Integrity: When did it stop mattering?

 Recently, I’ve had more than one run-in with editors and publishers who say they’ll do one thing, and then they don’t. It’s disappointing, not only because my work hangs in the balance, but also because their behavior is indicative of a much larger cultural problem: the loss of character.

At one time, those who broke promises and failed to meet their obligations were castigated by the larger whole of society. People operated with the expectation that when someone said they would do something, it would indeed be done. Accountability was high, and our products and businesses reflected the ideals of quality and honesty. Contracts were a mere formality. But this post is no rant in favor of regression or even reminiscence. It’s a call to activation and engagement.

Today, integrity has become a buzzword for political campaigns and other self-enhancing promotions. We have handed over the mantle of consumer advocacy to organizations and  toothless watchdogs who, in turn, also serve themselves more than the concerned individual. Those who speak up and voice their frustrations are seen as rude or strange, and all the while competitors abroad are seizing on our loss of commercial moral fibre.

Here is my promise to you, readers: I  am awaiting word from at least three different literary magazines that have failed to make good on their publication promises. They have repeatedly missed deadlines, and their response to these infractions has been a sort of beligerent indifference laced with adolescent-sounding excuses. If these editors and publishers continue to fail in the fulfillment of their duties, I will happily publicize their lack of integrity, not only here in this little blog, but also through Duotrope, Submittable,  and other writing-submission-related sites. I do this not out of mean-spirited blackmail, but out of respect for other writers and creators who deserve to have their work treated with professionalism.

Again, I am disappointed that my encounters with these magazines has had to take such an ugly turn. A little bit of character and communication could have gone a long way, but instead, I’m left now with the job of staging a one-man rebellion. I would ask you to join me in this fight. No more laziness, no more dishonesty, no more apathy. It’s time to regain the sense of right that we once demanded. Today is the day to begin.

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