Tuesday, July 24, 2007

In support of NYT bestsellers' list and other things

We live in a time where the world economy revolves around the tastes and whims of the young and very young. This is an age ( some will say it began with the release of "Jaws" )where entertainment primarily targeted at kids and youth dominates the charts. It has become so big that we have crossover entertainment - material with kids as leads but meant for a wider audience (Spy Kids, Lemony Snikkets) . I understand that Variety includes animation and kid films in its top grossers' list.

Michael Giltz goes ballistic because the New York Times doesn't feature books aimed at kids in its main bestsellers list and goes on list out other examples where it the exact opposite, although I still can't get the analogy of country music, reality TV shows and adult entertainment.

What's wrong in Harry Potter topping the Kids list? That doesn't take the fantastic sales numbers. I know there are adults in India who go around with Harry Potter bricks that are books as something of status symbols, but hey these are still books for children. The book series may be once in a lifetime Publishing phenomenon, ask Scholastic and J.K. Rowlings, but that doesn't mean anything.

By Michael Giltz's measures, it would be appropriate for textbooks to be included in the bestsellers list.

There are too many blockbusters, comedies, animation and youth-oriented films on the top movie grossers list. Film magazines including Film Comment and Entertainment Weekly carry critics' ratings for films. I would like other media outlets to carry these ratings, ala Metacritic so that serious adult-oriented films get more exposure.

As things stand today, serious books and movies get short shrift in the media on a whole. In the blogosphere, people pile up rewritten blockbuster review after another.

People don't write long pieces because few read them.

Chris Anderson has written about the long tail economy.
I fear we run a risk of pushing serious, insightful and useful works of art to the tail.

While the rest of the media world dutifully bowed to the might of the Potter series, the NYT went ahead and published a review of the seventh book in spite of the publishers' diktats. These are not books, These are big businesses thriving on manufactured realities, pseudo events, among other devices.

We should be thankful that the Oscars still go to films like "Monster's Ball", and "Sideways" among others - films that relatively few people saw when compared to "Pirates of the Carribean" but are testimonies of human artistic achievement.

I wonder why someone hasn't said this.
Let me venture - LEAVE THE ADULTS ALONE!

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