Foreign Invasion

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Now I watch a lot of broadcast TV and you should too.  It’s the best way to gather information about the world other than the dark web but you aren’t ready for that. Patience.

When I’m not watching the #1 rated drama on US network television, NCIS, or one of its clones, on Sunday nights I sometimes creep over to the so-called “Public” television outlets on my high speed digital network.  Now today, in this 21st Century Comb-Over Era, perception and expectation are everything, and I expect to only perceive British accents over on what we will now call for brevity’s sake, the PBS television network.

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On a Sunday evening I expect to relax to some BBC 19th century parlor drama on my local public television station.  Some programs on Public Television are actually from other UK production outlets like the commercial ITV.  This is fine by me as long as they get the accent right.  I’m as free market as the next yob when it comes to high brow television. But what’s got me really upset now is that they are starting to screen inferior accented series from Australia and New Zealand on public television.  As if we couldn’t tell the difference between a British accent and an Aussie accent.  Some people may be fooled, but not me. When I see my Pride and Prejudice I don’t want anybody popping off to Outback Steakhouse during the sponsor breaks at pledge time.

Unlike the US, Australia and New Zealand are just down in the mouth British colonies that couldn’t make it on their own.  Australia is just a shabby California. There’s nothing high brow or hoity-toity about these convict transportation camps that would interest the more advanced American viewers of TV like myself.  It’s shameful to screen ersatz Brideshead Revisiteds next to genuine smart English television content.  You can always perceive when someone is trying to make it on the cheap. Substitute margarine for butter.  Made in Polynesia for made in the UK.  A downturn in pledge dollars doesn’t have to mean a sacrifice in quality.  How much could reruns of Good Neighbors or As Time Goes By cost?  As in all British TV, economical production values are overcome by high brow accents and big words where smaller words would normally suffice on large budget US TV programs like NCIS.  That’s what the literate public TV viewer expects.  Not G’day or throw another kangaroo on the barbie.  Public TV has lost its rudder.

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Alistair Cooke – More American than Apple Pie

Now we accept Irish, Scots, and Welsh or even Indian accents in our public television content because these are necessary for verisimilitude especially when properly accented English people are really in charge.  This is only logical.  Every country has its aboriginal peoples.  Even America has Southern accents, but nobody is going to believe a documentary series about our founding fathers where people talk like they are from Atlanta or Sydney, people expect a British accent, and a low budget British production in some dreary castle would be even better.  After all who is better suited to present past glories than the British?  Nobody in America wants to see stories about small villages in the 1940s, or the 19th century in Australia or New Zealand and if public TV thinks they can foist this on American pledge givers as British programming just because cable network BBC America now gets the cream of British programming, along with the Star Trek franchise, well they need to wake up and smell the tea brewing.  Pasty complexions, bad teeth and posh accents are what we expect on Sunday night.

Now with Brexit on the horizon the fear is that even more Oceania programming will make it onto the lucrative US public TV market.  I say don’t stand for it.  God Save the Queen! Vote with your pledge dollars. Sure you can expect lower production values in British television as a result but these can always be overcome with longer words and posher accents.  More specials with dead 1950s and ’60s doo wop and pop groups are no substitute for high brow British mini series.

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One yearns for the days when Alistair Cooke introduced Masterpiece with the proper Theater sup-pended to it.  However, Alan Cummings, although with a Scots accent, is almost more an American staple than Cooke.  Now if only the current content were as good.

I say put the Theater back in Masterpiece and take the Masterpiece out of Mystery.  Don’t stand for inferior colonial programming.  The next thing you know they’ll be putting programming from the ultimate failed colony, Canada, on public TV.  The most patriotic thing you can do today is write to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting or your local PBS station to keep our American public television exclusively British.

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Major Hodgson Donation Announced!

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WHH Jane Frank has just confirmed that she and her husband are making a major donation of William Hope Hodgson material!  The donation consists of the Franks’ WHH archive of original typescripts, offprints, correspondence, photographs and ephemera (formerly known as the Sam Moskowitz collection).

It is being donated to the University of California, Riverside, where it will become part of the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy in the UC Riverside Libraries’  Special Collections & University Archives.  A formal announcement will be forthcoming from UC Riverside.

