I used to believe that comics could be a legitimate art form like any other medium. And sure, they can be. But now I think that the more they are perceived as art, the quicker they will die. There’s something about comics as a medium that makes it real good at being trash. The way that illustration can simplify and caricature. The way information is conveyed quickly and effectively so that even kids and people who can’t read can read comics. And the way it only takes a person with a pen to produce one, and only takes another person a single train ride to consume one.
Did you know that television is art, too? Technically. But you don’t see it that way. It’s just there, something taking up time and space in your life, in all of our lives. It’s trash, it’s the idiot box, it’s something you know isn’t good for you but you just can’t quit it. That’s the kind of bad habit that comics need to be, instead of the kind of bad habit that you need a job to support and you go online to find other people who are into it. No-one needs to say they’re into TV.
On Objectivity, Again @ things mean a lot
Innovations Continue for 3M Cloud Library @ Business Wire. A less annoying version of Overdrive? Yes, please!
Publishers know they can get away with this because you don’t buy books from publishers. You buy the new Jeffrey Eugenides novel, not the new Random House book. Books are not commodities, and they are not interchangeable. People have no favorite publishers (although Random House is the least backward), and boycotts would be impossible to organize. But that works both ways: if big authors jump ship to Amazon or elsewhere, readers will follow them. If the Big Six collapse entirely, most readers will not care, provided they can still find decent books to read.
I have few qualms with authors choosing to KDP Select their new e-book releases as an Amazon exclusive. It’s their prerogative if they want to see if they get better sales that way.
But I really don’t like it when authors yank existing releases from other stores to go with the KDP experiment. It’s still their prerogative and perhaps they only have a tiny pittance of sales from those outlets compared to Amazon, but if they have any at all, they’re doing a distinct disservice to their readers in those other stores, who may not be able to pick up the rest of a series they’ve grown to enjoy if their reader happens not to be a Kindle or even if it is, be charged a premium for each title if they happen to live in certain regions of the world.
Here’s a fun bit of empirical testing for you to try:
- Open a browser which is not logged into your Amazon account (or just log out)
- Go to the main “Kindle Store” tab in the navbar (it might be under Kindle eBooks) and from the dropdown menu at the top-left under the navbar, select “Africa” or “Middle East” as your region and click Go.
- Search for any indie/KDP book you already know the price of which shouldn’t be affected by geographic publisher differences
- Notice the sudden hike in per-book purchasing cost?
- For bonus fun, hit up Wikipedia for a comparison of the monthly average wages and living costs for someone in a random country in one of those regions compared to say, Canada
I have to think it would be different if we were selecting rights from behind a Rawlsian veil of ignorance. Door number one is membership in a group with a 90%+ chance of being on the Supreme Court, a 100% chance of being President, a 90% chance of being CEO or major business leader, an overwhelming majority in generals and scientists and the wealthy and powerful. Door number two is membership in a group that gets free drinks on Thursday, draft immunity, occasional compliments about being pretty, and affirmation and validation about the importance of the feminine role. No one in their right mind would choose Door Number Two.
But that’s not how it goes. Instead, women are given a bundle of disadvantage at birth, with a few shiny trinkets thrown in, and then patriarchal institutions tell those women, “your feminine role as women is so special.” And many women — especially women who don’t work or go to school, and so may lack some other common avenues of validation — buy into that idea. And like the prisoners in Plato’s cave, they will then fight to the death against their own liberation.
Female privilege, if it exists, is a ragtag combination of consolation prizes to keep the women quiet and content in a system which subordinates them. Real power remains in the patriarchal power structure. The existence of possible female privilege in areas like the draft doesn’t disprove this; the pitifulness of female privilege simply reinforces the original point.
Meanwhile, female “privilege” is employed as a tool to keep women from challenging their own subordination. And it’s frighteningly effective.