In Mank (2020), during the birthday festivities of L.B., writer Mank and his wife Sara were among the attendees engaged in a conversation about Upton Sinclair's prospects as the governor of California:

Mank: No one should have to hear me sing. Isn't that right, Sara?

Sara: If at all possible.

L.B: As Republican state chairman-elect, I'm telling you, nothing's going to happen here. The people who count in California won't let it.

I believe L.B. is implying that the people in power in California will not allow Mank's singing to be heard by the public

What does "it" in "let it" refer to?

  • 1
    Whatever bad thing he is implying won't happen. (Possibly Mank's singing, possibly something mentioned earlier in the conversation?) Jul 3, 2023 at 10:48

1 Answer 1


Welcome to the site.

The "it" refers to "nothing" in the previous sentence. It is equivalent to "the people won't let anything happen." What exactly "anything" means depends on the context of the passage. It seems unlikely to be Mank's singing, because how would that relate to the "people of California"? Probably it means electing Upton Sinclair.

Sinclair was a muckracker and a radical. His election would have been a big "something" that the "people of California" could prevent.

But it's not completely certain without more context.

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