Friday News: Inktera abandons Clean Reader, James Baldwin & Margaret Mead on everything important, RITA finalists, and vampire poop
Inktera Pulls Its Bookstore From Clean Reader, Effectively Killing an App Which Had More Protesters Than Users – So I haven’t really been following the Clean Reader controversy closely, so I’m just now catching up. It looks like the app isn’t going to be around much longer, given the fact that Inktera, the bookstore basically feeding the app, has disassociated itself from Clean Reader. The app, for those of you who do not know, replaces words considered profanity with so-called “clean” words. Apparently it didn’t even get that many downloads. There’s a lot to contemplate there, and several writers have posted some really interesting analyses of the app, but because they touch on other issues, as well, I’m not going to post them with this news piece. Maybe next week, when I (hopefully) have my brain back, I will tackle that discussion. Anyway, more details on the current situation below and in Nate Hoffelder’s article.
Inktera is a subsidiary of PageFoundry, the ebook company which had developed and is supporting the app on behalf of Jared and Kirsten Maughan, Clean Reader’s owners.
PageFoundry is an otherwise ordinary ebook company which had developed an ebook platform (apps, ebookstore, backend). PageFoundry’s apps were combined with a custom content filter to create Clean Reader, and aside from the filter PageFoundry’s ebook apps are just your typical ebook apps.
While Inktera’s announcement doesn’t quite kill the app (I checked, and you can still sideload ebooks), it does effectively neuter the app. What’s more, this act suggests that the death of Clean Reader will probably happen as soon as PageFoundry can find a reason to get out of its contract with the Maughans. –Ink, Bits, & Pixels (aka The Digital Reader)
Margaret Mead and James Baldwin on Identity, Race, the Immigrant Experience, and Why the “Melting Pot” Is a Problematic Metaphor by Maria Popova – Part two of a series on the legendary 1970 discussion between Margaret Mead and James Baldwin, recorded in a book called “A Rap on Race.” As Maria Popova notes:
By that point, Baldwin, forty-six and living in Paris, was arguably the most world-famous poet alive, and an enormously influential voice in the civil rights dialogue; Mead, who was about to turn seventy, had become the world’s first celebrity academic — a visionary anthropologist with groundbreaking field experience under her belt, who lectured at some of the most esteemed cultural institutions and had a popular advice column in Redbook magazine. As a black man and a white woman who had come of age in the first half of the twentieth century, before the civil rights and women’s liberation movements, and as queer people half a century before marriage equality, their formative experiences were at once worlds apart and strewn with significant similarity.
Below is their contemplation of the “melting pot metaphor” and why it’s inappropriate,
MEAD: It isn’t a melting pot, is it?
BALDWIN: No, it isn’t. Nobody ever got melted. People aren’t meant to be melted.
MEAD: That old image from World War I is a bad image: to melt everyone down.
BALDWIN: Because people don’t want to be melted down. they resist it with all their strength.
MEAD: Of course! Who wants to be melted down?
BALDWIN: Melted down into what? It’s a very unfortunate image.
But where this takes us, I do not know. I really do not know. I can’t any longer find the point of departure. Part of it is, of course, the great dispersal of the Africans. But then everyone has been dispersed all over the world for one reason or another. And how out of this one arrives at any kind of sense of human unity, for lack of a better phrase, is a very grave question and obviously would take many, many generations to answer. –Brain Pickings
2015 RITA & Golden Heart Finalists Announced – There’s nothing like the RITAs to make me feel out of step with the Romance genre. In any case, the list of finalists is up, and I’m happy to see books by authors like Farrah Rochon, Sonali Dev, and Meredith Duran (is this her first nomination?). Have you read a lot of these noms? What do you think of the list?
Romance Writers of America (RWA), the trade association for aspiring and published romance fiction authors, announces the finalists for the 2015 RITA® and Golden Heart® Awards. The RITA — the highest award of distinction in romance fiction — recognizes excellence in published romance novels and novellas. The Golden Heart recognizes excellence in unpublished romance manuscripts.
The 2015 winners will be announced at a black-tie awards ceremony on July 25 at the 2015 RWA Annual Conference in New York. –RWA
This is the greatest Yahoo! Answer on whether vampires can poop – You just have to read it to believe it. Or not. I’m shamefully glad to know that I’m not the only person who wonders about this, uh, crap, though. –The Verge
I clicked on the thing about vampires, and found the yahoo answer did not answer the question. It explained why humans do, and what would happen if human biological processes happened to vampires (not very pleasant), but not about vampires themselves. The discussion at the verge was much more on point.
You know, it would be really nice for both readers and authors if RWA provided links to purchase the RITA-nominated books.
@Carolina: RWA would never provide those kinds of links. Their mission is to promote romance writing, not to further certain writers’ careers. I know our chapter has very specific rules to follow that strictly prohibit any kind of sales promotion–for example, we cannot list our published authors and provide links to their books.
Maybe it’s because I’m steadily approaching the event horizon of outrage fatigue, but… The whole Clean Reader thing just seemed a little silly. I get why authors might be a touch alarmed, but everyone seemed convinced that the readers were now going to mutilate books! Slippery slopes ahoy! Author’s moral rights were being violated! And then basically no one even downloaded the app. Like 500 people or something.
The whole thing kind of reminded me of the time, as a teenager, when I cut out the last 10 pages of The French Lieutenant’s Woman so that it ended happily (I actually still have that copy). It affected no one’s reading experience but my own, and I’m pretty sure that the end times are not nigh because of it.
@Sandy James: But isn’t the posting of the nominees itself a promotion or sorts? RWA are drawing attention to these particular books and the internet has accustomed the world to links and accessibility (I suppose that makes us all lazy, in a way). I look at providing links as more of a service to whoever stops by, rather than a sales endorsement or promotion, and not all links have to be affiliate links. But as we’ve seen with daily deals, maintaining them for each book at each vendor might be onerous, as well as giving the impression of favoritism. *shrugs*
@Diana: My first laugh of the day. Thank you.
@Darlynne: I agree! I’m just familiar with how strict they are about certain types of “promotion.” A bit contradictory…IMHO. :)
@Diana: “everyone seemed convinced that the readers were now going to mutilate books”
FWIW, readers already do that. I cannot tell you how many times we receive books back at the library with certain words erased or crossed out, or certain images neatly cut out (or, in one case at another library, with little underpants neatly painted on nude children).
Of course, we also had one patron who made a habit of writing the name of the murderer on the flyleaf of mystery books before returning them. That, to my mind, is far more worthy of the apocalypse.
@hapax: I know! And I hate that! Someone at some point started copyediting the library’s collection of Georgette Heyer books. Can you imagine? AARRGGHH.
The books are so old that it’s just as likely it was done years ago. Talk about harshing my reading experience.
OMG Hapax, too funny with underpants on nude children. Sorry.
@Hapax – I’m with you, spoiling a murder mystery is horrible, unforgiveable even.
I once encountered a book at a university library which had been incorrectly copyedited. The person who defaced the book clearly had no understanding of subjunctive verbs. Where the text said “I wish I were” the editor wannabe crossed out “were” and wrote “was”. I was doubly outraged.
OK, I confess that I’m one of *those* readers who flips to the end of the book to see what happens so having the murderer named on the flyleaf wouldn’t bother me much (although I guess I’d like the decision to be spoiled to be mine rather than someone else’s). But the underpants thing is equally hilarious and outrageous.