Breaking News: Celebrities are Dying all around us!

Joanne McNeil on the phenomenon of media outlets reporting a constant barrage of celebrity deaths.

Every day on Twitter, news of another death. Les Paul, John Hughes, Farrah Fawcett, those big names, but also the editor at this publication, the founder of this startup, the people who we might not all know, but someone you know knew them and they are using the space to remember them.

Sure, Maria Shriver’s euology made me sit up straighter and think I want to be like that. But, I mean, was I supposed to be shocked that Eunice Kennedy passed on? I guess it’s small talk of a darker sort. You could talk about the weather or whose heart stopped.

Sometimes I feel like I don’t want to sign on Twitter, precisely for that reason. What if David Cronenberg died? Or Bill Callahan? Sophia Coppola, Rachel Maddow, Tilda Swinton, anyone I like.

Hmmm, I wonder, if media companies like Universal or Time-Warner ever stand to gain financially from reporting about the death of Heath Ledger/Michael Jackson/Brittany Murply. Would that even be possible?

All I will say is: thank god there are no other major international crises for news programs to report on

By the way, I have become smitten with the Tomorrow Museum blog for which Joanne writes. See her post about managing RSS feeds, why teenagers still read, and  geek literary culture:

So there is no geek literary movement. There are geeks that write, some even embrace their geekiness, but no work is about to oust “Eat, Pray, Love” or “The Corrections” as the dominant publishing ideal. Maybe the reason “l33terati” never happened is all the geek writers value tl, dr above everything else.

If there is a “l33terati,” they aren’t writing novels or even short stories. They are writing flash-super-super-flash fiction or flash-super-super-flash creative nonfiction. That quick evocative half-poetry, half-advertising that is “A diamond is forever” or “if you lived here, you’d be home now,” well you can find it on Twitter every day.

(See my thoughts about microfiction here).  By the way, I am in the process of writing more on this topic.

Here’s a remarkable picture from her post about cell phone cameras.


From her blog, a quote about publishing from Virginia Woolf.

Books ought to be so cheap that we can throw them away if we do not like them, or give them away if we do. Moreover, it is absurd to print every book as if it were fated to last a hundred years. The life of the average book is perhaps three months. Why not face this fact? Why not print the first edition on some perishable material which would crumble to a little heap of perfectly clean dust in about six months time? If a second edition were needed, this could be printed on good paper and well bound. Thus by far the greater number of books would die a natural death in three months or so. No space would be wasted and no dirt would be collected.




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