Friday News: Book prize season, suing for bad reviews, and great tv couples
Reader’s Guide to This Fall’s Big Book Awards – The next couple of months are filled with award announcements, including the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Man Booker Prize (October 25th), and the National Book Award (November 16th – the full list of finalists can be found here; this article was published before the NBA finalists were announced.). This is a handy guide to the nominees and finalists and their nominated books:
This year’s Nobel Prize in Literature will be announced on Oct. 13, a week later than usual. The voting process is a closely guarded secret, but that never stops readers from scrambling to figure out who might be next to receive the honor. (Last year’s winner, Svetlana Alexievich, was one of the rare nonfiction writers to take home the medal.) Two familiar names sit atop this year’s odds board, according to the British-based gambling site Ladbrokes: the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami and the Syrian poet Adonis.
They are followed by Philip Roth, who would be the first American to win the award since Toni Morrison in 1993, though he may not have helped his chances with this comment in a 2014 interview: “I wonder if I had called ‘Portnoy’s Complaint’ ‘The Orgasm Under Rapacious Capitalism,’ if I would thereby have earned the favor of the Swedish Academy.”
Other names on the list include Joyce Carol Oates, the Kenyan novelist Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, the Albanian novelist Ismail Kadare and the Spanish novelist Javier Marías. – New York Times & The New Yorker
Digital Homicide Drops Its Lawsuit Against Steam Users, Says It’s Shutting Down Completely – There’s a cheap but not completely untrue joke here about Digital Homicide attempting suicide by suing users of one of the largest vendors of its games for . . . wait for it . . . negative reviews! The company has a track record of this behavior, but Steam wasn’t going to play along, and it promptly dropped all of Digital Homicide’s games from its store. Oops. Now Digital Homicide insists that it is facing financial insolvency and, despite claiming it has a “very solid” case, has filed a motion to dismiss its suit against Steam users. Kudos to Steam/Valve for standing behind its individual users/customers.
Well, you know, maybe if you hadn’t attacked Steam customers on the basis of leaving bad reviews for your games, this wouldn’t have happened. It’s important to recognize, as I mentioned in an earlier post, that even though Romine talks a great deal about the vile vitriol some folks have harried his company with, the lawsuits come down to bad reviews. Suing those that leave negative reviews of your product isn’t so much a business strategy as it is an attempt at business suicide, a lesson that appears to have been taught to completion to Digital Homicide.
The filing itself claims not only that Romine’s business is “destroyed”, but that he had sought out a local sheriff initially for help building a criminal case against the Steam users. Also, Digital Homicide would like a refund on its court filing fee. – Techdirt
TV STAR SALARIES REVEAL PAY GAP BETWEEN WHITE AND MINORITY ACTORS – When Variety released some comprehensive data on television actor salaries, a telling pattern of inequity emerged, wherein it’s clear that actors of color tend to make significantly less, despite awards, strong ratings, and the significant “cultural impact” of their shows. It is a frustratingly unfair situation, especially given the fact that television is currently much more diversified than films (and some of Jimmy Kimmel’s Emmy jokes about how the tv industry pats itself on the back for its diversity have gained gravitas with these salary revelations). Lest anyone think that there is no systemic discrimination against artists of color:
On the list of comedy salaries, the lowest paid star is Gina Rodriguez, whose role in Jane the Virgin won her the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy in 2015, over multi-time Emmy winner and fellow nominee Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Yet Rodriguez, according to Variety ’s data, earns $60,000 an episode, while Louis-Dreyfus earns more than quadruple that figure: $250,000 an episode. Rodriguez is a relative newcomer to the industry compared to Louis-Dreyfus, so one cannot expect her to command the same fee, but her awards credentials should count for something.
The disparity between the sitcom stars of ABC’s comedy programming is also notable. In September, the sitcom black-ish was recognized at the Emmy Awards with nominations for Best Comedy, Best Actor for Anthony Anderson and Best Actress for Tracee Ellis Ross. However, both Anderson and Ross—who are industry veterans and in Ross’ case, practically Hollywood royalty as the daughter of Diana Ross—earn less than the stars of Modern Family, The Middle and Last Man Standing.
Anderson gets $100,000 an episode, while Ross’ pay is $80,000; comparatively, the core ModFam cast, The Middle ’s Patricia Heaton and Standing ’s Tim Allen all earn $250,000 an episode. Sure, Tim Allen was great in Home Improvement in the 1990s, but Standing is not nearly as beloved as black-ish by critics, nor does it match it in the ratings. (black-ish got a 2.0 rating in adults 18-49 on September 21, Standing did 1.1 two days later.) – Newsweek
10 TV Couples Who Truly Represent #BlackLove – I might add Cynthia and Joe Carmichael from The Carmichael Show to the list (played hilariously by Loretta Devine and David Alan Grier), but this is a pretty great list from The Root‘s Tracy L. Scott:
Who says romance and marriage are antiquated? Whether they were moving on up or struggling to survive, these black TV couples offered viewers various examples of black love, providing a perfect counterpoint to all the negative portrayals of black folks we typically see on television. – The Root