Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Judith Regan: Scapegoat & Poster Child for the Book Business



That's fired HarperCollins publisher/editor Judith Regan with one of her saucy finds, "Runaway Bride" Jennifer Wilbanks. As you know, Regan headed her own house, itself an imprint of HarperCollins, which in turn is owned that that paragon of good taste, morals, freedom, and culture--Rupert Murdoch of News Corp and Fox and Fox News. Only a microcephly can't see where I'm headed with this... ;-)

The brouhaha is all over this silly-ass OJ book. And the OJ interview (which was to be on Fox). Oh and now she's anti-Semetic re: the book business hierachy and the conglomerates that own all of the major publishing houses. Please, please--the selfrighteousness is diarrhea-inducing when you look at the universe of what has and is passing for enterntainment, news, novels, memoirs, etc. in our brave new century. Lawd, folks!

Anyone with heart, soul and brains commenting on Arts & Entertainment blew a perfect opportunity to be Toto and pull the Wizard of Oz's curtain open, exposing the TV tabloid industry, the sad state of TV News, Murdoch himself, and pundits--and of course a publishing industry that is craven beyond all rationality. (That's before you get to retailing. Check out that issue in the post below, Brandon Massey's interview, Wall Street Journal).

If Hemingway had lived past 100, he'd surely have eaten that shotgun by 2006 once he viewed the literary landscape. Likewise if Zora hadn't gone nuts, she'd be on Thorazine after going 'round the bramblebush with agents and publishers these days! And no amount of detox could save F. Scott as he pondered the industry today over a couple of fifths of generic Scotch. Hunter S. Thompson, we miss you. Tom Wolfe, can ya write a book about writing books--you needn't fear biting the hand that feeds ya. Percival Everett did so brilliantly with Erasure , but, being black, the mainstream pop-lit machine was able to sideline him. "Literary Fiction" is the current epithet, I believe. Time to avenge the brotha. At least TV has Keith Olberman...

More to come, folks. In the meantime, Judith please bite those fingers. Now that you've loosed two of the badder Balrogs of the Arts & Entertaiment industry--the OJ thing and the "Jews running the world" bit--hell, gurl, you got nothing to lose!

Little digression at the end: Interesting how Mel Gibson's dad can deny the Holocaust and Mel can do his rant, then he goes and lights up every Euro-centric stereotype about the Maya (lord knows what he'd do to the Aztec--no they were indeed truly creepy when it came to the consecretion of human blood...hey, don't we do that at Communion? Anyways...). No major Jewish studio exec or insider seemed to get pissed but for one super agent and one person at Sony. I guess they don't care how this could confirm every ugly stereotype about them in some folks' eyes--particularly as they gnash their teeth over Judith Regan's outburst, or the utterance of a random dumbass rapper or crazy Black Muslim. The hypocrisy of real life would make such a bestseller, eh?

8 comments:

Snowman said...

I agree over the hypocrisy of Hollywood regarding Mel Gibson, However, I disagree that Judith Regan is some kind of "victim," Chris. She is a cog in your "craven" machine obsessed with sales and new gimmicks to create them; concomittantly she also has free will and the ability to say "no," which she did not. This is nothing she can slough off and pass onto Rupert Murdoch. I'm sure a million bloggers have written megabytes on Murdoch and you are saying nothing new specifically about him. I cannot find anything positive to say about him!

I enjoy Keith Olbermann, by the way.

sheila adams said...

As the president of a bookclub, I constantly have to debate with my members whch type of books we choose, and yet we are all in agreement that the quality of ficion and non-fiction is getting worse while we hear horror stories from even best-selling writers. You find gems in things like Black Expressions but only after going through a lot of chaff and fluff that is offered. I think Judith Regan was a part of this system. She got caught and I agree however she is a scapegoat for an whole industry.

Anonymous said...

Chris, talk about biting the hand that feeds you! ;)

Anonymous said...

You could write a big volume on the state of black books and howit fits into this issue. The sewage that our peope are reading is amazing! Not just books. Have you looked at Essence, Jet and Ebony lately???

Anonymous said...

Chris you speak the truth. The truth hurts, but yes it will certainly set us free.

Christopher Chambers said...

OK Mr/Ms. Anonymous--

Thank you for the support but show the stones to reveal yourselves...big brother be damned!

writerva said...

Whoa--this from a man who uses a pen name for his "street lit stories" on Thug Lit--"Cristobal Camaras." Talk about no stones!

I did like your story, however.

Chicama Vineyard said...

My daughter is a fairly successful Non-Fiction author and I'll keep her name anonymous. She agrees with you but it is hard to tell the truth without suffering attacks from the "gatekeepers" that you may be bitter, etc. etc.
The publishing industry is rife with people who have little talent, or indeed aren't terribly good communicators or even businesspeople, yet they have arrived at a time when the public as a whole or some weird niche, are receptive to any simplistic entertainment they are offered. If they are not offered anything decent, they still do not know the difference. I agree it is anumbers game and my daughter laments as you do that the main issue is honesty. The publishers and producers, even agents, have seemed to have brainwashed themselves as much as they have brainwashed the readers and consumers! There should be a prime outlet for good work and people should be offered the choice. If Burger King suddenly found themselves competing with a prime steak house offering meals at comparable prices, then Burger King would rethink it's menus and advertising. Unfortunately we're a long way from that, if at all, however the more choices that are offered, the more surprising the consumer may be to these publishers. They might see that a significant number of people have taste and intelligence, and don't mind spending the time to find good work, rather than having, as Mr. Chambers is fond to say "spoonfed Pablum."