Jeez, Henry, whose posts are not uneven? Lighten up! Happy holidays, everyone. Keep up the good work, Doug. And keep the posts coming, Louis.
Henry C.K. Liu wrote:
> Your posts are uneven in that sometimes you bring attention to very worthwhile
> issues but other times......
> Perhaps this one was just for holiday cheers.
> What bothers me about Reagan has very little to do with his not writing his own
> For example, I suspect that Reagan's Alzheimer problem started a long time
> before he left office. I remember watching him on live TV once on the START
> talks when he fumbled for the name of the Soviet Union and finally settled for
> referring to it as "the other side."
> Have a Happy New Year,
> Louis Proyect wrote:
> > >From "Too Soon to Tell," NY, 1995
> > LIP-SYNCHING
> > November 26, 1990
> > The fact that Ronald Reagan's memoirs came out just about the time that the
> > singers of Milli Vanilli were exposed as not having done the singing on
> > their album can be used to support the historical theory known to scholars
> > as the Inevitable Confluence of Turkeys. The fact that Rob Pilatus and Fab
> > Morvan of Milli Vanilli had their Grammy taken away while the ghostwriter
> > and editors who put a number of Ronald Reagan's tired fantasies into
> > complete sentences continue to think of themselves as respectable
> > practitioners of a noble calling is yet another in a series of indications
> > that the world of rock music has higher ethical standards than the
> > publishing industry.
> > As Christopher Hitchens pointed out in The Nation, the Reagan turkey
> > contains any number of statements and implications about Reagan's life and
> > his presidency that have been disproved in the public press Over and Over
> > again. While Reagan may by now have actually convinced himself, for
> > example, that he was among the returning G.I.'s who fought the Second World
> > War, Hitchens wonders about the culpability of editors and ghostwriters who
> > consciously pass off a lot of this old bushwa as historical fact. Actually,
> > he doesn't wonder much at all: he calls them "accomplices to a fraud."
> > The publisher of Reagan's memoirs, Simon and Schuster, is known as a
> > publishing house with a particularly strong devotion to the cash
> > register--the unkind in the industry occasionally refer to it as Simon's
> > Shoe Store--but its policies in the practice of ghostwriting are common to
> > the trade. It is not unusual even for people who like to refer to
> > themselves as journalists--people who would presumably enjoy blowing the
> > whistle on some luckless manufacturer who tried to pass off as American
> > something assembled in Taiwan--to sign their names to books they didn't
> > write a word of.
> > Some of these books carry no hint at all that they were ghostwritten--not
> > even an acknowledgments paragraph from which a reader who knows the code
> > can divine the name of the actual writer. (The Reagan book had one of
> > those, although you'd think all concerned might have craved anonymity.)
> > Publishers, unlike rock producers, are never exposed in the press for
> > presenting someone as the author of a book he didn't write. In publishing,
> > lip-synching is considered perfectly all right.
> > Several years ago, I had a chat with a man who ran a half-hour book program
> > on radio, interviewing authors who came through his city on promotional
> > tours. He started by asking what I thought about the old gripe among
> > authors that during such tours they are often interviewed by people who
> > haven't read their book. I said that it seems unreasonable to expect, say,
> > a local TV anchor who may interview a different touring author every
> > morning to read five books a week in addition to his other duties. Then the
> > radio man turned to what was for him the real problem: authors who haven't
> > read the book.
> > "Authors who haven't read the book?" I said. "I don't think I understand."
> > "Well, more and more books are ghostwritten," he said. "So if I say to the
> > author I'm interviewing on the air, 'You write here at the beginning of
> > chapter nine ...it may turn out that he doesn't know what I'm talking about
> > because he has never read chapter nine. He's never read the book."
> > "Once again I'm made to feel naive," I said.
> > "I really don't mind if they didn't write the book," said the radio man, an
> > amiable sort if I ever heard one. "But if they're going to be interviewed
> > on a book program, it seems to me they ought to read it. Just as a matter
> > of professional courtesy.
> > I would agree. Some years ago, I suggested that the publishing industry
> > might think of complying with basic standards of truth-in-packaging by
> > including with the blurbs it often runs on book jackets ("Hendricks writes
> > like an angel with steel in its guts") the relationship of the person
> > praising the book to the person who (maybe) wrote it: "old college
> > roommate," for instance, or "cousin" or "just a friend returning a favor."
> > That suggestion, I regret to report, was not taken up by the industry.
> > Here's a second chance. Each book could just carry a standard statement,
> > similar to the standard disclaimer in novels about the characters being
> > strictly fictional. It would say, "The publishers certify that the author
> > of this book has read it."
> > This might be a good way for the publishing industry to start its climb
> > toward the ethical standards of Milli Vanilli. Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan,
> > after all, would never have shown up on a tour without having heard the
> > album. In fact, they knew it well enough to lip-synch it.
> > Louis Proyect
> > (http://www.panix.com/~lnp3/marxism.html)