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Old 05-05-2012, 11:24 AM   #136
BeccaPrice
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This article:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...804387216.html

by Lev Grossman looks at reasons why at least some people are abandoning "lit fic" and reading more YA: modern novels are boring. YA has strong plots, strong characters - it's not boring.
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Old 05-05-2012, 11:50 AM   #137
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Originally Posted by BeccaPrice View Post
This article:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...804387216.html

by Lev Grossman looks at reasons why at least some people are abandoning "lit fic" and reading more YA: modern novels are boring. YA has strong plots, strong characters - it's not boring.
Thanks for the link. I've enjoyed Lev Grossman's books, I look forward to reading his article.
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Old 05-05-2012, 12:02 PM   #138
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Originally Posted by BeccaPrice View Post
This article:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...804387216.html

by Lev Grossman looks at reasons why at least some people are abandoning "lit fic" and reading more YA: modern novels are boring. YA has strong plots, strong characters - it's not boring.
Great link.
Good article.
Deserves a thread all its own (with no NYT baggage).

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The balance of power is swinging from the writer back to the reader, and compromises with the public taste are being struck all over the place. Lyricism is on the wane, and suspense and humor and pacing are shedding their stigmas and taking their place as the core literary technologies of the 21st century.

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Old 05-05-2012, 12:04 PM   #139
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ok, I'll start a new thread - there are some other posts I'd like people's comments on, on whither SF (anyone else here read Making Light?)
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Old 05-05-2012, 01:24 PM   #140
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The mere fact that people prattle about the "corporate" New York Times (as if all major newspapers weren't corporate) while giving the New York Post a free pass suggests a deeper bias that is political in nature. Defaming liberals (such as those presumed to run the NYT) has its source in the conspiracy theories of the John Birch Society. The whole intimation that the NYT has a higher place in the corporate echelon than, say, ABC or Clear Channel derives its cold-war resonance from the Birch Society's insane idea that Jewish liberals control the world.

The NYT is just another newspaper. The main difference is that it publishes a disproportionate number of acclaimed and talented writers, particularly in The New York Times Book Review. Practically every review of a competent novelist in the NYTBR is written by another competent novelist. That beats the dungarees off the usual review for The North Grundy Sun by some clueless opiner who knows how to grind old axes but not how to offer new insights.

Like every other national paper, this one has a corporate agenda which involves lying on a regular basis. Many of the people who write for it might be liberal, but the people who own it are not. Like other corporate owners, they make their agenda known. Which is why no one who wants to understand world events relies on this or any other standard U.S. paper to tell them the whole story.

You have to wonder why our friends are so invested in trashing the NYT. They never go after the New York Post, which has far worse writers, is ten times more evil in the corporate sense and has a noticeably more arrogant attitude about New York's place in the world. They never talk about the corporate stranglehold of Clear Channel, the owners of which do lobby for their own politicians, do stage astroturfed counter-demonstrations against spontaneous ones, and are those zealous John Birch Society members, the Koch Brothers, who effected a massive countrywide takeover of local radio to further an anti-environmental agenda to do away with whatever laws cost them money and don't allow them to drill where they please.

Nor do you ever hear the people who hate the NYT trashing their own states' corporate-manipulated newspapers, which are usually at least as bad. If these people were really interested in escaping corporate domination, they'd be getting their news about this country from sources outside it, where journalists and media owners don't have quite as much of a vested interest in making one side or the other of a U.S-specific issue look good.

They'd be too busy lamenting the decline of less screamingly biased news to care about the NYT in particular. They'd be telling you how vile most news sources were instead of asserting that the truly awful reporting comes from arrogant and pushy New Yorkers who are also elitists and keep trying to control the world (now what ethnic group does it sound like our friends are maligning)?

As to assertions that The New York Times is only popular in New York and doesn't publish important writers:



(Wikipedia)

List of Pulitzer Prizes won by writers for The New York Times (many of which were awarded in the past ten years)

Besides which, if you're going to hate the corporate slant which is supposedly unique to the NYT but which cracks the whip in every other American mainstream news source you're likely to prefer, then you'd better hate the other 18 papers owned by the Ochs-Sulzberger dynasty, which include the Florence Times Daily in Alabama, the International Herald Tribune in France, and The Boston Globe, the West Boylston Banner and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette in guess where. While you're at it, you'd better hate About, Inc., the Boston Red Sox and the New England Sports Network, all of which are owned by the very same people.

