Publishers have always been cultural arbiters, and throughout publishing history they have used their power to harness the "classic" label—and its attendant packaging—to turn a profit. Bestowing classic status on a book has the effect of redefining a book’s history: sometimes prolonging its shelf life, sometimes uplifting it from the deep backlist. For some, this manhandling has eroded the potency of the word "classic" as a marker of timelessness, high aesthetics, or universality—words that are slippery and subject to intense debate.
"I accept that if I turned up I probably wouldn’t get This Charming Man and if I went with the Foreign Secretary [William Hague] it would probably be William It Was Really Nothing." —British Prime Minister David Cameron responds to a question in Parliament about members of a popular '80s band expressing displeasure with his claims to be a fan of the group. Opposition MP Kerry McCarty asked Cameron the following: "As someone who claims to be an avid fan of The Smiths, the Prime Minister will no doubt be rather upset this week that both Morrissey and Johnny Marr have banned him from liking them. The [...]
Morrissey's last album, 2009's "Years of Refusal," was so much better than it had to be—with at least three tracks that were actually terrific, A+ Morrissey material, and at least three more that were solidly really good. So the advance from his new album (which does not yet have a label??) is disappointing—he played three songs live on BBC Radio 2 last night and they were not so enjoyable! (Despite each of them having pretty terrific Morrissey titles.) Above is "The Kid's a Looker," the one I like best. Perhaps these songs will be formulated, in their final versions, into wonderfulness?
"'Between Michel [Houellebecq] getting the Goncourt and Virginie Despentes winning le Renaudot,' [Frédéric] Beigbeder exclaims, 'a whole generation—our generation—has finally won!' There's a brief silence, and we must all think the same thing without saying it: If we’ve won and there's nothing to fight for, it’s probably downhill from here." —Yes, après succès, now comes the… dénouement. Let's all buckle down for the entertaining dissolution of France's formerly striving and now-entrenched weirdo intellectual class!
Beeswax Richards, 34, the former assistant editor of a flailing environmental website, used to go for long bike rides on Sundays with her husband. But now, she feels too guilty to indulge in "leisure time," and instead devotes free hours to her ongoing job search, and to her pets: a German Shepard named Delia, aged 9, and a yet-unnamed kitten who turned up on the doorstep of her home in Saugerties, NY. Ms. Richards and her husband, Paul, met on a Metro North train to Manhattan twelve years ago. After they married, the couple endured a brief stint in Queens before relocating to Saugerties, where Delia has room to run. [...]