16 February 2009

President's Day Sausages

I've spent most of the weekend doing recovery from the fried computer (sauced with a bit of ketsap manis), so things are a bit behind. Thus, a particularly miscellaneous set of link sausages...

  • We'll start off with a song that sounds very much as if it was written for the immediate past resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, DC... but, sadly, it was written a couple of decades ago, so perhaps it's just a bit more universal than that.
  • So, why don't Americans learn more about foreign culture? Sarcastically, I'd say that it starts with not knowing a whole helluva lot about their own. But this article points out another reason: Poor language skills. Ponder that in the context of the preceding sausage.
  • Speaking of not knowing much about culture, here's an article that questions the "end" of lit crit in America. As is usual with the sorts of things that escape academia, it's full of wishful thinking. Nonetheless, this piece is particularly prone to only seeing what the writer desperately wants to be true... sort of like the Think Method. There's trouble in Television City, and that begins with a T which rhymes with C and that stands for Charlottesville...
  • This is a rather dense sausage link, probably not chewable without Jaws of Steeltm, on the interrelationship of various monetary issues in the arts. There's one piece of good news: arts funding survived in the stimulus bill. From here, though, it's all downhill. In Canada, there's a proposal to provide benefits for Canadian writers (and others in publishing), which sort of begs the question of what happens now... but nonetheless beats the news about UK freelancer earnings.

    In the meantime, history shows one way for publishers to srvive during a war. Needless to say, the current management in publishing does nothing of the sort. And they learn nothing from the music business, either. There's another EU copyright extension for music coming, which will not trickle its way down to the actual composers; the Muzak bankruptcy filing was largely caused because the company is hundreds of millions of dollars behind in payments to rightsholding entities like the truly evil Nashville Six (sort of like the Chicago Seven, but this time it's the defendants who are neofascist lunatics, not the judge).

    Things are no better in the visual arts at the end of the art boom... or, at least, an opportunity for the art boom to move underground as a new cohort of nouveau riche arises and discovers the need to impress each other. It happens about every thirty years or so — one traditional demographic generation; the last "collapse" in the art market was at the end of the 1970s, so we were about due.