Archive for June 8th, 2009

Greetings from Book Expo America Part II: Publishing is Doomed

It’s 8:30 AM on a Wednesday and I am listening to Karin Slaughter talk about writing. Slaughter—a Jodie Foster-type, Southern, with short, dusty blonde hair—is the keynote speaker at BEA’s Writers Conference and she is quite chipper at this ungodly hour. She has reason to be—she’s one of the few writers who actually sells books.

You see, loyal NPIers, fewer than 1% of books published sell 100,000 copies and something like 90% of books never earn back the money from the advance. You may be wondering how publishers make any money. Well, they basically wait for Dan Brown to sell 87 billion copies of his books. Continue reading

Against Insular Arrogance

I was at an Improv show the other day (in fact, it was referred to in the Anchoring Symposium) and the host asked audience members for a word, any word in order to get the guest monologist (a comedian) started on her monologue. One man responded with analrapist, an Arrested Development reference. In context, this joke is very funny. Out of context, however, it only signifies that you’ve watched the show. When the comedian did not get the reference, the man started repeating the fictional word louder and louder with a sense of snide condescension. Analrapist. Analrapist. He might as well have been saying “I watch Arrested Development, don’t you?” All I could think was: Are you serious? She is the one actually performing comedy, not you. Watching a show and understanding a joke written by someone else (and then, presenting it without context) is not at all impressive. It certainly does not give you license to look down on someone who is actually in the practice of making jokes for not understanding your reference.
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“Brain Dead and Made of Money”

Phish2009 has been quite the banner year for fans of the jam, with the Dead and Phish each touring for the first time in five years (although the issue of whether the Dead are a “jam band” is, admittedly, debatable at best). Even dilettante fans have Dave Matthews Band back.

Phish performed three shows last week at Jones Beach, the last of which I had the pleasure of seeing from the luxurious vantage point of a suite. The luxury was actually secondary to the fact that it was raining all night, and the suite kept me dry. Continue reading