- You know that advice that one should put one's butt in the chair and just write? It might be bad for your health... if, that is, you actually use a chair. Which, I suppose, explains why I tend to pace, using my wireless phone and a headset, during long telephone conferences. Or, perhaps, it's just that a preexisting injury makes "chairs" even worse.
- One thing that you should do in a chair, though, is (to quote Stephen King) shut up and pay your fucking taxes. Perhaps you can do so while pondering exactly why Rupert Murdoch is not a "fit and proper" person to run a multinational media empire, or indeed any firm (PDF). Hint: They're related; the concepts of "club goods" and "public goods" are part of every economics curriculum, but are increasingly neglected in B-school.
- That leads to the question of who "speaks for" diverse groups. It's pretty obvious that Stephen King doesn't speak for Mitt Romney, given their differing attitudes toward taxes. Similarly, we shouldn't assume that the MPAA speaks for all filmmakers... especially since the industry's revenues come from increased ticket prices (and gimmicks) more than increased viewership. On the other hand, perhaps if they just made better films (starting from better scripts and not just "kewl idears" — which are, at best, marketing memes) that would help, too. One overtly successful "independent" filmmaker proclaims that he can do bad all by himself... and on the basis of that particular film, I'd have to agree with him.
- Yet another recipe list for bestsellers reveals — again — that the publishing industry (and, for that matter, "writing instructors" funnelling students into commercial publishing) don't know squat about either causation or correlation. The foundation of any such recipe cannot be "what do these 'megabestsellers' have in common"; it must be "what do these 'megabestsellers' have in common with each other that is distinct from other candidates for 'megabestsellerdom.'" Only after one discerns not just what is the same, but what is different from the "unsuccessful," can one even begin to infer significance. Then, too, as Ms Miller notes, exercises like this one reflect mainly hindsight bias. The real trick is not describing the past; it is predicting the future. It's one thing to analyze bestsellers lists; it's entirely another to shape a manuscript into a (potential and predictable) bestseller. That publishers don't know, either shouldn't surprise anyone...
- Charlie Stross, as the author, muses on the intent behind his own novel. I could easily drag in the litcritshit responses from Wimsatt & Beardsley, or from formalized reader-response criticism, or (even more confusingly) formalized semiotics, and learnedly expound upon Stross's misguided misunderstanding of his own work without explicitly noting that his comments are not either interpretive of or evaluative of his novel. But I won't, because that would be wrong. Instead, Stross is providing context — a distinct contrast from the preceding sausage on this platter, which represents a pitiful attempt to enforce externalized context. One should also note that Stross's comments are about process in a way that the preceding item is not, Damn, I guess I have gone off into litcritshit neepery...
Law and reality in publishing and entertainment (seldom the same thing) from the creator's side of the slush pile, with occasional forays into politics, military affairs, censorship and the First Amendment, legal theory, and anything else that strikes me as interesting.
02 May 2012
Charcuterie for Wednesday
at 09:50 [UTC8]
Just another miscellaneous platter of link sausages...
Labels: arts, culture, mass media, politics, publishing