No, the NYT isn't the most accurate publication, but neither are most of the rest, and notice that no one has said a word about them.

Just admit it: You hate this paper not because it's more biased than the others but because you're more biased about it than you are the others.
It's rants like this that reinforce the attitudes from the "fly over" country.

Biased? Hmmm... Here's a true tale. (anybody can look it up.)

In 1983, the price of oil peaked and dropped sharply. The result was a collapse of the economies of the "oil patch" (Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana). In Texas, 9 out of the top 10 banks were allowed to fail. Houston, Texas, was the largest city in the area. Its population shrank by 20% in 2 years, and the remaining population had 20% unemployment. The term "jingle mail" was invented in Houston, 1985. The response from the New York media? It was good because lower energy price helped hold down inflation in other places in the US....(I was a begining programmer for the only surviving bank in 1980-1989)

Flash forward to 2007. The residential real estate market collapses. This time is the "money center" banks (mostly New York City banks) on ground zero. Were 9 out 10 of them allowed to collapse? Did New York City's population shrink by 20% and still have 20% unemployment? I don't THIIINK so. THEY got bailed out, (except for the one obligatory Investment Bank who got shot, just like 1974, 1980, 1982, 1990, and 1997). Who is PAYING for the bailout? Those very same suckers who got hammered by the "Oil Patch" collapse in the 1980's.

But we know, we're all ignorant and biased...
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Old 05-05-2012, 05:05 PM   #141
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ok, I'll start a new thread - there are some other posts I'd like people's comments on, on whither SF (anyone else here read Making Light?)
I look forward to the thread. This was a great article and I think that there is much to be said about it.
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Old 05-06-2012, 01:37 AM   #142
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Do note the thread title.
Ponder why the NYT cares enough to make a debate of it in the first place.

As I said, I think they're pushing the "high culture" button with their target audience. (The old sneering at the genres. They just chose YA instead of SF or romance.) There's money to be made from making their people feel superior to the "masses".

As for Harry Potter, the books are well written and enjoyable. And they get progressively more sophisticated and mature as the series moves on, *by design*. The original intent being to map each book's accessibility level to Harry's age. The last two volumes are thoroughly adult-grade fantasy by any yardstick.
In this case, accessibility is a floor, not a ceiling: a ten year old can read the first volume but adults will find plenty of nuances to enjoy beyond a "merely" fun story. There are dickensian touches, finely honed prose, and above all an engaging well-conceived milieau. Nothing simplistic or watered down in any of them.

Hunger Games is a different creature but of comparable worth. The movie is a fair translation of the first book but it unavoidably glosses over a lot of the darker details of the novel. The trilogy is very dark, dystopic, and dead serious commentary on human nature under stress. Very apropos for the stressful times.
That teenagers willingly seek out such a story and appreciate it is a welcome sign of hope that the younger generation will turn out fine. It is an affordable series; all three volumes cost less than a typical brainless celebrity "bestseller".

Both are examples of ways pop culture transcends annointed "high culture".
I just think y'all are being too defensive and reading too much into it, imo. As you said yourself, they balanced it out with other viewpoints. This has turned into a bash the "über lefty NY Times" thread which is just as silly as a bash "all YA literature" op-ed.

Progressives think the NY Times is too centrist, conservatives think it is the anti-christ, the truth, as usual, lies somewhere in between. I happen to like the NYT, living overseas and having lived in the NY/NJ area for decades, it is a valuable site for me to find out whats going on back "home".

