05 September 2014

I Suppose Weenies Are Link Sausages, Too

Non Sequitur, 02 Sep 2014

  • I'm shocked — shocked, I say — that the former governor of Virginia has been found guilty on eleven counts of political corruption. Not the corruption; I did, after all, spend two decades living in a state in which half the former governors were convicted felons. No, I'm shocked that in Virginia they'd bother prosecuting.
  • I usually find the Melville House blog replete with shortsightedness and conventional wisdom... but not this time. Sal Robinson rightly notes that translated works sell a lot better than the S&M mythology/predisposition alleges. The problem is that publishers still have a 1960s-imbued notion of what the actual costs of publishing a work are — and can't, or won't, get their heads into relevant contemporary data, insisting on continuing to analyze both costs and revenues under 1970s automobile-industry accounting paradigms.
  • I suppose that beats the problems with academic publishing, which on either a return-on-investment/equity basis or a gross-profit-margin basis is by far the most-profitable publishing industry. Gross margins at Pearson's academic imprints (book and periodical) and at Springer have exceeded 30% for years, and frequently exceed 40%. Naturally, this distorts the expectations for trade imprints/industries at the same conglomerates... as implied by the previous item.

  • This reflects the problem of intellectuals refusing/failing to adequately challenge stupidity/ignorance/shortsightedness of those in power. Of course, it might help if more of those in power — especially across the Pond, and I don't mean just in the UK — actually had real educations... and therefore could see some of the criticisms for themselves and/or understand them when expressed using words of more than two syllables, even if they didn't act on them. It might help even more if those in power did true public service, such as military or the equivalent, before going into politics and the upper reaches of business. It's really disturbing that, at around 3%, our Congress, federal judiciary, and cabinet-level executive is an order of magnitude more "experienced" in that sense than any in Western Europe (except Germany, due to the mandatory national service up to the early 1990s).

    Sadly, the same goes for the intellectuals, and it contributes rather disturbingly to the blind spots. No one set of backgrounds has a monopoly on either good or bad perspectives, ideas, or abilities. After all, Eric Blair (George Orwell) didn't really unleash his own prowess until after his little trip to Catalonia.