Show highlight: DW reads an unintentionally hilarious excerpt from Star Wars: Aftermath.
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The elite were not a different religion from the commons then, but agreed on the basics of the basic vision of a just life. Not every king was a good king, but there was a basic agreement on what a good king should be.
Sneer me no sneers about the divine right of kings placing some men above others: that doctrine dates from the Reformation. The legal theory of the Middle Ages was Roman and hence, in the technical sense of the term, republican.
(And do not bring up that tiresome old slander, prima nocte: the idea that lords could commit adulterous rape on the wedding night with any comely peasant lass is a slander invented by Voltaire, who could not find any real medieval laws to mock, and so invented one. Ironically, it is one Voltaire’s fellow atheist and practitioner of modern scientific and secular values, Lavrenti Beria , actually indulged in.)
This legal theory, best explicated by Thomas Aquinas, does not promise civic equality to all men, and so is anathema to the modern age. But then again, the legal theory of the Modern Age started with Machiavelli: both sides of the great conflicts of the Twentieth Century, Democrats or Socialists, justified their politics on the basis of it being a necessary evil, an evil that is done that good might come of it.
The idea of a state whose mission is to encourage the virtue of its citizens comes from the days when the clothing and architecture and music likewise was meant to be both useful and beautiful. Nowadays we dress in drab denim, and live in steel boxes. The society that lives for its own pleasures and powers produces ugliness; the society that lives for God, for something greater than itself, produces pleasure and power.
This must be why only Pixar and Marvel get my movie dollars these days with the occasional Nolan film squeezed in.
We're a long way from the days of Terminator, Ghostbusters, Aliens, Highlander, The Goonies, Lethal Weapon, Blade Runner, and Die Hard. I'd say it's pretty clear that they're never coming back.
Those guys, Danny and Harold [Ramis], were at the top of their game [for the first movie]. They were burning nitro at that moment. Unless you have a really clear vision, you’re always trying to recreate that.
--Bill MurrayWhen Ernie Hudson, the conscience of the original Ghostbusters, warns that a reboot is a bad idea, we'd all do well to listen. I throw the term around a lot, but the Ghostbusters reboot is looking to be an actual clown funeral--at least it won't be Ramis', whose sterling memory transcends cynical hacks' efforts to tarnish it.
|Photo by Andrew Dunn|
|Full disclosure: I received goods and services from the author in the form of a free copy of the book, which he signed :)|
On an otherwise normal Tuesday evening I had the chance to live the American dream. I was able to throw my incompetent jackass of a boss from a fourteenth-story window.
Monster Hunter International, page 1You always hear Moby-Dick or The Gunslinger mentioned when people talk about books with the best opening lines.
Now, there are signs that some e-book adopters are returning to print, or becoming hybrid readers, who juggle devices and paper. E-book sales fell by 10 percent in the first five months of this year, according to the Association of American Publishers, which collects data from nearly 1,200 publishers. Digital books accounted last year for around 20 percent of the market, roughly the same as they did a few years ago.
E-books’ declining popularity may signal that publishing, while not immune to technological upheaval, will weather the tidal wave of digital technology better than other forms of media, like music and television
When I first saw the story, I thought it raised two important questions, neither of which was really answered conclusively in the piece (although the second was hinted at). Namely: 1) Are e-book sales as a whole dropping, or just the sales of the publishers who are members of the AAP? And 2) Isn’t a drop in sales just a natural outcome of the publishers’ move to keep e-book prices high?
Data from the site Author Earnings, which tracks a broad spectrum of information related to digital publishing, suggests that both of those things are true. In other words, a decline in market share on the part of established publishers is being taken as evidence of a drop in e-book sales overall, and at least some of the falloff in market share that publishers have seen is likely the result of high e-book prices.The irony is sweet indeed. Last year, Hachette battled it out with Amazon for the right to set eBook prices unreasonably high. The rest of the Big 5 followed suit. They did this in a misguided effort to decrease eBook sales and push readers back into print, where the Big 5 control distribution. Now, the Big 5 are reporting decreased earnings due to falling eBook sales.
Whether the Big 5 wants to admit it or not, they are confused and, if they are smart, more than a little scared by what is happening in the business. According to a Publishers Weekly article, EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) dropped last quarter and lower e-book sales were a big reason why. At HarperCollins EBITDA fell 23.6% over the same time period last year. It would have been down 33% had HC not purchased Harlequin.Like a clumsy marksman with a gun tangled up in his shoelaces, legacy publishing keeps shooting itself in the foot. The record, film, and video rental industries may have fallen to digital disintermediation, but big publishing still thinks it's a special exception to implacable market forces.
In other words, the share of ebook sales that belong to the major publishers have plunged from 39 percent down 26 percent due to the rise in ebooks published by Independents and Amazon itself. This is due to several factors, ranging from increasingly mediocre authors being signed by the editorial staffs to foolish pricing decisions by the business people.
I suspect the decline in the self-published category was initially due to Amazon skimming off the best of them, followed by the change in Kindle Unlimited rules that deter the publication of very short ebooks. The KU change probably also explains why Indie growth has leveled off since May.
Indie authors outnumber traditionally published authors in every earnings bracket but one, and the difference increases as you leave the highest-paid outliers. But even these extreme outliers are doing better with their self-published works.
|Photo by Neil Jones|