The film industry loses $6.1 billion annually to digital piracy, according to a study conducted by economist Stephen Siwek and cited recently by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). And the Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA) says royalty rights for indie films have been halved from what they were five years ago. The John Doe lawsuits are a way for desperate movie studios and distributors to recoup those losses. Armed with a list of IP addresses and draconian copyright laws, lawyers for the scorned studios are treating a broad swath of the Internet-browsing public like their own personal ATM.
an undercurrent to grunge retrospection is the music media's and record industry's own nostalgia for the heyday of the rock monoculture. It was already crumbling in the early '90s, thanks to rap (the rebel music of black youth, obviously, but a lot of white kids had defected to hip-hop, too) and to the emergence of rave and electronic dance culture (in America destined always to be a minority subculture, but in Europe the dominant form of '90s pop). Grunge was the last blast of rock as a force at once central in popular culture yet also running counter to mainstream show biz values.
There is no way to limit the output of books. But the sense that there may be too many of them is a message to authors, agents, and publishers that they would do well to exercise judgment in choosing which books actually deserve to be written and supported. At the moment, however, the process is moving in the other direction: self-publishing as a business is booming, and Amazon, Apple, and Google, with their various devices and imprints, seem to be lowering the entry bar because these corporate behemoths see new publishing ventures as a source of revenue, pretty much regardless of quality.
If making graphic novels felt like a staid long-term relationship, then doing gag comics is like playing the field. One day I could draw a fortuneteller; the next, an astronaut. I went from sultans to superheroes, robots to rabbits. I felt liberated. I refused to get bogged down or fuss over the drawings. I spent no more than an hour with any one cartoon, and many took far less time than that. For the first two weeks I was feeling my oats. I already had a half-dozen keepers and was confident there were plenty more winners on the way. It was at this point that I started dreaming of actually selling a cartoon to The New Yorker.
When you are trying to teach writing, you are trying to teach something that, when it comes down to it, we don't know a lot about. Actually, that's not precisely true. We know a great deal about writing, if by writing one is referring to an abstract concept. There is a lot of scholarship that describes and theorizes writing, to say nothing of the scholarship about particular texts. But to understand writing, one would have to understand thinking. While there is a lot of interesting brain research going on, there's nothing that going to tell you "follow these steps to come up with a good idea for your paper." Instead what we have are lots of techniques that sometimes work. Or, to quote Anchorman, "60% of the time, it works every time." The problem lies in mistaking techniques for empirical facts. There is no definitive "how to write." In short, the goal of the course is to help students become better writers, but there is no definition of "better," there is no clear, general writing practice, and there is no set body of knowledge to impart.
Real educational reform, as I see it, requires a fundamental shift in our understanding of the educational process...For starters, it requires that we abandon the idea that adults are in charge of children's learning. It requires, in other words, that we throw out the basic premise that underlies our system of schooling.
The humanities needs more courage and more contact with the world. It needs to extend the practice of humanism into that world, rather than to invite the world in for tea and talk of novels, only to pat itself on the collective back for having injected some small measure of abstract critical thinking into the otherwise empty puppets of industry. As far as indispensability goes, we are not meant to be superheroes nor wizards, but secret agents among the citizens, among the scrap metal, among the coriander, among the parking meters.