‘Dick.’ He’s pretty scary. what’s wrong with him is not unlike what’s wrong with the tv evangelist—our future president. What’s wrong with both of them is that they’re so sure they’re right! That’s pretty scary—the future, I think, is pretty scary.

A Prayer for Owen Meany
by John Irving

Finally a new podcast episode!

Letters Podcast — Episode 02: Life

It has been a while but I finally got around to posting the second episode for my little side project!

Letters podcast artwork

In this episode, I received four letters in response to a letter of mine that was part statement and part question. Picking up where Habiba concluded the previous episode, I thought about the connection or disconnection of work and life. I asked Habiba to respond and invited three others to contribute their thoughts as well.

Note: This is episode will be released in two parts. In this first part, you’ll hear from Habiba and Mike. In Episode 02B, you’ll hear Nick and Crystal.

Podcast Players: