Friday, October 9, 2009

Full Disclosure Fridays

Friday: round up day! Eric is out, Laura is in, round up below:

Before we begin rounding up, I think we all need to address the elephant in the room: the new FTC regulations for bloggers. Although I won't do the discussion justice, the FTC has more or less said that if a blogger receives a free product for review and doesn't disclose where that product comes from, they will get slapped in the face with fines, whereas newspapers etc. don't need to adhere to those rules. Slate discusses, Janet Reid discusses, and Ron Hogan writes not one but two open letters to the FTC. When it comes down to it, I firmly agree that we're so inundated with product placement on such a regular basis that we're basically immune, so what difference will bloggers really make? And honestly, who reads blogs?

In the interest of full disclosure, I have tallied up all of the fabulous free things Eric and I have been given because of this blog. We have, collectively, received: zero presents, zero freebies, and only one offer of marriage, which wasn't for me—always a blogsmaid, never a blogs. We only have until December 1st until the new FTC rules go into effect, so hurry up, people, and make with the perks. This paragraph was brought to you by Dungeons and Dragons Spellcasting Soda, and by the contest in the last paragraph.

I don't know if you guys heard, but the literature Nobel was announced yesterday, and Herta Müller, a Romanian German, won. There are great roundups of links at Bookninja and the Atlantic Wire. Shelf Life yawns, and the Guardian says the Nobel judges should start looking outside of Europe, but the excerpts at the Book Bench are pretty cool.

You know what else is cool? After 49 years, the author and illustrator of The Phantom Tollbooth are getting back together. Just like your divorced parents! Except, you know, for real. And after 80 years the official, authorized Winnie the Pooh sequel is happening (which hopefully won't suck, but might. Read the except and decide for yourself). I hope pirates can leave WtP alone...

Wil Wheaton (who was in the movie Flubber and also Star Trek: The Next Generation) has a bone to pick with pirates. Someone jacked the audiobook he made by himself, which means that it's not fat cat, pork barrel spending, big business publishing that's suffering, but rather a single individual, which is somehow way sadder than stealing from an industry with thousands of workers and slowly rotting said industry from the inside out. Dan Brown is being pirated all over the place as well, but since he only bathes in liquid gold it hurts my soul a little less. Booksprung writes about how publishers are encouraging book piracy, and I hear we should worry about the Napsterization of books. It would probably help if we could identify the five most important moments in the formation of digital publishing, or we could take a deep breath and realize: the mass market paperback was supposed to kill the hard cover, so maybe this won't be so bad either. Publishing should take a page from zombie culture, and learn to survive.

Some things are not worth surviving for, and one of them seems to be truly terrible agent/editor meals. Also distressing is that, while And Tango Makes Three (the picture book about the gay penguins) has been racing up the charts despite being banned, most people don't realize that the penguins were broken up by a lady type penguin. In 2005. (On the plus side, they did the John and Kate Plus 8 crash-and-burn with way more class, and fewer babies.) Librarians are going to be replaced by robots, Harvard bars books (by putting bars on the shelves...get it? Ah, puns.), and people are actually making lists of the top ten most depressing books.

Let's try and salvage the optimism of the day (it is a Friday, after all, and my one day to exploit the captive blog reading population) by sharing a dream of mine: being in Sarah Vowell's shoes and having Jon Stewart tell me I am so smart. Sigh.

Speaking of authors everyone wants to be, Joyce Carol Oates wrote a really spectacular article about her lack of mentors, and how it affected her writing. Michael Chabon is writing his next book about how he became who he is today (that one's for you, Moonrat), and Wanda Clark writes about how writing in prison is easier than writing outside (that one's for all of you struggling with procrastination).

So, I was going to have a contest that involved the now defunct Christian version of Sarah Palin's memoir, but then I chanced upon the Conservative Bible Project and just... I am so pleased with America right now. So my contest for you: edit the Bible! Come up with an ideology to support, and tell me in the comments how you would edit the Bible to support your beliefs. Winner gets featured next week, and potentially stalked by those involved with the CBP who don't appreciate being mocked, thank you very much. See you next week!


  1. I hope they pirate my book 30-40 million times. That should translate into 1 million plus in paper sales. I can live with that.

