...was an American polity unable to accept nuance — or, more to the point, that inferring that some subset of those who either benefited from or rushed to take advantage of the "premature removal from office" of JFK was therefore involved in a pre-removal conspiracy to make that happen by killing him is a leap much too far. And then, too, there's the be-careful-what-you-wish-for aspect of moving the legislative sophistication and arm-twisting capability of Lyndon Johnson from the Naval Observatory (where he was somewhat marginalized) to the White House. Besides which, many of the theories founder on ascribing competency and powers of secret-keeping to agencies that utterly failed at both during the Bay of Pigs and less than a decade later with Watergate.
- RIP Doris Lessing — or, perhaps, neither rest nor peace fit well with her literary career spent pushing at externally imposed boundaries, often to great effect.
- Congratulations to the recipients of and finalists for the National Book Awards for 2013, which (through no fault of the authors) continue to undermine themselves by being announced up to six weeks before the works in question are generally available to the public — a public that includes a helluva lot of perceptive critics and readers who are not inside of the gravy train of free review copies.
- This wasn't an error in substance, only in public relations. One might sarcastically wonder if other comparable works (no doubt in an equally dubious translation) are stocked there at all...
- Here's another nibble of schadenfreude pie concerning a common target of my cynicism about "publishing management". I don't know that target; I haven't even (directly) tangled with that target; I just had to deal with bits and pieces of fallout thereafter.
- ... which leads to even more questions about just what the hell managers in Big Publishing think they're licensing from creators and selling to consumers, and about "management" cohorts in H'wood (primarily because they continue to believe the load of crap purveyed by this guru in a cycle of self-fulfilling prophecies).
- Related, but from an orthogonal view, is Kris Rusch's discussion of the "discoverability" meme. I'd like to respectfully point out one blindspot/assumption behind the entire meme (which Ms Rusch does a reasonable, if not complete, job of evading herself): That the perceptions on the part of those seeking "discoverability" of what that is, and how to do it, and how effective it is, bear a high correlation to the perceptions of what "discovery" is, and how and where to look for it, on the part of the ultimate purchasers — not on the part of intermediaries (e.g., bookstores), particularly in this age of direct web links to immediate availability of individual products. More pithily (and less accurately), I question the basis for the received wisdom of Marketing regarding entertainment products in general and reading material in particular. I don't irrevocably reject it (yet)... because my point is that nobody has actually done anything approaching replicable, adequate research; it's all argument from (rather dubious) authority.
- If history is written by the victors, who writes the history of periods when everyone is a loser? And, more to the point, what is the history of the Thatcher-Reagan Axis going to look like in a decade or two?