Saturday, May 14, 2022

ROGER SIMON: I Am a Soviet Writer Now

 So excited to see Anita Jacoby’s wonderful book is finally out.I’ve been lucky enough to read it already and it was terrific. It’s got mystery,romance, media gossip,business history but above all it’s a great memoir: a frank look at a complex father by an inspiring daughter.

If you want to know why you should buy this book read the excellent Good Weekend article on the brilliant Anita Jacoby. It’s out today - Secrets Beyond The Screen.

Janine Perrett @PerrettReport

This is a golden age for writers who critique the left with subtlety and sophistication. David Mamet, alas, is more vulgar and less persuasive Mamet 

How free service journalism and paywalls can coexist

Poynter – “Only a few news organizations need to play at the extremes. Your paywall can be porous and your service journalism can establish an elite community. Journalism is often filled with competing interests. The “business side” versus the “editorial side” is a classic example. 

Another is the chase for eyeballs via clickbait or the quality pursuit of awards. There are many forces in our industry that have an equal and opposing force and shades of gray in between. A pivotal dichotomy in the years to come is the tension between charging an audience for access to content and journalism in service of a community. After the great “pivot to video” debacle of the mid-2010s, monetizing readers directly through subscriptions, events, and merchandise has been a growing trend. 

We see this trend in organizations like The New York Times, which now boasts over 8 million subscribers, and individuals who are monetizing their audiences with paywalled newsletters, text channels, or membership communities. This trend has even hit the major platforms, with Twitterand Instagram slowly releasing tools that would allow content creators to monetize their audience directly and offer members-only perks

On the other side of this equation, however, is the threat that the greater public is being left behind. In fact, some predict we will see an outright questioning of paywalls. Playing “hide-the-ball” with information can leave a bad taste in the mouth of journalists who still see their job as more than just a paycheck, but in service of a higher mission…”

ROGER SIMON: I Am a Soviet Writer Now.

Long may The Epoch Times—and those few others like it—thrive. And thank you so much to the readers who keep them alive!

Nevertheless, this is all starting to remind me of the Soviet Union that I visited twice on cultural exchanges during the early glasnost (in the late ’80s). In fact, the America of today has for some time.

I remember visiting two apartment buildings that were named Screenwriter I and II. They housed favored writers, screenwriters or not, and were sought after because, I was told, they contained the best medical clinics in Moscow on the ground floor.

In the Soviet Union, decent medical care was only available to party officials and others—scientists and cultural workers—who played along.

Writers who didn’t had to find other access. The greatest writing of Soviet times was the clandestine samizdat (literally “self-publishing” in Russian), those who obviously had the courage to buck a vicious system—the Solzhenitsyns, the Mandelstams, and so forth. Financial remuneration, not to mention the best medical care, was not for them.

Of course, we are building our own more open-minded structures, some in publishing, others in film. They all have good intentions. But for the most part, we are only allowed to preach to the choir. We are kept off in a corner, segregated.

Somehow this must be overcome. We must be able to reach the masses because we are the masses, not them.

What is going on in our country today is a full-on attack on free speech under a duplicitous, fascistic facade of making sure the public is correctly informed, that there is no “misinformation” (the big lie word of our times).

So when I say I’m a Soviet writer now, I hope you know I mean those great writers who wrote samizdat in opposition to a totalitarian state. I have nowhere near their courage. I have nowhere near their depth. But I identify with them because my country is on the verge of being turned into theirs.

As Glenn Greenwald tweeted last month, April 14th “was a flagship day in corporate media. It was the day they were forced to explicitly state what has long been clear: they not only favor censorship but desperately crave and depend on it. Even if Musk doesn’t buy Twitter, never forget what [Thursday] revealed.”

Why Are Corners Of The Internet Suddenly Nostalgic For Medieval Peasant Life?

Let's be honest: "Assertions about our glorious history usually don’t quite check out—they tend to be based on misunderstandings, disputed or outdated scholarship, or outright fabrications long ago passed off as historical record. But that doesn’t stop people." - The Atlantic

Kendrick Lamar Drops New Song, ‘The Heart Part 5’ — Video Features the Faces of Kanye West, Will Smith, O.J. Simpson, Others Photoshopped Over His


Dilly, the black lab in the photo has been viewed more than 30 million times.


It’s the work of a hard-working man of the people who fell into photography – and has since won awards from the BBC and the British Photography Awards and has won the Press Photo of the Year.


No-one knows his identity.


He’s known as Villager Jim.


Here are the links to his Facebook page and his shop page:


Jim contacted me out of the blue last week – after researching Herdy, a brand he loves – and he’s aware of how we’ve developed Herdy to roam free (quadrupling sales in the meantime).


We’ll be talking next week.


Check out his links.  His work is great, his marketing approach innovative and his back story’s real fun.


Villager Jim!

       25 Years of Book Publicity in the US 

       Publishers Weekly is celebrating its 150th anniversary with a wide variety of pieces, including now Sophia Stewart surveying Getting the Word Out: 25 Years of Changes to Book Publicity, showing just how much has changed -- from the time when print book review outlets were pretty much all there was to the current: "proliferation of publicity channels". 
       A lot here on the appearance of 'literary blogs' -- "outlets for voicy, literary-minded young writers eager to share their opinions" -- and the rise of social media, 'Bookstagram', and, more recently, BookTok. 
       Stewart notes that: "Today, most of the influential literary blogs of the 2000s are defunct"; of course, some of us less influential ones are still chugging along .....