This, too is garnered from PASSIVE VOICE (I love Passive Guy for keeping me abreast of what's going on in my world).  This is taken from an article in SALON and summarizes several prognostications.  My particular excerpt looks at differences between Europe and the U.S. in how they impact "culture".  (I think this relates to quality of books)


"One thing that could have made this story end differently is if the United States had a significant cultural policy. We have a trade policy – we protect industries we value – and we have an anti-trust policy designed to protect consumers. We have arts and humanities endowments that assist institutions. But our cultural policy is mostly to let culture fend for itself in the open market. It works great, but sometimes it doesn’t.

Many counties in Europe have cultural policies, Levine points out. Germany has a thriving book business – with many independent bookstores and a rich mix of publishers – because the government forbids price discounts in most cases.

“If you’re a minister of culture,” Levine says, “it’s your job to further culture. It’s seen as something government should do. If you left it all to the market, almost no one would write anything in Swedish … because it’s such a small market.”

Link to the rest at Salon and thanks to Meryl for the tip."

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The last thing I'd want is to try to pass writing through a cultural litmus test. What's the difference between that and censorship?

Exactly. As if you're only culturally significant if you get the government's stamp of approval. Bullshit.

No minister for culture for me.  Two reasons.  1. I don't buy into the idea that Europe does anything better than we do.  2. After four year of what we are getting for the next four years, I don't trust anyone in government to do the right thing or to even tell the truth.  I don't care what party they belong to, they are all self-centered scum.

Beyond that, i don't have an opinion.

Hmm.  I've been saying nasty things about elected officials myself.  It could, however, be suggested the erosion of ethical standards is due to the crap reading or no reading at all that most people do.


Pretty harsh, Brian.  Do you include  Bernie Sanders of VT among the "scum?" 

Most countires have government funded cultural industries to protect themselves from being overrun by American culture. It's not really American imperialism it's that the US market is so big it dominates.

That's how government involvement in the cultural industries started in Canada. It certainly has its problems like anything else, but it's only one part of the whole. Some novelists in Canada receive grants (as do some in the US, of course) but most don't. The same with music, movies, tv shows and so on.

It may be something that gets expanded in the US as America becomes more multicultural and less of a single, dominant market.

Oh, right.  That explains the comment about protecting Swedish authors.  I wish we had some price controls on books.  The availability of so many free and 99 c. novels depreciates the author's work and encourages people to publish anything and everything, either not caring about profit or hoping that the huge numbers of downloads will make up the difference.

I still say it's not something that will happen in the US. There's a libertarian streak to the creatives here, and they wouldn't tolerate it.

Well, ultimately it may all shake out.  Those who hope to make it by publishing crap will get tired when their sales don't hold (no repeat customers), and that will leave the true bestsellers and the good midlist authors, the latter barely making a buck but that is nothing new).

In most places (certainly in Canada) the idea isn't to restrict access to anything through price controls but to ensure that domestic products have equal (or even just) access to the marketplace.

Technology is having a big effect because the marketplace isn't as finite. Bookstores only had so much shelf space and movie theatres only so many screens so a lot of places felt the need to save some of that space for domestic culture, so to speak.

There is some of this kind of thing in the US with the NEA and PBS and lots of private grants like the McArthur. It's just a difference in scale because the dominant culture in the US is, of course, American. But as that culture becomes less homogenous lots of things will change. And yeah, it'll shake out.

Sometimes in the rest of the world we wonder if Americans know how involved their culture (and their coprorations) are in other countries.




Ironically, PBS is my access to British Broadcasting.

I hope you're right, Banjamin, but American creatives tolerated an awful lot during the blacklists of the 50s and the production code era.


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