This video is of the Ohio State Marching Band whose motto is “THE best damn band in the land” and from the videographic evidence, it’s hard to dispute this. The band does a classic video game tribute. You won’t regret watching it but if you are short on time, skip to the 6 minute mark and watch them do the horse. That was incredible.
Onto the news:
Cult leader – Richard Beck begins this article on Jane Austen talking about how thin skinned the lovers of Jane Austen are. “Austen lovers have not grown thicker skins. They accuse one another of “misreading” Austen, of failing to appreciate her subtle engagement with social history, or of twisting Austen’s own necessarily perfect novels to suit some selfish political or professional need.” The short anecdotes he provides are amusing but he ends the article concluding that Austen’s genius was in her self aware characters. I did like what he said here which could fit in a bit with the piece we ran last Tuesday on the placeholder heroine: Our cultural climate is dominated, in part, by two forms of entertainment which only make sense in the context of constant social judgement. One is the self-help book, which asks readers to judge themselves. The other is reality television, where the viewing pleasure comes from judging the people on screen. Jane Austen could not be a better fit.Prospect Magazine
What Is a ‘Human Flesh Search,’ and How Is It Changing China? – In China, internet denizens are taking action where the government refuses to by using shame and outing of individuals through the publication of personal details. This is called Human Flesh Search in China and it can be used for ill, but as we’ve seen as it relates to book reviewers, it can also be used to silence critics. It’s fairly important to remember the political culture under which the Chinese operate. When a chief of the Shaanxi Safety Supervision Bureau was caught appearing to act callously in the face of tragedy, Chinese citizens took to the internet and his predilection for expensive clothing and accoutrements on a meager government salary led to his dismissal.
“Although the term sounds ghoulish, this sleuthing process involves the probing and posting of personal details in pursuit of romance, kinship, justice, or vindication. Citizens and officials alike are equally exposed to the deluge of home and email addresses, bank statements, or gaming handles. Yang, a man with expensive tastes, was no exception.”
Those in favor Human Flesh Search say that it is a collaborative effort to expose corruption in government but acknowledge that innocent people are hurt. The proponents are wrong that this kind of thing only happens in deformed countries. I’m not certain what a deformed country is. It happens everywhere. Is internet vigilantism a good thing ever? In a place where government corruption is rife, is that the place for it? When does Human Flesh Search become necrotizing fasciitis as people begin to eat each other in great gulps in the chase to be the vigilante hero? The Atlantic
Do Mass Market Originals Still Work? – Publishers maintain that the mass market is still viable format for authors, even debut authors, although the article does not cite one debut author who has gone on to increased success. Instead, the examples given are of authors with established fan bases increasing their reach. “Publishers at HarperCollins’s Avon romance imprint and at Harlequin agreed. Liate Stehlik, senior v-p and publisher at Avon, said HarperCollins continues to be “enthusiastic” about mass market, contending that the decline in mass market unit sales is coming primarily in the reprint segment rather than from sale of mass market originals.” The mass market division hasn’t seen an increase (except for a couple of months) since 2006.
I’ve seen several publishing houses repackaging existing titles and repricing them at $3.99. Avon, Pocket and Hachette all have books releasing in December and January for $3.99. I have heard that these books are destined for special shelving in Wal-mart which is in line with the report in PW that publishers “pointed to the importance of pricing, “innovative” marketing, working closely with retailers, and digital support—both from e-books and digital marketing tools.”
I don’t think the mass market is dead at this time, but I do think its a little problematic to suggest that the only reduction in print sales comes from the reprint market. But I also see a lot of synchronicity between building an author in e and extending the reach in print which is what we’ve seen with self published authors or authors like Beth Kery who has benefited tremendously in building a new audience with her serial.
I see the future of building new authors starting in digital with innovative and platform building pricing and packaging and then extending her reach in print. Publishers Weekly
US Air Force’s flying saucer plans declassified – Declassified papers show that the US Air Force tried to build a flying saucer. I’m not sure why saucers are the shape of the future, but apparently in the 1950s the US Air Force really wanted one. What else is the government building in secret. I hope it is awesome and perhaps has one Avenger (I choose Thor) for each of us.The Verge