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Showing posts from August, 2011

Publishing apocalypse predicted in Edinburgh.

In an interesting but spottily researched article, Ewan Morrison argues that authors, booksellers, and publishers are all about to lose the revenues they have become accustomed to because of a new business model, one in which content (with a price trending toward zero) is simply a means to attract consumers whose interests and information are then sold.  He tells us this new approach, driven by both pirates and online publishers, is destroying the current industry; it will leave creative sources underfunded and unrewarded.  His analysis focuses on 'the market'.  Morrison finds his worries and (small) hope in business and models thereof.

However, there are other approaches which might yield different concerns and answers.  Historically, the arts have been buoyed by patrons.  20th century American and British authors had businesses as patrons, in a (hopefully) mutually beneficial relationship.  Morrison suggests those businesses are dying, and encourages fans and authors alike …

My room is a mess, my painting unfinished.

...and I still haven't found a good alternative to my scanner with its missing power-cord.  Almost finished with this painting, though.  I just need to put in a bus seat in front of and behind the passenger.

Incidentally, the Seattle Metro buses have the ugliest upholstery I can remember seeing, and I spent five years working at a used furniture store.

British society: from 'Big' to 'broken'

After the three days of riots around England, Britain's PM, David Cameron, has gone from calling for the people to raise themselves up by their bootstraps (in a 'Big Society'), while government cuts back, to calling for government to fix British ills (in a 'broken society'), while government cuts back.  Short of clicking his tongue at perceived moral lapses and starting a 'war on gangs' (while lessening funding for police), it's not entirely clear what Cameron intends to do, but this is still a surprising shift in rhetoric from the Conservative government. --One wonders how much influence the Liberal Democrats (the minority party in the UK's governing coalition of conservatives and liberals) might have had on this.--

Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May both said, "There are no quick fixes."  On top of booing improper ethics and declaring a war in England, the British PM suggested studying the issues at hand.  His opposition proposed …

Tim Pawlenty has sadly dropped out of the race.

I would like to propose 'Tim Pawlenty's mullet' as a write-in candidate for POTUS.  I think it's something the Club for Growth could get behind, at least.

Seriously, though, I hope he grows it back.  He looks happy there.

Okay, so Newsweek's Michelle Bachman cover was stupid.

That magazine has unfortunately become a rag under its current editor in chief.  However!  Is a crazy cover-picture (and title) choice, which gives even greater excuse for right-wingers to complain about the 'liberal media', excusable if it leads to something awesome?  As a principle, probably not.  But in this case, maybe so.  Observe:

Mitt Romney with Michelle Bachman's eyes-from-the-cover-of-Newsweek.



'Announcements'

Does anyone else find it strange that the press buys into the notion of announcements or press releases on things that have already been announced?  On Thursday, the BBC reported Texas' governor, Rick Perry, had said he was going to run for his party's nomination for POTUS, and that he would announce this on Saturday.  And so he has, but wasn't his previous statement good enough to confirm his already telegraphed intentions?

I understand the notion of official communications.  As I recall, that sort of thing used to follow rumors, unattributed comments, and buzz from lower level members of the group which would eventually make the announcement.  No more.  Now, SONY can tell you what they are going to do, get coverage for letting you know, and then do it all over again.  The appeal to those looking for press is obvious.  The appeal to the press, a little less so.

That is, assuming the aim of the fourth estate is taken to be informing the public, as opposed to lazily rehashi…

Seattlest appears to be run by teenagers. Also, I am an unrepentant pedant.

If at any point, reading this becomes laborious, please stop.  I'll understand.  It is long, and probably uninteresting.  I promise not to make a habit of this sort of post.  I'm just venting a bit....

After having two minor spats with writers on local news site, Seattlest, I was disallowed from commenting on their articles.  Fair enough.  That's their right, and no one else seems to respond to them anyway.  I was, however, surprised to see a resident author tell me to basically stop reading their articles shortly before I was to be banned.  After all, isn't online business based (at least indirectly) on traffic?  Don't they want people to go their site?  So, setting the present petty argument aside, I e-mailed the editor, and had this untidy exchange:

Subject:  You might want to suggest to your authors they not actively drive away readers.

Myself:
In the comments section for 'Hail to the Co-Chairwoman!: Murray to lead "Supercongress"', I am engage…

"Has the sheep eaten the flower?"

Any ant we observe can seem to disappear, perhaps into its colony.  The colony is itself obscured by the ground or ant-hill it is in.  The signs of any such lair are diminished or consumed by their surroundings.  The whole scene is rendered insignificant by the world at large.  On this scale, the ant's civilisation is nearly invisible.  Satellite photos of North America will not show the crack in the pavement on this street from which ants crawl.  Still, the ant lives.  His existence, experiences, and import go on, or stop, unaffected by what we see in satellite born images.

Those who would dismiss them may cast us all as ants.  They say the individual is illusory, transitory, and unimportant; in the big picture, his time and place on Earth are insignificant or else nothing at all.  What a weird fate it must be to reason oneself out of existence.

Yes, we are indeed each individuals much smaller than skyscrapers, planets, or galaxies, yet we are also part of a society, the world, …

Obama is a fantastic figurehead.

About 3 years ago, I predicted Barrack Obama would be elected President of the United States of America.   Not a big deal by itself, considering I had a 50% chance of being right, but the reason I did so might shed some light on recent goings on in D.C.:

"The President is a figurehead....I am not saying the President of the United States is merely a figurehead, but that job is implicitly a part of the position. Which is why supposed lack of experience didn't stop Bill Clinton or George W. Bush from winning the office; why people whose best interest and politics ran counter to Ronald Reagan voted for him; and why Nixon was forced out not over engaging in illegal and unauthorized wars or for destabilizing countries and plunging them into decades of tyranny, but for having some of his staff break into a hotel. It is also why Barrack Obama will beat John McCain."

Now, with the debt ceiling debacle coming to a merciless close, we see President Obama (along with most …