Precious Cargo

Refreshingly Bitter And Twisted Observations On Life's Passing Parade.

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Location: Valley Village, California, United States

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Astonishing Stupidity of Dennis Prager

Lons, at Crushed By Inertia, has done me a terrific service by posting his analysis and takedown of Dennis Prager's typically stupid column about global warming. Now I don't have to do it.

Reading it over again, this line from Prager's column jumped out at me:

"The Left is prone to hysteria. The belief that global warming will destroy the world is but one of many hysterical notions held on the Left."

This, from the same man who recently argued that gay marriage is the most important domestic issue facing this country.

Judicial Activists

"For conservatives, as the above examples show, judicial intervention is fine when it means slicing up labor, consumer, civil rights, and environmental regulations intended to curb the potential excesses of laissez-faire economic policy. It isn't fine when it means enforcing civil rights and civil liberties. Liberals take pretty much the opposite view.

The pretense that conservatives favor shrunken courts while liberals favor aggrandized ones obviously plays to a sizable chunk of the Republican base, which in fact wants courts to exit the arena on the issues it cares about most deeply—abortion, gays, and religion in the public square. But the pretense also provides a useful cover for many legal views that just aren't that popular. After all, as compared to the liberal vision of judicial power, the conservative vision typically advantages corporations, developers, state governmental institutions, and monied political interests. Not exactly a winning message."

Risk Versus Vanity Publishing

"One of the biggest fallacies in publishing is that once a publisher pays an advance, there are no other monetary concerns. Some people even go so far as to offer their books to publishers for free."

A month or so ago, Grumpy Old Bookman repeated novelist Steve Clackson's offer to publishers. On his web site, Clackson said that his novel would be FREE to any pubisher, so long as they contributed $5 per copy to a charity of their choice. I left a comment on GOB's site criticising Clackson for his ignorance of the financial realities of publishing, citing the figure of $40,000 to produce a book even if no advance was paid to the author. Clackson and another self-published writer of absolutely no consequence assailed me with puerile invective. When several people, including publishing professional Lynne Scanlon, pointed out to Clackson that his $5 per copy was too much, he modified his offer to $1 per copy. As I commented on David Thayer's blog, the amount is irrelevant. Clackson's offer is misleading. $1 a book is the functional equivalent of a royalty, so the publisher doesn't get the book for free. And even if they did, they still wouldn't want it. Here's why:

"Newsflash: a book with even a modest print run can cost a publisher upwards of $100,000 before it sells a single copy. Who pays for printing, binding, publicity and marketing? They do. So when a publisher takes on a book, they’re making a huge investment in the future of that author. So even if your first advance doesn’t cover a down payment on that beach house, your publisher does have a pretty high stake in you. And all the more reason for them to be extra picky who they publish."

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