Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Holiday Perusings Part 2

Three more quick items to write about as we close out '08. First, a funny but poignant reminder about why this blog was correct in pointing out the hypocrisy and thick-headed actions by the Athens Clarke County School Board earlier this month.

Delay In Assigning Schools:

Parents of thousands of Clarke County School District elementary school students will have to wait until next year to find out what schools their children will attend in the coming year.

School officials originally planned to mail letters by today notifying parents what school attendance zones their homes are in.

Now, those letters have been delayed, according to an announcement released Tuesday by the school district director of public relations.

Administrators underestimated how long it would take to assign students and notify parents, said school district spokesman Mike Wooten.
Outstanding. In other words, all of those "few loud" parents who dared to complain were right all along: the Board and its Superintendent had no earthly idea how many students this would affect, nor where, ultimately, anyone would be going to school next year. More generally, they had no idea what they were doing.

As a lawyer friend of mine put it over Christmas, let the lawsuits begin.

Then there is this unrelated blurb concerning yet another "faked" memoir found in the insipid "memoir" genre of publishing.

As Another Memoir is Faked, Trust Suffers:
In media circles, there is a joke about facts that are too good to check. This week Oprah Winfrey and the New York publishing industry stumbled on yet another unverified account in the form of a Holocaust survivor who said his future wife had helped him stay alive while he was imprisoned as a child in a Nazi concentration camp by throwing apples over the fence to him.
I heard about this story a few years ago when some mass email was going around about the couple in question and how "true love" trumps everything (even Hitler), etc. My response to this is like my response to everything else: sounds good, great story, maybe even a film in it, but if you're saying it's "true", where's the proof? Where's the evidence? The article goes on to list some of the other mass hoaxes which have been uncovered in the past few years in this "reality" genre of publishing.

It's astonishing, frankly, that these books, authors and stories can be cranked out by publishing companies as "memoir" or "reality" and have virtually zero fact checking or research behind them to authenticate their claims. Maybe the story of yet another person and their terrible childhood/druggy life isn't all that important to authenticate, I suppose, but a Holocaust love story sold as "real" doesn't merit a fact check? Stunning.

Maybe I should hire myself out part-time on the side to any and all publishing firms out there: will do research for money and memoir.

Finally, I mentioned my fascination with all things Nixon a few weeks ago and noted I'd be seeing the movie "Frost/Nixon" over the holidays. I saw it yesterday, loved it, and truly recommend it. The acting is superb and the script an excellent blend of "dramatic license" and reality (fer real). Put it this way: the fact that many Nixon and Frost sycophants out there aren't happy with the the way each is portrayed means the writer Peter Morgan has probably stumbled into the truth. Director Ron Howard has created a "Rocky" for the political/nerdy set that should win all sorts of awards next year.

Happy New Year!

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