This N That (Late to Brunch)

Hey friends.

Boy, do I miss this blog. Carving out time, if I can, to review the first of this trilogy. Meanwhile, some linkity-loos.

A.

Maybe you, like me, were wondering why it was such a big deal a week (or two? Geez, I’m late to brunch!) that Eric Holder announced that the gummint would start recognizing legally married same-sex couples, no matter what state they live in.

Didn’t DOMA already get struck down?

Yeah, it did, but states have their own idiosyncratic ways of dealing with the abomination of two men or two women making a life of mortgages, coupons, and PTA meetings together. The gummint needs to make clear, direct, affirmative statements about their approach to federal law to eliminate misfusion across state lines. Thanks, as always, Amy Davidson for splaining that to me.

B.

Wait. A young kid got SHOT for egging a car? What? WHAT?

Oh right. She was black.

C.

My sparring partner bought me this for V-Day and I cannot WAIT to read it and review it here, Moloch willing.

D.

My bloggy friend AMB at the Misfortune of Knowing wrote a typically well-informed and insightful response to George Packer’s recent piece on Amazon and e-books. I haven’t yet read the Packer piece–being held up by that issue’s piece on Eric Holder’s attempts to maintain the Voting Rights Act. Because I’m chronically late to brunch.

But AMB’s critique of it reminded me that the advent of digital technology has always made us nostalgic for a romanticized ideal of print. Amazon’s destruction of the big traditional print houses is a problem only as far as we think the big traditional print houses are doing us all favors.

Like, you know, cover art absurdities. Genre problems. Marketing strategies. A host of publishing inequities having to do with gender but also with race, of course, but I’m fixated on gender these days, still, and am less well-informed about writers of color trying to get published.

Anyway, while I remain cynical about the democratizing potential of digital tech, I remain just as skeptical about the cultural do-goodery of megapublishingcorps in the past several decades or so. If I want to pretend that I super heart love the free market, in just this instance, then I would go ahead and say that whatever technologies, distributions, and payment models are best for serious readers and writers are the ones I want. Amazon, self-publishing, Random House, whatever.

I can’t get paid to write what I want anytime soon, but I certainly want the world to work well for those who can.

I don’t give two figs about “disruption,” and in fact find most business rhetoric distasteful for, if I may generalize, its willful & celebratory short-sightedness. Still, I can’t argue with the fact that to the extent that Web 3.0 has expanded opportunity for previously marginalized voices, Web 3.0 has been better for our culture than the traditional channels of public discourse.

Of course, Web 3.0 (I just made that up–maybe it’s actually a thing, though? A nice way to describe post-FB and Twitter?) can be terrible for women. Especially women of color. Death and rape threats etc.

So till we get the payment model right for digital bookishness, or till we abolish global capitalism entirely—whichever comes first—I will join AMB in remaining skeptical of both the lovers and the haters of Amazon.

E.

The sneakers don’t seem that much cheaper. What are the overheads?

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