Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Giving it away

This kind of story drives me nuts. The Downhomer is "boycotting" an anti-sealing kids book by a local author. I mean, it's a win-win for the people involved. But for those who want to pull out their hair every spring when sealing madness lands on the province in full force, then you want to go and smack around everyone involved.

I'm curious how the CBC got the story. If I had to guess from what's there on the website, it sounds like Young called the CBC and told them he wouldn't sell the book. I could be wrong about that, of course. But that's the way the story reads to me. Why would he do that? Well, because then he can look that much better to the general public in Newfoundland. "Look at me. I went and banned one of those nasty anti-sealing books." It's the only reason why I can think of doing something this boneheaded.

The author of the book, Morgan Pumphrey, has to be delighted. Had anyone even heard of her book before this? Probably not. Trying to get publicity for your book is a hard racket. It's expensive and trying to get the media to pay attention is difficult. But hey, a bit of controversy is always good for sales. Maybe not in Newfoundland, where it was always going to be a hard sell for this kind of material. But she'll have no problem with it now on the Mainland. I imagine IFAW will be selling her book on their website any day now.

So God bless the Downhomer for giving her all that lovely free publicity. Especially if the story gets picked up nationally. How wonderful.

For this kind of thing, there's no such thing as bad publicity. Do you think the producers of the Golden Compass are worried that this idiot from the Catholic League (By the way, that's not anti-Catholic bias. From what I've read, most American Catholics think he's a bozo) is trying to get people to boycott this movie? Of course not. They're thrilled he's kicking up a racket about it. Tons of free publicity and more people willing to go and watch it to see what the controversy is about.

Donahue, for the record, isn't an idiot either. He likely knows that by kicking up this racket more people will go and see the movie. He doesn't care, as long as his name and his organization gets lots of publicity first. Nor are they too worried about Ontario Catholic Schools pulling the books. More free publicity, although school boards removing books from the shelves because they don't like the content always gets my back up. I dislike books being censored for ideological reasons.

It's all a racket, folks. I just wish in the case of the Downhomer, they weren't in such a hurry to get a few headlines and attention for themselves. Even if the CBC called them and not vice versa, they could have simply said, "no, we're not carrying the book because we don't think it will sell and shelf space is limited." Ta da. Not a story.

"We're boycotting it because we support the seal hunt and Newfoundlanders." Ta da. Story and free publicity.


Last Five
1. Rena - Blue Rodeo
2. In too deep - Genesis
3. Under your charms - Josh Rouse
4. Champagne supernova - Oasis*
5. Mostly waving - Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton


aida said...

very well said indeed. and what's up with JK Rowling announcing Dumbledore was gay? It certainly got a lot of people's attention including myself who personally can't stand Harry Potter. Gay or not, he is a fictional character,'nuff said! i wonder if her book sales went down or sky rocket after she announce that.

Anonymous said...

Uh, or perhaps it's the tactics of the author herself trying to stir up both media attention and book sales. That seems a more likely explanation.

towniebastard said...

Yes, it could be. However, the Downhomer could have just said "we don't think it's going to sell so we're not carrying it." If they say that, there's not controversy and likely no story. And judging by the traffic I'm getting coming to the blog today, there's plenty of people now interested in the story.

As for Rowling announcing Doubledore is gay, I'm not sure that's publicity for the books. Really, at this point Rowling doesn't need the publicity. Lord knows she's rich enough. I think this is she's done with the books but there was stuff she wanted people to know about the characters but she couldn't fit in. She was going around giving life histories of all the major characters after the final book came out. I'm inclined to attribute less cynical reasons for her outing of Dumbledore.

Anonymous said...

I expect Ms Pumphrey knew what to expect, just as she knows the impact this story would have on a child's mind...its typical Animal Rights hogwash, to anthropomorph human feeling into a seal, and I don't know what you'd call it when she writes that Little Seal and his/her mom are reunited in heaven...that goes beyond the normal ARA nonsense..don't even want to go there!

BTW, what kind of parent would buy this book for their impressionable child...the hero dies!!! not a good bedtime story unless your goal is to scare the kid to death!!

nadinebc said...

I agree, blogged about it myself thurs. I hate this approach for so many reasons, but mostly because it helps the authors.

Side note: I read Golden Compass years ago and never got the anti-catholic message at all. It is against all controlling regimes who want you to think and act a certian wait-a-sec...

Anyway, I go completely bugshit when I read many of the folks making the biggest fuss have not even read the books they are trashing.