Monday News: Importing books to Australia, male birth control, My Friend Flicka & first love, and American Girl viral video
Australian readers – take note – I think I reported on the Australian Parallel Importation situation not too long ago, but with this recent rant from Jay Kristoff, it might be time to do so again. Kristoff rehearses the argument that allowing parallel importation will dilute the Australian book market, open the floodgates to cheap, remaindered books, kill local bookselling businesses, and generally destroy Australian book culture. He also basically characterizes a proposal to limit copyright as a license to steal. If you’ve read Kristoff’s piece, I highly recommend this article from The Conversation (from University of Melbourne’s Peter Donoghue) as a counterpoint. Donoghue places a lot of the responsibility for the current controversy on publishers, and more specifically on a misunderstanding of parallel importation restrictions:
Their basic argument is this: the PIRs construct Australia as a separate rights territory, and this reality is absolutely critical in enabling the purchase of Australian rights to overseas titles and the sale of rights to original locally published titles into export markets.
The PIRs grant exclusivity both ways, and therefore rights trading can be done with full confidence.
The problem with this argument has always been its profound conceptual confusion. The PIRs don’t make Australia a rights territory at all (referred to as “territorial copyright”). All they do is disallow importation for commercial purposes by booksellers. – The Conversation and Jay Kristoff
How Silicon Valley Will Replace Condoms – So this is pretty interesting. Currently there are two gel-based, non-hormonal male birth control products, Vasalgel and Echo-V. Echo-V, a new developmental entry, is actually a bit easier to inject than Vasalgel (both are injected into the vas deferens, but Vasalgel requires a small incision first), although both are reversible. They may still be a few years away from the market, but their viability could radically change what is largely seen as the pharmaceutical industry’s incentive to keep birth control aimed at women (who therefore continue to bear the responsibility).
Whenever and however it arrives, gel-based male birth control would be monumental. Given the range of side effects that women experience when using oral contraceptives and IUDS, a non-hormonal male contraceptive could revolutionize not just medicine, but sex itself.
According to variousestimates, the size of the global contraceptives market is approaching $20 billion, largely driven by pills and devices aimed at women. As Priceonomics reported, major pharmaceutical companies are not likely to even get out of bed for the relatively small male contraceptive market, especially because new options would “cannibalize their existing products.” – Daily Beast
“MY FRIEND FLICKA”: A BOOK ABOUT HORSES THAT IS A BOOK ABOUT FIRST LOVE – An intriguing and sensitive essay from Rebecca Mead on the way that My Friend Flicka deals with very adult themes related to love and responsibility in a way that made me think again about the draw that many Romance readers have to YA fiction.
As the story unfolds and Ken attempts to forge a bond with Flicka, he goes through the drama of challenging the authority of his father, and ultimately puts his own life at risk for Flicka’s sake. His passion is riven with guilt. He has fallen in love with a creature who may be incapable of loving him back, and to whom, through love, he may inadvertently have done harm.
What is the nature of interdependence between lovers, and what does love have to do with equality? What does it mean when one’s love for another individual involves the curtailing of his or her freedom? What would you be willing to sacrifice for your beloved? These would be complex and subtle questions about love for an adult reader—let alone for a young reader who still cringes in discomfort at witnessing the mildest of on-screen kisses. Ken’s passion is urgent, intense, and deeply confusing, as first passions always are. But the fact that Ken’s passion is mediated through an equine object gives “My Friend Flicka” a subtlety and accessibility that would be harder, or perhaps impossible, to achieve as effectively with a human love story. – The New Yorker
Girl With Prosthetic Leg Cries Tears Of Joy When She Receives A Doll Like Her – Such perfect timing for this currently viral video in which a young girl gets an American Girl doll that has been adapted with a prosthetic leg like her own, and a clearly affirming message. 10 million views and counting. Dear Hollywood: get a clue.
In the video Bennett captured of her opening the doll, above, Emma exclaims, “You — you — you gotta be kidding me. It’s got a leg like me!” before bursting into tears. Bennett had reached out to prosthetics company, A Step Ahead Prosthetics — which provides free aftermarket customization of American Girl dolls for girls with limb loss — to request the doll for her daughter. Along with the doll, the company sent Emma a letter that read, “After a few weeks of training to walk and run in her new prosthetic, she is ready to go home and live her life without limitations with you.” – Refinery29