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February 09, 2007

Sundry Notes, 2/9/07

More little things:

* Happy birthday to one of my favorite people on this or any other planet, Karen Meisner. For those of you who don't know know here, Karen's one big happy package of awesome. Those of you who know her know this already, of course.

* Subterranean Press wants to remind reviewers and/or those with heavily-trafficked blogs that it has advance reader copies available of upcoming books, including ones from Elizabeth Bear, Cherie Priest, Ted Chiang, Connie Willis and Robert Silverberg. Become part of the great SF/F publicity machine! You know you want to. Incidentally, I myself have the ARCs to most of these, and you know what? Most of these are pretty @$#%^! great.

* Anna Nicole Smith: Honestly, people. How did you expect she was going to end up? There was no aspect of her life that didn't point to this, sooner or later.

* I've been vaguely following this John Edwards/blogger thing and it's pretty damn stupid. Political bloggers using intemperate language? Heaven forfend! I am shocked, shocked at the lack of decorum!

Here's a handy guideline for anyone thinking to a hire a blogger for anything: Assume they've written something someone somewhere will get offended about, because that's what bloggers do. I mean, shit. Just the other day, if my e-mail serves, I offended religious homophobes and at least some gay-positive folk in the very same entry. That, my friends, is a skill to have.

Point is, there is hardly a blogger with any sort of traffic who doesn't have something in the archive that will make for tantalizing pullquotes. The only sane response to someone who waves these quotes about is to ask them, quite sincerely, if they're aware that water has a certain quality of wetness about it. Likewise, if you hire a long-time blogger, particularly if you're a political campaign, by God be prepared.

* Re: E-mail -- it was down for some time yesterday, it's been back up for a while, but I'm still going through it. If you've not heard back from me yet, don't panic.

Posted by john at February 9, 2007 11:31 AM

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Comments

Kristian | February 9, 2007 11:49 AM

"I've been vaguely following this John Edwards/blogger thing and it's pretty damn stupid. Political bloggers using intemperate language? Heaven forfend! I am shocked, shocked at the lack of decorum!

Here's a handy guideline for anyone thinking to a hire a blogger for anything: Assume they've written something someone somewhere will get offended about, because that's what bloggers do. I mean, shit. Just the other day, if my e-mail serves, I offended religious homophobes and at least some gay-positive folk in the very same entry. That, my friends, is a skill to have. "

If Newt Gingrich hires Ann Coulter for media/bloogin out reach, would you take the same reasonable view? Why or why not.

Of course many, many bloggers say very intemperate things. However, were I to hire a blogger to manage PR, I doubt I would hire that kind of person. Look, there are a ton of bright talented gitfed funny insightful bloggers on the left and right that don't rely on just abusive screeds to get their point accross.

John Scalzi | February 9, 2007 11:53 AM

Kristian:

"If Newt Gingrich hires Ann Coulter for media/bloogin out reach, would you take the same reasonable view?"

I would be delighted if Newt and Ann got together. That would be endless hours of entertainment right there.

kero aka kevin | February 9, 2007 12:05 PM

I don't think the point is that bloggers are potty-mouthed bastards, but that bloggers are people who have opinions about various things. Generally, these opionions are going to be all over the place because that's the way people roll. However, when you get into politics it is expected that everything you have ever said outloud or written down since you were able to toes the party line. If it doesn't you've got some splaining to do. This is of course stupid, welcome to American politics.

PixelFish | February 9, 2007 12:09 PM

One of the things I saw people getting upset over was the use of the word "Jeebus" instead of "Jesus". This was the same day that I saw that a woman in Florida objected to the Vagina Monologues being called that on a public marquee while "the Hoohah Monologues" were deemed more....um...appropriate, so that more or less encapsulates a certain mindset for me.

For the sake of rational discussion, I wish I could read more of these screeds--I was actually trying to sort through all the excited jabber on Michelle Malkin's blog threads, where they were near wetting themselves with excitement--but alas, I was at work, and unable to do more than skim the complaints.

....

Anna Nicole: Weird. I feel sorry for her, her son, and most especially, her daughter.

John H | February 9, 2007 12:17 PM

Newt and Ann: I say he should go for it. It's not like he has any chance of winning anyway, and they are like two peas in a pod...

