Friday, November 04, 2011

Just say no, thank you. And send Kim down the street to the next house.

An Open Letter to every book publisher on the planet:

Please, for the love of everything we hold sacred, take a breath. I guarantee you – absolutely guarantee you – that if none of you choose to publish Kim Kardashian’s soon to be shopped around tell-all about her 72 days of wedding hell, you won’t receive nor read even one letter, email, tweet, fax, facebook post, text or voice mail from the book-buying public, demanding that you give poor Kim the platform she needs to tell her story.

To publishers who have all the money and confidence in the world that book will rack up record-breaking sales, please put the money to better use. Take the advance you were going to pay Ms. Kardashian to bear her wounded soul to the world and donate it to women’s shelters, reforestation efforts or your favorite rehab center. It may do some actual good and reach people or causes that need financial support.

To the editors who have held meetings since Wednesday about how to approach Kim’s very busy agent and put together the best deal for everyone: please stop right now. Promise yourself that if anyone in your entire building is still talking about Kim and the seemingly inconsequential Kris in two weeks, you’ll make that phone call and begin negotiations. Wait – make that one week.

To marketing teams who apparently have pictures of endcaps, table displays and book signings that are all but scheduled dancing in their heads, stop being so lazy. Commit to marketing good but unknown writers who have an actual voice and talent. Use all your efforts and good old-fashioned sell-in skills (remember those?) to help them find the readers they deserve.

I don’t expect this will make one bit of difference to anyone who makes these decisions. Times are hard and easy money is easy money. But what I will never understand is how the same publishing industry that participates in the erudite National Book Awards annually and nominates mostly obscure, literary writers for lofty awards and virtually dismisses “popular” fiction as too base and tawdry for consideration, could also be the same publishers who compete for a book from the likes of Kim or any number of “famous for being famous” people like her. It makes no sense. Who are you?

Once again, the genius of Ricky Gervais / Andy Millman on “Extras” rings true. To update his final episode, brilliant observation slightly, I have to agree: “The Victorian freak show never went away. But now it’s called Kim Kardashian or Lindsay Lohan or Snooki or Chaz.”

God help us, we’re still lining up for tickets. The question is: do we blame the ticket seller or ourselves?


Kim Hilsenbeck said...

I am SOOOOOO with you. We were just talking about this issue - who the F cares about these people? and who the hell are the Kardashians anyway?? I mean, I have figured out who they are, but really, who cares.

I don't buy tabloid mags or watch those TV shows with tell all details. I could give a flip. Give me a good fiction book or some great dance music instead.

Sadly, our culture is obsessed with this stuff. Can most people name our Supreme Court justices? Bet they can name Idol winners, names of Survivor casts, and all the names of Brad Pitt's kids.

To answer your question, WE are to blame. We've got to stop with this pop culture mentality and start worrying about things that truly matter...our families, the economy, our abominable political system, conserving resources, educating our children, and getting this country back to its previous greatness.

Great post!

renee said...

Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Kim.

Thing is, I don't mind pop culture per se, and God knows some truly vapid people have been part of life forever. Some of them have even been talented. Vacant, but talented and if that's the case, who cares what kind of personality they bring to the mix? They're entertaining us with some kind of actual ability or talent. They don't need to be geniuses.

What is so disturbing to me are the financial rewards and empty but enthusiastic accolades we seem to be very willing to hand over to people like Kim who have accomplished nothing beyond their notoriety. Entertainers...sure, in the broadest sense of term - I guess so.

But if we keep lowering the bar, God knows where we'll end up.

Thanks again for visiting the blog and your note!

say what? said...

I had to Google "Kardashian", I wasn't sure what one was. Having spent a few minutes on Kim's website, I'm still not sure what a Kardashian is.

Wikipedia gave me a bit more information. I gather a Kardashian is basically a blowup sex toy, a doll? Obviously useless in a garden, a library, a kitchen, or any other of the places I spend my time.

I thank the gods we stopped watching TV more than a decade ago! With any luck, we'll begin homesteading next year and I'll be even farther removed from "reality". ;-)

renee said...

SW: I keep watching Andy Warhol's clock on this one. I think it's stuck.

Happy to admit I'm only as aware as of this sort of thing as headlines allow and that's quite enough, thank you!!