Wednesday, April 11, 2012

sundry items

FT has a Glyndebourne Festival preview (preceded, in this geographic locale, by a somewhat creepy Fidelity Investments ad, sorry), some of which will be videocast over the web again this year.

In the Guardian, Stuart Jeffries does a preliminary assessment of the Don Giovannis of 2012 (new and revived), while the Telegraph's Opera Novice meets up with Rigoletto.

On Front Row, John Eliot Gardiner discusses that same Rigoletto and other operatic matters; Glimmerglass Radames-to-be Noah Stewart discusses stadium reverb and tenor stuff.

The Atlantic has the American Library Association's Top 10 Most Challenged Titles of 2011, "challenged" meaning formally complained-about to local public libraries by patrons who probably haven't read the book in question but who nevertheless have way too much time on their hands. Not sure whether "religious viewpoint" means the plaintiff doesn't like the alleged religious viewpoint of the given book, or just that the given book has one. Or doesn't. Meanwhile, we note that The Hunger Games moves from 5th place to 3rd on the list (and is the only one to get "occult/satanic", probably because we're in an election year and the Democrats are hoarding all the satan); Brave New World falls to 7th (but gets star bonus points for so exceeding its radioactive half-life); and Twilight, in a bit of a stunner, falls off the list entirely, losing 10th position to eternally-offensive-because-eternally-reified-by-reality To Kill a Mockingbird.

Late addition: In a move that makes the US publishing industry look increasingly like a season of Game of Thrones, Amazon -- you know how much we love them -- have succeeded in suckering the US Department of Justice into doing the heavy lifting in their bid to control what we read and how we read it. Because if there's price fixing to be done, obviously that responsibility should fall to Amazon alone.  Well done, DOJ, you bunch of tools.

And another: The Special Envoy to the Court of King Festus writes: "There is a poem about your coming plague!!!" Everything you ever wanted to know about the biology of tick-borne anaplasmosis, in verse form, brought to you as a public service by the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.


  1. Depressing.

    And I don't understand why more indies don't embrace online shopping and make their inventories browsable online.

    They don't have to do e-books just yet -- though that would make sense too eventually. I don't see why huge e-bookstores like Amazon etc have to have a monopoly on an e-reader. Wouldn't it make more sense for an e-reader owner to be able to download e-books from any store the hell they want? But hey, no. That would mean an actual free market.

  2. If I were an indie I'd drag my feet on e-books too, because if Amazon wins this fight in the marketplace and they retain proprietorship of the Kindle format, an indie would have no choice but to sell through Amazon. Amazon in turn would not only set the retail price, but dictate the wholesale price as well (as they always have done, which is why indie publishers generally hate them). Apparently this kind of price fixing is okay. After all, a monopoly doesn't preclude competition per se, it just makes it highly unlikely.

    But yes, as far as physical books are concerned, indie houses should be doing their own online sales. With bricks & mortar dwindling, it would seem a wise thing to do.

  3. No creepy Fidelity Investments ad for us! and at least one good reason the follow the FT.

    1. Ooops - obviously the word *the* should be *to*

  4. Oh good, the ad was about their paying close attention to the issue of water availability worldwide. Which the rest of us certainly should be doing, but I'm not sure Wall Street should.

    Yes, the FT's arts coverage is worth the read. Can't speak for the rest of it :-)