10 February 2010

Sausages Dusted With Snow

"Snowpocalypse," eh? It looks pretty normal for February to me. Sure, DC is shut down; but it's the home of so many snow jobs that one can't tell the difference...

  • Here's a fascinating look at one author's collaborative process that is even more interesting for what it notes about a "behavior v. speech" issue in publishing.

    [The] comment that my bigger byline on The Big Bang may indicate a bigger contribution by me is at odds with the truth of publishing. Often times, the bigger name of a dual byline did the least amount of work. You Can't Stop Me is very much a fifty-fifty novel by Matt and me, but my name is much larger, because I am the bigger name (at the moment). But usually with such a situation, you could safely guess that the smaller name did more or even most of the writing.

    (typography corrected) Now compare the size of author names to the size of imprint names and logos, and ask yourself whether the dominant brand in publishing is the publisher's or the authors... then compare the answer to recent publisher (and even bookstore, such as Amazon's in the Amazon/Macmillan kerfluffle) rhetoric. Even more directly, ask yourself whether this kind of behavior discloses anything behind Amazon's accusations of monopolization against Macmillan... particularly given examples like Charlie Stross.

  • Stanley Fish demonstrates, yet again, the dangers of providing a public forum for analyzing "freedom of expression" to anyone exposed to Jacques Derrida without a reality-based 2x4 to the head following closely thereafter (the 2x4 that whacked me was dealing with the "speech act" problem in national security... with my own butt, among others, on the line). His most-recent commentary on Citizens United — the recent 5–4 reification of "money talks" — falls apart on so many levels that it's almost impossible to deconstruct (!) it without taking up five times its word count. I'll just satisfy myself with one critical remark: His analysis is entirely remedy-free, which in turn means that it can't be applied in the real world in which remedies drive actions just like whether an objective can be achieved through military means drives use of the military. Fish's entire position falls apart at that point, even without demonstrating his polemical misrepresentations of doctrine and the holdings of the specific cases he cites.
  • At least Fish doesn't cite The Simpsons for anything, though... even if a prominent French "public intellectual" does the equivalent. One might think that a "school" of philosophy named after a toxin most-frequently encountered in improperly stored food would cause a true intellectual to dig a bit deeper before relying upon it.