John H | February 9, 2007 12:19 PM

Or would that be two hellhounds suckling from the same teat?

Patty Cryan | February 9, 2007 12:23 PM

Thanks for the heads-up about review copies, John!

Steve Buchheit | February 9, 2007 12:25 PM

Our John, an equal opportunity offender. Or, something like that. Hey, but that's a sign of economy of writing (words, etc) that you didn't have to write two articles discussing an issue to offend the opposite sides. I mean, that's a talent, you know.

Bearpaw | February 9, 2007 12:41 PM

One of the things I think is bizarre -- though par for the course for MediaCorp -- is that much of the coverage of the Edward's thing has oh-so-outraged reaction from William Donohue. This is the same William Donohue who is on record as saying things like:

Name for me a book publishing company in this country, particularly in New York, which would allow you to publish a book which would tell the truth about the gay death style.
I'm saying if a Catholic votes for Kerry because they support him on abortion rights that is to cooperate in evil.
Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It's not a secret, okay? And I'm not afraid to say it. ... Hollywood likes anal sex.

This is evidently the media's go-to guy to find out what's reasonable discourse and what's bigotted trash talk.

Not to mention the fact that the "controversy" is being pushed by people who didn't seem to find it remarkable when the Vice President publicly told a Senator to "Go fuck yourself".

Wakboth | February 9, 2007 01:08 PM

Ignoring ANS's lifestyle and the whole tangled mess of legal issues surrounding her, doesn't everyone's life point out to death, eventually?

John Scalzi | February 9, 2007 01:10 PM

Speak for youself, Wakboth. I'm going to live forever!

Annalee Flower Horne | February 9, 2007 01:13 PM

I feel bad for Anna Nicole Smith's daughter too. Not just because she's now motherless, but also because she has to go through life with a name like 'Dannielynn Hope.' I mean really, what the hell?

Sorry. I shouldn't say mean things about dead people. Even ones who gave their daughter stripper names.

Metal Fatigue | February 9, 2007 01:14 PM

There is this perfectly ludicrous idea in our society that if people on both sides of an issue disagree with you, it proves you're taking a sensible middle ground. Sometimes the sensible place to be is way out on one end; sometimes there are no ends, because the issue is a circle, or a sphere, or some more complex manifold. Hegel was a wanker.

(This is apropos of nothing Whatever, but rather of Steve Buchheit's comment.)

Kristian Holvet | February 9, 2007 01:24 PM

"Kristian:

"If Newt Gingrich hires Ann Coulter for media/bloogin out reach, would you take the same reasonable view?"

I would be delighted if Newt and Ann got together. That would be endless hours of entertainment right there.
"

Yeah, it would be entertaining. But remember, many on the Right are doing the same with respect to John Edwards and his employees. See, I know you probably have a lot of problems with Newt (from his personal life to his politics), and so would be happy to zing him because of what people he hired have said or done on the past. It is easy to take a bemused or even amused view of things when the target is someone you don't liek or support, and harder to accept when that person is someone you do like and support.

This should be an object lesson to people: while many poeple who like you may say outrageous things, if you HIRE them to work on your PR/outreach, what THEY say can be used against YOU. It is hard to have a Sister Soujah when you pay them to work publicity on your behalf.

It is also definitely a cautionary tale for the blogosphere as well: if you want to go 'legit', you should be aware that your past is a google search away.

(And as an aside, the dingenuous nature of their 'apology' is insulting).

---

As for Anna Nicole Smith, no, it did not surprise me.

Really, anytime a famous person dies, particularly one with known demons, it is hard to be shocked. It is one thing to have a Joe Delaney die (the Kansas City Chiefs runnning back who drowned trying to save a child who was drowning), and quite another to have a drug addled pop star die.

Yet, the sadness is there. And don't forget ANS is survived by an infant girl, who will grow up without her mother or older (half?) brother. And all through her childhood will be the object and subject of various lawsuits from paternity / custody to that estate suit.


Steve Buchheit | February 9, 2007 01:25 PM

Metal Fatigue, I don't think I implied anything like that. Only pointing out that offending both sides (tricorner mexican stand-offs, quad based dialectics, or all sides), is a talent, and by extention, maybe that's something John could find a market for instead of wasting it on us pikers (not that I want John to stop posting here, but that he's got a daughter that will be needing a very expensive college in realatively short time, and so, he might want to be thinking about maximizing profits on talents).

