Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Times They Are A-Changin'

          It’s not often that I rant twice within one week, but….earlier this month Eric Felton wrote an article in the WSJ bemoaning the increase of indie writers flooding the market and how all the really good authors will have their books buried under mountains of shit – how it’s only through the skills, expertise, and visionary abilities of traditional publishers that the reading public is even able to find quality books and literature.  In essence, publishers are the only true and righteous gatekeepers to the literary realm and without their guidance we would be lost. 
          Any validity in that argument was blown out of the water yesterday when Simon & Schuster released more details about Jersey Shore literary talent Snooki’s second book.  Seriously?  WTF?  For the people who still believe that legacy publishers care about, nurture, and promote literature (or even good writing), I believe it’s time to wake up from that dream and face the reality of the present.  It’s not the 1920’s.  F. Scott and Zelda and Hemingway and Gertrude Stein are all gone.  Publishing is a business – plain and simple.  It is all about sales units, revenues, profit margins and managing losses from books don’t sell.  For most publishing houses, quality of the written word, plot, story, and character development don’t matter as much as the bottom line. 
          The New York Times Best-seller list and those publishing controlled book reviews are bullshit - worthless for anyone who isn’t an A-List writer.  Even though the traditionalists and sycophants cannot face the facts, there’s a whole new world of opportunity out there for writers.  For publishing houses it is all about holding on to the past.  That movement is dead (to paraphrase a quote from UNDER SIEGE) because a movement by nature only goes a certain distance then stops.  A revolution gets its name by always coming back around in your face……so welcome to the revolution.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Ain't No Rest For The Wicked

Now that the Casey Anthony trial is over, all that remains to be determined are when her tell-all book will hit the best seller list and how soon before she winds up in Playboy, Penthouse, or Hustler (maybe one of those “Girls From C Block” features).  And a “not guilty” verdict doesn’t mean she is innocent – just means that the Prosecution couldn’t connect her to the crime and that the evidence presented wasn’t strong enough to sway the jury.  Just re-enforces my belief that having a child doesn’t qualify anyone to be a parent.  Some other thoughts and beliefs….I believe that it’s time for Nancy Grace to go away, and on her way out the door she needs to take Rush Limbaugh and most of the talking heads from Fox News with her.  Debate and differences in opinion are a good thing but shouting down anyone who disagrees with you went out of style in the 3rd Grade (thank you Miss Moody, wherever you are). I believe that time doesn’t heal all wounds, some actions and behaviors can’t be excused, and forgiveness is something not easily given, no matter how important or vital to the healing process.  And that anger can be a good thing.  Some times.  I believe that writers need to have a solid grasp of literature as well as the fundamentals of what makes a good book (take that Snooki….), and I appreciate the talent and strength of writers like Faulkner, Jane Austen, and John Updike even though they aren’t in my list of top favorite writers.  But for the life of me I don’t get David Foster Wallace or Infinite Jest.  Same for Thomas Mann.  And Virginia Woolf too. And speaking of appreciation, every time you crank up some of that early 60’s music from The Stones, The Animals, The Who, The Yardbirds, or Hendrix, remember those old blues artists like Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, or Willie Dixon who laid down the beats and rhythms that form the backbone of rock and roll.  Just too damn bad that Smokestack Lighting by Howlin’ Wolf is forever linked with Viagra commercials.  There’s absolutely no justice in that……..