21 January 2008

Monday Miscellany (Mistimed Holiday Edition)

For better, or mostly for worse:

  • We really don't need another holiday now; less than two months after Turkey Day, and only three weeks after two holidays themselves only a week apart (one secular, one formerly religious and now thoroughly commercial). Further, having the holiday in January really does not celebrate Dr King. I suggest moving it into the "holiday doldrums": 04 April. Perhaps putting the holiday on the day that the segregationists managed to silence him might do a better job. <vbeg>

    Of course, I might just be grousing because it means the Voracious Teen is home today, and tomorrow (due to Teacher Inservice for the new semester). And that means I have to feed him.

  • Then there's this surreal Times article on musicians abandoning EMI. Leaving aside the characterization of the Rolling Stones' decision as "abandonment," one must ask whether this exposes the mercantilist/advantagist translation barrier in the arts. (Of which more at excrutiating, and academic, length in a couple of months.)
  • As usual, the French idea of "free trade" somehow involves Hawleyesque tactics. In the dubious name of "competition" — actually, this is supposed to protect the variety of bookstores in France, and it has done nothing of the sort — France is now fining Amazon for "free shipping". As if the cost of shipping isn't somehow recovered in the price of the goods, particularly for a public company.
  • It's coming up on Hollyweed's award season. Meaning, of course, that there will be a manufactured Oscar controversy, however irrelevant. This year, it's an extension of the problems with foreign-language Oscars (wait a minute, last year's winner wasn't in a foreign language!). Ironically, that article in WaPo has things exactly backwards: The best place for juries is the nomination process, not the final selection. On the other hand, the 2008 Razzies promise to have much closer races.
  • What is it about category romance that leads to plagiarism scandals? Several years ago, we had the catfight between Nora Roberts and Janet Dailey. Now there's Cassie Edwards, and a rather delicious response from a victim. The irony that too much in category romance too often cannot qualify as "original" ab initio in the ordinary sense of the word — and that too many of the readers want, to quote one buyer who wishes to remain anonymous, "the same book again but newer" — seems to have escaped people. (Note: I'm picking on romance this time because it's an easy target. Don't get me started on so-called "legal thrillers," or any other category ghetto.)