And just as expereince has tough me, usually being far out on one end leads to having limbs sawed out from underneath, or making swan dives before verifying the pool is full.

And now, if you excuse, I must run through Monty Python's Philosopher's song several times to get it out of my head. "Emmanual Kant was a real pissant..."

JC | February 9, 2007 01:26 PM

OMG, Ted Chiang has another book coming out! I've been waiting for years for this. Now I just have to wait another 5 months. (Why, yes, I do invoke his name only the most hushed, reverent tones.)

Metal Fatigue | February 9, 2007 01:30 PM

Wasn't trying to contradict you, Steve, only to use your comment as a jumping-off point.

If offending all sides were a potentially lucrative talent, then Howard Stern would be one of the highest-paid radio personalities in the world…oh, wait.

Rance | February 9, 2007 01:32 PM

Not only do you use those bad words on your blog, you have the universe flipping us the bird up in the corner.

Alice | February 9, 2007 01:33 PM

I must thank you for linking to Karen's Livejournal. I was a huge reader of her old-school journal back in the day and I was so sad when she closed it down. The entry about sleeping positions (and the stick figure illustrations of Par cowering in terror) was seriously the funniest thing I have ever read on the internets. What a lovely blast from the past. (Damn I sound old.)

WizarDru | February 9, 2007 01:44 PM

ANS. What a sad, pathetic tale. Suprising? Not at all. But sad, nonetheless.

The Edwards 'blogger' issue: can I identify the 800 pound elephant in the room? No one cares about this issue outside of the intarwebs, really. Anyone remember the huge furor over the fake newsie blogger-plant from last year? Other than the Daily Show, was it even discussed in most mainstream news outlets? Did it matter ten minutes later to the general public?

I mean, seriously, I'd guess that most Americans are just tuckered out. People voted, messages were sent and results were tallied. A lot of people are just sick to death of this kind of nonsense, and this kerfluffly is only important to people like writers for the New Republic.

John Scalzi | February 9, 2007 01:52 PM

WizarDru:

"Other than the Daily Show, was it even discussed in most mainstream news outlets?"

Well, the link I posted did go to the New York Times. It did get a fair amount of play in the non-blog media.

JonathanMoeller | February 9, 2007 01:53 PM

It's not all that difficult to determine if a political blog crosses the line or not.

If the blog agrees with you, then clearly the blogger is an enlightened individual, boldly speaking truth to power, a free-thinker, just like you.

If the blog disagrees with you, then the blogger is a hate-mongering bigot, an enemy of all that is good, and probably suffering from some sort sexual hangup AND writing from his mother's basement.

Really. It's that simple.

Johnny Carruthers | February 9, 2007 01:58 PM

You're going to live forever -- or die trying, right?

Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers | February 9, 2007 02:09 PM

You're going to live forever -- or die trying, right?

Actually, he may live to regret that wish.

Rasselas | February 9, 2007 03:28 PM

I was planning to just grit my teeth and support whomever the Democrats put up next summer, but now that I know I have to take offense at how politicians treat bloggers, I'm really looking forward to next eighteen months and the manifold opportunities to take offense that will arise.

Alex S. | February 9, 2007 10:44 PM

Subterranean Press wants to remind reviewers and/or those with heavily-trafficked blogs that it has advance reader copies available of upcoming books..
Well, dang. Too bad no one reads my blog, I review plenty of books.

Karen | February 10, 2007 01:40 AM

Thanks for the kind words, Alice! (You think you sound old? My age just went up a whole integer today. We are *venerable*.)

And dear Scalzi, right back at you.

Dane | February 10, 2007 08:51 AM

Anna Nicole Smith....shocked, shocked, I say, to find out that people...even those that have fame...are mortal and die.

The only thing I feel about this is sad...sad for that little baby girl that lost her mother and will grow up in the shadow of the maniacal fame created by a mother she will never know. I hope that her life can outpace the media's lust for the story. I hope that whoever takes responsibility for the little girl gives her shelter from it and time to become an individual apart from the morbid spectacle surrounding her family right now. I will know that happened when I hear nothing more about her after this. I am afraid that won't happen.

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