Good news fusspots: The internet has brought everyone a new thing to get offended about! Editor and blogger Maud Newton (pictured) was today shaken up that someone arrived at her personal website by "searching for a colleague's name + 'pussy.'" In case you don't already know, when you search for something in Google or Yahoo or whatever and click on one of the hits, your browser forwards the search terms to the destination site (by sending the whole referring Web address). Usually this isn't a big deal, because you're searching for something innocent, or sitting at home behind a quasi-anonymous internet connection. But the professor who hit Newton's site was not so careful: his first initial and last name are part of his internet address (let's just assume he's a dude), along with the name of the university where he works. Whoops! Luckily for the prof, Newton has not outed him, at least not yet. But she is all in a snit:
Sunday's Times featured an op-ed by author Mark Helprin arguing that authors (and their descendents) deserved copyrights in perpetuity for their work. While Helprin has written what is by far our favorite novel of all time, we are extremely wary of his political views, which can be found frequently on the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal, if that gives you any idea. Still, something about his argument seemed plausible, which deeply disturbed us. Knowing very little about the law, we turned to Maud Newton, who possesses the three most important qualities we look for in an expert on the subject: she is a writer, she is a former tax attorney, and she answers our e-mails. The discussion follows.
Can print book coverage and literary blogs ever find a way to get along? Book blogger Maud Newton thinks so: "I find it kind of naïve and misguided to be a triumphalist blogger," she told Times book reporter Motoko Rich. "But I also find it kind of silly when people in the print media bash blogs as a general category, because I think the people are doing very, very different things." A good point, and one that's entirely lost on novelist Richard Ford.
We learned yesterday that Houghton Mifflin, the textbook publisher that also has a backlist of greats like Emerson and Thoreau, agreed to a nearly $1.8 billion buyout by Riverdeep Inc., a smaller firm whose complementary strength is in educational software. "They could have bought YouTube for that kind of . . . zzzzzzzz," we thought to ourself. Seriously, bo-ring. And then today, venerable litblogger Maud Newton shared this gem with us, courtesy of a fired Houghton Mifflin employee:
You've gotta love cranky literary gay Gore Vidal. Even though he is 80,000 years old, he isn't afraid to stir up some shit, courageously calling out people who have been dead for way too long to talk back, and celebrating the fact that (he thinks) editors don't edit anymore because editing makes writers — that hack Fitzgerald, for example — worse: