Thursday, September 22, 2005
Raymond Carver, Shakespeare, and the Velveteen Rabbit
There are updates on several recent stories and new stuff. So much that if I don't crank it out thoughtlessly, I'll be too intimidated by the amount I've accumulated.
1) The NYT fights back. John Tabin reports they're asking their syndication partners to put the op-ed columnists behind their own pay walls, so there'll be no freebie peeks from other papers that carry them. The partners are complying. Congratulations, NYT, you've put your columnists in a tower, dug a moat, and erected spiky bits around that. Certainly, we'll all find it worth paying through the nose or running the gauntlet to get to them. Which columnist will start his/her own blog first to reconnect with lost readership?
2) Michael Fumento, who's all over the FDA/Big Pharma beat, is reporting the resumption of sales of the MS wonder drug, Tysabri. If I incur a life-threatening, life-altering degenerative condition, and there's something with a chance to help me and I'm willing to accept the risks, I don't care if you Black Box the label, put a skull and crossbones on it, make the pharmacist pinky-swear me not to sue, but LET ME HAVE IT!
(UPDATE: Michael Fumento is a discredited creep. Your humble author still agrees with the conclusions he draws because of my own experience as a human and from working in the field. However, I must alert you that this link may be dead, as this man was, quite unfortunately, a paid mouthpiece.)
3) In other news from Townhall, though this story is published across the blogosphere, bloggers who promise to write something (anything) about the new Joss Whedon film Serenity are being invited to advance screenings. If you're available (unfortunately I am pre-booked on NYC's screening date for something I'm actually paying to attend), you can use this form to register. I'm a Whedon fan, a scifi fan, and I love me some free movies. Plus, there's the balmy flattery of being approched as a legitimate opiner and not a freaky crank. There've been a lot of alternative marketing strategies attempted lately, like the free DVD previews of Stealth given away at Circuit City. My understanding is that Stealth wasn't much of a movie- I hope this one doesn't disappoint. I still think a good film with any kind of distribution sells itself. We'll see if this hop-skip over traditional media pays off with the good buzz they want. I look forward to the reviews.
4) Here's a WSJ freebie article reviewing hand-cranking radios and chargers if the last few weeks have you thinking about your own emergency kit. Besides, who doesn't love a new gadget?
5) In 1981, Raymond Carver wrote this essay on what attracted him to the short story form. It's good with lots of harvestable quotes from other authors. (hat tip: Arts & Letters Daily)
6) For years now, I've been scratching my own head at the unthinking, nodding agreement among many that all cultural manifestations are equally valuable and worthy. Here's a graphic reminder of how the stricter elements of the Muslim world under sharia treat gays on the days they don't stone or hang them. Women don't get it any better. Sweet, really, love it. Try to imagine the Berkeley, California or even the Backwater, America city council making a ruling like this and see if it ain't a misfit. And don't talk to me about occasional incidents which have regrettfully occurred, but which are criminal acts and widely condemened. To make an apt comparision, you'll have to find me a local municipality with endemic, institutionalized, and celebrated brutality without recourse. Why aren't the majority of prominent gay and women's advocacy voices speaking out night and day? I can't begin to explain that.
7) Was Shakespeare a dissident Catholic who infused biting political commentary into his work? Once the scholars hash over it for a bit, we'll see if they agree. Then again, do they ever?
8) 10 years from now, this titanic wool bunny, dubiously labeled (today) as art will be as smelly a monument to mildew, vermin, mold, and insect life as you're likely to see in all of Italy, including youth hostels. And there will still be a decade of pink pestilence to go...