20 January 2011

Objects in the Monitor Are Closer Than They Appear

The local news stations are basically falling all over themselves proclaiming winter weather and a snowpocalypse. Yeah, I'm impressed.

  • There has been a lot of musing about midlist writers going on on the 'net lately, but I think this cartoon nails it... from the perspective of the corporate commercial publisher, anyway:

    Non Sequitur, 19 Jan 2011

  • What's "as fashion fickle as an emo kid's dress sense"? Book covers — especially in category fiction (and not just, as the linked article implies, speculative fiction)! A large part of the problem — I'd argue the determinative part of the problem — is the failure to define the audience for the cover. Certainly in this day of chain-store category managers who seldom set foot in their own stores (let alone actually buy books for themselves), with their white middle-class Upper-West-Side prejudgment of what will sell that bears no resemblance to what actually attracts real book buyers, none of this should be too surprising. After all, the thought process of too many art directors at commercial publishers — such as it is — is to appeal to the "kewl kids" like themselves (since said art directors, too, are almost uniformly white middle-class Upper-West-Siders... of the same gender and sexual orientation as the chain category managers in the respective categories). And if you're offended that this seems dismissive of your particular efforts, you might want to ask yourself why it seems to fit.
  • An interesting take on cultural change in Iran/Persia from a California-based academic raises some interesting points, but ultimately misses the mark with its assumption that "current and future conflicts will follow the path of past conflicts" — that is, this article is fighting the last war. That's far from unusual; what is a bit more unusual is the proclamation that the past does not just guide, but determines, the outcome.

    On the other hand, applying that reasoning to the Governor of Alabama's bigotry is at least amusing... "misstep" my ass; I've been to Montgomery.

  • A list of the fifty most loathesome Americans of 2010 is rather unusual: Although it doesn't include a few leading candidates, it doesn't contain anyone who doesn't really belong there. Well, except the couple of them who aren't truly "Americans," but are merely adult transplants, like Mel Gibson; and a couple of politicians who weren't "loathesome" so much as "disappointments." In any event, a fun read bearing some serious thought.

    And, sadly, these are precisely the loathesome characters who would casually say "nigger", or "faggot", or "kike", or "raghead", or "spic", or "intellectual", or ... well, you get the idea. I guess that means we shouldn't write about them any more, or about the loathesome aspects of society that lead to using words as deprecation.