Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Revisiting an old acquaintance

If you've been reading the NYT's books coverage, you know that Laura Albert, a.k.a. JT LeRoy, has been successfully sued for fraud by the filmmakers who bought the option for thr novel Sarah. Stephen Burt in Slate today makes the point that all of the fuss over LeRoy's identity seems to have little, if anything, to do with the work itself.

The specific claim against Albert seems to hinge on marketing: that the LeRoy identity was created as a ploy to bring attention to and help sell Albert's novel. This led to some particularly weird arguments. Albert's defense was that LeRoy was a genuine identity, created in part to help Albert deal with past sexual abuse. Antidote International Films countered that "LeRoy" had stiffed them for the tab at a lunch meeting. (The NYT articles, behind the Times Select wall, are here and here.

I think I've discussed this at length in this post, but I have to lend support to Burt's argument that the LeRoy controversy is really about nothing but marketing. I've never read the book (and have no intention to do so), but I don't see why it matters whether it was written by a gender-ambiguous street prostitute or by a committee of trained monkeys. I am, however, irked by the cult of personality that surrounded LeRoy and the implied argument that the book was only worthy of attention if it was an authentic result of someone's experience. ("It's a novel, but it really happened!")

So I smiled when the golden boy identity came crashing down, but Albert on the whole seems much more worthy of our pity than our contempt. And the book, good or bad, should stand on its own.

The kicker is that there are rumors of interest in an Adaptation-style film project revolving around Albert/LeRoy and her work. I hope she makes back the money she lost in this lawsuit and then some.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Monday, June 18, 2007

I'll post almost anything that has to do with Batman

Batman's new costume from the upcoming movie The Dark Knight. (via No pics of Heath Ledger in his Joker makeup, but let's not get greedy. (Actually, the Wikipedia article has this fuzzy picture. I'll wait to form an opinion.)

Also, according to Wikipedia, Maggie Gyllenhaal is taking over the role of Rachel Dawes. I love Maggie Gyllenhaal. Eric Roberts is also apparently signed on to play Sal Maroni, the guy who makes Harvey Dent into Two-Face.

Check out the teaser site too, complete with faux campaign poster for Harvey Dent. The tagline, "I Believe in Harvey Dent," will ring a bell with anyone who has read The Long Halloween.


(Update, 1:58 p.m.—AH passed along this link to an apparent picture of Heath Ledger in his Joker makeup.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I'm not entirely sure what to make of it, but you should see it

A cartoon review, as such, by Tony Millionaire of God Is Not Great. (via Paper Cuts, the NYT's books blog. Oh yeah, did I mention that the NYT has a books blog? It does.)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Room for one more?

One more blog: I Read That Somewhere. Quotes, excerpts, and other material that has caught the eye of a blogger on the team. These are ideas that have caught our interest and made us think. Hopefully they'll do the same for you.

At least for this one I don't have to write anything.

'Cause it's not good enough to just be on the page

MSU is joining the Google Book Search project.

And in other news, Oxford University Press is warming to the project. Ah, but students aren't always happy about laptop computers in the classroom. (via the Chronicle.)

Friday, June 01, 2007


Michiko Kakutani reviews Ian McEwan's new novel, On Chesil Beach:

"As for Edward, he too emerges as a bizarrely opaque character: volatile, self-absorbed and incurious, a myopic twit who never seems to think it odd that Florence dislikes kissing him or making out."

Did Michiko Kakutani really just use the phrase "making out"?

Like Oprah, but with Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start

Kokatu (who the hell is Kokatu?) proposes video game groups—where members would play through a game on their own, beginning to end, and then get together to discuss the game. (via the Chronicle of Higher Ed)

Cool idea, although, at least for me, I forsee a few obstacles.
  1. time—if you assume that the average game takes 40 hours to complete (often a very conservative estimate), that's a great deal of time to commit if you assume a monthly meeting of the group. (Granted, the group may not have to meet every month, but I'd say that you run into danger of losing momentum and group coherence if you meet too infrequently. (Also, what about the fact that many games are set up to provide additional content and story on the second play-through?)
  2. money—at $50 a pop, you average video game makes even a hardcover novel look like a deal, much less a paperback.

I tend to assume that your average (paperback) novel costs about $15 and takes about 10 hours to read.

Still, like I said, the idea sounds cool, and I've said before that I don't read science fiction or fantasy anymore largely because the Final Fantasy series gives me everything that I look for in a good sci-fi novel. Also, I'd love to hear an in-depth conversation on whether strategy guides are the new Cliffs Notes, or whether so many extended games have become so intricate that strategy guides are now an essential part of the game experience.