Ursula K. Le Guin on the State of Publishing

Nov 26 2014 Published by under Literature, Science Fiction

In accepting the National Book Awards 2014 Distinguished Contribution award last week, author Ursula K. Le Guin blew the room away with a stunning and inspiring speech. [Via]

The speech is transcribed here, and the YouTube video embedded below. Short and succinct, yet profound.

What’s wrong with publishing these days? In a nutshell, capitalism. Same thing that’s wrong with everything else. What does one of our greatest future-thinking minds think needs to be done to save publishing?

No responses yet

When Memes Collide

Nov 03 2014 Published by under media

I can’t wait for this impending three-way collision of memes.

What will it look like when the street harassment video meme collides with the Chelsea Handler nipple controversy, and then ricochets into the hot guy from target meme?

What kind of train wreck would that be?

No responses yet

Miley Cyrus SEO

Oct 08 2013 Published by under media, Music

This is a shameless attempt to boost traffic to my blog by featuring “Miley Cyrus” as a search term.

This whole Miley vs. Sinead feud has me laughing. Yes, after the fourth open letter to Miley, Sinead is starting look a little kooky, but you must admit she had a point at first. Everything Miley has done since the infamous “twerking” episode at the MTV Video Music Awards has more in common with prostitution than with music.

Considering past VMAs featured classic music moments as Madonna and Britney Spears sucking face, does this surprise anyone? Between the VMAs and those stupid reality shows, the only way women get on MTV is by prostituting themselves and selling their bodies. I don’t want to sound like a curmudgeon, but no one is talking about the music on MTV.

Don’t get me wrong, prostitution has its place – in a whorehouse. But as long as MTV reduces its female artists to performing dry-hump strip teases and they willingly oblige, it’s hard to take the women of today’s MTV seriously as musicians. And doesn’t it seem like working for Disney just served to prepare Miley & Britney for a career in selling their bodies? And why would their parents consent to this? Oh, right – money. Enough money to buy your daughter’s integrity.

Real women rockers – Anne Wilson, Pat Benetar, Joan Jett, Sinead, Stevie Nicks, Adele – broke barriers by making great music, and are infinitely more beautiful for not objectifying themselves. They don’t need to.

No responses yet

August 6

Aug 06 2013 Published by under media

On August 6, 1945, The United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, making the United States the first, and still the only, nation to use a nuclear weapon against another nation.

I live in the United States, and I did not see this acknowledged anywhere in any media at all today. So I thought I would acknowledge it.

No responses yet

Obama Speak With Forked Tongue

Jul 31 2013 Published by under politics

The Audacity of Doublespeak.

Not-My-President Obama’s speech at an Amazon warehouse in Tennessee on Tuesday is the most glaring example in recent memory of a sitting President flaunting a lie, flaunting a crime, and flaunting an agenda, all at the same time. At least Nixon thought enough to attempt to cover up his criminality while in office. Obama feels no such pressure.

Prior to the speech, The White House had said “Tuesday’s speech will focus on manufacturing and high wage jobs for durable economic growth” and that “the President will discuss proposals he has laid out to jump-start private sector job growth and make America more competitive, and will also talk about new ideas to create American jobs.” [Thank you, Shelf Awareness]

Reception to the speech has been negative. Some of the responses, and the White House’s lack of response to the negative responses, are captured here at Publisher’s Weekly. Shelf Awareness details several publishing industry letters to the President here, though negative responses have come from many non-publishing sources.

These are not manufacturing jobs. These are jobs packing boxes with goods manufactured in other countries. When Obama talks about jump-starting private sector growth, he is saying that the American people are going to need to rely on the charity of multinational corporate bullies. That would be a different approach from the public-works and citizen-centric approach President Roosevelt undertook attempting to mitigate the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Obama’s speech is just one glaring example of his disdain for the American middle class.

Once you get past the fact that these are jobs that require no higher education, offer no health benefits, entail long hours of physical labor and substandard salary, as a middle class American you can only say “what the fuck is he talking about?!?”

There is nothing about these retail warehouse jobs that could be construed as beneficial for middle class Americans. And why would Obama advocate for a corporation who has spent billions lobbying state governments for exemption from payment of sales tax? How does corporate tax avoidance help the middle class?

Then you look back at the antitrust case the Department of Justice pursued against the leading book publishers and Apple, led by Stooge General Eric Holder. The DOJ had one of the weakest cases in the history of antitrust cases. The DOJ only triumphed because the publishers folded and settled rather than sink money into exorbitant legal fees. Even though Apple put up a good fight, and witnesses from B&N and Google showed the DOJ had no case, the court found in favor of the DOJ anyway, treating the outcome as a foregone conclusion of the accusation. So what was the motivation behind the DOJ’s case?

