Gabba gabba we accept you we accept you one of us

There's been a bit of a hullabaloo over Tin House's decision to accept book manuscript submissions only from writers who can provide receipts showing they've recently bought a literary magazine.  And for good reason, it seems to me.  Not only because the rule is arbitrary and a bit silly, but because it reinforces, in the minds of anyone who has anything to do with literary publishing, the notion that this world should continue to be insular, and perhaps become even more so, if that's possible.  If you're not One Of Us, Tin House is saying, Don't Bother.

But isn't insularity one of literary publishing's biggest problems - one that helps ensure both the same-same-iness of so much of what's published, and the failure to gain readers from among the broader public?  Already, too many literary publishers put out far too much work that's just no damn good, but makes the cut because it comes from someone with an academic credential, who's already published via other, similar publications, and goes to Our Parties and Our Conferences.  Sure, the Tin House move will have little effect in reinforcing this system.  But why should anyone reinforce it in any way?