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Wednesday News: Antitrust concerns for Comcast merger, China’s book banning, Publishers Weekly talks about diversity with publishers, and Walt Whitman’s advice to Oscar Wilde

Wednesday News: Antitrust concerns for Comcast merger, China’s book banning, Publishers...

According to the 16-page submission, the merger will reduce competition by providing Comcast with over 40 percent of the market for broadband internet services, and make it easier for the incumbents to hobble “over-the-top” challengers like Netflix by congesting their internet traffic.

The document, signed by antitrust experts from across the country including Columbia’s Tim Wu and Stanford’s Mark Lemley, comes as the FCC decides whether or not to approve the $45 billion merger, which was announced in February. A decision is expected in 2015. –Gigaom

China has detained a prominent scholar who helped blind dissident Chen Guangcheng flee to the United States two years ago and has banned books by eight writers in an escalating crackdown on dissent.

Guo Yushan, a founder of the Transition Institute, a think-tank that researches business regulations, reform and civil society, was detained on Thursday, his wife, Pan Haixia, said.

More than 10 police officers took him away along with his laptop, wireless router, mobile phone and iPad, she said. –Reuters

The panel drew a small but lively audience that, while more diverse than most industry gatherings, inadvertently highlighted one concern among many attendees: the people with the power to address the issue of diversity in the industry are not making it a priority. Only one senior publishing executive from a Big Five house attended the panel with the majority of the audience consisting of editorial staffers. There was only one person from marketing, cited during the program as a key department for providing support to a diverse list. –Publishers Weekly

The real subject of Whitman’s conversation wasn’t literary form; it was how to build a career in public, with all the display that self-glorifying achievement requires. We can deduce that with confidence because the first thing Whitman did when he reached his den was to give his guest a photograph of himself. Whitman had pioneered the idea that a writer in search of fame should fashion himself as a literary artifact. When Leaves of Grass was self-published in 1855 it did not have Whitman’s name on the title page; instead, it had his portrait on the preceding page, showing the author standing tall in workman’s garb, his collar open, his left hand in one pocket of his slacks, his right resting on his hip, his bearded head topped by a hat set at a cocky angle, and his eyes meeting the reader with a stare simultaneously casual and challenging. No writer had ever presented himself to the public this way, let alone so intentionally. (Or with a visible button fly.) This frontispiece is now considered, the scholars Ed Folsom and Charles M. Price write, “the most famous in literary history.” –New Republic

Friday News: Authors United to call on the DOJ, Amtrak’s Writers Residency project, Olivia Pope’s popularity, and more banned books to read

Friday News: Authors United to call on the DOJ, Amtrak’s Writers...

According to Preston, a letter addressed to William Baer, assistant attorney general for antitrust, has been drawn up and calls for a closer look at Amazon’s practices. News of the letter, said Preston, was leaked “very prematurely.” –Publishers Weekly

Amtrak is excited to announce the selection of 24 members of the literary community as the first group of writers to participate in the #AmtrakResidency program. Over the next year, they will work on writing projects of their choice in the unique workspace of a long-distance train. The 24 residents offer a diverse representation of the writing community and hail from across the country. –Amtrak

These new Olivias are popping up around two years after Scandal premiered in 2012. That was the same year The Atlantic‘s huge Anne-Marie Slaughter cover story “Why Women Can’t Have It All,” a dissection of what happens when women’s professional and family lives intersect, was widely discussed. We’re still having conversations about the issues raised in Slaughter’s essay, but it’s important to remember what spurred her into writing the essay: she was sick of watching young women being duped into believing a fairytale. . . .

Olivia Pope offers a different option. She’s fully aware of not being to able to have it all. (In her case, the stakes are soapier, since “having it all” involves sleeping with the president.) Instead, Olivia shows us that there’s nothing wrong with trying to have everything that she can.

–Vox