PS - I appreciate the mini-reviews, honestly. I was in a book store here just the other day and they had the Hunger Games trilogy on sale, in Dutch. The store clerk saw me checking it out and recommended it. When I told her I was interested in them because I thought it might be an easy way to improve my Dutch she looked at me like I was crazy. She said they were just as complex as most "mature" novels, which peaked my interest. She then recommended the comix section for me...
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Old 05-06-2012, 06:05 AM   #143
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I've been trying to decide whether these instances of bait-and-switch in your arguments are deliberate or unconscious. Ultimately, it doesn't matter because the results are still prejudiced against a huge number of people who have nothing to do with the conditions, outcomes and anecdotes you've relayed and described.

You're telling us about the behavior of a small group of crooks in the banking and finance industries and equating them with all New Yorkers (including journalists). This is the veritable exception to Godwin's Law because you're actually talking about New Yorkers in the same way that people talk about Jewish New Yorkers, who are thought by anti-Semites to dominate the those industries.

This isn't a New York issue, it's an issue with deregulation and neoliberalism (in the Chicago School of Economics sense, not in the sense of political liberalism). The same people who've screwed the citizens of Texas have done so to the citizens of New York. This is the hub of the financial empire and the empire is corrupt.

Ask Canadian citizens if they have these banking issues in their supposedly socialist country (which of course it isn't in the accurate sense).

If I wanted to be unfair, I could blame all Southerners for voting in the sorts of politicians that ushered in an age of deregulation that made these examples of corporate kleptomania possible.

But then, of course, I'd be painting people in other states with the same broad brush with which you've continually painted all New Yorkers.

Don't blame all New York voters and journalists for removing the restrictions that led to those events. Blame the two economists who decided that CEOs would behave more responsibly if they were made major shareholders of their companies (see below).

You'll get no argument from me that real estate, banking and the stock market service industries are corrupt, and that the lawyers involved had a lot to do with the present situation. But it's pointlessly divisive to blame the entire population of a city for the crimes of individuals. This is the same argument one sometimes has with British citizens over the responsibility of all Americans for the government we now have and all crimes associated with the empire (going as far back as the Ajax initiative).

Besides which, by dividing voters and potential activists into Lilliputian territories, you derail a possible consensus between all of us that could result in actual change. And that's exactly how the powers that have made you angry want this to end.


(Here's the pertinent link)


Here's the pertinent bit (but don't go hating everyone in Chicago once you digest it!):

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Michael Jensen and William Meckling had graduate degrees from the University of Chicago, where Milton Friedman and his disciples taught that there was little wrong with the American economy that more competition wouldn’t resolve. During the early seventies, Jensen and Meck*ling, who were then both at the Univer*sity of Rochester, tried to apply this idea to the internal workings of the public company. They began with the supposi*tion that senior managers, faced with competition from other firms, would do the best they could for their stockhold*ers, by cutting costs and trying to make as big a profit as possible. "But the more we thought about it the more we real*ized that what we had been taught in Chicago and believed most of our lives wasn’t true," Jensen recalled recently. "It wasn’t automatically true that corpora*tions would maximize value."

Jensen and Meckling couched their arguments in the mathematical jargon favored by assistant professors seek*ing tenure, but the model they came up with had an enormous practical impact. It planted the idea that the most im*portant people in any company are not the employees or the managers but the owners -- the stockholders and bond*holders. This model provided an intel*lectual rationale, of sorts, for the con*troversial explosion in CEO pay that began in the nineteen eighties; and it justified the widespread adoption of executive stock options. Jensen and Meckling analyzed the relationship between stockholders and managers as a “principal-agent prob*lem” -- a dilemma that arises whenever one party (the principal) employs an*other (the agent) to do a job for him. It might be a family hiring a contractor to renovate its house, a company hiring a brokerage firm to manage its retire*ment fund, or even an electorate choos*ing a government. In all these cases, the same issue arises: How can the prin*cipal insure that the agent acts in his or her interest? As anybody who has dealt with a contractor knows, there is no simple solution. One option is to de*sign a contract that rewards the con*tractor for doing the job well. . . .

The rise of the stock option revolutionized the culture of corporate America. The chief executives of blue chip companies, who in the nineteen eighties had portrayed Icahn, Pickens, and their ilk as corporate vandals, now embraced the values of the raiders as their own. For decades, the Business Roundtable, a lobbying group that represents the CEOs of dozens of major companies, had stressed the social role that corporations played in their communities, as well as the financial obligations they owed their stockholders. In 1997, the Business Roundtable changed its position to read, “The paramount duty of management and board is to the shareholder.”

