Should I Revise My Novel With Bernie in It?

After reading yesterday’s post about the Bernie chair meme, my publisher sent me new cover art for Lena, released in 2018. Take a look at this and see if my publisher was trying to tell me something:

Should I:

  • Revise the novel and issue a new edition that includes Bernie as a major character who helps fight the KKK?
  • Revise the novel and–without naming names–have the major characters keeping seeing a possibly drunk man with mittens sitting in the gutter?
  • Revise the novel by including a mitten factory?
  • Do nothing?

If you were me and keeping in mind the fact my publisher owes me $1000000 in royalty money for January’s sales, what would you do?

Just wondering,

Malcolm

Bernie Sanders Chair Meme 

Source: Bernie Sanders Chair Meme Photographer Details Famous Shot – Rolling Stone

Sanders, we hear, likes the meme this photograph began and put it on a sweatshirt that sold out immediately. Goodness knows the meme is showing up everywhere, from Facebook to Google searches to everyone with Photoshop who can blend the chair seamlessly into photographs in all kinds of places from what was originally thought to be a fly in Pence’s hair during a debate to Queen Elizabeth’s castle.

According to CNN, “Bernie Sanders inauguration memes are what this country needed.” After all the bad stuff, Judy Gold–who wrote that opinion piece–might be right: “Whatever political party you pledge allegiance to, whatever your socio-economic background, immigration status, language, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion…there is a Bernie meme for you. Bernie Gangnam stylin’, Bernie with Chewbacca, or playing chess in the Queen’s Gambit. Bernie on the subway.”

This picture’s become like that old take-your-yard-gnome-on-vacation gag. The more outlandish the result, the bigger the laugh.

Gotta love it.

Malcolm

Tom Brokaw retires from NBC after 55 years with the network

Tom Brokaw is formally retiring from NBC News after an extraordinary 55 years with the network. Brokaw, 80, is best known for anchoring the “NBC Nightly News” from 1982 through 2004. He has been the network’s senior correspondent in recent years, enjoying a form of semi-retirement while contributing essays to NBC and MSNBC programs.

Source: Tom Brokaw retiring from NBC News after 55 years with the network – CNN

In many ways, Brokaw continued the traditions of traditional TV journalism established by Murrow, Cronkite, and others who by and large tried to fairly report the facts regardless of any political agenda of a network.

As he leaves, we witness the end of an era when reporters left their beliefs outside the newsroom and studio door.

–Malcolm

The Weeping Wall

If you’ve driven along Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park–or taken a red bus tour–you probably saw The Weeping Wall. If you’re in a red bus and the top is down, you’ll get a bit wet early in the season when the water looks like it does in this Wikipedia photo.

The rock behind the water is the Siyeh Formation. It tends to have a khaki color. Like most of the rock in the park, Siyeh (often called Helena) is sedimentary, beginning its life at the bottom of an ancient sea during the Proterozoic age over 800 million years ago. In Blackfeet, Siyeh (Sáiyi) means Mad Wolf and is the name of a creek, pass, and mountain. It’s made of limestone and dolomite.

I have changed the name of my novel-in-progress from Aeon (too obscure) to The Weeping Wall. Even those who have never visited Glacier National Park will get a sense of the novel from that title–I hope.

As with previous novels set in the park, this one will be as accurate as I can make it in terms of the location and its features. This is one of those cases where it helps the writer to have been there–and got wet.

Malcolm

 

Always slow getting a book started

Do I have writer’s block? No. Once I decide to write a novel, it takes me nearly forever to get started. I’m jealous of those writers who turn out 10000000 books a year. I need time to think, to gather facts about the location, to make sure the magic within the main character is based on relevant tradition.

Jodi Noordmans on Unsplash

Continue reading “Always slow getting a book started”

If you remember the “Hut Sut Song,’ you’re too old for the Internet

Internet or Bust

Like the 1959 Chevy Corvair that Ralph Nader called “the one-car accident,” the Internet seems to be a one-scam bankruptcy plan for seniors.

The Nigerian Prince scam is kid stuff (apparently) according to the warnings I see on AARP and elsewhere about the crooks waiting for me to on the Internet.

Supposedly, the Internet–and I’m not even talking about the dark web–is about as unsafe and unwholesome as the worst part of the bad part of town.

Can you imagine, at my age, I’m still solicited by online hookers? I feel like responding, “Where were you when I was 21?” But I don’t because I know that even an innocent comment like that will bring shame, scandal, and jail time.

For all I know, scam artists are probably robbing me blind and I haven’t even seen it. Thinking that if you can’t beat them, join them, I went to the art department of a major university and signed up for the Scam Art course.  Cost me $10,000. The whole shebang was a scam.

As for the “Hut Sut Song,” it’s nonsense from the 1940s. You can Google it if you don’t remember it. If you do remember it, log off the Internet immediately because most online pros consider you to be prey. And you are.

So am I. But I like to live dangerously. So do you, or you wouldn’t be reading this post.  I promise you, there is no malware here, no fake sweepstakes info, no phony prescription drug deals or fake anti-aging products, and no sweetheart scams. I’m amazed at the number of scams out here. But they all seem to play on what we want most: perfect health, infinity and beyond.

Really, there’s no free lunch is there? But we can always hope, and that’s why we’re prey.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of the satirical comedy “Special Investigative Reporter.”

CNN is CNN and Fox is Fox and Never the Twain Shall Meet

If you get your news from CNN, do you ever wonder what those who get their news from Fox are smoking? If you get your news from Fox, do you ever suspect those who rely on CNN are drunk?