  2. When talking about Roy and Silo, I am ALWAYS up-front about the fact that they broke up (after six years... sniff!). I did read recently, however, that Tango herself had taken up with another girl penguin. This is why we don't try to extrapolate truths about human sexuality from anecdotes about penguins in captivity. Yeesh!

    Hmm... maybe I can make a gay-penguin version of the Bible for you...

  3. Okay, I'm back. Here is the FULL TEXT of my edited Book of Mormon to push the gay penguin agenda. The words are directly from the original text, I have simply edited out that which does not support my theory that Gay Penguins are the Chosen Ones.

    Black and white, male and female -- all are alike to God.

  4. On the list of depressing books, I can't believe that THE KITE RUNNER by Kohled Hosseni wasn't on the list.

  5. I'd take out every instance of the name "Jesus" and replace it with my own. Then I'd sell it as a heart rending memoir and get on Oprah, where she'd discover I was incapable of doing miracles and viciously attack me.

    I'd sue her, she'd settle out of court, and I'd write a book about that ordeal. (Which would look suspiciously like the Koran.)

    By that time, Walmarts all across the nation would be touting my book, and I'd have the time, after a short sabbatical, to find other, more obscure holy books to rip off for my own pleasure.

  6. I think the bible could be vastly improved simply by adding the words "and zombies" to the various passages. To whit:

    Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and zombies.

    Exodus 1: 20-21 So God was kind to the midwives and the people and zombies increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families and zombies of their own.

    Daniel 2: 12-13 This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men and zombies of Babylon. So the decree was issued to put the wise men and zombies to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death.

  7. Good links. Lots to read.

    I haven't really read the bible. I've come across excerpts now and again though. Maybe something from Deuteronomy. It has a nice ring to it.

  8. I would edit the Bible by removing all of the loving parts and keep just the judging parts. My "Favorite Quotable Bible Edition" would have mass market appeal yet have the low cost of a slim pocket size edition. I'd keep the Song of Solomon intact, however, because its super sexy.

  9. I blogged about New Pooh last week. I cannot read it. Pooh's done. Christopher Robin is growing up. Don't mess with my childhood.

    The Phantom Tollbooth is my favorite mid-grade read. Love, love, love it. Can't wait to see what Norton Juster cooks up now.

  10. My Bible edit would revise the wordy, weak sentence structure the translators adore so much and add as the Eleventh Commandment "Thou shalt not use helping verbs or overuse 'that' and conjugations of 'to be' in thy writing, lest I curse thee with rejection letters as numerous as the sands of the sea." If nothing else, determining the exact number of uses constituting 'overuse' would keep the Rabbis busy for a few more centuries.

  11. My current favorite REAL version of the New Testament is W.L. Lorimer's translation into Scots. I mean, really, who doesn't love a version of Matthew 5 wherein Jesus tells people not to be angry with one another in such terms as not calling someone a "bee-heidit gowk"? It's priceless, really. I'm not sure I could top that with anything of my own.

  12. Rewriting the Bible? Why is that necessary? Isn't it obvious that Jesus was a vampire?

    JOH 6:53-56 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.

    Then of course there's the resurrection which is obviously a cover story for Christ's transformation into the first vampire.

  13. I just think the Bible needs more cats. I'd insert a lot of cats.

    "Blessed are the poor in spirit," Jesus said, feeding another bit of fish to Tiger, "for theirs' is the kingdom of heaven."

  14. FYI i've never had an offer of marriage. but i have had not ONE but TWO offers of free wedding/engagement bands if i put product placement on my blog. TWO.

    also: thanks re: chabon. did i mention he touched my hand on thursday night?

  15. Moonrat, the problem becomes: wash your hands and lose the magic? Or never wash and risk swine flu? Dum dum duummmmm....

  16. I'm laughing so hard at these Bible rewrites, they've inspired me to give it a try.

    I think the rhetorical questions in the Bible should be answered. An example:

    "God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?

    "For starters, he can shoot me with an AK-47, charge outrageous interest rates on my credit cards, (those darn money-changers in the temples again), run me over with his SUV and leave me for dead, rob me, what the heck, while holding up the local convenience store, sell me insurance and then refuse to pay the claims." -Hebrews 13:5-6