Here's Judith Regan announcing her move to Los Angeles, promising Left Coast culture a shot in the arm--and my favorite kettle-calling-pot comment, from an unidentified Hollywood exec, who said, in the Daily News:
"Judith has succeeded by going for the lowest common denominator...While that makes her a standout in the book-publishing industry, it's not really so special out here."Here's Calgary Sun describes as "FRASIER with boobs" [Headline: "Stacked not a bust"] and showing Middle America just how much fun reading can be. Speaking of fun, producer Steve Levitan compares (perhaps optimistically) STACKED's potential for romantic high-jinx with CHEERS's Sam-and-Diane [with Elon Gold in the "Sam" slot], and admits he had another sexy, literate, laff-riot couple in mind:
"I thought a lot about the Marilyn Monroe-Arthur Miller dynamic when I was writing this," Levitan said [in the NYTimes]. "Here was this blond bombshell who surprised a lot of people by being with this New York intellectual and vice versa. That's always been a fascinating relationship to a lot of people."Here's Saul Bellow, resplendent in death, coming across not as egghead-genius but as hip-cat Jimmy Stewart, inspiring financial brokers across three continents to whisper a single word of investment advice: "TWEED." [Methinks I see a t.v. movie on the horizon... Bellow, Hunter S. Thompson, Arthur Miller--A Bookish Brat Pack of the Dead, with a made-for-t.v. amalgam of Andrea Dworkin and Gloria Steinem as protofeminist sidekick.]
Here's the launch of the Litblog Co-op, offering at least the possibility that serious, unhyped literature isn't doomed in the marketplace.
Here's the Iowa Writers' Workshop conducting an American Idol-like search for a new director to replace the legendary Frank Conroy, bringing beloved-but-not-bestselling writers Richard Bausch, Jim Shepard and Ben Marcus an extra measure of attention before ultimately selecting Lan Samantha Chang.
Here's Harvey and Bob, given the opportunity to slip free, blameless, of the book trade, and chosing not to.
Here's Jonathan Burnham and Rob Weisbach and Carole Baron and Ivan Held and Lee Boudreaux and Jennifer Hershey taking on new gigs, new challenges, and sending an energizing ripple through the industry.
Smirk if you will--and the opportunities are numerous--but can this really be a bad thing? Sure, Pamela Anderson's co-stars in STACKED are sure to be chubby, cross-eyed dorks. Sure, if there's reason to celebrate Judith Regan's move west, it probably has more to do with the notion of "addition by subtraction" than with culture per se. And--sure--the shifting of leadership players of late doesn't address, in any way, the more fundamental concerns of the industry.
But you can't have everything. Meanwhile, there's always this low-tech 19th century truism that is no less a rallying cry today, nor any less true:
Change is good.
"Writing is considered a profession, and I don't think it is a profession. I think that everyone who does not need to be a writer, who thinks he can do something else, ought to do something else. Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness. I don't think an artist can ever be happy."
PRACTICAL MARKETING [Courtesy Zornhau, 2005]
"They should put the 1st couple of pages up in subway adverts. Having read them several times, you'd feel compelled to try the book - if it was any good."
PLATE OF SHRIMP [Courtesy Alex Cox’s REPO MAN, circa 1984]
"A lot of people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch of unconnected incidences and things. They don't realize that there's this like lattice of coincidence that lays on top of everything. I'll give you an example, show you what I mean. Suppose you're thinking about a plate of shrimp. Suddenly somebody will say like "plate" or "shrimp" or "plate of shrimp" out of the blue, no explanation. No point in looking for one either. It's all part of a cosmic unconsciousness."
- ▼ April (7)