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How the Milo edits benefit us all

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The lawsuit that Milo Yiannopolous filed against Simon & Schuster is available for viewing, which means you can read his book without purchasing it, in case you’re interested but don’t want to contribute to his cause. Click here to see the exhibits.

Publishing industry observers have focused on editor Mitchell Ivers’ more aggressive comments about how certain jokes weren’t funny or that he didn’t want Yiannopolous to attack whole classes of people.

But the most revealing comment to me can actually be applied to all of us, even if we’re not controversial political pundits.

On page 249 of the manuscript, Yiannopolous writes, “I can think of no better explanation than an anonymous comment that did the rounds on Twitter and Reddit in early 2015.” The note from Ivers in the margins instructs, “It is always a mistake for an author to say ‘I can think of no better explanation…’ It’s your job to think of a better explanation. It’s what we paid you an advance for. THINK HARDER and replace this long anonymous internet post with prose of your own.”

Set aside your own personal opinions of Yiannopolous for a moment. I’m willing to bet at some point you’ve written “I can think of no better” or some variation. I know I have. As Ivers points out, it’s our job as writers to think harder, to come up with a new way of expressing a concept.