This explains the fake non-fiction

It’s more appealing to female readers than sexy were-seals:

Kelly’s expos√© could be the start of a widespread backlash against misery literature, a genre kick-started by Angela’s Ashes in 1996, and which took off globally four years later with A Child Called It, Dave Pelzer’s account of growing up with an alcoholic mother who beat, starved, stabbed, burnt and force-fed ammonia to him. “Inspirational memoirs”, the polite term for this type of book, now account for nine per cent of the British book market, shifting 1.9 million copies a year and generating ¬£24 million of revenue for the publishing industry.

I’m embarrassed that I failed to see this coming. For years I’ve hated television because it’s little more than emotional porn for women. But this misery lit offers precisely the same rush of tears and Elendfreude that keeps ER on the air.

Why women shouldn’t do punditry

Lisa Schiffren provides an excellent example as well as conclusively claiming the title of Worst New Addition to The Corner:

Last night was the very first time I’ve thought Cindy McCain looked really good this season. All through the campaign she has favored very sharp-shouldered jackets, (an 80’s, Dynasty look), usually in hard and bright colors like tomato red. Her naturally thin frame doesn’t need, or benefit from either the hard shoulder or the wasp-waist it is constructed to suggest….Not that I’ve given this much thought…. (The sad things is, I haven’t. This stuff just glares at me while I am trying to pay attention to the substance….)

It’s only been a few days and already Buckley is rolling over in his grave. I note that despite the fact that WFB stated that the struggle between Christianity and Atheism was the supreme issue of the age, even more important than the one between Communism and the West, NRO is demonstrably less interested in that intellectual debate than in what the presidential candidate’s wives are wearing.

Russia and the West

Justin Raimondo remarks on the irony of the American and European medias complaining about the Russian media and what passes for Russian democracy:

We are bombarded on an almost daily basis with anti-Russian, anti-Putin propaganda in the mainstream media, falsely claiming that the “independent” media is being curtailed by the Kremlin. Yet there is no government censorship in Russia; no newspapers or television stations have been closed down by the authorities. Putin’s critics are exercised over the alleged lack of “freedom of the press” because the Russian owners of privately owned media outlets exercise the same editorial control that private owners exercise in the West.

For the American media to complain that their Russian counterparts are too subservient to the government is a classic case of pot-kettle-black. It wasn’t the Russian media that wore flag lapel buttons while reporting the start of a major military assault and shamelessly transmitted government propaganda disguised as “news reporting” to a frightened and shamelessly manipulated public. It wasn’t the Russian media that put Judy Miller’s tall tales of Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” on the front page of the New York Times as the rest of our “free” and “independent” journalists followed dutifully along. If Russia’s reporters are government lackeys, then their Western brothers and sisters are cut from pretty much the same cloth….

If the Council of Europe is so concerned about the state of democracy in the world, then let them look into the practices of the European Union, which seem to involve repeating an election until one gets the “right” result.

Raimondo is the most underrated columnist in America today. If you’re not reading him on a regular basis, you are seriously missing out.

Gary Gygax rolls his last

I never met Gary Gygax, although I once did a book signing with Dave Arneson, who was the other creator of Dungeons and Dragons. I wasn’t much of a D&D player, although my best friend was, and D&D was the inspiration behind two of the games I loved most, the SF role-playing game Traveller and the computer game Akalabeth. D&D also served as the basis for the fiction of the fantasy writer that I imitated in learning how to write my own fiction, Joel Rosenberg.

Gygax and Arneson unlocked a world of imagination for tens of thousands of bored teenage boys. The computer game industry owes as much to them as it owes to Tolkein, Wozniak, and Jobs. Even today, the basic mechanisms they created are still operative in games like The World of Warcraft, indeed, they are so dominant that it is difficult for game designers to even conceive of mechanisms to replace them.

Too often we lionize those who come later, those who cash in, and we forget the conceptual giants upon whose shoulders they stand, who many times are bypassed and ignored by the very industries they created. Every role-playing gamer, every fantasy reader, every computer game player, owes a genuine debt to Gary Gygax. Roll your favorite D20 today in his honor.

And The Narrative continues

Hillary Rodham Clinton scored comeback primary wins in Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island Tuesday night, denting Barack Obama’s delegate lead in a riveting Democratic presidential race.

I tell you what’s going to happen, you tell me I’m crazy. I tell you it’s still happening, you begin to see I might have a point. I tell you what’s still happening, you tell me I’m crazy. I tell you it’s still happening, you see again that I might have a point.

Are you beginning to recognize the pattern yet? Don’t you recognize the comeback theme from the last time a Team Clinton member was making his first run for office? This riveting race should end in a dramatic climax of unity, with Obama saying “yes he can” to the vice-presidency. What other choice is there for her? A squatty Hispanic toad?

No, this story needs its happy ending for the fainting masses.

UPDATE – yes, it really is that predictable:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton hinted at the possibility of a Democratic “dream ticket” with Sen. Barack Obama. Speaking on “The Early Show” on CBS, Clinton said “that may be where this is headed, but of course we have to decide who is on the top of the ticket.”