Since this seems to be the case, politics and culture and almost everything else come down to two universes of people who aren’t getting the same news. Some stories aren’t covered on both networks. Some stories are covered with so much bias, they appear to be different stories.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that both networks run a fair number of opinion shows that many viewers get these mixed up with real news. For example, if you watch Hannity on Fox, you are watching an opinion show and really can’t count that as an objective and impartial presentation of the news.

In many ways, I think we got more real news back in the 1960s when the networks came on every evening with 30 minutes, and later 60 minutes, of news than we’re getting now with 24/7 satellite/cable/broadcast saturation.

Unless there’s a huge story, most people seem to want to get their news quickly and get back to their lives. This means that they don’t spend time checking multiple news sources to counteract the spin applied by CNN and FOX. In fact, finding the facts takes a lot of work these days.

This “never the twain shall meet” situation impacts debates on social media as well as “real life.” It’s as though the half-informed are battling the half-informed. I have no idea how to fix this because fixing it seems to go against the flow that embraces opinions over facts.

As we see in many Facebook memes, words to the effect that, “So, Bob, you’re saying that your 15 minutes of research on Wikipedia and 15 minutes on your political party’s website are worth more than my Ph.D.?” That’s where we are.

If I might offer a suggestion, as an example of fact-checking, whenever Fox or CNN covers a big story in a U.S. town, check their facts by going to the websites of their local newspaper and TV station. You’re likely to get more facts and less spin. Not always, but often.

Malcolm

When I wrote my satire “Special Investigative Reporter,” I thought I was joking. Apparently, I was predicting where the news would end up.

CPJ Safety Advisory: Covering the build-up to the U.S. presidential inauguration

Based on the levels of violence and tactics used by both police and protesters at U.S. protests in 2020, and during the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, journalists reporting from upcoming political events and protests should be aware of and consider the following risks: Firing of rubber bullets, baton rounds, and projectilesLiberal use of pepper spray and tear gas Verbal aggression and physical attacks from protesters and militia groups The potential use of live ammunition by the police and/or protesters The dangers associated with attacks on buildings, vehicles, and barricades The dangers associated with rioting, looting, and arson The use of water cannons and long-range audio devices by the police Potential vehicle ramming of crowdsArrest and detention

Source: CPJ Safety Advisory: Covering the build-up to the U.S. presidential inauguration – Committee to Protect Journalists

Years ago, I would have expected safety precautions and other warnings to reporters who were covering elections in a dangerous foreign country. But this is the United States. If you’re a journalist, the article is filled with helpful advice. I’m just sorry to see it issued for our country.

When I was in high school, I went with the band to participate in the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. Somewhere I have a photo of all of us posed on the Capitol steps. Now, that entire area is roped off, so to speak, as a red zone that few people can enter. There are national guard troops everywhere. If you’re a tourist, you probably won’t see anything. If you’re a reporter, you might see more than you can tolerate, and your life and your press freedom will be on the line.

Malcolm

My father, mother,  uncle, and I all taught journalism courses. There’s no way we could have prepared our students for this. Berry College, where I taught, really doesn’t look like the kind of environment for training prospective reporters how to be Navy Seals.

Old People, Still Here, God Love ’em

I confess: I’m among those who see obituaries on Facebook and news sites for famous people and think, “I thought s/he was already dead.”

I can look on AARP Magazine’s “Big5-Oh” page and see that a lot of old people are still here. In the current issue I learned that Mary J. Blige is 50, Julia-Louis Dreyfus is 60, Wayne Gretzky is 60, Phil Collins is 70, Joan Baez is 80, Faye Dunaway is 80, and James Earl Jones is 90.

I also learned that, at 86, Sophia Loren–the sexy heartthrob of my high school years–is starring as Madame Rosa in the Netflix movie “The Life Ahead.”

According to Wikipedia, “Madam Rosa is a former prostitute and Holocaust survivor. She provides childcare for the children of “working women.” After a 12-year old Senegalese street kid robs her, she reluctantly agrees to take him in. They develop a deep bond and she tries to help him find his way in life, as he learns she is both a Holocaust survivor and an ex-prostitute.”

Roger Ebert.com says, “Loren inhabits the role of Madame Rosa as if it was written for her. (You can see why Ponti wanted to remake it for her). Bringing to the table her lifetime of experience, talent, and sense of truth, Loren’s Madame Rosa is alternately warm and cranky, imperious and funny, strong and fragile. Madame Rosa has led a hard life, and it shows in her face, her actions, but she is still capable of acts of great generosity. Madame Rosa often goes into fugue states when the trauma of her past gets to be too much. She retreats from the everyday world. In those moments, Loren seems truly broken, staring into space, unreachable. When feeling comes up in her, it’s so sharp and immediate it seems to surprise even her.”  

Oh good, she’s still “got it.”

Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Fate’s Arrows,” available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book.

Submissions open for new writing contest

Imagine 2200: Climate fiction for future ancestors

“We’re calling for 3,000- to 5,000-word stories that envision the next 180 years of climate progress — roughly seven generations. The winning writer will be awarded $3,000, with the second- and third-place finalists receiving $2,000 and $1,000, respectively. An additional nine finalists will each receive a $300 honorarium. Winners and finalists will be published in a stunning (trust us), immersive digital collection on Fix’s website and will be celebrated in a public-facing virtual event.”

Click on the graphic above to see the contest page. . .and, good luck.

–Malcolm