Roundup in the Morning

  • The Sydney Morning-Herald examines the disparity between male and female writers, suggesting that female novelists outrank male novelists. Unfortunately, they base their conclusions on a survey from a print-on-demand publisher. Much as I’d love to hear that this news was real, I’d believe this claim if (a) the Morning-Herald had gone to the trouble of sifting through the hard data to corrooborate it, (b) a URL to the survey was listed or linked from the article, (c) the Morning-Herald had actually questioned the results instead of blindly accepting them from a publisher (rather than, say, a statistician). The chart in question can be found here, but it groups bestsellers together by decade, rather than by year or even week. Further, its blue male-centric arc travels downward all the way into the 2120s, basing this prediction on only fifty years of data. Is this another case of old media being bamboozled by new media? And why was SM-J reporter John Ezard so easily duped? [RELATED: Galleycat has some fun with Lulu’s graphics and notes that the Book Standard was also taken in by this “survey.”]
  • Editorial wunderkind Jonathan Karp is moving over to Warner Brothers. Warner Brothers publisher Jamie Raab said, “We’re hiring him because we believe he can do what he set out to do, so he’s going to have a great deal of control. But nobody gets total control. We’re part of a corporate culture, and everybody has some controls placed on them.” Ms. Rabb then proceeded to unveil a leash and several buttons that had been surgically implanted into Mr. Karp’s skull, which would be used to keep Mr. Karp in his place during his upcoming stint at Warner, lest the uppity bastard get some crazy ideas.
  • Poet Stanley Kunitza is still alive! But for how long?
  • We were trying to avoid the whole Roman Polanski thing, but now Harper’s editor Lewis Lapham has offered testimony in Polanski’s libel case against Vanity Fair. Lapham was apparently the main source of the tale making the rounds that Polanski hit upon a Scandinavian model on his way to Sharon Tate’s funeral. What next? Robert Gottlieb called in as a character witness?
  • If you thought Macrovision was bad, apparently “some countermeasures” have been placed within Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to curb privacy. The countermeasures have not, however, stopped people from revealing the major character who dies at the end of the book.
  • No Thanks: Why Your Acknowledgment Page Sucks. (via Maud)
  • I’m stunned that anyone would publish what this woman has to say. (via Mark)
  • And it looks like the folks in Kansas now have a pornography law on the books. Any material or performance is obscene if “the average person applying contemporary community standards would find that the material or performance, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest” or the average person “has patently offensive representations or descriptions of intercourse or other sex acts.” Further, material or performance is obscene if “a reasonable person would find that the material or performance lacks serious literary, educational, artistic, political or scientific value.” What amuses me the most about this antediluvian approach to legislation is the distinction between “the average person applying contemporary community standards” and “a reasonable person.” Does this imply that the person applying community standards is unreasonable? How then can the law be successfully enforced?


  1. Scott: That may very well have been the point. The idea here is that multiple outlets jumped on this as if the genuine article.

  2. Heck, I didn’t see any reason to doubt their interpretation of the historical data, but then I’m awfully trusting.

  3. The SMH piece was reprinted from The Guardian – which makes it a double whammy for the paper: not only didn’t they write the article, they didn’t read it either.

  4. I particularly like the “Don’t Thank a Diety” edict from the Bad Acks article. I shall keep that in mind in the future and will refrain from Acking any anorexics or Dr. Phil.

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