Thursday, April 16, 2009

Haven't we suffered enough

Many media pundits report that in hard economic times people look to lighter, funny more comforting entertainments. A benefit the makers of the Star Trek movie look to reap while the producers of ‘The Road’ agonise over their poor timing. A similar suggestion is floated for books. So of the many tragedies that can be laid at the feet of the Global Financial Crisis (so much more bloodless than The Great Depression - Redux) is it also responsible for why for the first three months of 2009, Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books took the first four spots quarterly best-selling books list. Sales of Meyer's five novels accounted for 16% of all books sold. The fifth being the uncharacteristically interesting ‘young adult’ alien invasion novel ‘The Host’. Worse if you consider she was responsible for one out of every seven books sold in the last three months.

Yeah I know “if it gets the kids reading” argument.

It seems there is a contrary section of the population that when civilization crumbles they crave “Paranormal, horror and especially apocalyptic-themed novels” says St. Martin's editor Michael Homler. This is reflected in sales of two of my favorites from last year
“Wastelands a collection of post-apocalyptic short fiction just went into a fifth printing selling over 30,000 copies a little over 12 months, and The Living Dead ,over 45,000 copies in six months.

But perhaps the worse effect the GFC has had on book sales. The UK’s Guardian newspaper has reported sales of Ayn Rand’s ‘Atla’s Shrugged’ have taken a marked jump. The Ayn Rand Centre for Individual Rights claims that US-wide sales almost tripled over the first seven weeks of 2009, compared with the same period in 2008.

Haven’t we suffered enough in this GFC, now to have to put up with a bunch of investment banker uber capitalists with copies under one arm and fists full of government bailout bucks in the other spouting about world in which the

"men of the mind" - inventors, entrepreneurs and industrialists - withdraw their labour from a society intent on bleeding them dry with taxes and regulations. Furious at being exploited by the government on behalf of the masses, who are described as "parasites" and "moochers", the striking capitalists retreat to a camp in the mountains of Colorado, protected by a special holographic shield. Starved of their genius, society collapses and wars break out until eventually bureaucrats are forced to beg the rebels' leader, John Galt, to take over the economy.

If you don’t believe it read some of


  1. *shamed* I've read the Twilight saga and saw the movie...but would it help that I didn't spend a dime on it?

    The books were stupid, bad for you and addictive, sort of like the Mountain Dew and American Idol I also ingest on a weekly basis.

  2. I saw "Twilight" for the purpose of reviewing it (no, really!), and I've never seen anything like it. It was one of the worst movies I've ever seen but the teenage girls in the audience were just going ga-ga.

    It's interesting though about tastes and preferences in a time of economic downturn - it's one of the reasons I really wanted to get "Felafel" up and running quickly - because I firmly believe people want to have a laugh and a good time, and just forget about all the other dramas for a bit.

    Certainly for a theatre, which depends on audiences, convincing people to part with their money is hard. If you can promise them a night of laughs, it seems to be slightly easier.

  3. Have never read Atlas Shrugged but I stand by the definitive review of the work as provided by Officer Barbrady: 'I read every last word of this garbage, and because of this piece of shit, I am never reading again.'

    Remarkably leftist from the South Park boys, on reflection.

  4. atlas shrugged was... flawed. I understood it's underlying (selfish) message, but it had holes you could drive a train through.
    it's a pity the bulk of Ayn Rands writing has been overshadowed by this.
    sort of like Orwell and 1984

  5. I found the Tea Party Protests charming, therefore I burned all books that brainwash my mine toward a liberal agenda.

  6. *Brainwash my "mind." Good for me. I've burned enough books that I'm beginning to make spelling errors.

  7. Haven't read it. Nor did I believe Malcolm Fraser's quip about life and the inevitability of it being difficult.
    I'll go with the good Doctor on this one. A quote from Barbrady will beat anything else hands down.

  8. Oh, goody. Maybe they'll do a remake of "The Fountainhead," too.

  9. GC
    The number of times I have heard that "I need to review it". Birmo had a piece wheer he was talking as a writer in residence and all these young female writerbes mentioned how awful the book was. What he was alarmed at was how many times they had read it just to ensure it was as awful as they thought.

    Dr Yobbo
    I agree I am only greatful I came to it later in life or like Officer Barbrady I too may have sworn off ever reading another book.

    I like the use of the word 'Flawed' its that wonderful Australian understatement like saying the Titanic had a leak or Krakatoa erupted.

    probably just as well, you've probably read too many books already to be considered a 'good American'.

    save yourself, with regard to reading it. Don't.

    One I have not yet read.