Old Media kills self by autoerotic asphyxiation

So the AP still doesn’t “get” fair use.  Or they don’t want to get it.  According to Tom Curley, AP’s chief executive:

The company’s position was that even minimal use of a news article online required a licensing agreement with the news organization that produced it. … He specifically cited references that include a headline and a link to an article, a standard practice of search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, news aggregators, and blogs.

So, AP seriously wants everyone to pay for the privilege of linking back to their own articles. So what’s the logical outcome a) a brand new revenue stream b) a serious downturn in traffic back to their sites, and a corresponding decrease in ad revenue?

And then we have Steven Metalitz, lawyer for the RIAA and MPAA (Now that’s a satanic resume) who has no real problem with the planned obsolescence of DRM’d content.  Just cause you bought it don’t mean you get to keep it.  That attitude doesn’t promote piracy at all, does it?

Then we have the hysterical antics of the Canadian Access Copyright society, that would make anyone ashamed to be a copyright holder.  (But then, none of this is about protecting individual authors, is it?)

Guess what I got


Came in the mail yesterday, on the heels of the following praise from Booklist:

Swann’s exquisite werewolf historical brings the era vividly to life as the perfect setting for his conflicted, multidimensional characters. This may be the werewolf book of the year, for, filled with action, romance, gore, and political intrigue, it’s a fresh, page-turning take on werewolf tropes that is not to be missed.

Feelings, nothing more than feelings.

One of the hardest things I’ve had to figure out as a writer is how, exactly, do I manage to get a specific emotional response from the reader?  To a certain extent, it’s the core of what this whole game is about, but rarely do you get anyone talking about it directly.  You’ll see a lot of good advice on how to get people to empathize with your characters, construct difficulties around them, motivate them and so on. . . But the last step, getting the reader to buy into a particular emotion during a particular scene,  not easy.

Here’s what I’ve come up with, over the past fifteen years:

I need to be ruthlessly analytical about what affects me emotionally in a story. If something, any narrative, fiction or non, makes me tear up, scares the bejesus out of me, gets my heart racing, I step back and try and identify exactly what caused that reaction in me. Its an extremely subjective technique, and it seems counter-intuitive, since a dry deconstruction of a scene seems the antithesis of emotion. However, it does work. The hardest part it finding stories that have a strong enough effect to make that kind of reflection and analysis worthwhile. But you do find them in the strangest places. For instance, this blog, which I suggest reading from the beginning.

Various & Sundry

I shall be at Confluence in Pittsburgh this weekend, here is my schedule:

Sat 12:00 PM Autographing S Andrew Swann
Sat 4:00 PM CyberWar
Sat 7:00 PM Reading
Sun 10:00 AM SF/F and H — Are our trends affected by Political and Economic Trends?
Sun 11:00 AM Iconic Tropes of SF Fantasy and Horror

If you meet me, ask for a postcard.

On a related note, I’ve uploaded a trailer for Wolfbreed on to YouTube:

The Blogger is Ill

I am not feeling too great, so we shouldn’t expect many perls of ill-advised wisom coming from these here electrons for a bit.  I’ve turned on comment moderation, and i think I’m going to go take a nap.

On the nature of astroturf. . .

A friend has called me out as a dupe because (gasp) a conservative foundation has launched an anti-Obamacare patient advocacy group and has been called out (oh noes) by some progressive leftist public interest organizations and blogs.  Wow, one set of highly organized partisans deeply invested in the outcome of a political issue are dismissive of  their opposition because it might (gasp) involve a set of highly organized partisans deeply invested in the contrary outcome of same political issue.  Whoda thunk?

Perhaps more germane is the fact that using the involvement of partisan organizations in any political protest to invalidate the protest itself is a distraction.  It is a feat of rhetorical legerdemain that allows one to sidestep the argument by pointing at people with complaints and saying, “oh they aren’t sincere,” “they don’t know what they’re talking about,” without dealing with the legitimacy of their complaints.  Oh, someone somewhere might have given someone some funding, we don’t have to listen to them.

It’s also kind of illustrative of the echo chamber effect.  In the Wonk Room post linked above they use the following language:

After orchestrating and funding the so-called Tea Parties movement, Americans for Prosperity — a nationwide front group founded and funded by the right-wing polluter Koch Industries — is launching an ad campaign characterizing President Obama’s effort to reform the health care system as a government take-over that will ration care and care and deny treatments.

Wow, you can see why my friend Steve thought I was a dupe. According to that graph, the evil “Americans for Prosperity” are the invisible hand behind the whole tea party movement.  (BTW isn’t it asinine to use “So-Called” when you’re already using the word’s “Tea Party” as a slur.  Or are there some ligit form of “Tea Party” you want to distinguish?  Oh well, moving on.)   If you follow the first link, though, you find that:

Despite these attempts to make the “movement” appear organic, the principle organizers of the local events are actually the lobbyist-run think tanks Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works.

Okay, sloppy language in the first post, they obviously meant that Americans for Prosperity was only one of two “principle organizers.”  (Weasel word alert. Define the level of support required to make a “principle organizer.”  How many tea parties do you have to organize?  All?  Half?  25%?  A dozen?  Six? )  So what have they done? Well Freedom Works’ sinister plans involve a trio of websites (apparently you can make a web site look “amateurish” by having a slick flash intro, good to know) distributing literature, and advice on sign construction. Americans for Prosperity went so far to hide their hand in the movement by posting a half-dozen events on their website. Damn them!

Continue reading “On the nature of astroturf. . .”

I have found the sucessor to Andy Kaufman

And her name is Janeane Garofalo.

Hear me out here. Kaufman’s genius, or his insanity, was to blur the line between performance and reality to the point where the audience’s reaction (is this really happening? Is this guy serious?) becomes part of the act. Unlike some latter-day acts (can you say, Borat?) he managed to find the line of plausibility and straddle it uncomfortably close, so close that many of his “acts” are still believed by many to have been real events. (The fictional Tony Clifton, his “feud” with wrestler Jerry “The King” Lawler.)

It has dawned on me that Janeane Garofalo is conducting an elaborate performance piece of satirical brilliance that would make the late Mr. Kaufman proud. This woman sat on a soundstage at MSNBC and explained to Keith Olbermann how tax protesters are actually racists. How can you not watch that and not see the genius of Kaufman’s Inter-Gender Wrestling champ and how it infuriated the SNL audience? Now, she has managed to say something so absurd that even those that sympathize with her carefully selected views can only stare gaping as she offers the following devastating quote:

GAROFALO: The, mostly the media in the States is much more to the right. I mean there is almost no liberal outlet for news commentary or editorializing.

One has to stand in awe at the woman’s commitment to her art.