A special reception and panel discussion about Hodgson is planned to commemorate this event and will be held on April 16, 2014, at the Library.

In her email to me regarding the donation, Jane stated that it had always been their intention to donate the material to a college or university and that one of their primary goals when buying the collection at the…

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goodreads Steals Reviews for Amazon Kindle Fire HDX and Paperwhite

GoodReads

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All this goodreads censorship folderol makes sense when you realize that Amazon’s goal all along was to integrate the Kindle with goodreads. I presume all the four letter words will be the next censorship target since when Grandma looks up a review on her Kindle Fire HDX or her new Paperwhite she is going to be a little shocked to see “this book was f___ed up” in a review. Amazon always edited the four letter words or off-color content out of the Amazon site reviews (or just didn’t allow the reviews to post). How long will it be until that begins? goodreads will become just an Amazon catalog.

Or maybe if Amazon is too stupid to censor (not likely) including a few expletives in your goodreads review will ensure that Amazon doesn’t steal it for the Kindle.

No Amazon

When evil corporations buy up dissenting voices.

On-Topic

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The Great Amazon Swindle prepackaged for your pleasure. Admittedly only presents one side of the story of how multinational corporations stifle and eliminate dissenting voices. Written as a poke in the eye, daring badreads or Amazon to delete it; the desperate voices of literary freedom that cried out when a corporation chose to turn a thriving social network into a mere catalog.

One negative is that this collection of dissenting voices doesn’t do enough to identify the remoras that are so eager to neck-suck Jeff Bezos and the ultimate flim-flam man Otis Chandler. We want to know who besides the coddled goodreads authors are laughing all the way to the bank.

GoodReads

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GoodReads

Bad Reads

Well Amazon finally screwed the pooch with GoodReads.  I said this would happen as soon as Amazon acquired GR.  Blow hards like David Gaughran who were probably already getting kickbacks from Amazon provided Amazon apologetics but I could see through the hypocrisy.

What happened?  Well last Friday, as most of the GR staff were probably hitting the freeway, GR announced a new censorship policy.  They would now delete reviews completely, without warning or notice, that were prejudicial towards authors when they felt the author comments from the reviewer were not relevant to the book review at hand or just plain hostile to the author.  At the same time they said they would start deleting user book shelves where they deemed the shelf title or shelf contents also violated this policy, say if I had a shelf which was called “worthless authors who’s books I will never buy or read.”  They will delete these completely without notice.  Oh, and if you admit you couldn’t finish the book because it was so bad, they’ll delete that review too.  You have to finish the book now to post a review that won’t get “removed.”

They provided all this information strictly through a group thread, no real announcement to anyone and had already started deleting content without warning.  The Friday “bad news” drop is a typical ploy used by government and corporations so nobody has to deal with it, it in theory has no effect or a dampened effect by Monday.  Amazon, er, I mean GoodReads employed the same sleazy tactic.

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When Evil Corporations Take Over

This entire fiasco comes out of the fact that instead of being an independent entity like GR used to be it is now essentially a division of Amazon a bookseller.  Smell something fishy in Denmark?  Do I see a conflict of interest?

Another factor was the whiny GR authors, many of whom never published anything worthwhile (GR is flooded with mainly worthless self-published authors as well as a few good ones).  These authors whined about being attacked and unfairly treated.  The fact that GR is now a division of a bookseller leads them to try to protect authors, delete negative reviews, negative book shelves, etc.  I assume the next shoe will be deleting one-star reviews from the ratings.  Who is unfairly treated now?

What can you do?  Well there are already fledgling sites like BookLikes that offer a level of competition.  In addition there is still LibraryThing.   You can export all your GR content (including all the reviews) to a .csv file that can be read into MS-Excel and usually transferred to the alternate biblio-social networks like BL and LT.

No AmazonBoycott GoodReads and Amazon.  There are alternatives to buy books from, even a lot of Kindle content can be purchased directly from publishers.  Go to an independent bookseller.  Barnes and Noble needs the money anyway if you want to see a viable alternative to Amazon in the future.

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