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Sunday, June 26, 2005

She'd Be Great on TV

First, an image

And now, the paper of record

She'd Be Great on TV
by Rachel Donadio, The New York Times
. . . Chast perfectly captures the grotesquerie of today's publishing circus, in which writers -- and certainly publishers -- are grateful for anything that helps a reader hear that one small voice in the cacophony of the zillion-square-foot megastore. . . Hence jacket photos of writers looking as sexy as possible... Little, Brown has been promoting Elizabeth Kostova's Dracula thriller, ''The Historian,'' like crazy; in her author photo, she reclines languidly, a knowing glint in her eye . . .

* * * * * * * * * * *

An entertainment

The State of Things, circa 2005

Media maven: So what's the name of this woman you were telling me about?

Marketer: George. Interesting?

MM: Hmm. Maybe. Get some male readers. Camera-friendly?

Marketer: Well . . . Henry says that "She is magnificently ugly--deliciously hideous . . . in this vast ugliness resides a most powerful beauty which, in a very few minutes steals forth and charms the mind, so that you end as I ended, in falling in love with her."

MM: Henry? That bald, nattering, a-sexual fellow? The Anglophobe?

Marketer: Phile. Anglophile. He's quite good, you know. And so is George. Geniuses, the pair of them.

MM: But ugly. Not just a little bit ugly. Magnificently ugly. Hey--maybe we could do something with that.

Marketer: You think so?

MM: Nah. Lemme see the picture.


& a final thought

George Eliot is among the foremost writers of her time. In spite of her gender, her looks, and her eccentric beliefs, she earned a prominent place within the Victorian literary canon.

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.