RARA-AVIS: Re: Spillane and misogyny

From: jimdohertyjr ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 12 Jul 2006


Re your comment below:

> My problem with this argument, Miker, is that the vox populi
doesn't determine what gets published. Editors do. And they don't take votes. So I fail to see how that's democratic.

Yeah, but, as I understood Miker, he was talking about the specific case of "standing the test of time," not initial publication.

Editors decide what gets published, but the public decides what gets bought. The SUCCESS of a given book, as opposed to the decision on whether or not to publish it in the first place, is driven by public opinion.

YOu can argue, and I wouldn't deny, that the publishers can affect the success of a book by deciding which work should get the marketing dollars, which the publicity push, etc. But that's like saying that democratic elections can be affected by a good campaign. It doesn't alter the fact that the ultimate decision is in the hands of the voters (or, in the case of publishing books buyers).

And if the public decides to continue buying, and reading, and talking about, and writing about, a given writer's work over a long period of time, that's generally understood to be "standing the test of time."

Leaving aside the question of whether or not "standing the test of time" is a valid measure of whether a given piece of literature, or a given writer, is or is not worthwhile, it IS a reflection of public opinion over the passage of years.

That was my understading, at least, of what Miker meant by "democratic."


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