In many cases, the CEOs turned into corporate raiders themselves, albeit internal raiders. Companies like IBM, Xerox, and Proctor & Gamble, acting on their own volition, fired tens of thousands of workers. Their chief executive insisted that the “downsizing” was necessary to compete effectively, and that was sometimes true. But once the CEOs were in possession of mega options, they had another motivating factor: an enormous vested interest in boosting their firms’ stock price. For the first time, they had an opportunity to create fortunes on a scale hitherto reserved for industrial pioneers like Rockefeller, Morgan, and Gates. In 1997, Michael Eisner, the chairman and chief executive of Walt Disney, earned five hundred and seventy million dollars. A year later, Mel Karmazin, the chief executive of CBS, exercised options worth almost two hundred million dollars
--"The Greed Cycle: How the financial system encouraged corporations to go crazy," by John Cassidy, The New Yorker (Sep't 23, 2002).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Sir Edward View Post
It's rants like this that reinforce the attitudes from the "fly over" country.

Biased? Hmmm... Here's a true tale. (anybody can look it up.)

In 1983, the price of oil peaked and dropped sharply. The result was a collapse of the economies of the "oil patch" (Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana). In Texas, 9 out of the top 10 banks were allowed to fail. Houston, Texas, was the largest city in the area. Its population shrank by 20% in 2 years, and the remaining population had 20% unemployment. The term "jingle mail" was invented in Houston, 1985. The response from the New York media? It was good because lower energy price helped hold down inflation in other places in the US....(I was a begining programmer for the only surviving bank in 1980-1989)

Flash forward to 2007. The residential real estate market collapses. This time is the "money center" banks (mostly New York City banks) on ground zero. Were 9 out 10 of them allowed to collapse? Did New York City's population shrink by 20% and still have 20% unemployment? I don't THIIINK so. THEY got bailed out, (except for the one obligatory Investment Bank who got shot, just like 1974, 1980, 1982, 1990, and 1997). Who is PAYING for the bailout? Those very same suckers who got hammered by the "Oil Patch" collapse in the 1980's.

But we know, we're all ignorant and biased...

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Old 05-06-2012, 06:39 AM   #144
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She then recommended the comix section for me...
She push Asterix or TinTin?
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Old 05-06-2012, 07:44 PM   #145
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Obviously they have to be trolling.
"Adults shouldn't read YA fiction"

Nobody could be that cluesless.
Or could they?
http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate...t-books?ref=nf



The comments are amusing.

Tells us where the NYT stands these days, huh?
(Those *are* the same guys who think Jennifer Lawrence is too fat to play an athletic backwoods huntress.)

They did feature dissenting opinions, though:
http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate...-not-kid-stuff

But even that is more than a bit condescending.
I read what I want including comics but I do notice that the New York Times Best Seller list usually doesn't show up on my "finished" list. I actually look at them occasionally on the stand in the grocery store just to check if I am missing anything.
I even notice that the sci-fi they push isn't good.
I can't even remember the sci-fi one they were pushing. The authors name was "koon" or something like that.
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Old 05-06-2012, 09:15 PM   #146
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Maybe, but your own back and forth, pro-NY Times/anti-NY Times post, shows that this isn't left/right political in nature, as both sides attack the Times.
There is no back and forth in my position in that sense.

Here's my position:

1. The NYT is usually as good as or better than the majority of other newspapers in terms of the quality of the writing alone, and a list of past contributors and awards bears that out. Additionally, its readership disproves the idea the paper is only relevant to New Yorkers.

2. But that does not make it innocent or its reporting unbiased.

Nearly all American newspapers are corrupt to the degree to which there are conflicts of interest. That is not an anti-NYT position. It is a criticism of the American news media in general.

Politically, the NYT is not liberal in terms of being an extension of the views of the publishers (who happen to be conservative). It is liberal to the extent that certain individual writers and editors are liberal.

