23 April 2013

Unicorn Droppings

I'm still recovering after the big opening Saturday, so this collection of link sausages is probably going to seem rather sparse.

  • Over across the Pond, England is lurching its way heavily into the mid-twentieth century with the passage of a libel reform bill in the House of Lords. Procedurally, this readies the bill for an up-or-down (no amendments allowed) vote in the House of Commons tomorrow (Thursday), meaning that it could be law by tomorrow evening. It's too late for Rachel Ehrenfeld, but not too late for other authors.

    Congratulations, England! Now your libel law will be up to the US standard. In 1953. Even under the reforms, the UK equivalents of Jerry Falwell in the outhouse, civil-rights-opposing government officials (although there may be a loophole), and the John Birch Society can still munge up the UK courts with inappropriate claims to shut up their critics... and it will still be the burden of the speaker to prove truth.

  • The preceding sausage implicates the continuing rationale for libel law: Control over one's privacy and reputation. Social media and silent data collection make things worse, especially when there are monopolies involved.
  • Speaking of Big Media, one must always follow the money, which almost never has a clear route (n.b. this ingredient seems to be based as much on the should-have-been-long-discredited "Thursday night" myth as anything else). I will somewhat sarcastically ponder how closely the routing problem is related to the unwillingness of financial backers to share one penny more than they can fraudulently withhold have to on the talent, and in particular on the scripts...
  • I suppose that beats wondering about the H'wood Mass String Theorem (that anything sounds better with a bunch of horsehair drawn across catgut in the background, and often in the foreground) and superhero movie soundtracks. It's particularly jarring to hear industrial/postindustrial orchestration in and around most preindustrial rural settings... if, that is, one is paying attention in the first place.
  • If you need any more proof that PW is completely captured and cannot be relied upon to accurately discuss publishing issues, consider the latest ingenuity on "digital backlists" and what it leaves out: The underlying assumption that the publishers have the necessary rights to do any of this, let alone are actually (let alone accurately) paying the authors for those rights. It would have taken half a sentence to note that some works haven't been digitized because the publishers don't control the electronic rights... but noooooooooooooo, that would seem disloyal to the publishers that buy the ads that pay for PW.