As a writer myself, I cannot look other writers in the face and ask them to do things for nothing… In the same way, I wouldn’t ask my dentist to give me a free filling. Writing is a profession and you should have respect for that and should pay for it.
Amen to that (though I would say that, wouldn’t I). Wonder if I’ll ever be paid $5 per word? I live in hope…
Explaining his decision to intervene in Libya to the House of Commons, David Cameron placed great emphasis on the fact that Benghazi is ‘two and a half thousand years old’. As Simon Hoggart says, this was ‘a curious thought, as if the people of, say, Milton Keynes might be less worthy of protection.’
In Whoops, John Lanchester offers a literary analogy to help explain the global financial crisis:
For anyone who studied literature in college in the past few decades, there is a weird familiarity about the current crisis: value, in the realm of finance capital, parallels the elusive nature of meaning in deconstructionism. According to Jacques Derrida, the doyen of the school, meaning can never be precisely located; instead, it is always ‘deferred’, moved elsewhere, located in other meanings, which refer and defer to other meanings – a snake permanently and necessarily eating its own tail. This process is fluid and constant, but at moments the perpetual process of deferral stalls and collapses in on itself. Derrida called this moment an ‘aporia’, from a Greek term meaning ‘impasse’. There is something both amusing and appalling about seeing his theories acted out in the world markets to such cataclysmic effect.
… before the election, the Liberal Democrat Ed Davey, now an employment minister, ran a prominent campaign to save the A&E and maternity services at Kingston hospital, Surrey. Last month the hospital announced that 500 posts would go, including frontline staff in the maternity ward. While Davey’s website proclaims his “victory” to save the hospital from cuts, he is backing the government’s plans for the NHS which are pushing hospitals such as Kingston to make savings so that they can become foundation trusts.
They will struggle to hold on to what is left of their vote in south west London at the next election…
I really never expected to hear Bertolt Brecht quoted at a seminar on spectrum auctions. Professor Martin Cave cited Die Lösung (The Solution) during his talk on spectrum policy, arguing that the regulators at Ofcom, having introduced rules to allow spectrum trading, must be disappointed that so few trades have taken place – just as the East German government (according to Brecht) must have been disappointed by their citizens’ lack of enthusiasm for their magnificent Stalinist policies:
The Solution - Bertolt Brecht
After the uprising of the 17th June
The Secretary of the Writers’ Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?
The development of ebooks has led to the net book agreement (NBA) making a comeback in electronic form. According to Sam Jordison, this is A Good Thing:
Losing the net book agreement [in 1997] did not lead to greater variety, customer choice, a better deal for producers or for shops (as those on the right claim unfettered competition should). It led to a three-way carve up of the trade between Waterstones, supermarkets and Amazon. Hundreds of viable publishers servicing thousands of shops were swapped for just over a dozen bloated giants with only a small number of effective outlet options.
So many questions, so few answers. I have been dealing with P.R. people for a very long time. It would be crazy to categorize all public relations people as crazy, so let’s just say that P.R. people drive me crazy. All of them. As a client, as an interviewer of clients, as an avoider of clients they are selling too hard, and now as a client again. What I have finally come to understand is that P.R. people are paid to twist reality into pretzels and convince you that they are fine croissants. At some point, they actually believe their own concoctions.
Had he been running a fairground stall Rumsfeld might be forgiven for his lack of attention to detail, a mind lacking in rigour, and for the telegenic soundbites that are the stuff of theatrical plays. But for more than five years he ran one of the largest organisations in the world, the US Department of Defence; in his hands it wrought mischief, mayhem and misery, without making the US or the world a safer or a better place, in the face of very real threats and dangers. That is his tragedy, and also ours. He and a small coterie of compliant associates ignored knowns and unknowns, and for that we are all worse off.