The fact that the undistorted right (not shrill provocateurs) and the true left (actual Marxists, socialists and independents, not liberal democrats closer to the center) attack the NYT is exactly on-point. The undistorted right and actual left should call out the NYT on inaccuracies and omissions, just as everyone should raise legitimate questions about accuracy in any newspaper.

The journalist-driven media watch group called FAIR does an excellent job of that.

But that's not the same as making sweeping statements about New York, New Yorkers, every writer who has ever contributed to the NYT and anyone who enjoys reading it.

It is also not the same as trashing every aspect of the NYT because you disagree with the politics of some of its contributors or the actions of New-York-based CEOs in three of our services industries. Neither of those attacks is sincerely focused on quality or truth.

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Old 05-06-2012, 10:13 PM   #147
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Originally Posted by Prestidigitweeze View Post
But that does not make it innocent or its reporting unbiased.
Unbiased reporting is impossible. The question is not whether reporters and editors have biases, but how hard they attempt to overcome them.

This is a special interest group, so their approach to journalism is the opposite of the New York Times/Washington Post.
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Old 05-07-2012, 02:47 AM   #148
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I even notice that the sci-fi they push isn't good.
I can't even remember the sci-fi one they were pushing. The authors name was "koon" or something like that.
I hope you aren't trying to be flippant. That spelling is considered offensive and any member with an African background might want to know why you choose a minuscule for the first letter of a name.

The name is Koontz.
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Old 05-07-2012, 04:27 AM   #149
HarryT
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Old 05-07-2012, 08:29 AM   #150
Prestidigitweeze
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveEisenberg View Post
Unbiased reporting is impossible. The question is not whether reporters and editors have biases, but how hard they attempt to overcome them.
The point is not to believe that the absolute absence of bias is possible for any journalist or newspaper. It is to come as close to that ideal as possible through scrutiny and attention to craft, and through the elimination of conflicts of interest where possible.

Even if the Walter Goodman's claims reflected the truth (and I would dispute his claims point by point were we not just warned to avoid politics), they would not be as important as Goodman's being called upon to defend the veracity of his story, which every reporter should be ready to do.

What is important is the accuracy of FAIR's findings and corrections, and whether their record reflects this overall, not how many hyperbolic accusations Goodman can make in the midst of his otherwise reasonable points.

Among the journalists involved in FAIR, you'll find award-winners like Nat Hentoff and Alexander Cockburn, both of whom wrote for the Village Voice for decades. You'll also find FAIR's forum, Counter-Spin (partially run by Cockburn), to be a place full of news stories and editorials that have not gained a wider audience because they don't fit in with anyone's agenda. Even I don't agree with most of it, but I do appreciate being apprised of the different conclusions to which reporters and professionals in various fields have come and which have not been heard.

Quote:
This is a special interest group, so their approach to journalism is the opposite of the New York Times/Washington Post.
The irony is that Nat Hentoff has written for the NYT. What he writes for two newspapers and one watch group do not differ in aim -- not unless the author has changed his mind.

Also: FAIR are not a "special interest group." They are not any political organization's think tank, nor are they sponsored or funded by any company or political organization requiring them to support opinions which will result in profits or profit-helpful legislation.

Like the NYT, their conclusions are based on the findings of individual reporters rather than people who are told to support a list of findings -- a fact which the NYT reporter has either omitted or failed to notice.

But to be fair to the reporter being analyzed by FAIR, I'd have to read the original article and response to get a better sense of whom to believe in that particular case. And I'm sure that FAIR has their own response to the article in which they address his claims of bias with facts like the skeptical journalists that most of them are. But to explore that area would be to entertain a subject that has now been forbidden.

Besides which, we are now two steps away from the original topic. I think we can agree that the NYT and New Yorkers in general should not be trashed for biased or unstated reasons in a thread about an article about YAB. That is uncalled for and the motivation is transparent.

But then again, some of those who now complain about being taken off-topic should not have insulted The New York Times or New Yorkers in the first place.

We can take the rest of this discussion to the P&R forum, if you like. Send me a PM and I'll meet you there.

Last edited by Prestidigitweeze; 05-07-2012 at 10:02 AM.
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