Monday News: Johnson sells Ebony and Jet; the World Wide Web Consortium; The Lorax; and Outlander Kitchen
Jet And Ebony Sold, Ending A 71-Year Run Under Johnson Publishing – The sale of these two publications is being spun as a new opportunity to move Ebony and Jet in new directions. Linda Johnson Rice will remain in her current position as chair of Johnson and also serve on the BOD of Clear View Group, a Texas private equity group that is also African-American owned.
On what is the bitter and what is the sweet resulting from selling the business
LJR: The bitter might be just an initial reaction of, “Oh my goodness, it’s sold,” but not really understanding fully that I will be chairman Emeritus of the new company, which is Ebony Media Operations. It is African-American led and owned, and I have a seat on the board and I also have an equity position in the company so I’m still there. I’ve not walked away from this at all. I love Ebony, I love Jet so, I think the audience needs to understand that. – NPR
Why All Publishers Should Join the World Wide Web Consortium – Brian O’Leary’s argument that the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), “which maintains and improves Web standards,” offers valuable collaborative potential for publishers, especially given all of the discussions around how digital books are and should continue to evolve. It’s not just a question of what e-books should look like, but of whether they should even continue to exist. O’Leary cites the philosophies of Hachette’s Dave Cramer and developer Baldur Bjarnason, who approach the idea of digital books very differently.
Cramer argues for getting more closely involved with the W3C. Doing so will bring the best thinking about what makes books work to the conversation about Web standards. Publishers understand books, having made them for 500 years, and they can help the people who write the rules for the Web understand what they can do to support that. . . .
From Bjarnason’s point of view, trying to make the Web better for e-books (and ePub) denies the potential of creating a platform that transcends the book. Trying to replicate the book on the Web blinds publishers to a range of other formats, solutions, and business models. – Publishers Weekly
The Lorax and Literature’s Moral Obligation – An interesting essay from Lydia Millet, author of Sweet Lamb of Heaven, on the way she both admires and seeks to execute writing that involves itself in the current cultural moment and its attendant issues and dilemmas. She does not advocate literature as proselytizing, but also seems to argue against fiction as a place to disconnect from “reality.”
What makes The Lorax such a powerful fable is partly its shamelessness. It pulls no punches; it wears its teacher heart on its sleeve. This is commonplace and accepted in children’s stories, but considered largely undesirable in literary fiction. In fact snarkiness and even snobbishness can be brought to bear by some critics if they believe they’ve sniffed out a whiff of idea-mongering in fiction. When it comes to philosophy—just say no!Politics? Heaven forfend! If adults wish to put themselves in the path of notions about right and wrong, the theory seems to go, they can darn well seek out a house of worship or a counselor. Maybe even an AA meeting. They shouldn’t go to a book, unless it’s holy scripture or a self-help manual. Fiction should be an ethically safe space, free of fancy ideas. It should be dedicated modestly to relationships or escapism or the needs of luscious voyeurs. . . .
It’s also about pulling back and allowing ambiguity—enough that the reader can decide his or her own relationship to what’s being encountered. You have to establish a certain authority for the reader to suspend disbelief, but there’s great fluidity in fiction: You don’t need to be representing your own position, indeed you don’t need to be representing any real position. You’re not a historian and you’re not a journalist. You can write whatever you want, however you want, and it can be read however the reader wants to read it. That’s the risk and the excitement. Two private minds in conversation. – The Atlantic
Recipe for a cheesy snack inspired by the ‘Outlander’ book series – After reading a number of the Outlander books, Theresa Carle-Sanders decided she wanted to recreate an 18th C dish from the books. When she asked Gabaldon for permission to publish the recipe with a book excerpt, Gabaldon became interested in the idea of developing more Outlander recipes:
Over the last five years or so Carle-Sanders said she has been working with Gabaldon to create more recipes — and the popularity of the Outlanders television show gave her the opportunity to release her own cookbook [Outlander Kitchen]. – CBC
I heard the interview on CBC this weekend about the Outlander kitchen. The thought process involved in making “turtle soup” was quite impressive.
Re: the essay by Lydia Millet
I thought fiction was a place to tackle real life issues in a less confrontational way??
Or is this about how obvious the discussion is, if there’s a clear answer about what is right and what is wrong in today’s world?
Some context to my sincere questions:
I live mainly in Romanceland.
Maybe themes are expected in romance novels and not in other literature???
SciFi romance, for example, almost always has a political component to it.
The way alien or futuristic societies are crafted makes a statement.
Is this bigger than themes?