08 November 2010

Full Link Sausage Platter

From the usual (which is to say undisclosed and definitely not USDA-inspected) meat-packing plants that make Upton Sinclair's descriptions seem clean and wholesome...

  • The UK fascist party has been done in by IP lawsuit after it poached from... Marmite. Which is owned and controlled, at least in part, by foreigners (Unilever is an Anglo-Dutch conglomerate). Just more proof of John Bull's irrelevance in the world today, and of the perfidy of lawyers. On the other hand, who needs proof of either, even on Monday morning?
  • President Obama has recognized reality and endorsed adding India as a permanent UN Security Council member, along with Japan. He's right to do so... especially if that means removing France (and possibly the UK) from such membership, as seven veto powers seems even more unwieldy than five. The key point is that certainly France, and probably the UK, simply do not deserve veto power based upon their actual political, economic, and cultural contributions to world politics and governance. That would be like giving a US Senator from Maine the ability to prevent the US Senate from even considering a bill or judicial nomination just because he/she was feeling grumpy. Wait a minute… but it beats the "elections" in Burma that are being boycotted by the opposition parties (probably rightly, in one of the very few examples of when it is proper to boycott an election).
  • Here's not a new, but at least a not previously aired in public, aspect of the Levant's family feud. Richard and Mildred Loving would have appreciated the irony.
  • As if one needs one more example of the problem with conglomerate publishing's reliance on bestsellers for profitability: When a bestselling series's sales decline, so does cash flow and profit — even in the face of unusual success for the remainder of the publisher's comparable works. We're not talking about Moneyball as much as about a hypothetical Moneybook... but nobody has written Moneybook, and even if they could get access to verifiable data as the basis for it, the data wouldn't be public. (Then, too, there's the problem with finding a publisher for Moneybook...)
  • The power of the Word is inferior to the power of suppressing the Word. By "the Word" I mean virtually anything but logos; in this context, it includes suppressing study of the Word: Words like republic, and misanthrope, and reiver, and war. Sometimes even individual letters and sounds are enough for study and consideration. Remember, if there's one reality that the history of civilization discloses — both Western European and otherwise — it is that people have a strong tendency to live their lives in pursuit of and pursued by art (however vulgar it may be, in all senses of that word).
  • My colleague Victoria Strauss accurately notes that getting published is not a crap shoot. If it was really a crap shoot, the sample sizes of both published works and unpublished-but-submitted-to-publishers works are high enough to both (a) have roughly equivalent proportions of masterpieces in both data sets, and (b) have roughly equivalent proportions of utter dreck in both data sets. Neither is true; although Sturgeon was an optimist, I've dealt with both raw and raw-edited slush in several distinct publishing industries. The non-randomness of publishing is directly related to the preceding link sausage.
  • Not safe for workers: the continued problems with paying bankers (and, for that matter, everyone whose only economic role is one of matching, not of transformation). It's as much an ethics and political economy problem as an economic one... and since "political economy" has been a dirty word ever since Keynes demonstrated rather conclusively that all "economic policy" is inherently "the policy of political economy" — much to the dismay of Old Money —