03 August 2009

I Think We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

Cue the cellos! It's Lawyer Shark Week on Discovery Channel!

  • PW is on the block — again. This can't help being a good thing; it will keep the staff nervous, and perhaps looking a little bit harder at those press releases they so blithely reprint, even if the sale doesn't go through. Then there's the principle problem with Reed: It's a monopolist that refuses to allow serious discussion of the "m" word in any of its "covering the trade" publications, regardless of the trade. Finally, and perhaps most important, a new owner just might mean an affordable per-issue cost for the people who actually need the information (potentially) contained in the magazine!
  • There is a sad literati mythology of "authorial style" that neglects a critical part of the publishing process: editing. That this sort of tale might be impossible today because editors don't get enough time or resources to actually edit creates some interesting questions... extending even into copyright law and droit d' auteur, because it just might make an editor as pervasively intrusive as Mr Lish a joint author, with all of the legal complications that would create.
  • Robert Pinsky on the American small-town mythology. Of course, none of the people involved are actually stuck living in/near a small town...
  • Slumming in category fiction doesn't have to be shameful. Of course, there's something deliciously oxymoronic and infuriatingly ignorant about that sentence, as John Banville demonstrates.
  • The distance between "spy" and "spy novel" is at least as great as noted in this BBC piece interviewing spooks (some of whom are even named! and all of whom are noncovert) about spy thrillers. <SARCASM> It's sort of like the difference between "scientist" and "science fiction," but with guns and trenchcoats <SARCASM>.
  • Yet another prediction of the imminent demise of the music industry seems more credible/plausible than most, but ultiimately fails by treating the industry as something incapable of resisting its demise... such as by suing the future out of ignorant, self-indulgent grade students.
  • Be careful when negotiating South African rights agreements — you may never see your money. Of course, as Mark Knopfler noted at Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday party (held at Wembley during apartheid), you can always direct donation of your royalties to a South African charity or other organization... and Dire Straits donated theirs to the African National Congress, which had only just been legalized.