The agency-model pricing of the publishing companies was to ensure competition in the retail sphere. Amazon is mounting an aggressive war to destroy all competition for retail book sales, and is striving toward a monopoly. We have not seen such a powerful monopoly as that since the days of Standard Oil, the ‘gold standard’ of monopolies. If Amazon succeeds in creating a monopoly, they will raise prices to any absurdly high level. That is what monopolies do – history, Wall Street, and common sense all tell us this. Amazon has already begun.

It is somewhat tawdry that the publishing industry had to get into bed with Apple in order to fight Amazon, but preventing Amazon from becoming the only book retailer in America would ensure multiple retail sales channels continue to exist for the book-buying public – not just Apple and B&N, but also the thousands of independent booksellers located throughout the country.

The DOJ case handed Amazon the keys to their monopoly. Why would they do that? Shouldn’t they oppose monopolies and all such attempts at stifling competition? And why would Wall Street continue to allow Amazon’s stock to trade at absurdly high prices, despite the fact they are not yet profitable? The answer to both is that these entities want to see Amazon become a monopoly. And not just for books. For all retail.

All this, combined with that infamous no-bid contract for Kindles for the Government that was strangely canceled even though the government somehow felt a DRM-only-walled-garden e-reader was somehow best for public use, seem to point to Obama getting payola from Amazon.

Still another peanut for this pile of hot steaming shit: Obama is giving Amazon an interview for its Kindle Singles line, handing them an interview with a sitting President.

The goal of an Amazon total-monopoly-of-everything would ultimately be to move us to neo-feudalism – Everyone working for one company, purchasing for one company, one company to rule them all – Feudalism with e-ink screens, tablets and always-trackable smartphones. There’s no middle class in feudalism, so ultimately Obama’s speech is one of the most bald-faced examples of publicly disseminated unadulterated bullshit in the history of the United States.

Let me know what you think of White House collusion with Amazon and Wall Street – Comment as you see fit.

No responses yet

Snoop Dogg Publishes A Smokable Book

Apr 09 2012 Published by under Literature, media

We have now found the one thing you cannot do with an e-book.

Snoop Dogg’s new book is smokable. Each page is a sheet of rolling paper. And there’s a matchbook on the spine. [via Creativity Online]

No responses yet

New York Times Racist Doublethink

Aug 31 2011 Published by under media

The New York Times lauds a blogger who pokes fun at Mayor Bloomberg speaking Spanish with a pronounced American accent.

I’m sure if my blog ridiculed Hispanics who speak English with a foreign accent, The Times would label me racist. But making fun of white people is ok.

No responses yet

Can’t Deal With the Blathering: The Secret Service Hates Fox News, Too

May 19 2011 Published by under media, politics, Technology

It looks like the Secret Service hates Fox News just as much as I do. [via Gawker]

The most probable scenario is that someone with Secret Service Twitter access sent this from their device, thinking it was their personal Twitter account. As far as I’m concerned, this is about the evils of multitasking. It doesn’t work. Ever. In any situation.

Then, the Secret Service went into publicity-damage-control mode. They deleted the tweet, though not before many people re-tweeted it, or nabbed some screen shots. I don’t think they should backtrack or apologize on this one. For me, this humanizes the individuals who work for the Secret Service. It made me think it’s possible free-thinking individuals with fully functional brains could be employed by our government somewhere along the line.

I can’t deal with the blathering, either. No, seriously – It is impossible for me to watch Fox News for more than 40 seconds without developing the desire to rip out mine own eyes.

No responses yet

Royal Pain

May 01 2011 Published by under media, Our World, politics

So, did the United States declare independence from England, or not?

The Prince No-hair and Kate Mini-tits wedding was on every TV channel Friday morning as I tried to get ready for work without spitting up my breakfast. If not for the Weather Channel, I would have gone mad. And these jive-ass Robber barons have been on every corner of the Internet all weekend.

No, seriously – how is it possible in the 21st century there are billions of people who worship monarchs? The media carpet-bombs us with coverage of the ceremony, and for days afterward follows-up with strategic strikes of over-analysis of the ceremony. Still, billions of peasants choose – many of their own free will apparently – to watch. And people don’t just watch, they actually obsess and get caught up in all that nonsense analysis of bullshit minutiae like the dress and decor and makeup.

Contrast the pomp and circumstance of this ceremony against the backdrop of an international economic crisis and global attacks on working people, and it would seem this is just more of the same arrogant, opulent, let-them-eat-cake crap we’ve been getting for centuries.

And I thought the Internet was supposed to democratize the world. Well, thanks go yet again to the capitalist media corporations, for their continued control of information and ongoing effort to keep humanity in the Dark Ages.

One response so far

Fox News to broadcast stories based on facts for April Fools’ Day

Apr 01 2011 Published by under tweets

Fox News to broadcast stories based on facts for #aprilfools day

No responses yet

Older posts »