Literary Bailout


A New York Times article, “A Modest Proposal For The Publishing Industry” satirizes the Treasury bailout plans, “written as an official statement from Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, using language taken directly from all his real statements (with just a few key words changed)”

“As we all know, lax writing practices earlier this decade led to irresponsible writing and irresponsible reading. This simply put too many families into books they could not finish. We are seeing the impact on readers and neighborhoods, with 5 million readers now behind on their reading. Some are just walking away from novels they should never have been reading in the first place. What began as a sub-prime reading problem has spread to other, less-risky readers, and contributed to excess inventories.

These troubled novels are now parked, or frozen, on the shelves of libraries, bookstores, and other reading institutions, preventing them from financing readable novels. The inability to determine the worth of these novels has fostered uncertainty about novels in general, and even about the cultural condition of the institutions that own them. The normal buying and selling of nearly all types of literature has become challenged.

The role of the ratings agencies cannot be overlooked in the creation of this crisis. The Pulitzer, Booker and the National Book Foundation continued to award these novels their top ratings, even as unread copies piled up all over America.

It may be a parody, but I see some truth in it.


A Modest Proposal For The Publishing Industry on

A Modest Proposal For The Publishing Industry on Julian’s site

via BoingBoing